The Owen Sedanca
In the early 1970s a colourful British businessman named Gerald Ronson owned, amongst other businesses, a car dealership called H R Owen. Mr Ronson drove a Lamborghini Espada; and he thought it would be a good idea to create a similar supercar himself. Whilst he may have been an excellent wheeler dealer his knowledge of car design was not exactly stellar so he commissioned a young, up and coming designer called Chris Humberstone to fashion it, and Williams and Prichard, a racing car body manufacturer in London, was given the task of putting it all together.
Was it powerful?
There was a choice of either the Jaguar 4.2cc six cylinder engine, or the smaller 3.8cc one from the same manufacturer. Both of these were well tried and tested engines with a reasonable reliability record.
What made it unique?
The car was based on the XJ6. It retained the original floorpan but the bodywork was made entirely out of hand crafted aluminium. The interior was intended to provide luxurious seating for four pampered occupants, with lashings of tan coloured suede leather and the then – fashionable dralon.
Did it perform well?
Who knows? None were ever provided to independent reviewers.
Was it successful?
Well, two were actually created and sold to a wealthy gentleman who owned his own Oxfordshire estate. However, although a claimed 80 other orders were taken at the showroom these were all subsequently cancelled.
Why did it fail?
Part of the reason may have been the personality of Mr Ronson himself. He had rather a chequered career; he not only reputedly destroyed one of his jewellery shop chains by describing it's products as 'crap' but he also did time in one of her Majesty's prisons for an alleged financial fraud. This, and the fact that he was not a recognised car manufacturer, didn't help one bit.
However another major cause of it's collapse was the fuel crisis of the 1970s; the Sedana was (perhaps fairly) viewed as a gas guzzler and these dropped completely out of fashion. Production was abandoned; which was perhaps a good thing for Mr Ronson.
Did it hold its price well?
Not really. Since only two were sold (and both to the same wealthy family) the original selling price was never divulged, although the rumour was that they cost tens of thousands of pounds, a fortune in those days. However, one of the two that were built was auctioned off on eBay in late 1994; it fetched £3740, which was then less than the price of a new Lada.