SEATTLE, Wash. — When it comes to the classics, British Motor Coach has it covered.
Owner Roy Dubrow has a fleet of eight vintage models that he built up after his first purchase of a 1950 right-hand-drive Bentley Mark VI that he bought in 1986.
“It never occurred to me at the time to start a chaueffeur business though,” Dubrow says.
Dubrow had a background working in the music business, and although he had booked countless limousines and transportation vehicles for his clients, he rarely had been in one himself. After putting renovation into his car and making friends with another classic car chauffeur business, Dubrow started to see the revenue potential.
“Once I began to sense like the Bentley could generate business, I began to do some marketing to photographers, and make good contacts, and I realized that nobody would take me seriously if I only had this one car.” So Dubrow started to look for other vintage cars that he could add to his fleet.
Establishing the Old
Finding cars in dilapidated condition, with termite infested wood and rust from years of sitting idle in the mud, were no problem for Dubrow, who slowly refurbished and continued to add to his fleet of classic cars.
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The fleet of eight vintage cars is serviced by local mechanics who have a specialty in cars of this kind. “It’s a challenge,” says Dubrow of maintenance. “You have to find mechanics who are specialists and who know these cars and can get the parts. But we have some great mechanics. I have one that has been with me for 27 years, from back when I first bought the Bentley.”
The vintage cars are refurbished for immaculate interiors, and are also upgraded to make them better road equipped for heavy use. New and modern engines replace the older ones in some cases for better gas mileage and reliability, and suspension and steering are upgraded for better handling.
Dubrow’s favorite car in the fleet is a 1957 Rolls Silver Cloud I, and the newest edition is a 1969 Daimler/Jaguar DS420 Limousine. The Daimler originally was painted all white, but Dubrow had it painted into a black and silver two-tone look, and noted that after a similar Daimler limousine model was used in the Royal Wedding in 2011, bookings for this car have shot up.
In With The New
But the most surprising area of growth for British Motor Coach has been its corporate and business market. The modern fleet of cars has grown to 13, which combined with the vintage fleet of eight brings the total number of BMC’s fleet vehicles to 21. And the business travel ranges from employee building trips to wineries and indoor skydiving fans, to city tours for wives who have accompanied their husbands into town for conventions.
The corporate fleet includes Lincoln Town Car sedans, SUVs, stretch limousines, executive vans, and the latest is a 12-passenger Terra Van. “For the corporate side, we’re often asked our opinion on what kind of activities or destinations make for good trips, so we can help them put together an itinerary for the day.”
For Dubrow, the increase in his corporate business really stems from the quality of customer service and professionalism he has built up through his experience in the wedding business. With the classic cars, British Motor Coach’s wedding services paid the utmost attention to customer service. Chauffeurs were dressed immaculate and the cars were spotless and classy. And after the conclusion of ceremonies, Dubrow would often call his clients a week or so after to make sure everything went well and they were happy with the service.
Synergy of Fleets
With the outpouring of customer satisfaction, Dubrow finally has fulfilled a personal goal for the bulk of his business come from referrals. And he notes that many of his corporate accounts have begun as wedding clients long ago.
“The customer service is the key,” Dubrow says. “We would follow up with our wedding clients and they’d say, ‘You know, you guys do such a personal job, would you ever consider doing corporate work?’ and now we have this fast-growing corporate business. And that personal approach we apply to the corporate side, and our clients really appreciate it.”
— Tim Crowley, LCT Senior Editor