About This Website
Hello and welcome to Two Stroke Smoke!
My name is Skye, and I'm the owner, operator, and developer of this website and many others devoted to vintage cars and auto hobbies.
I'm usually so busy behind the scenes that a lot of people don't know about the history of this website or how it runs, so here's my story.
How this website operates
I'm the founder, sole owner and employee of Corvus Digital a.k.a. the Autoshrine Network, the company I started to run this website (and 20 more like it). All together, the Autoshrine Network serves about 30 million pages to 2.5 million visitors every year.
I thank everyone for your contributions – whether it's posting helpful information or financial support. Not everyone is in a position to provide financial support at all times, and I don't think that should be a barrier to participating in the hobby. However, the voluntary membership system makes up about half of all revenue and is essential to the ongoing viability of this website, so it's very appreciated.
My promise is to continue to provide access to all features and information on this website, to anyone in the world, without charge, in perpetuity. It might not be the most profitable way to run a company, but I believe strongly in the power of open co-operation. I can provide the platform, but it's your participation that makes this website a community, so thank you for being a part of it.
If you find this website useful and would like to support a small business, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. 100% of proceeds go towards operating and improving this website. Expenses include leased servers, cloud services, and one modest employee salary.
In addition to webmaster duties, designing and coding new features, fixing bugs, web design for various devices, and system administration duties like provisioning servers, backup plans, security, monitoring, and system upgrades, I also provide personal support to over 100,000 registered members, review edit and publish calendar events, review edit and publish tech articles in the library, manage all the social media pages for each site (80+ feeds), and moderate the forums. That's the short list, it keeps me very busy.
PS: You may not know that almost all car forums on the internet are owned by two large corporations. Both of these companies have approached me with offers to buy, but I turned them down as I don't believe they would protect the personal information of my members or put any effort into developing the platform.
How I got here
I started the first Autoshrine website, The MG Experience, way back in 1998 to document the repairs and restoration of my first car, a rusty 1966 MGB. I had a lot of adventures in that car, and while the restoration ended up not going very well, the website was a hit and started getting more and more visitors. Some of the earliest users of the MG Experience BBS are still active today, 20 years later!
My professional history was doing systems and network software engineering, and in my spare time I designed and wrote much of the code for the website, adding more and more content. In 2004 my wife and I needed a life change. We quit our jobs, moved to New Zealand, and lived in a camper van for a year. On rainy days, I would code a total rewrite of the old MGB Experience website into a platform with many new features allow me to launch dozens more websites for different kinds of vintage cars. I had no idea that the new forums and registry would turn out to be so popular, and after moving home in 2006 I took the plunge and decided to quit all my contract coding work and develop the Autoshrine Network full time.
I launched The Triumph Experience, and then The Austin-Healey Experience and Morris Minor Forum, and many more including websites for scooters and cyclekarts. You can see the full list of websites in the "More to Explore" sidebar to the left on the desktop website or visit the Autoshrine Network. Once you've created an account, you can sign in on any of those websites with the same Member ID and password.
The accounting and business administration was getting out of hand at this point, so I incorporated my small proprietorship F4 Systems into a new company Corvus Digital in 2013. You might recognize Corvus Digital from your Supporting Membership payments. I'm the sole owner and (so far) the only employee of the company.
That pretty much brings the story up to present day. It's been a pleasure providing these websites to all of you, a service that is useful to hundreds of people every day. I love how this resource has kept a lot of cool vintage cars on the road, and has provided a meeting place for a lot of great people.
While the rise of social media monopolies such as Facebook and Reddit have made it increasingly difficult for independant website owners like me to survive, I'm dedicated to providing you an experience that is specially designed for auto enthusiasts – and unlike some companies, refusing to sell your personal information to marketing companies.
Here are some of the major new features I have planned for 2021 and beyond. Most of these tasks will take 2-4 weeks of full time development:
- Create internal page crawler to generate URL thumbnails cache (increase page load speed)
- Refactor forum URLs and thumbnails for social feeds, SEO, and readability.
- Rich front page news feed.
- Rewrite the Buy Sell Trade (gallery view, locked topics, location, price)
- New websites: Lotus, Vintage Race, etc.
- Move images and attachments to CDN storage.
- Convert all contextual ad inventory to DFP.
- Rewrite the Supporting Membership payment system (quarterly plans, ditch Paypal)
- Catch up on editing & publishing incoming tech article queue.
- Merge purchased and donated website content (TrabantForums, EarlyMGB, British Auto)
- Improve search.
The company is close to being able to finally hire part-time help to take some of the workload off of me and allow me more time to code. If you'd like to contribute, please consider becoming a Supporting Member.
If you have any questions or feedback about the website please click "Contact Support" at the bottom of any page.
That's pretty much everything I can think of that anyone would want to know!
Webmaster & Founder
The Autoshrine Network