It's comforting to finally find a home here on DriveTribe amongst other passionate motoring enthusiasts. I am sure I'm not the only person who started blogs and numerous online accounts to share my motoring stories, moments and memories over the last few years. DriveTribe suggests a solution to the many abandoned projects over my motoring history, so I'm happy to be a part of it.
Whilst I am sure most channels will feature avid niche enthusiasts, I will offer a different perspective on motoring as a hobby. I truly do envy the deep knowledge and ability to judge a car based on spec from the other side of a car meet, but I guess I simply enjoy motoring for different reasons and thats the beauty of DriveTribe's aims. I enjoy motoring because of the thrill of driving. I enjoy the noise, the smell, the views, the feeling of being in control and deciding what path I take. I also enjoy the comradeship and stories that come with taking part in car events.
So I can't promise tech specs, sharp sexy photos or a deep knowledge of rare classics, I will however focus on documenting entertaining motoring stories, memories and experiences from where we ended up taking the long route. This includes unintentionally getting lost on road trips and discovering amazing roads or places. I often simply just make a "bodge" of a situation. I have certainly made many close friends along the way who happily remind me of my mishaps.
I pinpoint the start of my enthusiasm back to when I was a small boy co-piloting my dad's Jaguar Kougar. He hand crafted the car with a close friend, and before I was born, he treated it like his only child. It was both immaculate, yet well driven in a variety of speed trials, hill climbs and even making movie appearances during his ownership. After I was exposed to every element possible in that car when growing up, it became my baptism into the fuel-filled passion that we all share today. He unfortunately had to sell the car for something more practical. I managed to hunt for the car and re-united my father with it 20 years later.
I set out on my own motoring journey after passing my test to buy something special as a first sports car. I wanted it to be fairly modern, a good commuter and have ample power. I overachieved on my savings and managed to pick up a GT4 edition 350z. The GT4 edition featured some facelift tweaks, the aggressive V6 with an aftermarket popcharger intake to exaggerate the noise and I fitted a set of LMGT4 wheels. Happy days. It was a great step into a first fun car, soft enough for my desire for creature comforts (heated bum in the winter, why not?) and lots of grunt when out driving with friends.
I then decided that I wanted something faster, different and slightly more raw. I ended up with the "hairdresser" edition Z4m (roadster). All options ticked, including the full leather roll hoops. After tweaks to suspension, Eisenmann Exhaust and aFe intake, the car was a thrilling drive with the roof down. I drove all weathers with the roof down to hear that aggressive rasp, heated seat on the max setting and a glove box of hair product. This car was driven through some of the worst snow to hit england on my commute, along with also meeting Jamiroquai on a summer weekend adventure to Belgium. It was time to sell up and move on when I stopped to let a tramp cross the road and he shouted "hairdresser" whilst swigging from his can of Special Brew..
After the convertible jokes had worn off, I spent time trying to establish a logical move up from the Z4m. I ended up looking at C5 Corvette's, but when my ideal spec disappeared rom pistonheads (and was later relisted), I spotted a C6 with huge spec (Z51, Manual, Targa etc). I upped the budget and arranged a visit to meet the owner. After exchanging drives in the Z4m and C6 Corvette, we both decided to swap (with some cash on top). I was delighted and was the proud owner of proper V8 american power. Dirty noise, epic power delivery, surprisingly practical and did I mention noise? After a "tweak" to the exhaust, it sounded like thunder and gunfire. Fantastic. The car saw me through V8UK power tours, Beer festivals in Munich and trips to the legendary Nurburgring. I miss it dearly, but I don't miss the fingerprints from car meets where people poked the plastic rear panels..."Look, Clarkson was right"
So thats my history, where to now? After selling my Corvette, I sit here today currently without a car - a first time in 10 years. I spend my time doing what most petrolheads do when they get free time...researching my next toy. How impractical can I get away with? Do I need boot space? Supercharged V6 or a N/A V10? So many choices, such hard decisions, such little time to enjoy them all.
I also spend my newly acquired free (car) time partnered up with Luc Garland and a few other passionate motoring enthusiasts. We have created a start up a car events company called "La Chasse Events" - working to revolutionise the traditional road rally for avid motoring enthusiasts. Certainly providing me with a worthy enough vision to justify a fun car for. Writing this has made me realise that I cannot live without owning a vehicle for pleasure, so back to pistonheads classifieds with a cup of coffee for the evening.
Driving as a hobby offers one of the greatest freedoms available today - choice. Choice is something slowly being eroded in all elements of daily life through various factors such as technology and politics, with 2016 turning out to be the perfect storm for us all to remember. However driving still provides a choice at the hands of the driver behind the wheel, a rare escape and a glimmer of freedom. Do I go left and take the congested dual carriageway or do I get up earlier and enjoy the backroads on my commute. A simple pleasure for driving enthusiasts, but a chore for most on their route to work. Take the alternative route, enjoy the ride.