Successful businesses and institutions survive and thrive down the decades for a range of reasons. But it’s fair to say that a canny ability to combine the values and traditions on which they were founded with a willingness to innovate is a common denominator.
Porsche is a prime example. So is the Club. So too is Porsche Centre Kendal. And by a neat serendipity, the UK’s oldest Porsche Centre is also a key collaborator with R22, Cumbria and South West Scotland, the Club’s youngest Region.
The business began life as a blacksmith’s in the 1800s. Later it acquired an engineering focus, developing Scott and Indian motorcycles for TT races before swapping two wheels for four, transitioning from Jowett vans to Morris to VW and finally winning the Porsche franchise it has held since 1957.
Its ability to evolve and diversify continues today. This summer, it will enter its latest incarnation as Porsche Centre South Lakes, a new name to go with a move to £5 million purpose-built premises just south of Kendal, Cumbria. Yet despite the distance it may have travelled from its humble origins, the centre remains firmly family owned and run with Ian Parker as Centre Principal and son Simon
as General Sales Manager.
A Club connection that goes back to the early days was also a family affair. “My dad Jim was very involved in the Club from the early days and effectively organised things in what was then the Northern Region,” Ian recalls. “In some ways, he was the Region.
“I remember going to Club meetings in the back of his 356 – that would have been in 1963 or 1964 – and to Club weekends in the Lakes in 1967 or 1968.” Ian’s brother Roy, now retired from the business, has also been active in the Region for many years. “He was involved in the money and accounting side of things so didn’t have to work weekends like me!” Ian jokes.
Meanwhile, the Club locally was also evolving, eventually becoming R18, the Lancashire and Cumbria Region. But over time its vast geographical size prompted a rethink, and in August 2018 it was split, with R18 continuing as Lancashire and a new R22 embracing Cumbria and South West Scotland. Its first meeting on 7 August attracted 40 people and 23 Porsches, with membership now standing at a respectable 151.
R22 RO Mike Trotter had already been a Club member for 10 years by 2018, becoming R18’s Assistant Regional Organiser to David and Judy Baker in 2009. He’d joined with his 964 C4 Cabriolet,
a tribute to his uncle, also a Club member, who raced a 964 RS in Maritime Blue that Mike says blew his mind.
His own 964 turned out to be what he politely describes as “not the wisest of purchases” and he quickly moved on to a 2001 Boxster S. “I soon realised how sorted the Boxster model was –
it was fantastic. Then in 2012, I purchased my 2007 987 Boxster S from Simon, whom I’d just met, and he was keen to get involved with Porsche Club GB.”
The rest, as they say, is history, as R22 and Porsche Centre Kendal teamed up for events such as the Cumbria International Motor Show. The centre also became the regular venue for the Region’s popular annual concourses, which attract dozens of Porsches of all shapes and sizes, while looking after many members’ cars, including Mike’s Porsches.
“I’m still holding on to the Boxster, but in 2018 my next purchase from Simon was a Macan GTS – what a machine!” he says. “Then, after many years of being apart from a 911 the 992 came along and I went to Simon for my current car – a Racing Yellow Aerokit 992 C2S, which is fantastic. Porsche Centre Kendal has looked after me from my little 964 days, and I can’t thank them enough for their support for the Club.”
Having driven virtually every Porsche over the years, Ian says that deciding on a favourite is almost impossible, though he shares Mike’s love of the 911, describing it as the ultimate car. Particular models that stand out include the 991 GT3, which he currently shares with Simon, a Cayenne Turbo and a 4.0-litre 718 Cayman GTS.
Activities in 2020 were inevitably curtailed by COVID-19, but R22 members kept in touch with monthly online meetings that ranged from quiz nights to nominating its Member of the
Year, Steve Wall, who received his award from Mike at Porsche Centre Kendal.
And with the Club celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and the opening of Porsche Centre South Lakes, 2021 promises to be a memorable 12 months for both R22 and the Parker family. Dates are still fluid, but as well as the official opening, R22 members will be invited to a special open day to check out the new facilities, which include space for 16 cars, a café bar, a Direct Dialogue Bay for on-the-spot problem diagnosis and ultra-high-power DC chargers giving a Taycan a range of 62 miles in less than six minutes. Hopes are high that a big name from the world of Porsche will be on the guest list.
And Mike, who was honoured to be named PCGB Member of the Year in 2019, is excited about what lies ahead. “I’m really looking forward to a fantastic future for R22 and the Club, working with Ian, Simon and the centre team.”