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Old 03-22-2019, 08:31 AM   #1
HS
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Default Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

I just read today's Morning Hemmings On-line report- Wow!! Lebaron Bonnet closer as of Last week going to file Chapter 7 .. alot of Model Aers have used LBB!!! What a shame, I hope someone can it the company started up again!! I hope!

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Old 03-22-2019, 08:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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I just read today's Morning Hemmings On-line report- Wow!! Lebaron Bonnet closer as of Last week going to file Chapter 7 .. alot of Model Aers have used LBB!!! What a shame, I hope someone can it the company started up again!! I hope!

Hugh

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2019/0...mment-10628798
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

I had always planned to purchase a complete upholstery kit for my '31 standard fordor through LB, but realistically wouldn't need it (or get to that stage of restoration) for a year or-so. Now I'm wondering if I should buy now, and just sit on it for a while(?). Hopefully those with more insight than myself (not a high bar to get over!) will chime in with advice/thoughts.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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I had always planned to purchase a complete upholstery kit for my '31 standard fordor through LB, but realistically wouldn't need it (or get to that stage of restoration) for a year or-so. Now I'm wondering if I should buy now, and just sit on it for a while(?). Hopefully those with more insight than myself (not a high bar to get over!) will chime in with advice/thoughts.
Maybe I do not understand. But they are filing or are in chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means they are out of business, and there shorty will be an auction to sell off assets. From what I have heard, no more orders, all their employees have been let go.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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Maybe I do not understand. But they are filing or are in chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means they are out of business, and there shorty will be an auction to sell off assets. From what I have heard, no more orders, all their employees have been let go.




YUP


Now, if someone contacts the attorneys and wish's to purchase all the assets for at least all the monies owned that might work as it would make all the debt whole and speed things up. What are those chances?
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Old 03-23-2019, 05:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

If I hit the Powerball tonight, all will be good, will reopen the company soon. LOL
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

If I hit the Powerball I’ll be buying fully restored cars
Smoking Cubans and spending more time on my private island(s)
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Old 03-23-2019, 08:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

I have been wondering just how much stuff is left in those buildings.I know they have been moving stuff to Wilton Maine for quite some time now.They had been operating in 10,000 square feet,down from the previous 50,000 that had been used.The current owners of those buildings repair,renovate,restore,and rent out the old mill buildings.There are signs on those buildings right now,available for lease.With the renovations going on and actively looking for tenants I don't think they will warehouse LeBaron's assets for long with no rent coming in.But,who knows,it may all be up in Wilton.I do know the door is locked and nobody around except for construction workers.The building has staging all around it,and the windows had been removed.It looked like the new windows were there to go in.
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Old 03-23-2019, 08:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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If I hit the Powerball tonight, all will be good, will reopen the company soon. LOL



You would likely be in the same predicament as Scott was. I nodded my head when I read Bill's thoughts on how he would invest the winnings, ...because he was a CPA and he probably know which islands and cigars are the best!




So take a moment and think this thru. A company was started in 1938 and has arguably been the leader in the industry until sometime in the last decade. From my observations, the likely cause of the demise is lack of knowledgeable talent to perform the work. As L/B's knowledgeable talent retired or left, their craft training was likely not proactive enough to keep the company productive. As a result, it perished.


So now lets consider what happens if someone were to buy the extinct company. The patterns are a great starting point but they mean nothing to someone who is not familiar with them. If someone off the street is hired to be a trimmer, the patterns likely do not show how much selvage or excess material to leave, and often times it might be a little short (-or long) in an area that was discovered early on but not corrected because it was just remembered over the years and that info passed down to apprentices. Additionally, you really need to have a working knowledge of how the pieces are constructed to do the job correct. Cut the piece goods incorrectly, -or sew the pieces incorrectly and you have lost time and materials. Have one malfunction on each project and you soon are at a break-even, --or at a loss on profits.


So hopefully you are realizing the key component that makes it work is the company's talent. I am guessing that L/B had lost that, ...so the question is, where would you find replacements who are knowledgeable in Model-A upholstery & trim? Its kind of like purchasing a Brain Surgeon's tools. Just because you own the tools would not make someone successful at that business.


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Old 03-23-2019, 09:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

X2 Brent. Agree with everything, well said. An older long time employee may look like he is slower, but makes fewer mistakes, and usually has knowledge that is not written down. Bring in someone new that has not been through the same experiences, is bound to repeat mistakes and not know best methods the older long time employee has learned over time. Sometimes there is just no substitute for experience.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:47 AM   #11
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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Originally Posted by Mike V. Florida View Post
Now, if someone contacts the attorneys and wish's to purchase all the assets for at least all the monies owned that might work as it would make all the debt whole and speed things up. What are those chances?


