I am sooo excited to be introducing myself as the Motoring Editor of Frank. I didn’t see that coming!
I failed at school, fell into hairdressing, and have been riding a huge roller coaster of life, including health issues both mental and physical, which have all contributed to a very eclectic career path.
I’ve always had an interest in cars since I was young when my Dad used to bring home a new and exciting company car each year. He was a design engineer so I guess it’s in the genes – only slightly though, as I do not have engineering skills.
However, I do have a keen eye for design and I love driving. I’ve discovered that my sensitivity, which has adversely affected me health wise, is a great asset when a car is not running right – I am immediately aware of any unusual noise or change in the ride or power.
My passion for cars grew from my pre-driving license days when I drove my mother’s VW Beetle around the end of our garden whilst my brother pretended to be a monkey on the bonnet. Then I was asked by a friend to join her at the London and Birmingham Motor Shows to work for Renault back in the non-PC days of car companies flaunting attractive women (or should I say exciting models) in front of their exciting new models. I went on from there, following the excitement, to work for the BBC’s Top Gear Live events.
You can read more about that in an interview with Melanie in the Books section. My new book is a personal memoir and celebration of touring the world with the most notorious motoring journalists – the most controversial one of whom I ended up in a relationship with, Jeremy Clarkson.
So from working alongside and hanging out with those legends (or reprobates, however you chose to view them) you might imagine I’ve learnt a lot. To add to all that experience, I have spent over 20 years working in the motor industry, launching new models such as the original Ford Focus back in 1997/98 and that is where I first met Melanie Sykes, my now Editor in chief!
Along with working on numerous new model launches for many different manufacturers, I also trained dealers and prospective buyers all about the latest technology, safety features and key features, on and in hundreds of vehicles. I have worked for most of the usual suspects that we see on our roads and have been lucky enough to experience many unusual and elite super cars – including a motorised bed! (Carfest circa 2015.)
Melanie and I strengthened our relationship in recent years through a mutual friend and our beloved boys (we both have sons with autism).
We are now firm allies in the war on climate change, living sustainably and generally trying to make the world and the people in it better. So here I am now, aged 52, about to embark on a very exciting new chapter of my life and aim to inspire you and guide you to travel more mindfully.
I shall be investigating all forms of travel and, although we are accelerating fast into a world of alternatively powered vehicles, I will still have my eye on the old school and advise on how you can lower your carbon footprint even if you can’t go electric.
Before anyone starts reporting me as a hypocrite I would like to explain my current mode of transport, my beloved 12-year-old Range Rover Vogue TDV8. I continue to drive it as I very much have a waste not want not attitude. I feel it has been born and where would it end up if I didn’t have it? It is a work horse, not a Chelsea Tractor. I live in the middle of fields down a single-track lane that often becomes impassable due to flooding or snow. I have a giant child and many beasts that need moving around from time to time as well as feeding. I would seriously struggle to fit myself and the boy in a smart car (we are 6ft and over), let alone a bale of hay and a few feed sacks. I have also read evidence suggesting that driving around the country in a hefty diesel is far less polluting than sitting in traffic in a city in one.
Having said all that, I have a very close eye on the emerging hybrid and all-electric large 4X4’s and when finances allow I’ll be right in one! In the meantime, I shall enjoy getting out there to test them all.
As well as checking out all the exciting new clean and green cars that we should all be aspiring to purchase, I shall be reporting on the cars we fantasise about and the all-important research and development that goes on in the thrilling environment of motorsport. I am honoured to be in discussions with the most innovative and inspiring race series that is Extreme E. Read more about that both here and in Earth Matters, where we tell you more about their latest leg in Greenland.
I’m sure a lot of you like me will be sad to lose the guttural, reverberating sounds of F1 and the like but the extraordinary whine and moan of excessive power that exudes from the incredible Extreme E all terrain beasts and the more refined Formula E beauties is growing on me, fast.
I can’t wait to get going and share my adventures with you. Expect my first car review as a passionate punter very soon.
Any car news you’d like to share or like me to investigate, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow my world on Instagram @pj.sage
To buy Phillipa’s book CLICK HERE!