It all began in 1956 when…
As a 13 years old school boy Rod Slater, driven by a love of Motor Sport, embarked upon his dream to ‘make his mark’ in the Automotive Industry in the belief that it would provide for him not just an income but also an entrée into the World of Motor Sport… and how right he was.
During the August 1956 School holidays Rod walked from his home for some 8 kilometres, knocking on doors, seeking a job as an apprentice Motor Mechanic. It was to be at number 210 Adelaide Terrace, that Rod met with success, for here was a large Automotive Engineering workshop, which Rod was to later discover was a subsidiary of Skipper Holdings, the largest Automotive group in Western Australia, at that time. He asked to see the Service Manager, who in turn asked Rod how old he was and why he wanted to become a Motor Mechanic… Rod advised that he was 13years and 11 months old and that it was his passion to be involved in Motor Sport that had led him to seek a career in the Automotive Industry. This would be the first and only Job application that Rod was ever to make!
During this job interview Rod was advised to return to school and complete his year 8 and then, if he still wanted to become a Motor Mechanic, to return at the end of the school year with his end of year school report.
He did this in the first week of January 1957, but his potential employer was ‘less than impressed’ by Rod’s school report and offered Rod an Apprenticeship opportunity on the proviso that Rod attended night school for 2 nights per week for the first 2 years of his employment, Rod accepted the conditions and commenced work the following day….and so began Rod’s career and his introduction to ‘night school studies’ which he continued for 14 years until the end of 1970.
These were the formative ‘learning years’ when a young Rod Slater served a 5 years apprenticeship with the Skipper Holdings Group, at the time the leading Automotive group in Western Australia, concluding his Automotive Training with an Advanced Automotive Certificate at age 21.
Upon completion of his Apprenticeship Rod was immediately promoted to the position of Service Manager within the group. He continued his Technical studies and embarked upon several ‘night-school’ courses over the next 7 years and beyond which included Business studies, Accounting principles, Legal principles, Economics, Industrial Supervision, Salesmanship, Work Study, Train the Trainer and Philosophy.
During his 14 years, with the Skipper Holdings Group, Rod performed many roles including that of State Service Manager for a number of marques that the Company represented, which included: Renault, Peugeot, BMW, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Fuso.
In addition to this Rod also performed various stints, within the group, as an Acting Manager, Truck Division Service Manager, Parts Manager, Used Car Manager and General Manager, gaining valuable experience with every posting.
1971 to 2000:
At the end of 1970, after 14 years continuous service, Rod left his first and only employer, Skipper Holdings Limited, to pursue his big ambition to become the Western Australian Distributor for Renault and Peugeot, products which by now were ‘in his blood’.
Rod also pursued his passion for motor sport and was involved at Caversham, Claremont speedway, ‘Round the Houses Racing’ at Albany and Geraldton, as well as hill-climbs at Albany, York and Lesmurdie. But Rod’s real ‘home’ was behind the wheel of a Renault Rally Car which he successfully campaigned for a number of years, capturing both the 1970 and 1971 Western Australian Rally Championships.
During the years 1971 to 2000 Rod developed and operated Eurocars, an Automotive business originally located on the corner of Canning Highway and Berwick Streets in South Perth, where, amongst other things, Rod employed the now legendary Cricket star Dennis Lillee.
Over those 30 years Eurocars was, at varying times, the State Distributor for Renault, Peugeot and Citroen, as well as a Dealer for Alfa-Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Bertone and Daihatsu.
Turn of the Century:
By the ‘turn of the century’ Rod was keen to pursue some other interests, including a period as President of the Royal Automobile Club and Chairman of the Western Australian Speedway Commission, and so sold his remaining new car franchises, but retained the ‘Tax-Free’ cars in Europe programs for Renault, Peugeot and Citroen, as well as Eurocare and Europarts, the latter two now being operated, from Rod’s premises by Corrado Righetti A former employee.
Rod operates boutique a secondhand car business from the Burswood premises, that he developed in 1994, whilst daughter, Michelle manages the ‘Brand New Tax-Free Car in Europe’ program as well as the Worldrive Car, Camper and MotorHome hire business.