Samuri : The truth Lies here.
I have, for the last 25 years, read the posts on the Z club site and I am amazed how so many, with regard to myself and Samuri are misinformed, inaccurate and on occasions downright insulting. I have, however, chosen to ignore them all until now. However, this new company, Samuri Motor Co, which Kevin Irons has put together with Ross Ferguson which I have only very recently heard about, has now forced me to break my silence.
There seems to have been over the years a great deal of confusion with regard to who is legally permitted to use the name “SAMURI” and so I feel the time has come for me to put the record straight once and for all. I own exclusively the trademark “SAMURI” which covers all matters concerning automobiles, sports and high performance cars generally and covers all my products back to 1972. The trademark is in my name personally and is not owned by any company and never has been. There is no vagary regarding this as suggested on a club forum, (obviously by someone who either doesn’t know where to look or know what they are talking about.) and can be checked out by anyone. This should, of course, mean that nobody can legally or morally include the word “Samuri” in their Company name or product or use it in any way in the course of their business which, obviously, includes the web sight. and so I feel the time has come for me to put the record straight once and for all. The trademark is in my name personally and is not owned by any company and never has been. This is on public record for all to see and is dated until 2028 after having been renewed in October 2018.
Having now read their website and comments on the forum, I was amazed at the number of outrageously untrue statements, all of which paint a totally inaccurate picture of the past with Iron’s and, with regard to Ferguson, his totally non existent part in it. In short, much of their version of the history of Samuri is a complete fabrication. So, as this is probably the only time I shall put on record the true facts, I feel I have to put things to rights before yet more fabricated history is rewritten by people who don’t know what they are talking about.
They say on their website that they are the leading S30 (240/260z) specialists. That’s a total misrepresentation of the truth as Ross was never ever in the company and all Irons did was spend the odd evening working on his race car that was built and prepared during the day whilst he was working with double glazing. So, how they can say that they are specialists is a joke. The real specialists behind the Samuri name were those that were there long before them, namely Barry Hudson, Karl Shenton, Arthur Carlisle, Bob Gathercole, Win Percy and myself. By the time Irons came on the scene, the real hard work and development had long since been done.
It should also be pointed out that Samuri Motor Co LTD was only formed when Big Sam was purchased a year after Samuri had already been in existence. They say on their web that they are synonymous with both names, Samuri Conversions and Samuri Motor Co. This is blatantly untrue as Samuri Motor Co ceased to exist at the end of 1977, after which I formed Samuri Conversions, which operated from a workshop in Croughton and then Silverstone. This was at least 6 years before Irons got involved in any way with Samuri.
I should also like to point out that we, during my time at Broadspeed as chief C/head man, were working on Ford BDAs, F/Atlantic engines, the 3 litre Capri Broadspeed “Bullet” and Ford Twin Cam engines. The only Mini I ever saw there was in the car park every day owned by Clive Parker, the then apprentice mechanic, and that was a van!
Also they said that only Gathercole was involved with the racing exploits and I only looked after the road cars side of things. This is not true at all as I was heavily involved with all the racing activities.
Also completely incorrect is where they state that in 1976 I sold FFA 196L to Bradburn Bros. Wrong. I sold it to a gentleman in Scotland who just used it as his daily road car. Where the thirty nine hill climbs and Modsports events come from I really can’t imagine.
Ferguson stated that his involvement with Samuri commenced in the early 80s. This is also another blatantly untrue statement as anyone around at the time can testify. He was never ever, in any way involved in Samuri Conversions, my company, which I was still operating in the UK until mid 1993. as far as I can recall I only ever met him a couple of times and in the light of what is now happening and the lies he is telling, I’m glad it was no more than that!
I also was never aware of any financial help from Ferguson and If there was any, I can only think that it must have gone straight into Irons pocket. During the whole time that Samuri were involved in classic racing, the company never, (as far as I know). ever received any financial help from anywhere. Also, they state that when Clive Parker was driving FFA, we had sponsorship from Hella. This is also a complete fabrication as we never received sponsorship of any sort whilst FFA & LAL were Modsporting. I know that Clive would confirm this. As for the car being in Hella colours, that is strange as FFA has never had a colour change since 1973 and still hasn’t to this day.
