I started employment with Automotive Products (AP) in June 1976 (a very hot year!) with the grand title of ‘Group Photographic Controller’ at their headquarters in Tachbrook Road.
A vast site
Such a vast site took a bit of getting used to, let alone the many offices, departments and factory itself. The car park for employees was rather cumbersome at times so the work hours were different to production and staff; even the canteens had four levels of status!
The photographic department was directly controlled by the publicity department managed by John Crofts, a very colourful character. The chairman was Jack Emott, son of one of the founder members; a very humble and interesting person. Chief executive was John Panks; very commanding, but approachable.
During my first year I discovered more about the company and their divisions both in the UK and abroad. Liverpool, Hartlepool, Bolton to name just a few; meeting management and shop floor alike.
I recall meeting some famous faces particularly at grand prix meetings and motorshows. James Hunt, Jackie Stewart and others from the pop star fraternity! I am still in touch with a good friend of mine who was the group’s print manager, and after all these years we still talk about AP!
I took voluntary redundancy in November 1981, shortly before my wife died and set up my own business in Leamington Spa… even having AP as one of my clients. Knowing their account systems, I was always paid on time!
I am now retired and live near Bournemouth and still photographing.