Mike, speaking as someone who owns an upholstery shop, L/B's assets (-without real estate) would likely be less than an average blue-collared worker's annual salary. Of all the crafts in the automotive industry, an upholstery shop is likely the least expensive to set-up. Good quality walking foot sewing machines such as a Consew or a Juki can be purchased used for under $1,500. A button press is under $500, and all of the hand tools such as shears, rulers, a steamer, iron, small compressor, glue gun, and staplers can be purchased for under $1k too. Most established upholstery shops would only purchase L/B items as spares, and as such would not give very much for them. This is assuming they are in good working order, and not fallen into disrepair over the past few unprofitable years.


David has already commented that the company did not have the funds to purchase raw goods, so you are likely not going to find much value in the remaining goods inventory unless it is one-off piece goods materials used in rare applications.


So the only other asset would be the patterns. Most knowledgeable hobbyists knew that L/B's kits were not 100% accurate, however they were reasonably close. Therefore all you are purchasing for patterns is something close, ...which makes the patterns less valuable if you are wanting to offer something better than the competition. Now, old take-out upholstery kits can pretty much be had for the asking. Using one of those old interiors (-an original or old reproduction) can allow a person to spend a few hours using a razor blade to cut apart the covers at the seams, ...and when they are apart you will have a sample to make new patterns with. Since L/B's patterns apparently were not all that accurate, what are you gaining by purchasing theirs when you can make your own with a little effort or expense? Also remember that patterns are much like having your buddy's notes from his college history class. Those notes don't always tell you everything you need to know, especially if you were not there to hear the lecture.


My thoughts at this moment is to be thankful there are others who can fill the void for the hobby, and support those companies.
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Old 03-23-2019, 01:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

And how many years will it take for a new shop to gather all of the patterns that LB had. Even if they were a little off, they maybe available during the liquidation. Don't forget, they did much more than Model A interior kits.



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Old 03-23-2019, 03:22 PM   #13
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And how many years will it take for a new shop to gather all of the patterns that LB had. Even if they were a little off, they maybe available during the liquidation. Don't forget, they did much more than Model A interior kits.


Frank



You are correct Frank, ...but then again how many Deluxe Deliverys and Taxis (along with Auburns, Marmons, Stutzs, Lincolns, et/al) will someone ever do? In some ways those patterns are almost obsolete.
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

If you had a existing order is there a chance that they would finish it ?
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

Good afternoon...I would not be too surprised if someone/or some other upholster might purchase the assets of the Le Baron Bonney shop. I am reasonably sure that those who are owed money would like to see the assets purchased and the money distributed to those who are in line for repayment! Ernie in Arizona.
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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If you had a existing order is there a chance that they would finish it ?
Not very likely! Once the vultures move in, it's over. They could not care less about your existing order.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

There are far fewer cars being restored now than back in the 70s, 80s or 90s, and once a car has a new interior it will be decades until it needs one again. This as well may have something to do with their demise.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:51 AM   #18
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Brent,


Aren't you forgetting their considerable business in post-Model A Fords up into the fifties and the patterns for all those applications that they offered?
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

I quite agree with Brent....the odd’s or feasibility of someone buying what’s left and continuing the operation are slim and none....and Slim just walked out. The real value was the years of experience that many of their craftsmen had.....they were the key....when they retired or passed away, with no really qualified replacements, the operation was doomed to slowly perish. Folks hoping for a miracle savior better not hold their breath.....
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Old 03-24-2019, 03:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

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Brent,

Aren't you forgetting their considerable business in post-Model A Fords up into the fifties and the patterns for all those applications that they offered?
Again, will those patterns be enough to guide someone "new" all the way through the project without making a mistake or a misfitting piece?

Remember that the majority of hobbyists here have no tolerance for any vendor making a mistake. If the manufacturer makes one or two minor mistakes on each kit while they are trying to learn, they not only lose profitability but they lose credibility with the public. It would seem to me the new company would be doomed for failure the moment they purchased L/B's assets.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:02 PM   #21
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

I was told the later Ford part of the business was sold off quite some time ago.LB had bought it as EZ-Boy interiors,years ago,and somewhere along the line I heard it called ABC.I have no idea what happened to Hampton Coach,if they were still owned by LB??,sold?? I don't know.I would really like to know if everything go moved to Wilton Maine,because by the looks of things in Amesbury,I can't see much being left there.Stuff could be piled up in the backs of the buildings though.When they were operating with around 50,000 square feet things were cramped,and for quite a while now they were operating in 10,000 square feet.The panel board cutting room alone had to use up 1000 feet.The room for the bucks for top fitting had to be close to that.Tomorrow I have to pick up a machine I dropped in the parking lot last week,I will try to have another look around.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:26 PM   #22
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

All I've ever seen of their assets were those that were on their videos but they did show some of the modern cutting tables. That stuff is computer aided so a lot of paterns aren't needed with that type of equipment. It is just software.

The company started as a trim shop and grew into a kit manufacturer. Their assets would reflect that unless they sold off all the mechanized stuff.

