Get the Big Picture
Added: (Mon Apr 23 2001)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
Bob Evans is probably better known as a professional Formula 1 driver from the ‘70s and ‘80s rather than a dot-com entrepreneur, but he believes that is all about to change.
Along with an old friend from his motor racing days, Alistair Cowin, who is now a successful fashion photographer, Bob has branched out into the world wide web with the launch of a new company, TOTAL POSTER, (www.totalposter.com) specialising in the sale of high-quality posters and digitally-produced photographic enlargements via the Internet.
Bob retired from motor racing in 1985 to concentrate on his business interests, which involved specialist textile screen-printing supplying the motor sport industry. Running the printing business led to highly developed skills in digital printing and the management of computer-generated graphics, which is where he hit on the idea of digital, ‘on-demand’ printing via the internet.
“New printing technology is extraordinarily sophisticated these days and one has to keep up with it to be successful in your market place”, says Bob from his operational hub in Cheltenham, surrounded by computers and high-tech equipment. “No-one should even think about starting a new sales company in the year 2000 without establishing a web site. It would be like trying to run an office without a telephone. So what Alistair and I are doing is taking the logical next step and offering a high-quality, competitively-priced product over the Internet”.
Bob is self-effacing when it comes to talking about his motor racing career, but his interest in the sport is still keen and it will be the first area his new company, Total Poster, will concentrate on. Having started racing in 1967 in an Austin Healey bought with money loaned from the bank “to start a business”, his racing career highlights include winning the Rothmans European F5000 Championship in 1974 at the wheel of a McKechnie team Lola, and this despite breaking his neck in an horrific accident at Castle Combe just three years before. The win secured the young Bob a F1 drive for the BRM team in 1975 and he went on to do stints for Lotus in 1976 in the difficult 77, Hesketh and Surtees in Formula One and latterly for the Aston Martin Sportscar Team at Le Mans and Daytona Beach.
He still has fans trying to contact him from all over the world. “I still get about three or four letters a week”, says a surprised Bob. “We all know there is a huge motor racing following out there, but it amazes me that I still have fans, young ones at that, who want my autograph or signed photographs. That’s really what spurred me on to start the business. A German chap turned up on my doorstep a few weeks ago asking for a signed photo. How did he know where I live?”
So how did Alistair get involved in the project? Alistair laughs as he recalls his first meeting with Bob back in 1969 when they went to collect their respective racing cars very early one morning from ‘Silvertune’ in Brentford.
“I was racing at Castle Combe that day and arrived at about 6.00 am to find the compound gates locked”, he says. “I was just thinking to myself that there was nothing for it but to climb in when I heard a bit of commotion coming from the other side of the fence. In the early-morning gloom I could just make out a figure running for his life, hollering and shouting obscenities, with an Alsatian clamped firmly to his backside. He managed to kick the dog off and made it back to the fence just as all the security lights came on. It turned out to be Bob!”
The two lost touch once their racing days became fewer and further between and Alistair was pursuing a career in fashion design and photography but they met up again last year in the BRDC at the British Grand Prix. “Bob asked my advice about photography copyright and we then got into a conversation about what we were up to and his idea for a new business emerged. It was great to see him again”, says Alistair. “With our many years of experience running businesses, Bob’s in printing and mine in photography, the partnership seemed logical”, he adds.
Alistair still intends to pursue his busy career as a fashion photographer specialising in digital work, which takes him to all corners of the globe but is keen to maintain close contact and interest in Total Poster’s success. Bob is personally running the operation with outside expertise to help with the very important web site design and marketing. Having successfully negotiated agreements with Oxford Scientific Films, Private Eye, Allsport (UK), Airphotona (USA), Buzz Pictures, Camerasport and LAT Photographic, the pair are in discussions with a number of other companies such as sports magazines and football clubs to provide images on the site.
The images can be viewed in low resolution on the web site, enlarged for a more detailed look and then ordered in one of four sizes to choice – A3, A2, A1 and the giant AO (1 m x 1.5 m) within a price range of £14.95 - £60.00. The company also offers a custom enlargement service for client’s own photographs and there are considerable discounts for volume orders. Shipping can be arranged anywhere in the world and framing is also offered on the site.
Total Poster’s web site can be seen at www.totalposter.com