Opinion : AROnline 20 years on… shall we meet up?

AROnline 10th anniversary gathering

I never really believed I’d be writing this – but here we go! AROnline is 20 years old in 2021, and boy have things changed since I set up the site in 2001 before making it look like a proper website the following year. Although the world – and internet – has changed beyond all recognition since those halcyon days when we started, and had a lovely active community, the site is still plodding on…

How to celebrate? Back in 2011 for the 10th anniversary many of us trekked over to the British Motor Museum (Heritage Motor Centre) to celebrate. It was a nice day with a guided tour of the museum (below), a quiz in the museum’s cinema (bottom of page), a gathering of the site’s regular readers and their cars outside, followed by a more informal meeting at a nearby pub to catch-up with old friends.

This year, I’m thinking along the same lines – a nice gathering of the site’s Contributors and fans, alongside (hopefully) one or two special guests who played a significant part in Rover’s history along the years. It’s early days, and I’ve not even considered a date yet, as it’s still not clear what state the country’s going to be in regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but I do want to celebrate the landmark of the site, as well as look forward to what the future holds for our industry.

Mike Humble and I have so far discussed this, and we’d really like to make it happen. If you’re interested in joining in the celebration, please post your comments below including some suggested dates. More information will be added to this page once it’s clear what numbers we’re dealing with and what dates look best.

Photography: Andy McGeechan

Keith Adams

36 Comments

  1. Yes please, just do it, covid almost over. One thing I thought the Austin Apprentices maybe should have done at reunions is have name/car ‘badges as conversation starters. Maybe you could do one for download?

  2. Great idea! We had some really enjoyable meets at Gaydon over the years and with the 20th anniversary, along with the easing of lockdown, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Summertime would be good to at least stand a chance of nice weather, however, I don’t mind.

  3. Sounds like a good idea – either Gaydon or maybe the new museum in Derbyshire if they’re looking for punters.

    BTW, on Talking Pictures channel on Thursday: Look at Life: A Car is Born (1960) at 5.45pm. “The success of the British car. Featuring Triumph, Morris and Austin, from design, building and testing, to the open road. A fascinating look at the industry.” TPTV have started showing the Look At Life period colour newsreels – cringeworthy commentaries but great period imagery.

    • One of my company’s clients started his career in Film production as a Scriptwriter on Look at Life. It was a product of its time but great to see re-runs reminding us of quieter times.

  4. Nice idea and if I wasn’t stuck on the other side of the world…
    By the way, if the pub that you went to last time was the Gaydon Inn, it was all boarded up when I wemt past it in late 2019.

  5. To quote a great admirer of Winston Churchill – “Lets get it done!” Whenever you like and where you like! If you chose the new Derbyshire venue, suggest you don’t invite Lucy!

  6. Absolutely great idea . Gaydon or the new Museum up North are fine by me . However Gaydon is more central and may have better facilities . I have not been to the oreviius ones but would love to come to this one . Please do it .

  7. I’m a long tine reader of this site since it’s early days and would love a meet up, if only to see and meet some of the many contributors and regular posters. Now that Covid-19 restrictions are nearly a memory, late Summer? to make sure our friends from the differing parts of the UK, Ireland and Europe would have a chance to attend.

  8. I too missed the tenth anniversary, but have been a commenter for many years, under various names, LOL, we had both our ZS cars as cars of the month, the 120+ saloon and 180 in the same report, and was on the Champagne trip in the 120+ great trip that was.

    although not a current RMGR owner, we do have some great newish British cars in our collection, A disco 5, Velar and Bentley Arnage LWB, amongst others, and would love to be there, August late August would be ideal, as we are away for most of July and September, but if not then I wish you all a great time

  9. I’d definitely try to make an appearance at that – quarantine arrangements applying to travel from France (etc. etc.) allowing. Please keep me posted : )

  10. Congratulations Keith, very well done and thank you for that! Would love to attend any meeting, if and when possible this summer. WIfe and I are planning to visit our holiday cottage in Kent as soon as possible (or allowed to…), would be great to join any celebrations then.
    What sort of date are you thinking of; later rather than sooner in summer I’d expect??

