History of the Royale Car Companies and its Cars 1991 to 2021
Royale Motor Company (RMC) of Bamber Bridge 1991 – 2001. John and Ann Barlow formed RMC in 1991 with the introduction of the large two door Jaguar XJ6 donor based Royale Drophead in April of that year. This large, luxury 2 door, four seater convertible looked similar to a 1930s Bentley. 2 Dropheads were exported to Malta, 2 to Cyprus, 1 to Spain and 1 to Italy. A fully built car was available in 1992 for £20,000.
This was followed by the Royale Sabre, which was launched in April 1994. It was a sleek 1930s, 2 door, sports roadster Ford Sierra/Granada/Scorpio donor. Some compare it to a 1930’s BMW 328 or a Delahaye. Sales in the UK were extremely successful and in 1995 a left hand drive version was developed. Quite a few were sold abroad.
6 new fully built left hand drive V6 Sabres with brand new Ford components were exported to Germany around 1996, where they were TUV’d and qualified for a 12month Ford manufacturers warranty. The German sole agent Vehikel Fur Individualisten. VFI sold them for around 90000 Deutche Marks. More were required but the company wanted a large discount so no more were sold in this format.
However, 6 Royal Sabre kits less the mechanicals were sold to the Empire Car Company of Holland who sold them at around 42000Euro fully completed and certified..
Further kits were delivered….. 5 to the Netherlands, 2 to Germany, 2 to New York and 1 to Russia.
The UK basic kit in 1998 could be bought from the factory for £5000+vat.
Finally in 1998 the prestigious 4 door, 5 seater landaulette Royale Windsor Ford Granada/Scorpio V6 donor was launched. It was very spacious and specifically designed for wedding use. The build was a lot more complicated than the Drophead and Sabre.
All three Royale models were rear wheel drive available in kit or fully hand built format. They were built on a substantial ladder frame chassis constructed in house, quality aluminium/GRP body panels (supplied by Moss Mouldings) and built in safety features. Reviews by many kit car magazines and YouTube videos were always extremely positive always proclaiming the build quality, ride and performance.
Sales of these luxury extremely well designed cars were very successful, however after 10 years of production orders declined and in November 2001 John decided to sell the company to:
Empire Car Company (ECC) of Holland 2001 – 2003 Having already bought 6 basic Royale Sabre kits from RMC owner Roy Bruyn acquired the manufacturing rights in 2001 from RMC for the Sabre and Windsor in Europe and the rest of the world. The purchase including the fibre glass moulds, the chassis jig and various other component jigs. It was the intention to marketing the Royale Sabre as an “Empire Sabre”. The US and Canada would be handled by The Cedar Circle Organisation, who would create a network of dealers and sales centres in the USA and Canada. However, it is unknown how successful this venture was as only the body parts for 6 Sabres were ordered from Moss Mouldings UK ( the original RMC fibre glass body moulders) and delivered to Holland but never paid for. Moss kept the moulds. The venture probably failed due to the USA safety regulations and poor management. Only three Empire Sabres are known to exist in the Netherlands. ECC ceased trading and went into receivership in 2003.
Fisher Motor Company (FMC) of Gloucestershire 2001 – present. Owners Chris and Julie Fisher bought the Drophead rights, moulds and parts in August 2001 from RMC and started trading in January 2002 with the Fisher Phaeton. No Dropheads have been produced as yet.
Vintage Motor Company (VMC) of Doncaster 2002 – 2005 Alan Bielby director of this well established kit car manufacturing company acquired the company rights to the Royale name, the manufacturing and selling rights to the Windsor and the Sabre in the UK in 2002, both in kit and fully completed formats. The sale included the moulds and jigs with the Sabre moulds being acquired from Moss. The manufacturing rights for the Sabre in Europe and the rest of the world were bought back from ECC when they went into receivership in 2003. 7 Windsor and one Sabre body kits were ordered from Moss. A Windsor 6 door protoype and 2 door hearse were under development in collaboration with a large undertaker when VMC went into receivership in 2005. It is believed that just one Windsor and one Sabre were completed but their whereabouts is still unknown.
Asquith Motor Company (AMC) of Wimbledon 2005 – present. Owned by Simon Rhodes bought the assets of VMC from the liquidator in 2005. This included the Royale Windsor and the Royale Sabre its rigs and body moulds which were put into storage. However partnerships were set up with Retro Classic Cars, Sabre Sports Cars and Automotive Creation all of which failed. No cars were manufactured. AMC now hold the core tooling in deep storage open to expressions of interest.
Retro Classics Cars Ltd (RCC) 2007 – 2008. Co-director Gary Levington approached AMC in early 2007 and a deal was reached to loan the assets and they would achieve a manufacturers licence if they redeveloped . David Hemlock MD met with ROC members at premises in Fleet and discussed developing a BMW based Sabre with a planned launch in Spring 2008. No development took place and no cars were produced so the assets were returned. RCC went into receivership in early 2008. The Royale rights then passed back to AMC.
Royale Windsor Motor Company Ltd (RWMC) of Northern Ireland 2010 – present. Owner David Arrell purchased outright all the moulds, jigs and IPR to the Royale Windsor, including a long wheel base 6 door prototype. AMC still have an interest with an agreement to receive royalties when vehicles are sold. 95% of parts were now available. At the time there were 2 new builds. An original specification and a modified specification with a 2.0 Zetec engine and custom wiring loom. The aspiration was to re launch the prototype in 2015. 2 Windsors were built and completed.
Automotive Creations Ltd (ACL) of Middlesborough 2011 – present. Malcolm Badger a former Royale Owners Club member and owner of a Windsor was loaned the rigs and moulds from AMC and a semi built Sabre for development. Following development they would achieve a manufacturing licence. An unfinished metallic burgundy demonstrator was seen on the ATL stand at Stoneleigh Kit Car Show in 2014 made up mainly from original AML parts. Orders were being taken for a complete bespoke car for around £35000. Kits were £25000. No cars were ever completed including the non roadworthy demonstrator. However, several unfinished kits owned by ROC Club members were completed and IVA tested by ACL .Development was not completed and the core tooling was retrieved by AMC in 2020 and is now in deep storage.
Royale Motor Company Ltd 2006 – 2020. Simon Rhodes set up this company to see if Alan Bielby could enter an agreement to manufacture cars under licence but this proved impossible. When this failed the assets were moved back to AMC. In 2020 Companies House published a Final Gazette Strike Off date for the Royal Motor Company and it was dissolved on 22nd September 2020. No cars were produced.
Present Status 2021.
The Royale Drophead now the Fisher Phaeton manufactured by the Fisher Motor Company in Ashstead, England, may once again rise again from the ashes.
The Royale Sabre is on ice at the Asquith Motor Company London, England.
The Royale Windsor is being manufactured in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland by the Royal Windsor Motor Company Ltd.