Also stated was that Irons 260Z was modified by me in the early 80’s which is not true as I only remember the car as a Standard road car. Will’ Galliers painted it in it’s Samuri colours long time after I had left for Spain so it is obvious that the car was done after I left and therefore as I had nothing to do with it, it is not a Super Samuri, its just a copy. Also the Ferrari look alike that Irons in 1996 did a few races in was something I had nothing to do with and therefore most certainly isn’t a Samuri of any sort. I did build an engine for a guy doing the same thing but as far as I was concerned, I was just building an engine and what it was going into was of no interest to me.
Ferguson only joined Irons in a company they set up called Samuri Conversions LTD which he states publically he registered in the early 80’s. This is also completely untrue. It was first registered in 1991 which was on public record. This, by the way, was whilst I was still operating, and completely without my knowledge. (How underhand can you get)? They re registered Samuri Conversions LTD again in 2014, obviously as a way of disguising the original date of registration which would of course have shown how deceitful and underhand they were being. The 1991 registration suddenly disappeared from the company register less than two weeks after they launched their website. Strange that. Isn’t it!
In their history of Samuri, they say I took FFA to Spain and then sold it to Dave Jarman. This is yet another complete lie. The real truth is I took the car to Bill Galliers before leaving for Spain. It never saw Spain and after four years, through Bill, I sold the car directly to Nico Manget. Bill Galliers, Dave Jarman and Nico Manget are more than happy to confirm this. They also state that they are going to restore UGH. Another fabrication. This is complete rubbish as they don’t even own it…the present owner who does, has no immediate plans to restore it and was very unimpressed when he read about this. It also sais that Big Sam in 1981 suffered a blown Up engine. I don’t know where that came from as it certainly didn’t!
They say that records will be kept of all cars, past or future. That’s a Joke. They are in no position to do this as so many of the Super Samuris had been created long before they even came on the scene! I think it should be remembered that I am the only person who was around when all Super Samuris were produced and had been at it for ten years before Irons came on the scene and that was a lot of cars! I am unquestionably far more qualified than either Irons or Ferguson to decide what is genuine or what is not. Incidentally, there were 77 Super Samuris Built, not 74.
They seem to think, for some totally misguided reason that they have the right to use the Samuri name. What ever their underhand shenanigans were in the 1990s, their Company Samuri conversion Ltd was wrapped up in 2004 and wasn’t resurrected until 2014. During that gap of ten years they had nothing to do with Samuri what so ever, thus destroying the last vestige of any spurious right to use the word that they may have thought they had as I had taken out the trademark during that period
And just in case they are under the illusion that Samuri were not involved with any commercial activity after I had taken out the trademark, they would be completely wrong. I took orders for three Super Samuris during that time from Mike Lee, Win Percy and one for myself which I then sold to Alistair Douglas who had originally asked me to produce one for him. I laid down the specifications for each car, provided the c/heads for all three and subcontracted the work out to Dave Jarman, Martin Ryland and William Galliers who imported two of the cars for me. There is no disputing this as all three cars are on the register and are numbers 75 now Robert Crofton’s, 76 Win Percy and 77, and definitely the final Super Samuri, belonging to Alistair Douglas.
Also, during this time, in conjunction with Peter Gregory, the MG specialist, a prototype replica of a pre war period two seater racing car was produced powered by a 2.6 short stroke 240Z engine and gearbox and to be called the “Samuri Classic”. Unfortunately, before the project got off the ground, Peter tragically died and so the idea of producing a limited number of these cars was stillborn. The prototype was produced and sold to a friend of mine in Spain who financed its construction. After I sold my last Super Samuri to Alistair Douglas, I was able to purchase back the Prototype and I have it to this day.
As for Samuri Conversions, (It was never called Samuri conversions Silverstone Circuit), the company exists to this day. It was never officially closed down and did not go bankrupt. It was not a Ltd company and therefore is not to be found in the Company House records. The official title of the company was, and still is, Spike Anderson trading as Samuri Conversions which means that the company is me. During the time between leaving the UK and the acquisition of the trade mark, the company has continued to trade in my 3 car workshop underneath my house which is fully equipped and also has a fully operational head shop. I have done many heads, have had created three Super Samuris and built a prototype future product which, regretfully, due for unforeseen problems, we were unable to put into production. Samuri conversions has continued to tick over despite me being in Spain. During the last 5 years I have produced 4 cylinder heads for customers in the UK, supplied a replacement 240Z Block, another interesting c/head for a 280Z turbo, written 2 books and now halfway through a third.
