Me and my motor The Guardian

03/07/2000 16:21

Me and my motor: Friend Wood

The Guardian,

Monday 3 July 2000 16.21

What is your car?

A lightweight, aerodynamic transport pod - with a wooden body.

Why do you drive it?

It's an ecological method of transport - light, with low drag.

What does it say about you?

That I'm patient. That I'm willing to go to great lengths to show people the intelligent way forward.

What reactions do you get?

Everybody looks, children jump up and down. It makes people happy.

Does it work?

It's not a toy; it's a working car. The looks are incidental - it had to be this shape to let the air go past gently and efficiently. The wood - mahogany - just happens to be beautiful.

Have you ever owned a more conventional vehicle?

I had another self-built three-wheeler, and before that I drove a bubble car. A recumbent bicycle is still my preferred mode of transport.

What kind of driver are you?

I used to be mad. I put in a tiny 435cc engine for a while to slow myself down, so I was forced to drive more considerately.

Any bad habits?

No. Since I did the top speed test I've never been to 100mph again, although I have been fast on the German autobahns.

Any points on your licence?


Ever experienced road rage?

Definitely not.

What state is your car in?

You have to treat it like a boat: sand it back and re-varnish it every couple of years.

What's in the car?

An information sheet to put on the car when I park it. It's to educate people. Everybody will have to start being more careful, you know.

Is it a fire hazard?

I certainly wouldn't allow smoking in the car, but that's because it's an awful habit.

What would be your dream car?

The idea for that came to me four years ago, and it's almost ready. It's based on the plans for the most advanced car ever - even lighter than this one. That's all I'll say. But what I really would like to build is a fully enclosed pedal-powered device.

Who would be your dream passenger?

Somebody who appreciates what I do.

What's it like to drive

When you drive it, you can forget that it's not a normal car, except for the fact that everybody's looking. You feel like you ought to wave. A friend of mine said she felt like the Queen.