NI's Crossle Car Company has new owner
By Tony Gregory
The Crossle Car Company Ltd based in Holywood Co Down, this week announced this that Paul McMorran a long-time Crossle customer and motorsport enthusiast will be taking over the ownership and management of the company from its current owner Arnie Black, after 15 years of ownership.
The Belfast born, 54 year old had his early fascination with motorsport fired up by the family garage in Newtownards and trips to Kirkistown race track in the 1960s and '70s. As an undergraduate at Harland and Wolff he worked in the training centre and machine shop learning welding and fabrication skills but after an exchange year in the United States Paul‘s focus switched to the petroleum industry where he has spent the last thirty two years as an engineer and executive.
Since acquiring a 25F Crossle in 2002, Paul has built up an enviable collection of cars from the Hollywood marque which includes the ex Roger Barr 12F that won the US Formula B Championship in 1968 and provided Crossles first international success, the unique 17F 1 litre Formula 3 “screamer” car originally raced by provinces own John Watson in 1970 and the works 22F Atlantic campaigned by Jay Pollock. As a well known competitor in historic racing circles across Europe Paul notably drove the 17F to third place at the prestigious Monaco Historic meeting in 2010.
Paul commented “I‘m very excited by the opportunity to lead this iconic company. Historic motor racing continues to grow in popularity and Crossle with over fifty years of continuous manufacture has a very special place in that history. The company continues to provide an unbroken link between the people who designed and built Crossle cars here in Northern Ireland and the many enthusiasts who continue to enjoy them worldwide. Crossle has a famous past, a unique position in the market today, a great team of people and I believe a very bright future.”
Fittingly, the announcement was made in the middle of the Crossle workshops which allowed the large group of invited guests the chance to see where it all started and admirer the varied collection of Crossles that had been put together for the announcement. Adding to the occasion ex customer Eddie Jordon broke off from his BBC commitments in Texas, via a mobile phone and offered some warm anecdotes regarding the early days and his dealings with John Crossle the companies founder..
During a transition period out going owner Arnie Black will continue in a supporting role where his experience and excellent relationships with customers will be extremely valuable. Crossle is a Northern Ireland success story and currently stands as the UK's oldest constructor of racing cars. Over the company‘s fifty five year history it has uniquely managed to operate from its original factory, which has built over 1000 competition cars with the majority for export.
Under Arnie Black‘s management Crossle has diversified into restoration of historic competition cars such as the world famous 4WD McCandless and the Mk3 Crossle for the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and has been honoured by receiving the Thoroughbred Sports Car Club's George Windrun Memorial Trophy for its outstanding contribution to Northern Ireland motorsport.