  11. Love the idea. Would like to bring along my father, a retired mechanic from the BMH-AR era.

  12. Love the site and have been an avid reader from the word go. Would love to attend a gathering at Gaydon.

  13. One of my favourite sites on t’internet. I grew up with British tin but have put my money into an Iveco Bus and an imported Japanese day van. Love to attend an event but fearful of getting lynched LOL

  14. I found the site about the same time as I went online 19 years ago, as I wanted to find out more about Red Robbo, and never looked back. It’s provided me with plenty of pleasure over the years and the debates are always interesting and never turn into Twitter rants.

  15. Sounds like a great idea. From a selfish perspective, the Great British Car Journey in Derbyshire would be a great location for it, but access from the motorway network isn’t as good as Gaydon.
    Thinking about dates, please don’t make it the weekend of 11/12 September as I’m already double booked on car things :-/

  16. Congratulations on your 20th! I still remember those early days when Declan B. and I were emailing one another, and the site was linked from ours as the Unofficial Austin Rover Resource. Fun times!

  17. This would be an excellent event. I’ve loved this site for over 15 years I think. I’ve found an answer to CHPD though Keith, and that’s failing eyesight which has stopped me driving. I’d love to attend but may need to cadge a lift with someone in something appropriate if possible.

    Happy 20th!

  18. 20 years on – blimey! There used to be that small website with a few words on the Allegro. A few days later came something about the 3 litre online – how could I forget! The layout of the website changed, the name too. Te contents grew (by a huge lot!). Thinking of editing this without a database now – that would not be the same kind of fun as in the early days. But somehow the cars in front of my door are still the same (well, mostly).
    Let us see about travel in the summer….

  19. Having been involved in the first meet up in 2001, id love to be part of the 20 year anniversary!
    I have a few planned trips in early Sept and and Nov, but apart from that I could probably do most dates.

  20. I would love to come. Always enjoyed reading this site. One of the most interesting in internet land.

  21. Yes definitely to a meet-up. I discovered this site in its original form back in 2001 when I was looking for information on the MG ZS 180 I’d recently bought and I’ve been a regular visitor ever since. It’s a great source of info on the motor industry and the characters that created it. The banter is always friendly (although it became a bit tense a few times in the run up to the Brexit vote but it never got nasty).

    It’s also been great to share in others’ personal experiences. I myself have a history with the BL/ARG product from working in Midlands dealerships in the 1970s & 80s to managing large mixed car fleets in the 90s and Naughties. My typical company car during this period was a Montego, Maestro, Rover 200 or Rover 800 – sometimes through choice, sometimes not…..

    I’ve also owned quite a few from the BL/ARG stable as well, including Austin 1300 Countryman, Triumph 1300 & Toledo, Austin Metro, MG Metro, MG ZS 180, LR Freelander, so I have a fairly sound view of what was good and what wasn’t so good.

    My overall impression was the product was no worse than the competition but suffered from two main weaknesses – 1) being associated with the government of the day so it became a whipping boy for everything else that was wrong with the country at the time, just like BT, British Rail etc were until they were privatised. – and 2) not being as agile as it’s competitors in dealing with problems when they arose. For example, if you bought a duff Ford a shiny restyled model would soon come along for the dealer to sell you instead of fixing the one that was refusing to start; similarly with a Vauxhall, the rust would get it before the mechanicals gave too much trouble. ( I am generalising of course ).

    So yes, a great site with so much information. Much of it reflects my own experiences of the various marques (which is reassuring to know I’m not alone), plus additional insights and explanations of stuff I’d either wondered about or simply wasn’t aware of !

    Here’s to the next 20 years !

  22. Congratulations on 20years of this magnificent web resource for all things British and car shaped! I’ve been a regular visitor since around 2005, and I’ve spent many, many, many hours reading the fascinating articles, histories, biographies and critiques of British cars of all classes, shapes, eras and reputations! Thank you wholeheartedly for creating and continuing to manage this fantastic site!

  23. Hi All,
    As someone who has enjoyed reading (but not really contributing as often as I should) since pretty much the beginning and remember the days of looking at the site every 30 mins or so trying to find out what was happening to MGRover in the dark days of 2005, to learning nearly all I know about British cars through all the great articles on the site……..I would very much like to meet up with all the people who I have felt like I’ve known for so long without actually meeting them!
    Either venue would be great and hopefull when it’s sunny.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of the tourer, Keith and thanks for the great site over the years.

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