It’s no easy assignment, taking a positive view of a week as terrible as this. The only viable approach seems to be to be thankful for the life you lead and make the best of your opportunities.
This, at least, is how I tried to tackle a trip to Morgan’s headquarters in Malvern Link, where (for one evening only) they had cleverly turned the new reception centre (cafe, shop, showroom and heritage hall) into a launch venue for 150 guests to view the new Super 3, the latest hugely enticing iteration of the company’s three-wheeler.
Two big positives made the trip worthwhile. One was seeing how densely this happy event was peppered with people who really care about these quirky cars (admirers, owners, dealers and a smattering of hacks). Second was how, despite its sale three years ago by the Morgan family to Italian investors, the company’s mission appears to be unchanged except that its talented, energetic and remarkably youthful management team now have backing to match their ambition. I hear that more good things are coming.
A surprising press release lands. Land Rover has found a new way of boosting its environmentally aware, off-road credentials by launching research that identifies 10 prime stargazing spots across the UK – as disparate as the Isle of Wight, the Cairngorms and a Norfolk holiday camp.
Astronomy is one of those rare hobbies, like birdwatching, that creates no noise or waste, but you need an absolute minimum of man-made light pollution to do it properly, so you must visit remote areas.
Land Rover has combined a wealth of valuable information together with some practical advice from astronomy expert Jenifer Millard on how to ‘do’ dark-skies observation.
Many of Millard’s hints are endearingly homespun: you will see plenty with ordinary binoculars; don’t forget your warm clothing. Best of all, she promises, what you see on your first foray will be different next time, because Earth will have changed position in the galaxy.
Land Rover has always been good at suggesting new pursuits with its cars, but this is one I would never have thought of. Stick “Land Rover best stargazing spots” into Google for much more.
Into central London to take breakfast with sociable, fast-talking Henrik Fisker, who was passing through on his way to inspect Fisker Ocean prototypes at Magna Steyr and then heading to the car’s European launch in Barcelona.
I remember Fisker well from his Aston Martin years, when the DB9 was being created, and a little bit from the less successful Fisker Karma range-extender project, and I couldn’t resist asking him where he had found the impetus to chuck himself back into the cauldron.
At first it was a simple desire to be immersed in the car industry, he said, but another motivation has since come along. It’s the small matter of owning a large slice of a company that’s valued at $3 billion-plus on the New York Stock Exchange.
I’m full of admiration for the pioneering spirit of the Sevenoaks and District Car Club, which has just held its second event with a large EV contingent: an autosolo at Brands Hatch. The first was a track day at Llandow last summer. A club spokesperson reckons it was a roaring success, attracting 10 EVs, mainly Teslas.
The EV class winner was the favourite: a hugely experienced autosolo and rally competitor called Alan Wakeman, who took a Tesla Model 3 to sixth from a field of 50, which sounds like a stellar effort for what in autosolo terms is a very big car. Wakeman’s Tesla featured tweaks by Sandhurst-based Tevo Solutions, a business new to me, which sells and fi t upgrades for Teslas’ brakes, suspensions, wheels and aerodynamics.
And another thing…
I was delighted to see that the Car of the Year jury (starring our own Matt Prior and Andrew Frankel) chose the Kia EV6 for 2022 – from a field of finalists that contained only one ICE car. In a perverse sense, that must mean the odd car out, the Peugeot 308, really is a bit special.