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Raising money for a dream car

THE GERMANS, Japanese and Americans may dominate British mass-market car manufacturing, but the 100-odd remaining British-owned car makers are in good health.

So says Ian Macpherson, who is raising pounds 3.2m on Ofex for his Silverstone- based company, Strathcarron Sports Cars.

He needs the cash to manufacture the Strathcarron SC-4, a pounds 20,000 sports car which uses the company's very latest racing car technology.

The SC-4 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last month by Lord Strathcarron, Mr Macpherson's father. Lord Strathcarron, 75, is president of the Guild of Motoring Writers and head of the Clan Macpherson.

Mr Macpherson Junior says they have already raised about half the new money, which will account for nearly a third of the company, through the pre-placing.

"Investors will get priority in the waiting list for the new car," he adds.

Strathcarron's management includes Martin Miles, a production engineer who sold his own company, Burdon & Miles, Colin Spooner, formerly technical director at Lotus, and Sue Ball, who was previously financial director of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

Power failure

POOR OLD Battersea Power Station is up for sale - again. Plans by the present owners, Parkview International, for a cinema, theatre and hotel complex seem to be coming apart, and the Hong Kong group has hoisted the "for sale" sign over the 30-acre site.

The famous building on the Thames has had a sad history since the Central Electricity Generating Board stopped burning coal there in 1983. Developer John Broome bought it in 1987 with grandiose plans for a theme park, but building problems and lack of finance drove his scheme into liquidation in 1994.

In 1988 Baroness Thatcher visited the site and said Mr Broome's venture was "a wonderful example of private enterprise and local government working hand in hand for the benefit of Britain."

The Iron Lady continued: "This colossal undertaking has that touch of pure genius ... that has always made Britain great."

In the event Mr Broome managed to remove the station's roof before the money ran out. The site has remained derelict ever since.

End of the line

THE PLANNING director from London Transport who presided over the building of the Jubilee Line extension, the Docklands Light Railway and Croydon's tram network, is retiring after working over 30 years on the capital's infrastructure.

David Bayliss is retiring from LT after 15 years there to join transport consultants Halcrow Fox on a part-time basis.

Mr Bayliss joined London Transport in 1984, having worked with various bits of the now defunct Greater London Council since 1966.

So, I ask him, will the Jubilee Line extension open in time for the millennium, to form the Dome's only link with the outside world?

"I'm pretty sure the sun will rise tomorrow," says Mr Bayliss. "I'm almost as sure the Jubilee extension will be open in time. They should get a fat lady to sing when it opens."

Mr Bayliss's one great regret is the death of Crossrail, another project designed to ease the capital's congestion. "But a new London Mayor may revive it," he says, hopefully.

Millennium bust

BACK IN January, I was having lunch with Roger Oldfield, a senior corporate rescue partner with KPMG, when halfway through the meal he was unexpectedly summoned away on "an urgent mission". He was forbidden to divulge what it was.

Yesterday, Mr Oldfield revealed that he had been appointed receiver to Prove It 2000, a millennium bug consultancy based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, which had gone bust.

"It had a blue-chip client list, including Daimler Benz, and I managed to sell it on," Mr Oldfield says. Which is just as well, he adds, since millennium bug firms "by their very nature have a limited shelf life."

E-mail: j.willcock@independent.co.uk

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