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 Post subject: Car maker all at sea!!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 16:28 
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/7368734.stm
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Amphibious car maker faces jail

The boss of a firm which supplied an amphibious vehicle for use in the Lake District, is facing jail after a judge described it as a "floating coffin."

Windermere tour operator Adrian Cowdroy paid £34,000 to Sussex-based Amphibious Cars Ltd for a vehicle to take families on tours of the lake.

But a Carlisle Crown Court jury convicted managing director Tim Dutton-Woolley of making false claims.

Judge Paul Batty QC said the vehicle was not fit for purpose.

During the eight-day trial, brought by Cumbria Trading Standards, the jury travelled to Windermere to watch the vehicle on the lake.

Flooding risk

The court heard the vehicle was ordered in 2004 and delivered in December the following year.

But lake wardens refused to issue a licence to allow the vessel to take fare-paying passengers on Windermere.

Peter Hopley, a chartered engineer specialising in mechanical design and marine equipment, told the court that there was a high risk of down flooding and sinking and that he had "real concerns" about the stability of the vehicle.

Judge Batty said: "This vessel was an absolute disgrace.

"Everyone who saw it, either at close quarters or performing, would probably agree that it was nothing short of a floating coffin."

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Cumbria Trading Standards, said: "There can be no shortcuts where the safety of the public is concerned, especially given that this vehicle's primary purpose was to take fare-paying passengers on Lake Windermere."

Dutton-Woolley was bailed to his home address in Worthing until sentencing on 28 May.

Dutton-Woolley said (according to reports) that he had warned Adrian Cowdroy that a requirement for the vehicle to fit in his garage would compromise the design and render it unsafe, but had been told to get on with it.

On behalf of Trading Standards, 8 volunteer firemen took to water in the vehicle to test it.... and had to be returned to shore quickly as the vehicle started to sink! :shock: :shock:
If it had sunk, I'm sure we could have found an expert witness to help! :hehe:
It was also reported that the vehicle was not suitable for use on land either. :o

Not sure why Mr Cowdroy felt the need to commission a vehicle, when there are several ex-military vehicles available for a reasonable price, which are proven to be effective! :tank:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 00:26 
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Tim Dutton was one of the first to make some money out of kit cars in the 1980s. I never much cared for them (the roadgoing ones) - "cheap 'n cheerful" would be the kindest thing I could think of saying! You certainly wouldn't catch me wanting to take to the water in one! I still see the odd one pop up on Ebay now and again.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 
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As a bit of a fan of amphibious cars I have been following this case with interest. Sounds to me like this was just a bloke trying to improve his lot and invested his savings into what he thought was a great business idea. Have read one or two of the other articles e.g. www.theargus.co.uk and it would appear by some of the comments that Mr dutton has been a very busy boy :evil: Anybody can fall for convincing web sites and sales patter, and to think dutton would risk his self professed reputation for a mis-guided customer doesn't really hold water! scuse the pun :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 15:24 
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Onesimus Management Training and Event Management have a Stalwart Amphibious vehicle on Windermere, which can be used to take parties of delegates out on the lake.
I dont know why he didnt buy something similar!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 18:40 
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Pretty heavy on the fuel though Ernest if you don't mind me saying so, especially on those narrow roads around lake Windermere and up into the hills. Have been on the dutton web site myself and he sells their road going capabilities as much as the water side of things as does Sea-roader. Think this chap according to the paper reports was selling an all round tour on the mountain roads aswell. Would have thought a stalwart for taking passengers on the road would be very hard to license these days as well as being slow and cumbersome. I bumped into some chaps once who were attending an amphibious rally on lake Ulswater once upon a time and one or two of them were stalwart owners. They all seemed to agree that the military ones were expensive to maintain, heavy on the juice and hard to get parts for. Maybe he wanted something a little more modern, manouverable and enviromentally friendly. Shame the man he purchased it from was a crook. :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 19:47 
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Dutton cars were probably one of the most successful (in terms of vehicles produced) UK kit car firms ever and produced cars for about 20 years, ending in the early 1990s. I think nearly 10,000 kits in total of all models were sold.

