We received our first shipment from Release this morning. They are a relatively new USA manufactured reel, some unique features, and feature light weight, high drag and compact design. I've been following these folks for about 3 years now, finally felt they are primed to put everything together with some nice new reels. They have some differences from what's on the market presently, and they have some great plans for future designs, too. Expect to hear a bit more about their products as time rolls on. Very interesting pieces.
Newell at least had a good long run, served anglers well with a particular model of reels needed to be. I remember the excitement when the 220 and 229 were initially available - at last, a reel that brought the drag system of a 500 into a Squidder size bracket! Now, of course, we can't catch surfperch without a lever drag and two-speed reels. ProGear got hobbled early by corrosion problems, and got blindsided by the mania for small lever drags. C'est la vie.
He has the stones for it. Why don't you mention it on line and see what he says? A cheerful thought. Perhaps the New England machine shop making ZeeBaas reels could provide the skills and the machinists for a test run, at least.
AFAIK Newell never made a production lever drag, though he may well have prototyped a LD. The Newell "model," if you like, may be out of date ini terms of marketing. There are a lot more star drag reels that cast very well now on the market than was the case when Carl was having fun fishing and selling reels.
Rumors keep circulating about the fellow who bought Newell, having finished with family problems and moved from the family owned facility to new factory, may make a comeback. Certainly he had some good ideas which were showed off at the Fred Hall Show two or three years ago. That would be positive. As well there have been some rumors about possible sale. Just don't know, but the franchise's worth decreases with time off the market. As for me picking 'em up, no way. I'm already well stretched between adding the new CharkShop in SD and the other venture my wife and started (Toro Tamer). I'm tapped for both time and resources...what little I got's has been spoken for...probably a few times over. I'd sure love to see 'em come back, but BrianBM has it right too - there are some excellent casting star drags on the market now. Penn's Fathoms are very nice reels, the Cedros from Okuma is a great reel for under $300, there are some good pieces for under $200 with the Penn Squall and Daiwa Seagate. There would be a place for Newell, but they would also need to advance, perhaps keep the old stuff, but push forward a decade or two. I hope something happens...
Assuming that the market for light star drags is big enough for another entry, the new guy had better make a fine splash up front. Steal a string from the Release Reels bow and use high-end ceramic bearings as OEM equipment? Standardize on carbontex drags? Retain Alan Tani as a consultant for factory oil and greasing procedures during assembly, and Cal .... Cal .... well, you know who I mean - as official grease supplier? Gotta have a good magnetic cast control or people will hiss at you. And now we're at a price point that pretty much has to be made in China, already, if you're going to make money with the business.