My EV hot rod develops…

October 9th, 2012

My Enfield electric car project is coming together. During the paint process it cheated death when a huge fire broke out in the industrial unit next door. Now it’s nearly ready for wiring and batteries. Catch up with the latest blog and pics by visiting

In the mean time I’ll let these two shots do the talking. Wheelie bars are a bit essential when the thing is 2.84-metres long (an old Mini was 3.05m) with a wheelbase of just 1.75 metres (a Mini was 2.04m).

New ‘box for Fifth Gear

September 3rd, 2012

We’ve been filming it since Feb and finally the new series – series 21 can you believe – starts tonight (Monday) on Discovery (Sky 520) at 8pm.

The episodes are back to being an hour long, which is something no one will complain about. I have to say it’s been a right hoot making this, my 11th and 12th series, for the show. I never expected to ever do TV stuff in my motoring journo career, but it’s been so so enjoyable.

In the first ep tonight I’m behind the wheel of Gerard DeRooy’s 2012 Dakar winning truck. Only 2650 lb ft of twist on tap, and Gerard suggests it’s a great idea for me to race him against the clock in a huge active quarry. Sheer drops and a confusing gearbox weren’t my ideal companions but I survived to tell the tale.

Hope you enjoy the new dose of Tiff, Jason Potato, VBH and I.

If you haven’t watched the Discovery trailer, click here…


Leccy car video is go

July 2nd, 2012

Progress has been rather pleasing with my Flux Capacitor Enfield EV. But if you want to know what the car is and why I’m bothering, here’s a video you might fancy

From this.


To this (paint coming next, fear not)

Shock mobility (and other cheap EV puns)

May 22nd, 2012

Progress is thick and quick on the Enfield retro EV hot rod project at Webster Race Engineering. Ever seen one with a Ford 9″ rear axle and wheelie bars? Nah, didn’t think so. More coming in the next 24 hours via



Are friends electric? Mine is…

May 9th, 2012

Some of you might have guessed that a few months back (after nearly 2 years of sniffing around) I purchased a ’70s EV called an Enfield 8000. Well, the project to make it Europe’s fastest street legal EV has already begun. All progress will be documented on its dedicated website and things are looking good so far.

It’s got to be at least as quick on the strip as a Tesla. They run mid 12s on the quarter mile. I’ve already ordered wheelie bars…

A Carperv public announcement

March 3rd, 2012

Ladies and Gentle blogsters, I am pleased to announce that my new and extremely eco friendly vehicular project is about to begin. I cannot reveal all yet, but it is a retro EV that is being dragged (literally) kicking and screaming out of a shed and into the 21st century.

Watch this space in the next week or so, as I shall announce the juicy details. All I can say is that it’s a bit small, a bit ugly and very outdated. Rest assured we shall be utilising advancements in battery, motor and electrical technology in order to make this gorky EV reasonably swift.

*****And now for a brief intermission*****


December 15th, 2011

I’ve not been a particularly active blogster this year. It’s predominantly been about Twitter ( HOWEVER, with 2012 around the corner and a large sack on guilt on my shoulders, I promise to update the blog more frequently.

Starting today in fact the Carperv website is going under construction to finish some of the sections I promised to do about 18 months ago. A lot of these will show my current and past personal car projects, as that seems to be one of the most FAQs you guys send me.

Stuff like

‘What did you drive in 1997’?

It was either my Beetle 1500 or Dad’s Hillman Avenger estate. The Avenger was better for fishing trips.

‘What’s the cheapest car you ever bought’?

VW Polo saloon mk2. £15 with 4 days MoT from a Bristol car boot sale. Bit random. It was shite (but you knew that).

There’s snow tyres like snow tyres, like snow tyres I know

October 31st, 2011

Forget the jazz hands, it’s about to become all cold and skiddy again. Tomorrow I’m going to rudely wake up my winter tyres from hibernation at Kwik Fit’s ‘tyre hotel’ (a warehouse in Milton Keynes, I think). I know it isn’t cold right now, but I’d rather be prepared and slightly smug if the curtains open to be greeted with thick white stuff next week.