I owned a Dutton Phaeton (cheap Westfield type car) for quite some years with a sprint spec Ford x-flow engine. Very fast, loads of grip, fairly primitive handling. Never had any safety issues with it. The important thing with a Dutton was who built the car not who made the kit!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 20:16 
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Can only refer you back to the numerous articles about this case. This was a purpose built Amphibious Car dutton put together himself! Apparently he modified it to such a dangerous extent all involved in its inspection condemned it outright including V.O.S.A, Marine surveyors etc etc etc It was branded a floating coffin. Think in this case, given the area it was intended to be operating in, that was fairly negligent to put it mildly. One report even suggest's he got it through a safety inspection with 4 seats on after several attempts then took it away stripped it, then put 8 second hand seats on it, dodgey brakes and insufficient seat belt spreader plates. Don't think Mr Cowdroy would have ordered those as part of the spec.

Sorry to all those Dutton fans but that is in-excusable given that Families with young children would have been travelling on that thing :(


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 20:26 
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I wasn't defending Tim Dutton - he gave up the kit car business donkey's years ago and went into all sorts of odd ventures - I was defending Dutton Cars as was (or should it be were) which was a company - not just TDW. Sounds to me like he needed the money and didn't care how he got it...

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 20:34 
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Didn't mean to come across as tetchy, but as a father of children myself the fact that a manufacturer can put a death trap out there, and then go on to blame and attempt to discredit the poor bloke that paid good money for it struck a chord. I suppose evryone is innocent until they are caught for the first! :bunker:


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 15:21 
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Dutton had also dissolved 8 companies. If so successful why did he need to do that. He also called the firemen who refused to risk their lives on that floating coffin cowards for not having the bottle to go out on a little boat.


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 20:12 
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SXSaxon wrote:
Dutton had also dissolved 8 companies. If so successful why did he need to do that.



I think TDW was problem with Dutton Cars not the reason the company was fairly successful!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 15:17 
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Dutton faces ruin after being found guilty of selling a death trap!

http://www.theargus.co.uk/mostpopular.var.2355914.0.rogue_businessman_could_lose_home_and_firm.php
Quote:
A businessman could lose his home and his business after he built and sold an amphibious car condemned by a judge as a "floating coffin".

Tim Dutton, 59, of Park Crescent, Worthing, could lose everything as well as being sent to jail if a judge orders him to pay compensation to the man he sold the car to.

Judge Paul Batty QC ordered Dutton's lawyers to get valuations on his flat, his Littlehampton factory and his engineering equipment so he could decide how much compensation he should pay to Windermere businessman Adrian Cowdroy, who bought the car.
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The vehicle, a specially converted long wheelbase Suzuki Jimny - was condemned as unroadworthy in a series of land-based inspections. It was refused a licence to be used on the lake when inspectors found it was not watertight.

Dutton is also facing a possible prison sentence after being found guilty at Carlisle Crown Court in Cumbria of breaking fair trading laws by selling the vehicle.

The judge, who previously described Dutton as "glib and dishonest", was due to pass sentence on him today but refused because he said he did not know enough about his financial affairs.

I am in agreement with the comment that says jailing him would be a waste of a jail cell.
The best hope for the chap who bought the vehicle would be if Dutton used his undoubted talent in some areas to earn money to pay back his dues, not while away his time in captivity.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 18:43 
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Judgement Day seems a long time ago... well today Dutton was sentenced to six months jail - suspended for 2 years.
He is also to pay £28,500 compensation... for a £34,000 car?

The judge was vocal in his criticism. Dutton claimed that Mr Cowdray had insisted on the design, against his (Dutton's) advice. I dont see how this mitigates his offence - to carry on against his own advice is still criminal!

There is a (small) picture on the BBC Cumbria site.
Image

I am a little worried that there are few places where a car could be driven in and out of the lake - somewhat limiting its appeal I would have thought! Maybe that explains the reduced compensation?
Still with the weather we have been getting lately maybe it wasn't such a bad idea!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 23:00 
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As an electrician who's asked to do things against and in spite of my recommendations and (legal) obligations, I kinda feel a little bit for mr Dutton.

That said, my reaction is just to get angry at such clients for employing a professional to do a job they can't then attempting to instruct and overrule, and in some cases curtly informing them of such.

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