Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The holiday car

I did suggest I might blog about the holiday car.

Firstly you need to know I work for Ford so, whilst I believe this to be an honest appraisal, I have had years of brain-washing.  I mean seriously.  Next month sees my 20 year anniversary with the Company.  (If you want to send congratulatory cards the date is October 14th.)

Secondly, you should I know I was a passenger for most of the holiday, predominantly playing the part of SatMum or, as I think I should be called with the benefit of hindsight, MumNav.  I did some driving, mixing up a bit of smooth and slick autoroute with twisty, turny, lumpy, bumpy roads.

Thirdly you should know I used to be part of a Drive Team.  This is a bunch of (usually) educated engineering types with perhaps a random marketeer (I was the random marketeer) who appraise vehicles during the product development phase.  The tests are contrived but are intended to reflect the customer experience.  The Drive Team evaluate all manner of vehicle attributes (defined by the Vehicle Integration Team) such as "left foot comfort."  This was always a strange attribute to my thinking as my left foot was always comfortable, but then I was enlightened by colleagues who pointed me in the direction of the left foot rest which is a feature that I had never used and still consider to be completely redundant.

One of the benefits of being "on" the Drive Team was a training session with Jackie Stewart.  The only thing I really recall from the session was his advice on testing the build quality of the vehicle.  Apparently, using the bottom of one's fist one should bash a vehicle body panel 15 times, because (and I quote) "Ten is not enough and 20 is too many."  The wisdom of the three time World Champion was legendary.  He didn't mention those World Championships at all by the way.  Not ten times, not 20 times...

The other benefit was driving around proving grounds.  I am pleased to say that Michigan Proving Ground has a corner named after me.  I got a little over-enthusiastic taking a corner in a VW Transporter.  I know, the glamour - a bloody van.  But anyway I gave the Armco a friendly nudge and now, and forever more, that corner is Cardus corner.

Actually, I'll leave it there.  I've given you an insight into my skills, abilities, age and admiration for the legend that is three time World Champion Jackie Stewart.  I'll leave talking about the car to another day. :)

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