Irons states that his three championship wins indisputably eclipses anything Samuri had done before and that this is beyond dispute??! Who is he kidding?
He mentions the exploits of Big Sam beating the Porches in 1974 and coming second again in the Modsports Championship in 1981. What was not included in his website were the two championships wins with Toyota in the British Saloon Car Championship, World Championship Sports car racing with LAL in 1977, which incidentally, had the car running third overall at one point at the Brands Hatch round in soaking conditions, thanks to Win Percy’s fantastic driving, making it, at that time, the highest placed Datsun ever in a world championship race. LAL was, incidentally, the first European 240Z to ever take part in a world championship racing event.
This was against serious National and international opposition, unlike the Sunday racers to be found in local historic racing. And what about all the Modsports racing over many years with FFA, CHL and LAL which totalled over 90 races! A season of hill climbing with FFA which was mentioned and later a season of tarmac rallying was also undertaken which wasn’t mentioned. Then of course, there was, just incidentally, the creation of the Samuri Sukati, the second of which is probably the fastest Samuri of all. It should also be remembered that in the 20 years of the company, my c/head work, which included everything from F1 downwards inclusive, provided a sizable additional income and was an essential part of the Samuri development. Example…in 1974 I did six development heads for Big Sam! This all happened long before Irons had any association with Samuri.
He also seems to conveniently forget that in our early days we were on a steep learning curve and were up against much more serious modern national and international opposition than the Sunday racers he ever had to face. It was this activity that created all the knowhow that was learned the hard way that he was subsequently able to take full advantage of. When he entered the fray in the mid 80’s he had a car that was modified and prepared by a company that had, by this time, accumulated thirteen years of experience with these cars. For the 1988 season Barry Hudson and I developed a cylinder head that put Samuri two years in front of the opposition and is now the hallmark of all L series race engines. Ask Dave Jarman. Any reasonably competent driver could have won in that car as, in its class, the 240Z, and especially that one, was far superior to anything else in that classic form of racing. Irons omits to mention that during his the first championship year, 1987, he had to run second repeatedly to Peter Riley’s 240z, also prepared by us. The only reason he inherited the overall championship is because Peter crashed heavily at Castle Coomb, making him unable to compete in the final rounds of the championship.
Another fatuous entry in their Webb site is that it is their intention to eventually have all the most famous Super Samuris, namely FFA, Big Sam, UGH plus others in their show room. Really? These cars are all owned by the same person, who, when I informed him of what they had said, responded that no way was this going to happen, was furious and thought they had an almighty cheek!
In 1990 we were in the bottom-of-the-rung classic market, and these customers were just the guys who were being hit by the recession. Both Irons and John Lloyd, a fine engineer, were very worried by the situation, and wanted out. So I suggested that we dissolve the partnership. They agreed, and this was all done legally and properly, the documents of which I still have in my possession, In order to ensure this, I also arranged with the bank to take sole responsibility for the company overdraft.
It was assumed that they now had no legal or fiscal responsibilities towards the company. I had done everything within my power to protect them both from the situation that the company found itself in and, for the next 12 months, I single-handedly fought the unequal struggle. There were weeks when I was unable to pay myself and by the end of ’92 I was in real trouble, being unable to pay my mortgage and lost my house. The only thing that kept me going through this period was development and production head work on the 32 Valve Aston Martin 6.3 V8 engine.
I felt very sorry for John Lloyd as he had committed himself completely to the company and had been a huge asset along with his quip whilst sucking his pipe “ I don’t know how I do it sometimes”!
The situation where Irons is concerned was quite different. Samuri was, to him, a vehicle on which to achieve his racing ambitions. He never took an active role until the 240Z became eligible for HSCC racing as he had a full time day job which, it should be pointed out, he never ever relinquished. The company basically sponsored the building and development of his race cars. When the going got tough he was the first to want to bale out and distance himself from Samuri and its mounting problems, proving himself to be very much a fair weather partner and, as I was to find out years later, a very devious one with it. So when the Inland Revenue came knocking on his door later he had, as far as I am concerned, finally got his share of the bill. Hindsight has shown that all his efforts were entirely self-motivated. This was ably illustrated when, shortly after my departure, I discovered, he and Ferguson had, without my knowledge, in 1991 registered a new company called Samuri Conversions Ltd, telling everyone that the original company was not mine to sell! That’s a joke! As he had signed away any connection or responsibility to the original company I really don’t know how he had the brass neck to make such a statement.
