The Tour de France in West Sussex…

This year was the 110th anniversary and the 100th running of the Tour de France and Goodwood chose to celebrate this with a daily Peloton of over 70 vintage bikes being ridden around the 2.4 mile circuit followed by an assortment of authentic french support and promotional vehicles creating the noise and excitement of the classic french race. Included in the ‘caravane’ was a tiny three wheeled Vespa with a photographer in the back and some amazing vehicles, many based on Citroen H-vans, among them a castle from Chateau Castelvin, a wine company promotion from the 60’s, a BUTAGAZ bottle, SPAR and Arthur Martin, French domestic appliances.DSC02730DSC02732DSC02735DSC02738DSC02739DSC02741DSC02742

Off  track the vehicles were based in the fictional village square of Aubigny, created for Revival and complete with cafes, bars, French resistance fighters and a bicycle shop.DSC02734DSC02743DSC02744DSC02745DSC02755DSC02756

On Saturday World and Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy took to the track on a 20’s bike. Pictured alongside TV presenter Amanda Stretton

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Copyright Goodwood

We were lucky enough to be invited to take part in our 1958 Renault 4cv Decoverable (Regie), the car was decorated with period advertising stickers and some for sponsors of the event. On each day the bikes were directed on track behind the camera cars, we followed on and drove round the track to a great reception from the crowd. Unfortunately some of the riders were quite slow so we were quite a distance from the main peloton but we got a glimpse of the action from the trackside screens. It was fun to do and on Sunday when the conditions were very wet, it gave us some impression of just how bad visibility was for the cars racing that afternoon. It was great to see the marshals who must have been soaking by then still lining the track and waving as we drove past.

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TV appearance by a very famous taxi…

Following on from his appearance in the Telegraph, Mario was very excited to be contacted by Aurora the company that produce the television coverage and DVD for the Revival. Traditionally the shows presenters Amanda Stretton and Steve Rider arrive at the circuit by an interesting form of transport and this year they wanted Steve to ‘arrive’ in Mario. Obviously with Mario being such a shy and retiring beast he took nano seconds to say yes!

DSC02679 DSC02682 DSC02686We started filming on Thursday evening when the roads were quieter to get some ‘driving’ footage. James stepped in as Steve’s ‘body double’ sitting in the back while we drove back and forth past the Trundle up at the race course. One of the camera crews was positioned at the top of the hill and the other on the sharp bend. Mario, linked to the crew by radio, just had to wait for a suitable gap in the traffic and then cruise smoothly past. The crew didn’t seem concerned that we were shooting on a sunny evening when the forecast for the rest of the weekend wasn’t good, the technology would take over later and when the footage was mixed together it would all look alright we were assured. For continuity I agreed to wear the same hat and fur stole on both days we would be shooting.

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Steve arrived at the circuit on Saturday morning and the film crew started fitting up Mario with five Go-Pro cameras, three inside to film Jane driving and Steve sitting in the back plus two on the outside to capture Mario on the road. Steve is a lovely chap and after many years presenting sport on the BBC and ITV very professional, he personally owns a Fiat 500 and so was very interested in Mario.

With the cameras fitted and activated we set off to drive around the local roads while Steve gave his opening lines before pulling into the circuit and then coming to a halt at the taxi rank. The crew were waiting for us and after removing the Go-Pro’s set up to film the coming to a halt sequence from several angles within the Taxi Rank.DSC02882DSC02886DSC02889DSC02894DSC02896DSC02897DSC02903DSC02905Due to some technical problems we had to do an extra run with one of the external Go-Pro’s and some more footage of Steve’s introduction with a sound man onboard, in all we were filming for about 3 hours over the two days for a sequence which will be just under a minute of the 45 minute TV programme which was broadcast tonight Thursday 26 September on ITV4 and repeated later on ITV1. It was amazing at the amount of work and effort that went into such a short piece of film and how much footage was destined for the ‘cutting room floor’ but was us it was a new experience and an honour to be part of the programme.

We’ve just watch the programme and we were delighted with how the intro turned up, it’s interesting trying to work out which bits were shot where and how cleverly it has all been fitted together, a great job – the rest of the programme wasn’t bad either!

Goodwood Revival through the eyes of the GRTC…

DSC02693Mario, brother Regie the 4cv Renault, Kato the Subaru 360 and humans ‘work’ the Goodwood Revival as part of the Goodwood Revival Transport Corps, otherwise known as the GRTC. This band of merry volunteers turn up every year with their pre 66 vehicles and help to keep the event running smoothly and the public entertained.

