Blog: Dave LeggettCaravans, GT40s and Winton’s world

Dave Leggett | 19 July 2004

Just been chatting to just-auto contributor Neil Winton. We’ve both been leaving voicemail messages all over the place but finally managed to actually hook up. Entertaining as ever. We agreed that BBC TV Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and his slightly sycophantic entourage were unfair about Honda’s six-seat FR-V last night. And that a Ford GT40 isn’t the most practical vehicle for the public roads of Oxfordshire (yes, fine for a disused runway!) or for someone of JC’s large frame.

All that was missing was an excuse to blow-up another caravan, although they did get the usual rail against them in. But I noticed actor guest Martin Clunes’ talk of the VW microbus was much more acceptable. Slight double standards.

What if he’d admitted to owning a full-on caravan?

“I’m the happy owner of a ’99 Marauder four-berth, and me, the wife and the boy take it down to Dorset every year, same park, same time, same pitch. We stop off on the way for a picnic in a nice little lay-by on the A30. Perfect spot - just over the brow of a hill on a dual carriageway section. The boy pulls faces at the passing drivers and we give him fifty pence for every honk. He made a fiver last year. And the missus does us proud, same spread every year - sausage rolls, spam sarnies – with Coleman’s English of course - and jammy dodgers all round. All washed down with lashings of tea – Tetley mind. We’ve a lovely foldout table and we pretend we’re on an airliner going to Spain. The traffic noise is certainly loud enough. And the 1988 Vauxhall Carlton? Pulls like nobody’s business. Well, except for some of the hills. More power Scotty! She cannae take it captain. We were responsible for a tailback that was mentioned on the radio once…”

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. I used to work with someone who had a caravan and a Vauxhall Carlton and did indeed go to the same place every year. I’m not a big fan of them, but the Top Gear team’s constant carping about caravans seems a little bit over the top. Outta my way people, GT40 comin’ through. Calm down boys.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Neil Winton. Neil is working on a feature for just-auto that takes a look at The Second Century – the IMVP, MIT 'lean plus' study. He’s interviewed the authors, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Neil also has a website of his own – see below link. There is general news, auto industry content, including some product reviews, and there are articles that are unashamedly Winton’s often polemic opinion. There are a couple of thought-provoking and stimulating reads that I just noticed – something on Islam’s place in modern Britain, plus an interesting piece on anti-Americanism at the BBC.


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