In a world of hard acts to follow, there are few harder than the man himself, Mr Keith Adams. It is, therefore, both a real honour and also something of a fright to be asked to oversee what has long been my favourite automotive website, especially as I have been something of a lurker here since the site’s inception in 2001.
First, then, a bit of background. This isn’t my day job, more something I want to do, as did Keith, for the love of British cars, and specifically those that I have owned, loved and cherished myself. The vast majority of those have worn some form of BLARG badging. I can’t say, though, that I’m available all the time, as I have a manically busy full-time job on the operations side of a media communications company. It takes up a lot of my time, as do my three young kids and my ambitiously useless attempts at being an amateur rugby player – possibly not the most sensible hobby to take up in your mid Thirties, but I’ve never been one for sane or rational thought processes, as you’ll very soon learn when I recount some of my automotive adventures… One thing is for definite, though, and that’s that I will do my level best to reply to anyone who contacts me, and will dedicate whatever time I can to this site that I, along with many of you, have valued so greatly and for so long.
My credentials for the role? For the past decade I’ve worked in senior management within the motor industry, heading up the PR Departments of both Chevrolet UK and GM Holden in Australia – a day job that precluded me from being too visible in more informal media, hence being a lurker for a long time.
Prior to that, I was a motoring journalist. As a writer for Auto Express in the years running up to MG Rover’s demise, I was one of the few motor noters who, at the time, tried to deal MG Rover an even hand. Indeed, MGR’s own PR team may have realised this, as I was lucky enough to be the first UK Motoring Journalist to take the wheel of the MG SV-R (and, indeed, be thrown sideways into a hay bale in it, courtesy of an over-enthusiastic Gwyndaf Evans). Read all about that at this link…
Ahead of my AE days, I had stints on Land Rover Owner, Classic Cars and Practical Classics, and I’m sure there’s a certain irony in the fact that I began my career on Classic Car Weekly, where Keith Adams is currently warming the Editor’s chair.
Keith and I go back a long way, and we also have quite a bit in common. We’re both exiled Northerners who’d be happy to lose a pound or two, we’ve both owned more cars than we’ve had hot baths (in my case, somewhere around 125 to date, and counting…), we both suffer from the most severe possible cases of what Keith infamously christened CPHD (Compulsive Heap Purchasing Disorder) and it’s of entirely no coincidence whatsoever that there are quite a few cars on the road, and one or two that didn’t make it, that have had both my name and Keith’s on the log book. My favourite was a Rover 420 GSi Tourer, which I bought from Keith in 2005 – if I’d known at the time how rare that car would be now, there’s no way I’d have sold it on to a friend in need of cheap transport. I’m looking for another, truth be told, but not before I’ve freed up a bit of space.
And the space issue is the real reason why I’m the kind of person who should hopefully fit in around here, for my current fleet consists of 16 cars. There are a handful of Europeans in there, notably a Volvo 240, Fiat Uno and a VW Golf GTi, but flying the flag for Britain are (on the road) a brace of Rover 800s, a 214 SEi, a Land Rover Defender, an MG ZS 180, a Jaguar X300 3.2 Sport, a Rover 25 GTi and a Land Rover Discovery Td5. In storage, I also have a 1275cc Mini (due out of hibernation just as soon as I get around to it…), an Applejack Green Allegro, a Rover 2000 P6 and a Metro Clubman. And to round it off to 16, there’s also a Peugeot 205 CJ lurking under a similar dust sheet.
So yes, you could say I have it bad. The fleet will be ever changing, and if nothing else my hopeless purchasing fails and incurable weaknesses for mundane motors should keep you entertained, if not informed. The real contributors to this site are, after all, the ones that make it the great resource it really is: those with the historical knowledge, technical know-how and ability to pull together a massive bank of detailed information and record it here for the benefit of others. You lot, in other words. Thanks to the lot of you, and it’s good to be here among friends.
Meantime, please gaze lovingly at the two images I’ve included of my Rover 827 Sterling, as I can’t imagine you’d even think of gazing lovingly at my mug shot (there’s a prize, though, for anyone who can name the car in that particular picture without looking at recent back issues of Practical Classics…). Why? Because I’ll be kicking off with the story behind it in my next blog post. Like so many of my previous mongrel Rovers, it wasn’t really worth saving – but that’s not how my mind works. And for once in my life, I think I might be surrounded by people who understand…