Can you introduce yourself briefly, what’s your name, where are you from, where do you live?
My name’s Andy, I live in Andover, Hampshire with my wife, 2 of my 3 children, several cats and a dog.
What vehicle(s) do you drive/own these days?
Daily is a Skoda Octavia VRS and my weekend toy is a Cliosport 172 – among the last of the truly analogue hot hatches. We also run a Renault Captur (shortly to be replaced by a hybrid version as it simply works better than the ICE equivalent).
What does this or these vehicles mean to you?
I’ve been a hot hatch fan for over 30 years. Accessible performance and fun. It’s modern enough to avoid the need for a lot of maintenance (which I’m not great with beyond the basics) and at the same time does without the endless gizmos which add weight and remove fun at the same time.
What is the earliest automotive memory you have? How did your passion start?
I’m told that my Uncle is the reason for my motoring obsession and at the age of around 3, I was found in his garage helping him service my Dad’s Austin 1100 – up to my elbows in old and nasty engine oil. Whether it started then or not, cars have been a part of my life for almost 50 years and for more than half of my career too.
Where did you grow up? What’s your relationship with nature like?
I grew up in Woking, Surrey. Our holidays were always in the UK and included a lot of walking and hiking in some of the most beautiful places in the country. I suppose I’m slightly in awe of nature – it’s a pretty amazing thing. Whether it’s watching leaves turning every autumn or standing by a waterfall and feeling the power of something so simple, nature has a calming effect in the middle of a very busy life.
How do you today reconcile your passion for the automotive with your respect for nature?
I firmly believe that being a petrolhead brings with it a responsibility. We simply can’t bury our heads in the sand and shout that EV’s don’t work, petrol isn’t that harmful and so on. Attitudes like that turn the majority against us car crazy sorts which is self defeating. I try to consider whether I need to use my car or if walking or cycling is better for both me and the world around me – and both help with my ever expanding mid-section too. Ways of keeping older cars going and balancing this with the use of greener tech also fascinate me – I do believe that using an older car for a relatively short period of time each year isn’t as damaging as some would have you believe and let’s not forget that restoring old cars is one of the most sustainable activities!
Do you have any tips to share with other enthusiasts in order to reduce our impact on nature?
Keep an open mind. The motor car is at a massive crossroads and I’m honestly not sure which road it will take (and we may not know if it was the right one for a generation or two). Don’t think that by walking to the shop or using another form of transport that you’re somehow betraying your fellow enthusiast – driving for fun is so much more enjoyable than the daily commute in any event!
If a fellow enthusiast visited your region, what nature themed activities or exciting driving experiences would you recommend?
Yep – The B2149 from Petersfield to (almost) Goodwood. Rolling South Downs and a superb few miles of tarmac from South Harting. Many an early morning dash to a Goodwood event across some amazing countryside.