The 240&260Z Super Samuris are a product of the 70s and 80s, and are synonymous of the Datsun era which was the 70s and very early 80s, the 280ZX being the last Datsun sports car. The Super Samuris are, in their own right, becoming important classics of that era and should be kept there for that’s where they belong. There were finally 77 built of which well over 40 have survived. I personally owned the first and final Super Samuri which, as the founder of Samuri, I feel is appropriate and I have left a legacy with these cars for which I feel I can be justifiably proud. The Super Samuris came from the pre electronic era and should be kept apart from the modern Nissans which are smothered in electronic gismos and, I would have thought, were quite fast enough already, don’t need dressing up in any way and any idiot can order a chip from Japan. Don’t think I have no respect for these vehicles. Quite the opposite, they are very fine cars but they are in character as different to the Super Samuris as chalk and cheese and, after all, they are not even Datsuns! Let’s face it, that would be like Jaguar calling their new “F” type an XK 120!
As for those two saying that they would perpetuate the reputation of the existing Sams is totally fatuous, to say the least. What have Irons or Ferguson done for the good of Samuri during those 25 years eh? Answer, In reality, virtually nothing. Those 70s and 80s cars have done it all by themselves without any help from them and I’m quite sure that they will go on doing so without them. Dave Jarman waved the flag with some considerable success with his racing activities at Spa and Robert Crofton has competed in international classic racing in Number 75. This has done much for the prestige of the Super Samuri marque during that time which is more than I can say for those two. If Irons thinks that racing a “Mickey Mouse” Ferrari has done anything for the prestige of Samuri, he must be out of his mind. As far as I am concerned they are both nothing but second hand car dealers who are doing their best to smear and confuse the real history of Samuri.
I never made any money out of my creation but when I look back, what I left behind makes that all seem worthwhile somehow. I firmly believe that calling newer models Samuris would water down the mystique, kudos and classic value of the original Sams’ and I certainly will do everything in my power to prevent that happening. Also, on behalf of the owners of Super Samuris, as owner of the name, I feel I have a moral duty of care to do everything in my power to make sure that nothing threatens the value and prestige of their cars and Irons and Ferguson using the name will do nothing for that prestige. There will never be any more Super Samuris, which is why I took out the trade mark in the first place, thus keeping the existing examples very exclusive and sought after Classics of their time. I am also pretty sure that the owners of these cars would agree with this sentiment and hope their cars stay as exclusive as they are now.
If Irons and Ferguson wish to run a business modifying the modern Z range, then good luck to them provided they don’t call them Samuris. Let them think of an original name for their company, an original name for their products and invent their own paint scheme instead of trading off the back of and stealing someone else’s achievements. Go on, be origional and start from scratch, just like I had to although it has become obvious to me that they have neither the guts nor imagination.
I am quite sure that they have waited all this time until I was over 80 years of age assuming that I would be too old to care and that I wouldn’t be able to financially take them on legally anyway. Well, I do care, passionately, and I shall defend my lawful and moral rightful ownership of the name Samuri with everything I have against a couple of deceitful and lying opportunists who have stolen the name, history and heritage that I and my previous associates created in the first 10 years of Samuri’s existence which was their true era and in which neither Irons nor Ferguson played any part. Yes, this is pure theft and, just in case they are not aware, illegal use of a Trade Mark is a criminal offence.
I would imagine that after reading this you wont be particularly surprised to hear that in the band I have made our signature tune “Please don’t talk about me when I’m Gone”. Also, just for the information of anyone who might be interested, I have re written my book and called it “Samuri Revisited”. It is much larger and goes into much greater detail with regard the real Samuri history, the people involved and also my involvement in my other great passion, Music. It is 10 years since the publication of the original book so there has been much happening since then, both with regard to Samuri and music. Also much has been remembered that was not in the original book. Watch this space.
At nearly 82 years of age I’m still driving my Z powered period replica (which, incidentally would, in a straight line, Blow off any Samuri) to gigs so, despite what some may think, there’s life in the old dog yet!
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