Extract From
Finding the Driving Spirit

I was curious to obtain some feedback from someone of a female persuasion who harboured not the slightest interest in cars. So I asked whether my professional proof-reader Lynda was getting a feel for the book. "Well it's funny," she said, "I sat down and began to proof-read and…very soon I fell into a deep, deep sleep. It was so deep that when (husband) Rich rang me it took quite a while for me to work out where I was and that it was the telephone making the noise…" Praise indeed! It appears that this book will make most singularly excellent bed time reading.

What is it that draws normally sane people towards the Gallic austerity of the proletarian Citroën 2CV?
I have been a car fanatic since my pushchair days. It has led me on a career path in the motor trade and has been a fascination that has driven decisions relating to my social life for years. In writing my curriculum vitae or CV, this influence is immediately obvious. It is not that I am particularly proud of any great achievements in this sphere of influence. But I have looked back, in the process of writing A Tale of Two CVs, at some great stories of that part of my life spent with cars and motorcycles. There have indeed been experiences of some highly inspirational vehicles through my fortunate years. Some have been exotic, others just brilliantly functional. Despite warnings to the contrary, I have never grown tired of the 2CV and its family. Its simplicity inspires and refreshes me in a world of so much auto-electronic unnecessariness. Besides, it seems to me that you can meet such amazing characters and enjoy such a rich diversity of experience when you pursue an interest in these crazy cars. I want you to be there with me, a passenger in the full sense of the word, in (and in some cases on) some of the most eccentric yet masterful automotive creations of a more evocative era. I want you to feel with your hands and your buttocks, to hear the rich diversity of noises, to see and maybe even to smell. I want you to cringe and to rejoice, to ponder and to laugh, to lie in the bath and make silly noises, to sing even! Let's see if it works…

What is it that draws normally secular people around the globe to search for the driving spirit?
This too is a life's work: a curriculum vitae in its own right. I had this idea that maybe it would be good to share some of the crazy experiences and thoughts stemming from my somewhat eccentric passion for cars and bikes, while simultaneously taking you on a journey that we British just don't talk about: the journey in search of God. This, if you like, is my other CV, a story that I hope to expound in an interesting way in a pair of books otherwise filled with things that go 'Brumm'. For as long as I can remember my dear mother took my brother and me along to church. I think I have long viewed this as being an important part of our upbringing - perhaps an endeavour to make us upright citizens with good Christian values. The journey in pursuit of God has thus always, to a greater or lesser extent, been a part of my life, having an effect of varying magnitude on my thoughts and attitudes to my work and my friendships. Sometimes I have spent months not giving such celestial matters any serious consideration at all. At other times they have seemed essential. Always there has been a sense of challenge. Is the subject of religion really more slippery than a wet shelf in a soap warehouse or is there evidence of any absolute truth upon which to take hold? It would seem that the worst courses of action would be either to take everything proffered at face value or, conversely to dismiss the entire subject out of hand. It's got to be worthy of investigation. What might happen when we really start looking for God? Can he be found? Is there a supernatural realm in life or merely a superstitious one? Join me as, in the pages of these books, I peer under the bonnets, lift up the carpets and reach down behind the seats, applying some of the enthusiasm and passion that I have harboured for ingenious internal-combustion engines to a search for a real God - one who works with us in the nitty-gritty of life itself rather than merely in religious arguments. Furthermore, if 2CV drivers are crazy, then what sort of people will we meet in the pursuit of God? I invite you to suspend your disbelief and prepare for a very unusual ride. So fasten your seatbelt and listen to that grating starter motor and that clattering engine cacophony as I turn the key and fire up the raucous motor of A Tale of Two CVs.