The group includes stationery display vehicles, mods & rockers and the police, who do the track opening, the jeeps, who operate from the gate and get equipment for the race teams from the competitors parking to the circuit and the period taxi fleet of which we are a part. The taxi rank is home to an assortment of cars, original London taxi’s, vehicles from the Vauxhall Historic Collection, AC’s, Humber Super Snipe, Triumphs and so forth. Most of the drivers have been doing it for a number of years and so it has the atmosphere of a ‘school reunion’ with everyone catching up on what’s happened since last year.DSC02696 DSC02719 DSC02724 DSC02806 DSC02818DSC02875 DSC02879

Being a Revival taxi driver is not for the faint hearted, long days, having your picture taken a ‘million’ times, telling the cars story and driving around/between the circuit, house, hotel and the Kennels, this year we completed over 200kms each!DSC02713DSC02714DSC02969

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We also have to keep ‘working’ no matter what the conditions and this year on Friday evening and Sunday after about 3.30pm the weather was disgusting! It’s not easy driving the old cars in these conditions, certainly on Mario the lights and wipers aren’t good and he gets all steamed up especially when filled with soggy passengers! We’d used RainEx on the outside which does help but in the future an application of Anti-Fog would be worth doing. We do have an advantage though when the weather is inclement as at least we have somewhere dry to sit. The roads especially at the entrances to the car parks were very muddy and slippery and visitors just ‘wanting to get home’ became a bit of a hazard. A lot of the visitors are very considerate to the ‘working’ vehicles but some are very unhelpful and don’t let us into queuing traffic etc, if only they realised that we might be trying to get a driver to a race on time! DSC02861 DSC02860 DSC02858 DSC02855 DSC02853 DSC02848

The best thing about being in the GRTC is all the interesting people you get to meet from celebrities, drivers, ViP guests, staff and members, they are all enjoying themselves and so are keen to chat about they and we have been doing. They are often surprised that the cars are our own and that we are volunteers but we always point out that Goodwood look after us well.

As always we had our share of ‘celebs’, our regular passenger Adrian Newey, F1 designer for Red Bull managed to get a lift in each of the three ‘little’ cars, as always he was most charming and for once wasn’t our last passenger of the day!IMG_3541

Ex Works Mini Rally driver Rauno Altonen had a ride in Mario and the Renault. Rauno who had driven a Mini in the St Mary’s and a Jaguar E-Type in the RAC TT Celebration wasn’t interested in talking about what he’d been doing, he just wanted to talk about our cars! When James dropped him back at the hotel he spent an enjoyable time discussing the engine and the modifications and maintenance that James had done. We also both took Stuart Graham who raced bikes (winning the TT in the 60’s) and Saloon cars in the 70’s, he also didn’t talk about his experiences in a Galaxie in the St Mary’s and a Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray in the TT but was fascinated about the cars. All the drivers celebrity and gentlemen alike are absolutely charming and very appreciative of the service we provide for them. IMG_3540

James picked up Sir Stirling and Susie Moss, he has rallied with them in the past so always likes the opportunity for a natter and David Richards, ex driver, runner of Pro-drive and now owner of Aston Martin. Cheeky driver Rae Davis even managed to ‘sweet talk’ us into running him into Chichester on Sunday evening when he couldn’t get a ‘real’ taxi!IMG_3558

All in all we had another brilliant weekend, the ‘little’ cars performed really well and hopefully did their bit to support the event and they certainly brought a smile to the face of many Revival goers. Fingers crossed we get an invite back for next year.

Revival Day two…

Finding it rather difficult to blog, not only have we been really busy but also the phone/wi-fi is almost impossible to get a signal.
Briefly it’s been a good day, not as wet as expected and lots of runs between the circuit and the hotel, kennels etc. We met lots of lovely people both old and new.
Regie the Renault was part of the Tour de France parade so we got to go out and do a lap of the track behind a peloton of vintage bicycles.

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The racing went on into the dark this evening, and it started to rain… The end of a very long but fun day… Will try to blog more tomorrow.

Our best weekend is here again…

Mario is back at Goodwood, all ready for 3 days of taxi driving at the Revival.

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Loaded up with all his new matching luggage we had a lovely drive down, it was like driving a new car – the new drive shafts and brakes have made a massive difference and everything is really smooth now.
We arrived in time to see some of the cricket match. And be entertained by Hurrel and Lardy.

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Our relaxing afternoon was soon interrupted when we asked to go and do some filming for ITV, more will be revealed as the weekend progresses!

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A fabulous weekend… part 2

We couldn’t believe how fast the weekend was going, Sunday already and the final day. Up, ready and back at the circuit early as usual for the morning run of pick ups from the Kennels and Hotel, plus several runs out to Lavant, all going smoothly as they had all weekend. 

Again things slowed down mid morning so the ‘humans’ set off on another little wander, this time down to Tesco. This great store recreated as a small supermarket in the early 60’s is a brilliant mix of fake period stock and items for sale such as sandwiches, chocolate and drinks, many of which are in vintage style packaging. It’s very popular especially as it’s the cheapest place on site to buy lunch!

