Sports car firm in liquidation following dispute with Jaguar Land Rover

A Suffolk-based car manufacturer has gone into liquidation partly due to a legal wrangle with Jaguar Land Rover.

Suffolk Sportscars based in Pettistree near Woodbridge owed just over £850,000 when it appointed liquidators McTear Williams & Wood on August 10.

The company made replica versions of old Jaguar cars based on models from the 1930s to the 1950s as well as selling classic cars.

According to its website the cars were available either fully made or as ‘kit cars’ for the customer to assemble themselves. However, Jaguar Land Rover threatened to take the company to court over copyright infringement – which in part led to its collapse.

Liquidator Johannes Rupping said: “There was a combination of factors. One is that there was an action regarding copyright infringement brought by Jaguar Land Rover. They were trying to fight it but they effectively just ran out of cash through a combination of that and Covid-19.” Mr Rupping said that “nuts and bolts” of the claim were to do with Suffolk Sportscars’ production of the replica Jaguars.

The company’s former managers confirmed Jaguar had threatened legal action but declined to comment further. Jaguar Land Rover did not respond to requests for comment. When Suffolk Sportscars went into liquidation the company held assets totalling £41,811 in value according to documents at Companies House. This included nearly £10,000 in cash, just over £17,000 in equipment, vehicles and stock and £15,203 that were owed by creditors. From these funds 11 former employees will be paid £19,170 in wages and holiday page. Two directors also worked for the company but only one was on the payroll. The rest will be paid to NatWest which held a floating charge over the company for £81,580.

This leaves the company owing creditors £850,673 that they will not be able to get back. Suffolk Sportscars’ largest creditors was William Roger Williams, one of its directors. Mr Williams who has been a director of the company since 1995 pumped nearly £575,000 into the company over the years but now liquidators say he will not receive any money back. Among other creditors are HMRC, which is owed £62,427.81 and a specialist engine mechanics based in Berkshire called Classic & Modern Engine which is owed £6,562,80.
4 September 2020

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