What I can see though is that the original owners got out of the business likely due to wanting to retire or they just couldn't do it anymore due to health. The next gen company went heavily into the sales of restoration parts which was reflected by their catalogs. This would have been a large investment in inventory. With the downturn of the economy in 2008, a lot of companies went bust including one of the big three and the other really should have gone bust too but the government stepped in. A company that had large investments and a lot of overhead and bank notes to pay, felt a big hammer blow at that time. I figure it lasted longer than it likely should have if reorganization didn't bring it back. It was already dead and it just hadn't figured it out yet.

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Old 03-24-2019, 06:56 PM   #23
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

With the conversations I had with the original and current owners, I see a total change in attitude to customer service. Original owners did whatever it took to make sure everything was right. Latest owner was not at all interested in making things right. I used to deal with Cam, who was a first class lady. I purchased 3 complete kits from her for my 30 and 31 roadsters and my 31 phaeton. the current owner was terse and unwilling to make things right. I went elsewhere after that . Just my experiences.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:57 PM   #24
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Yes Cam was great. Just spoke to her less than two weeks ago .Always willing to help if there was an issue. I think she was there 25 plus years.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:34 AM   #25
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

ive been told that cartouch (macs upholstery) has sold to Eppler . they only sell full kits , no individual parts .
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:11 AM   #26
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ive been told that cartouch (macs upholstery) has sold to Eppler . they only sell full kits , no individual parts .

Amazing how these kinds of rumors get started huh? Cartouch is actually Cartouche Upholstery, and their parent company was Mac's Antique Auto Parts, -not Mac's Upholstery, ...and that Eppler is actually a company called Ecklers Industries --which is a large automotive parts supply company which purchased Macs Antique Auto Parts back in 2012.


Also, while individual pieces are not listed in their catalog, I'm sure if you spoke with David Trank, he could likely outfit you with whatever individual piece you were needing.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:26 AM   #27
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

Would be nice to see someone pick up the company but as Brent mentions, you need the skillset, the equipment, etc. It may also be the volume of orders required to keep the business feasible from a profit standpoint. As more generations move away from our hobby, the demand becomes less and less over time.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:48 AM   #28
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I've bought individual pieces from Cartouche before.Quite a lot of people jump the gun on buying an interior,and it winds up in a closet or on a shelf for years.Sometimes they get installed at a later date,sometimes they get sold after the owner dies or loses interest.In the meantime it seems like mice will find and destroy parts in the boxes.i don't know who I talked to there,but they have always been helpful,and sold me just what I needed,with the warning the chance of the fabrics matching is about zero.I bought a new top for my roadster pickup at a swap meet,it was one that was bought and never got around to using.It had one part that was just cut wrong.Somebody there was on the phone with me,I measured what he told me to,and he said,you're right,we made this wrong,we will send you a new one.I explained to him that at best I was the third owner and expected to pay for it,and the kit was so old it was marked Lincoln Textiles.He just said it wasn't right,and the paperwork for me to pay was worth more than the piece.
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:11 PM   #29
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Default Re: Le Baron Bonney, Out of Business?

I agree that it would be hard for an individual to step in and buy the whole, then set up a business. I would imagine if there is any value a larger corporation may step in. I think the original owners may have started small and built the business to what it was over many years of hard work. Its hard to pay a lot of money in one fell swoop to buy a company that may have been doing just enough. There is a local auction company near me that has been for sale for about 10 yrs. The owner has had it for close to 50 years and it has been built up over that time. He makes a very good living at it. However, for the several million dollar price tag someone will have to do a tremendous amount of volume to cover the expense. Not likely to happen. Same idea applys to LB.
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:46 PM   #30
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Would be nice to see someone pick up the company but as Brent mentions, you need the skillset, the equipment, etc. It may also be the volume of orders required to keep the business feasible from a profit standpoint. As more generations move away from our hobby, the demand becomes less and less over time.


Please understand that I am not trying to start an argument but that comment is just NOT factual. People start these rumors that seem to have no validity and people jump on spreading them because they seem believable.


I have been an active participant in this hobby all of my life of nearly 60 years. I remember going to car club meetings and listening to the guys talk about declining demand for Model-As. Each decade since that time I have witnessed the Model-A hobby continue to grow. From my vantage point, the only things that have changed is that the hobby has gone from a Parts Restoration hobby to more of a Parts Replacing hobby. The hobby has also gravitated from hobbyists formerly being hands-on until now they much rather just drive and smile. Outside of that, there is still a strong following for both restored and unrestored Model-As.


As in the case of LeBaron Bonney closure, it appears they were a victim of employee turnover that was too difficult for them to survive profitably with apprentice craftsmen. Ironically, until the time comes where a new company emerges into the market with a more authentic or accurate Model-A kit, there are several very capable companies that are presently in existence that supply the same quality of material and craftsmanship that L/B was known for. Because of this, the hobby will never falter or be crippled by L/B's closing.
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