We wandered around the stalls in the vintage village, a vast array of vintage clothing and accessories and car related goods and art. The SU carburettor stand was superb as a wartime bomb site, even the baby was in perfect period dress.A trip around the vintage stalls couldn’t be made without a small purchase – note the change of hat since the earlier picture! This lovely confection of gauzy ribbon, raffia and ribbon flowers had come from Germany and again was a perfect match with Mario and the Sunday frock, it stayed on much better especially with getting in and out of the car all day, a lady must consider the practicality of these things.Back to work and another busy period with everybody wanting to get into position for the big events of the day. We set of with some journalists and photographers who wanted to go out to St Mary’s, we hadn’t been right round the track yet and were pleasantly surprised at how easy and free flowing the perimeter road was. After dropping the passengers we spotted Craig and Kato having a break and watching the St Mary’s Trophy. We stopped and took a few pics of the on track action including ‘Little Regie’ who unfortunately had problems and run at the back although James’ was convinced that our ‘Regie’ with his 850 Dauphine Gordini engine would have been quicker.The next thing on the timetable was the Dan Gurney Tribute parade which we had been very keen to catch all weekend, as Dan’s Westlake Eagle was one of Jane’s favourite cars and although we’d seen it at the festival of speed, we’d never seen it on the racetrack even though it would be only parading and not being driven in anger. However the taxi’s had been very busy and so we were good and started to make our way back to base. Fate took over though and the perimeter road was closed for the air display so we were trapped and so took the forced opportunity to watch the parade. Dan was driven first by Lord March and then by Tony Brooks, other significant drivers such as Jackie Stewart also took part.Once we were ‘free’ we headed back to the taxi’s and spent the afternoon doing various runs and chatting to the drivers about their day. In no time at all, the meeting was coming to a close. We missed the presentations as we were still working and we were just finishing when Jochen Mass appeared wanting another ride to the hotel, after posing with the ‘team’ we set off on our final run, Jochen was charming as always and said he’d book us for next year. After we had left, Adrian Newey, quite often our final drive of the day turned up from the presentation of his TT win. Craig took him back in Kato and Adrian let them try out his winners laurels for size.We headed back to the circuit for one last time, Mario had completed 280km and performed perfectly all weekend. We spend so long looking forward to this event and it seems to go quicker every year but we are left with wonderful memories of all the fascinating people we have met and the sights, sounds and smells of what is just the best weekend ever… until next year (we hope).

Mario – fifty years young…

Mario was ‘born’ in Rome in November 1962, and so to take advantage of the ‘Summer’ Mario had an official birthday on Bank Holiday Monday August 27th and invited along a selection of his car friends and their humans to celebrate.

We met up in Haslemere and set off individually on a treasure hunt devised by James. The 20 odd mile route through Hindhead, Tilford, Witley and Hambledon took us along small and twisty roads looking for answers to James’ cryptic questions. We finished at the Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming, the National Trust were great and let us park up in their picnic area where we created an unusual display for their visitors.

Everybody had brought along some food and soon the table was groaning with delicious picnic fare. Despite the terrible weather forecast the sun came out and everybody had a very relaxing afternoon. Mario’s cake was cut revealing a surprising Mario coloured checkered inside. Louise and Peter in the Bentley won a special bottle of Vino di Multipla for their efforts in the treasure hunt.

Alongside Mario and his ‘brother’ Regie the Renault was René another 4cv convertible, BlueBelle the Morris Minor Convertible, a Bentley, Facel Vega, MGA and a Stanley Steamer.

Mario had a lovely day and intends to carry on celebrating his half century throughout the forthcoming Goodwood Revival.

Wheels Day


Lovely colour - a lime green Karmaan Ghia

Mario has had a lovely sunny Good Friday out at Wheels Day. This annual show held at Rushmoor Arena near Aldershot and organised by The Surrey Street Rodders is primarily a custom car show but always attracts a very varied and interesting collection of cars, although not all to our taste!

Obviously happy to be out and about on a lovely spring day, Mario performed well and even amongst this large collection of unique vehicles still attracted more than his fair share of attention. This show is very well attended with possibly over 1000 exhibiting vehicles. Here is a small selection of a few that caught our eye. A few more will be on Mario’s Facebook page, if you haven’t already ‘liked’ him please pop along and do so.

Black 'Slug'

VW Pickup, Lambretta service vehicle with matching scooter

Huge American Hearse with coffin, skeleton and rat - the Multipla hearse would be a huge attraction as this event

One of the only four known Monkeemobiles, made for the TV series in the world – a 1967 Pontiac GTO

Last but not least better have a pic of Mario!