“After the arrival of Mrs Thatcher into No.10 Downing Street, and her indiscriminate attack on small industry”, Chris Lawrence writes, “the sort of artisan operations as Lawrence Tune had now become were just bludgeoned out of existence, whilst at the same time the uncertainty of what this loose cannon in office might do next, caused the sort of client we depended upon to shut up shop, stop buying toys and wait to see what happened next”.
The detail of this outcome was that Lawrence Tune were left with one MKV1 Special unpaid for by Robertson, not to mention about four months work on an S3 V8 Rolls Special dictating that it was time to move on.
This time it was a move to California, where it is said of any out of the ordinary car, “If you can’t sell it here you won’t sell it anywhere”
In the event the MK V1 was retained as everyday transport in the Californian sunshine whilst Lawrence Tune, now known as “Lawrence Tune West Inc.” made itself known for good restoration and race preparation for mainly European cars. Starting in Fountain Valley Orange County, and moving to Downtown East Los Angeles, Lawrence Tune West was doing really well by the mid-eighties. Once again world events dictated events for Lawrence Tune West. The arrival of the ’80s crash was at the end of the decade as far west as California, and the shop was full of mostly speculative restoration projects. For example in ’86 an “E” Type could be bought in poor condition for say $30,000, with another $30,000 spent on a good restoration the car became worth $80,000 or more, which, in say 6 or 8 months, was a good return on investment. As the bottom fell out of the market these restored cars went into serious negative equity. The result, of course, was the end of the monthly restoration income as owners lost interest in their cars. Completing the story, Chris lawrence writes: “With Lawrence Tune West reverting from 12 men down to 2, a Californian divorce on my hands, and a fairly rapid decline in my Mother’s health, it seemed a good moment to close down in Los Angeles, and go home. So the MK V1 Bentley was give to the demanding ex-wife, the 72 LT Comaro was sold to Japan, the El Camino sold locally and the ’66 Monza Corsair was loaded with all the tools and shipped to England.”
“Back home retirement seemed beckoning and the golf clubs were inviting, whilst the pensions were woefully inadequate. A range of hand made Victorian style cloche was developed, but before these could get in any way established, Marcos Cars thought that they needed help with their LM 600 International GT Championship cars which were provided through 1995. This turned into a job at the Morgan Motor Company, which resulted in the first entirely new Morgan since 1936 - the Aero 8. Designed and developed courtesy C.J.L.”