The Family Carperv Cube is almost ready to step in the ring with Jack Frost (not the Sierra driving detective from Denton), as during last month’s MoT I got its crevices pumped with Waxoyl. It’s alarming how quickly you can lose 5-litres of the stuff under a car, but it is by far the best way of mummifying your undercarriage. For two hours labour and £30 of waxoyl the thing is ready to laugh in the face of countless council gritters.

I was a bit of a winter tyre sceptic until i had some fitted to a previous long-term test Hyundai i10. The difference was like night and day. With a set of cold weather spec Contis on the Cube, it became apparent that there was no real urgency for my wife to follow many other wives and spend £40,000 on a Disco4 – nice steeds though they are.

The grip and steering ability on winters is just superb. So good that we forgot ours were on until it hit April. On something non performance orientated, I’d say they make a fantastic year-round tyre. In the midst of the snowy chaos these little 14s allowed us to make the trek from Lincolnshire to Snowdonia (via the Peak District) in January without getting stuck once. They don’t just work on snow, but when the temp dips below 7-degrees C.

You know what, if nothing else winter tyres will help keep Britain’s economic chin up during the harsh weather, instead of half a million motorists simply not arriving at work. When not throwing rocks at banks or waving volcanic dust towards Heathrow, other countries must be laughing at how pathetic Brits are with the cold spells.

A lot of folks are complaining at how expensive winter tyres are. Well, they are cheaper than an ’11 plate Suzuki Jimny. And let’s not forget that they will probably last 4 winters or so. And of course when you’re running on the winter tyres, you ain’t wearing down your ‘normal’ treads. Sort of starts to make sense as a safer, useful investment, see?

It saves on the ridiculous panicking too.

Calm down dear, there’s no need to panic. All you’ve got to do is prepare. My dad always used to carry an entire bootful of stuff around with him. Not just jump leads, but a spare bloody battery. Maybe not that prepared, but stick a shovel, pack of Bourbons and warm unfashionable coat in your boot. I favour a roll of crappy carpet too, as it’s amazing how useful it becomes to shove under stuck-fast driving wheels.

Checking your car helps too. I know it sounds patronising, but you’d be amazed the number of strokers* who wait for an engine to boil over before they check the coolant levels. It takes 2 mins to pop the bonnet and keep an eye on your car’s mechanical heart/lungs/liver.

Now’s not a good time to trust that battery that you nicked off a friend’s car before they traded it in on the scrappage scheme. Buy the best batt you can afford, and you can never have too many cold cranking amps.

I will upload some more winter tips in a few days in an effort to prepare us Brits for the snow flake sign appearing on your dash.

Of course if you fancy bouncing off hedges between November and February, simply pick up a copy of the latest Ebay paper or Autotrader digital tablet leaflet and type in ‘Volvo 340’. For £300 you will have a lot of fun in the cold spells, but you will not be able to steer or drive anywhere. You will crash and you will be surviving on bourbons waiting for the recovery truck to carve its way to your rescue.

*a polite word for someone who… well…. you know.

The new V8 Somerset Ladder

May 16th, 2011

I’d never driven a car with a tax disc that does 0-60mph in 2.3 before. Funny that, because they don’t crop up every day. Easily the most scary but enjoyable driving seat experience of my life. Because it’s so sickeningly rapid I will excuse the Atom 500 for not actually having a regular V8 engine sound at all.

This is my drive up a hill for Fifth Gear

Here is the item that went out on the TV with me and Tiff trying to tame the thing.

Weather’s been too good to blog

May 4th, 2011

Crap excuse I know, and not entirely true. One thing the decent climate has done is accelerate the process of de-hibernation. The Dodge is back out on the road. After a little clutch seizing mishap (damn you cold winter snap) and then some issues with the alternator supply wire things are running ok.

I get a lot of Twitter followers asking for info about my Dodge so figured it might be time to put the link back up from EVO magazine for further info.

In a country where the cost of fuel is rocketing skywards and the cost of living is chasing it hard, there is still something deeply satisfying about getting free road tax on a 6.3-litre V8 dinosaur. It feels even better when you see those tax discs on modern fast metal that say £950. £950 buys quite a lot of unleaded and valve saving potion.

Next step, replace the piddly alternator supply wire, remove the instrument panel (to start making more than the ammeter work) and take it to John Sleath’s Yorkshire barn of V8 worship for a well overdue rolling road session. That flat spot on acceleration is pishing me right off.