BMW Driver Magazine - Summer Edition 1989
Reproduced by kind permission of Graham Arnold, President, BMW Drivers Club
"You've got to believe it." Linwar Motors advertisement says that over the last 15 years they have dismantled virtually every model BMW produced since 1964 and that they now own three old mill buildings, each with three floors and each one is stacked high with new and used BMW parts. Well readers, it's true because we have now been there as promised to meet Ian Thompson and his very active (and attractive) daughter and business partner, Carolyn.
"They're going to put it in cartons soon" he said "and I've been working this milk round for 44 years and it comes to this" he added smoothing a crease from his blue and white striped apron "where were you looking for? Virginia Street, why that's a continuation of this road, Linwar Motors, oh yes, two pints every day except Sunday." said the old milkman.
So we were directed to Linwar Motors in the commercial area of Southport. When we arrived we were served coffee by Carolyn as "Dad" was talking to a customer over the bonnet of a car that was not being scrapped - it was a genuine Alpina 3-series, with six big cylinders under the bonnet, nearing completion as a project. Meanwhile we looked round the yard and saw dozens of sad, deceased BMWs being dismantled. Once Ian was available the tour of the premises began. Aladdin's cave has nothing by comparison. Cylinder heads piled high, windscreen and side glass stacked in neat rows as far as the eye can see. "Monday mornings we are inundated with calls from Liverpool for glass - cars have been broken into for the contents, the stereo or a joy ride" said Carolyn. On every floor of every part of all three buildings BMW new and used parts are all neatly marked and arranged to a system they both understand. Pieces of string hang down from the ceiling like long cat's tails, each with a label on the end reading "BMW 3.0CS" or "1800/2000". These refer to carpet sets rolled up above eye level. There is only one other full time employee so sometimes they take a while to answer the telephone. "If only people would get their thoughts together and make a list of what they want" seems to be the message coming over and we could see why. Despite a detailed knowledge of the stock (no computers here thank you) a lot of scrambling around can be involved as a customer tries to remember what else he is looking for. "We like a list and 24 hours" is their main message.
We were surprised to see shelves full of genuine BMW parts as for some reason one has a set idea that dismantlers don't get involved in this side of the business. However we were soon disabused of that prejudice. "We do our utmost to supply genuine BMW parts when the new items are required" said Ian as Carolyn nodded her assent.
The stock is currently valued at well in excess of 1.5 million pounds and we laughingly suggest that the burglar alarm system probably cost as much again! Linwar Motors show what can be done by today's modern car dismantler as opposed to the scrap yard where a customer has to scramble over piles of wrecks to remove a part for himself as a pair of German Shepherd dogs snarl at his legs.
Wondering what a devoted BMW specialist does in his spare time we suddenly saw a large scale model steam powered paddle steamer. As your editor is a steam engine lunatic and has just come from the steam museum in the Lake District the Linwar collection of steam boats and model steam engines was soon on show. But that's another story for another magazine.
As we said, Linwar's advertisements are true. What more can be said?