The story of cartune

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In the early 1960's Mike Griffin started Cartune. The company sold performance parts for Aircooled VW's. Initially they operated from a postal address on Grenfell Road in Mitcham Surrey, but it wasn't long before they were ready for expansion. Locations in Ashford Middlesex and Middlesbrough were chosen. Cartune Teesside was formed in 1967 and operated from a premises on North Ormesby Road. Their successful line of VW tuning parts were available, but alongside those they there we also able to offer new Volkswagens and Porsches. The business was so successful that by 1972 they were moving into a new purpose built building at Park End on the outskirts of the city. 

In early 1970 Cartune (South) moved to 147 Stanwell Road in Ashford. From here Cartune were able to offer a full VW workshop facility which included servicing, performance engine upgrades and general repairs. Also from here they manufactured their own high quality VW performance parts.  

As well obtaining Porsche, Volkswagen Audi and NSU dealership status, Cartune were also able to offer the GP and Apal Buggies and also imported the Puma to the U.K. market. 


the men behind cartune

Mike Griffin

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Little is known about the founder/chairman of Cartune Mike Griffin at the time of writing, as he unfortunately died not long ago. What is known is that Mike started out his career as an apprentice at Lagonda, but left after they were brought out by David Brown (Aston Martin DB). He then spent some time in the RAF, a spell as an engineer, then became an Austin Morris dealer. Eventually he would work in VW's technical service department and become workshop manager at VW's St John's Wood facility. By 1966 he had progressed to general service manager, effectively sorting out all VW's UK problems of a technical nature. During this time Mike was also an RAC scrutineer for rallying, so it was fair to say he many strings to his bow!

 As stated Cartune was started in 1960/1. This was from the Grenfell Road location. At this time they were very much supplying parts such as OJR disc brake conversions (wide 5) and MAG superchargers, so not yet producing Cartune parts. 1967 on wards is the bit we're most interested in as both businesses were launched simultaneously. add to that Mike was also general manager at AFN Porsche. Little is then known about what Mike did in later years, but according to Facebook user Jimbob King, he was teaching mechanics at a college in the north east and finally would work for a rallying company called Triple 6 also based in Middlesbrough. Mike is pictured (centre) with Jack Charlton (left) and Ron Turnbull (Right).

Ron Turnbull

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Ron Turnbull a Scotsman settled in Middlesbrough also served time in the RAF. Ron was also a keen rally enthusiast and had entered a Ford Prefect in a rally in Sestriere Italy. Ron also piloted two rally beetles for Cartune, one an Orange beetle as seen in Motorsport magazines June 1972 article and another white 1302s pictured above. These were both co driven with Russ Swift. He is pictured here on right of shot. Ron would eventually be headhunted by Griffin to take the reigns of his new Teesside dealership as he had already built a good reputation for himself at another dealership in the city. Ron really was the brains behind the meteoric rise of Cartune. The company regularly smashed sales targets and went from strength to strength. During his time at Cartune, Ron was fortunate enough to be invited to visit Wolfsburg to see the VW production line in action, it was no surprise to him that VW went on to be the giant that it is today. He also visited the Porsche factory at Stuttgart and met Ferry Porsche at the Porsche factory.

Roy Vaughan

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Roy is someone I really don't know much about at all as he seems to be a much more elusive character. Peter Noad reported that Roy and also even Mike actually raced beetles at Goodwood back in the late 50's. It certainly seems that Roy would be the man behind the Cartune Parts. He certainly was working alongside Griffin in the early days of Cartune from the Grenfell Road address and would become the director of the Ashford premises. It's Roy's signature that signs off on the official Cartune catalogue so his importance cannot be ignored. It appears it was Roy's knowledge of the Beetle that led to which parts were made. It was about improving the overall driveability, looks and performance of the Volkswagen, so if it was thought that a certain aspect could be improved, off they went into the workshop to set about it. Pictured is Roy on the right of shot next to Mike Griffin at the Ashford premises, inspecting some new fibreglass panels.