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Christmas 1998 is when it all started; Michael was just 13 years old and on his own computer using Microsoft Word without so much as a look at an actual website he began putting some ADO16 pages together.
In August 1999, and after much convincing, Michael’s Mum & Dad allowed him access to the internet. He soon began exploring and quickly found Michael Carnell’s MG 1100 website, Declan Berridge’s Princess website, and Colin Anstey’s web site which focused on 1100 Club events and details of his own vehicle.
After seeing what other people had created Michael thought he could do his own website only to rapidly discover it was no simple task – just how do you get pages onto the internet? After much head scratching, many a night burning the midnight oil, often spent reading numerous editions of Computeractive, Michael felt he was beginning to understand but now had another issue, he didn’t want to copy others, he wanted his own Unique Selling Point.
Finally, on the 8th November, 1999, ‘My 1100 Website’ was launched. Visitors to the site were greeted by a very conventional looking left hand navigation pane with content being displayed on the right, although at this point the content was extremely limited – indeed it was just one page – not quite the fresh approach Michael had hoped to take; so it was back to the drawing board!
Try, try, try again…
The next major release was on the 8th April, 2000; now with a catchy new name, ‘The 1100’s the star technical centre’. This release saw a whole host technical information added, and the start of what later would become the largest online resource for the ADO16.
A community is born
It was clear to Michael that the internet was changing the way people communicated. Snail mail was a dying method of communication and email mailing lists were appearing all over the web. In September, 2003, Michael launched a BMC 1100 mailing list and within the first month there had been 137 messages whilst membership grew to 20; activity increased and more members joined up with steady growth continuing throughout 2004. However, technology never stands still and as forums were replacing mailing lists the next logical step was to follow suit.
Forums brought with them the facility to add pictures, archive messages and allow users to retrieve any message whenever they wanted. The test forum was placed on-line very early in 2005 and after much testing it was released on the 19th January, 2005. Shortly afterwards an influx of members showed it had the potential to run itself using a separate domain name, www.ado16forums.info – indeed, with activity and users moving across to the forum, within a short space of time the mailing list closed itself.
The forum continued to grow and with feedback from members the actual internet domain name of ado16.info was created; furthermore technical internet changes led to an allowance of internet sub domain names which led to the adoption of forums.ado16.info – the forum continues with nearly 2,000 individuals having now joined but ado16.info also looked at other social media platforms and in particular 2010 saw ado16.info launch on Facebook but it took 2-years before even 100 people had joined the group!
Innovation and development have always been at the heart of ado16.info and the autumn of 2016 presented just the sort opportunity Michael would relish; following discussions with two friends, David and Martin, a decision was made to turn ado16.info into a global car club, a club with a difference.
ado16.info club desk appeared as a Facebook Page, almost like a shop front and a teaser for what was soon to follow.
ado16.info Limited was incorporated on 7th November, 2016 and formally registered with Companies House in the UK – the directors of the Limited company then established a management executive with key individuals based across 4-countries and by using internet software a membership package was adopted so that on the 1st March, 2017 ado16.info international was officially launched as the global car club.
Within the first few weeks the newly formed club had been invited to display at the Practical Classics Classic Car Show at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. Early growth was indeed impressive and within the first 6-months:
- In addition to launching The Connaught Magazine, a bi-monthly PDF edited in New Zealand, a monthly Newsletter with a UK editor was also launched
- Crowd funding led to the purchase of a bodyshell to be used for templates to create repair panels – a project driven by Guy in Australia and led by Simon in the UK, it was voted runner-up in the Best Club Initiative of the Year category at the 2017 Classic & Sports Car Magazine awards.
- The ado16.info on-line shop opened
- A UK National Rally was held at the Coventry Transport Museum
- ado16.info international secured a number of exclusive discounts with suppliers and secured the continual manufacture of standard exhaust systems
- Membership passed 150 whilst representatives & contacts were established in 35-countries
- An invitation was received to display at the most prestigious of all UK shows, the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery held at the NEC in November
– The rest as they say is history!