After UK sports car manufacturer Jensen failed in 1976, then-finance director Bob Edmiston looked east and recognized the market opportunities offered by Asian brands.
With another former Jensen executive, Kjell Qvale, he set up International Motors (later renamed IM Group) to import Subarus. Today the group also imports Isuzu, Hyundai and Daihatsu vehicles.
Industrial, commercial and housing interests across the UK were added, later, boosting the group's estimated value to £350 million (about E523 million at current exchange rates).
Now sole owner, Edmiston is one of Great Britain's wealthiest businessmen. His success helps him fund and operate Christian Vision, a charity he founded in 1988 that runs educational and agricultural programs in Third World countries.
Tall and fit, Edmiston enjoys a number of sports, including skiing, shooting and cycling.
Name: Bob Edmiston.
Title: Chairman, IM Group.
Family: Married with one son, Andrew, who is managing director of Daihatsu UK, two daughters and nine grandchildren.
Education: Hornchurch College, Hornchurch, UK; night school to learn accounting and to qualify as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountancy.
Business history: Worked as a treasury clerk at Chrysler International, then as a financial analyst at Ford, then returned to Chrysler as a manager before joining UK sports car company Jensen in 1974 as financial controller. Founded what would become IM Group in 1976 with his severance payoff from Jensen after it folded. Secured the UK franchise for Subaru in 1977. Import rights for Isuzu, Hyundai and Daihatsu followed. Recent expansion includes imports into Sweden and Finland.
Countries lived in: India (left at age 3), England, Kenya.
First car: Ford Popular.
What's in your garage now?
Subaru Forester, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Lexus SC 430.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Growing the business and creating the charity Christian Vision.
What do you still want to accomplish?
To prepare the next generation to run the company.
If you were to choose a different career, what would it be?
Possibly in aviation.
What is your main personal interest outside the auto industry?
What is your greatest personal strength?
Having ideas and the persistence to see them through
What do you most regret?
When I fail to live up to my own personal standards.
What are you not good at?
Waiting in line.
How do you relax?
Skiing, playing the guitar, shooting, cycling.
What was your best holiday and why?
I chartered a small boat in the British Virgin Islands -- where there is no mobile phone reception.
What do you most admire in people?
Chivalry, and the ability to do extraordinary things like the forgiveness demonstrated by Gordon Wilson, whose daughter was killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb during a Remembrance Day service in Ireland in 1987.
Who are your heroes?
Jesus and Moses.
Which historical figure would you most like to meet?
Hudson Taylor, a British missionary to China, and William Wilberforce, the English parliamentarian who led the battle to abolish slavery.