It was becoming increasingly more difficult for us to sell Porsche and service and repair other makes of cars as just two men. We had hired a local Bahraini mechanic called Mohammed to help but we needed to get things organised on a proper footing. After discussing this, Bob and I agreed we would approach Rob McEwen again to pursue our earlier enquiry, who worked for Maltin’s of Henley, the Porsche Dealer in Oxfordshire, England. We knew Rob very well and we had been to his wedding some years earlier when he married a local girl Annie Stothers.
Bob and I flew into the UK, met up with Rob and over a pint and a sandwich in his local pub, and offered him a partnership in the business. We said his role was to run the after sales side of the business. We offered him a 25% share for £10,000 cash investment, which was an equal share with Rashid, Bob & I having 25% each, as we valued the net assets of the business at £40,000 at that time.
Rob was a very good mechanic himself, so he was bringing a considerable set of skills to us along with a bit of cash to put into the business. After discussing matters with his family, Rob and Annie arrived in Bahrain two months later.
Rob’s late father John, was very good friends with Mike Maltin (they were pilots together at BEA and BOAC respectively). I had purchased my first Porsche from Mike Maltin, so there was a number of cross connections with people in the Porsche world in Great Britain.
I had also been talking to a young English man called Ian Best about joining us. Ian’s father was an executive at Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and had lived in Bahrain for many years. Ian was born in Bahrain and looking for his first job and he was very keen to work on specialist cars. I offered him a job with us on the servicing and repair side.
When Rob arrived he added air conditioning to the workshop (which was a first as far as we knew in the Middle East) and more staff and equipment. He also built up the spare parts business and later added a body repair shop and low bake paint oven.
Rob & Ian are running a racing operation at the Bahrain F1 Sakhir circuit these days.
Back then Rob also recruited two additional Porsche trained mechanics from the UK, called Martin Rose (who is now in charge of training at Porsche Cars Great Britain) and Mark Peters (who now lives in the USA looking after a number of racing Porsches).