Co-founders James and Stuart met in 2006, through another mutual passion, old school BMX. Both freely admit they were trying to recapture some of the spirit of their childhood. Memories of carefree days spent riding their BMXs in the 1980s. Since meeting they have discovered many other similarities and interests.
With both being self employed, they have remained in solid contact and previously used their combined skills to work on other business projects together. They also believe you should work in a field you are passionate about. So after many years of talking about numerous ideas within the automotive area, they finally committed and Rotor And Piston is the result.
The venture utilises each founder’s skills. Whilst both have developed all around business skills from each having run successful businesses, Stuart’s strengths lie in the product sourcing, logistics and marketing. James in finance, technology and administration.
Rotor And Piston brings your passion for the automotive lifestyle, off the street and into your home or office. Like most car people, your love of cars is probably more than just driving. It may be the smell or feel of the exotic materials when you open the door. Or the satisfying click of that door when it is closed. Perhaps you’re fascinated by the unique sound of the free revving Mazda rotary engine. Or perhaps you admire the way the car designer has created a beautiful body where form follows function. Everyone who loves cars probably has a different story as to why.
James grew up in a nautical family spending summer weekends on his grandfather’s yacht and winter weekends running amok at the boat yard. Even a couple of years racing small eight foot sabot dinghies. So no-one is sure where the lifelong fascination with cars came from.
Of course there were the Matchbox models, cars made from Lego and plenty of drawings. Then there was the counting of SL/R Toranas and GTS Monaros in the mid 1970s. Perhaps the numbers and accounting slant was recognisable early in life.
Following the more conservative route meant a degree in business and then an office based job. He still maintains that detailing and ferrying cars at a local rental company was one of the best jobs. First drive of a Mercedes Benz. First drive of a BMW. More than a few speed limits might have been broken between Launceston and Hobart, Tasmania. Driving a mix of mainly Commodores and Falcons with the occasional Celica, Rover 416i and Volvo 740.
After a number of years in finance roles at small, medium and large firms, James realised life wasn’t all about offices and wearing suits and ties. There was still some management consulting to pay the bills. This work gradually wound down and meant more time to spend on projects that interested him. A chance to be a bit creative.
Then came life on the road and since mid-2009 he has been a permanent traveller. Now based in the US, many often ask why he moved over there. The reply is usually because the cars are cheap and so is the petrol. Sorry, gasoline. He is only partially joking.
Part of the travelling now involves road trips in fun cars. The practical person would get an RV or camper van. They simply aren’t fun to drive so not a consideration. More recent ones have included buying a 1996 Porsche Carrera in Hawaii and driving to Florida, with a ship for part of the trip. Plus buying a 2004 VW Golf R32 and going from Melbourne, Victoria to Cape Tribulation, Queensland and return half way.
From an early age growing up in the 1970s and 1980s in Australia, Stuart’s father always had a strong interest in cars. There was constant flow of unusual cars coming and going.
Predominately European models from brands including Mercedes Benz, BMW, Saab, Porsche, Jaguar, Range Rover and others. Spending a number of weekends away with the local Porsche club, Stuart’s interest in cars was ignited. Forty plus years later, the passion for all things automotive is still strong. Along with his other passion of BMX. He didn’t stand a chance, as growing up in Australia, meant BMX Bandits!
One of his earliest memories was a family road trip in the back his father’s Porsche 928S. Fitting into the tiny backseat was not exactly comfortable, even for a 12 year old. Whilst it induced car sickness for his sister, he loved every minute. The rumble of the exhaust and the thrust the 4.7 litre V8.
Fast forward to age 17 and being legally permitted to drive on the road. Of course he wanted something fast! A 1977 Daihatsu F20 4WD was not what he had in mind. Over-ruled by his father (the financier), it was decided this was a good idea to curb his enthusiasm for speed. After about 12 months learning how to drive responsibly, he finally convinced his father that trading in the F20 on a grandma spec rotary powered automatic Mazda RX2 was a good idea.
The flood gates had been opened and within the next month, a bank loan was secured. The tired, smoky old 12A engine was pulled out for a full “race” engine rebuild. Whilst the car was back on the road within a few months, the upgrade continued for the following 5 years. Turning the car into a competitive street registered hill climb car. Every spare cent of his income was put towards go fast parts. Every local hill climb event entered. It became totally impractical as road car and transitioned a weekend special.
As the years ticked by, responsibly of adult life persisted. The decision was made to sell car to purchase his first house. To this day, a decision he regrets. Just about every car guy or girl has story about the car they should have kept.
Whilst running an importing and merchandising business since 1993, Stuart’s car passion has always remained. The purchase of a Subaru WRX STI in recent years, has reignited this automotive passion. He decided that the time was right to put his business skills and automotive obsession together. Who knows, there even might be an RX2 in the garage in the near future.