My first experience in mechanics was likely pretty similar to a lot of people’s – dirt bikes held together with duct tape, Ford Cortinas with blown engines (due to my older brother’s constant attempts to break the land speed record when he was late for work!), and the fact that we were all driving around in cars that were on their last legs. The options were simple – learn how to fix it or scrap it!
I cut my teeth in what most people would quite rightly call a typical back street garage. There I learnt the basics of everything from brakes, to body work, under the watchful eye of an excellent tutor who is now many years on, my brother in law.
Funny old world eh?!
Later, the obsession was to fit a diesel engine into pretty much anything. If you wanted a 4×4, it had to have a diesel engine in order for you to afford to run it.
It was whilst I owned a two-door Range Rover, which had a 2.0ltr Turbo Perkins Prima (better known as an Austin Montego engine) that I worked at Strathcarron Sports Cars. There we built a new British two-seater sports car, running a triumph 4-cylinder engine which was later changed to a Rover K series. I worked closely with the design engineers ‘Chapman Associates’ based in Norfolk, and held the record for the only employee to build a complete car from scratch in the allotted time scale of three days! I was also responsible for the SVGA approval of the cars that we built. Unfortunately, like many British car companies, production ceased after a couple of years due to financial troubles. However, I believe the Strathcarron company does live on.
I was working at Strathcarron when my Rangey had an uncomfortable experience with a deep ditch whilst on an off-roading trip, and a new shell had to be found for my Prima engine.
This came from the guys at Oak Tree Garage, Kimpton (near Stevenage) but it still had the original 3.5 twin-carb V8. After driving it I couldn’t bring myself to remove the V8, but nor could I bring myself to pay the petrol bill! 11 years ago it was costing me £50 a week to commute to work, and something had to change!
That’s when I found Tinley Tech LPG, now based in Cambridgeshire. I bought an LPG Kit for my Range Rover, fitted it, and never looked back!
After this, all my off-roading pals bought V8’s, and I converted them too.
These were the early days of LPG systems, and they have certainly moved on. They had to due to the innovation in vehicle technology. They were good then, but they’re fantastic now!
From that day on I have been involved in LPG in one way or another. Including the inspection of converted vehicles, and the practical training of people who wish to become installers.