2019 has been a busy year, both for Well Driven and for me personally. I’ve changed jobs, started a new podcast and even won an award – so here are the top 5 moments of 2019 for Well Driven:
Last year, in deepest, wettest and coldest March I was given the keys to a Caterham 310S for a long weekend – I’d never driven a Caterham before then, so to have my first experience behind the wheel on a wet and traffic-filled M25, it was far from perfect. Fast forward to summer 2019 where the roads were dry, the sun was out and yet again I found myself behind the wheel of a Caterham – except this time the seat belt has been replaced by a 4-point harness and the power had been upped from 152bhp to 210bhp. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but you need to remember the little open-top road rocket weighs little more than my Terrier… The 420R is still one of the most exhilarating cars I’ve had the pleasure of driving and using it as a “daily” driver for a week certainly was an entertaining experience.
You can read my original review of the Caterham 420R HERE
3 Car Garage Podcast
It’s funny how things come about, and the birth of the 3 Car Garage Podcast is definitely one of those funny little stories. It all started late one night when I get a random IM from a photographer asking if he could come and shoot some cars for the website at some point – it just so happened that I was having a Subaru WRX STI delivered a few weeks later and this particular photographer had quite a soft spot for these Japanese super-saloons! After a great shoot followed by a couple of fun road trips to Caffeine and Machine, we started to talk about maybe recording the drivel we were spouting… a couple of new microphones and some late-night Skype calls later and 3 Car Garage was created. We’re now on our tenth episode and we’ve had some incredible guests already including Ollie from Le Mans Coupes and Shami from Omologato Watches and we have many more episodes on the way!
You can listen to 3 Car Garage HERE on Anchor.FM or any mainstream Podcast app including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Podcast Addict
Rolls Royce Phantom VIII:
I was fortunate enough in 2018 to spend some quality time snigging round some of Goodwood’s finest both on track at Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit and on the road on some of Suffolk’s greatest country roads and even though I had a good go in the Wraith, the Dawn and the Ghost, I had never properly experienced (from the front seat, anyway) the sheer opulence of the utterly fabulous Phantom VIII. All-in-all, I spent 5 days with Phantom and to say it was a truly unique opportunity would be an understatement. From the moment you set foot in Phantom, either in the front seat or the back, you know you’re in for a treat. For a car designed to be the ultimate chauffeur-driven limousine, the drive is surprisingly dynamic and there certainly isn’t a shortage of power from the twin-turbocharged, 6 and three-quarter litre V12 engine. If I never get to drive a car as expensive and as special as a Phantom VIII again, I’ll still be happy knowing I’ve driven probably the best car in the world…
Land Rover Discovery 5:
Even though I’ve driven the all-new Discovery before, I’d only spent about 30 minutes behind the wheel each time, once on the Alpine Hill Route at Millbrook Proving Ground and once on their off-road test route, so when I was offered one for 9 days from Land Rover, I leapt at the opportunity. Since selling my old Discovery 3, there’s been a Land Rover shaped hole in my life so whenever I get in the driver’s seat of another one I get all excited and semi-nostalgic. The new Discovery is everything the old D4 was and so much more. Even more than the Range Rover Sport, in my opinion. At first, I was worried that Land Rover had watered down the Discovery. What was once considered to be the rough and ready mud-plugger with enough space for the whole family and the dogs now seems to be the ultimate school run weapon with the electrification of just about everything. Fortunately, after a few road trips and some good old fashioned fun in a disused quarry with the everso talented Rick from Sprite Photography, I quickly fell in love with it and named it the ultimate all-rounder that ticked almost every single box when looking for the perfect SUV.
The full review can be found HERE.
UK Blog Awards – Automotive Category:
I thought it was best to save my biggest achievement (and surprise) for last. Back in late 2018, I took a punt and after years of keeping myself to myself, I decided to put my work (this website) forward for an award. When I submitted my entry for the UK Blog Awards Automotive category award, I had no intention of getting any further than submitting. After a few weeks, I was informed that Well Driven had been shortlisted for the award and I couldn’t have been happier. I don’t write about cars to win awards, nor do I do it to make money or get anything else, I do it because I love talking about cars, so any kind of recognition is always huge for me. If you know me and have met me in the past, be it at an event or in the street, you’ll know I’m not one to shout out about what I do. On the day of the awards ceremony, I had actually forgotten it was even happening and it wasn’t until a fellow finalist (the truly awesome Is It Fast) sent me a friendly good luck message. I still can’t believe this humble little site displaying the mindless ramblings of an over-obsessed car lover was actually in the running. So imagine my face when it won. Ecstatic comes close. I will always be grateful for the opportunities this website has created for me, and the people that read it, and the companies that are crazy enough to let me play with their cars. I’ll always be grateful and I really can’t wait to see what the future brings.
So, there you have it, 2019 was a good year, if not a bit manic. Here’s to an even better 2020 – and a truly heartfelt thank you to every single person that reads these articles, listens to the podcast, engages in my social media posts and generally supports me with everything I do and say.