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February 2016 - CLASSIX

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    Posted: 30 Jan 2016 at 5:26pm

Congratulations on winning February 2016 MOTM Ricky! How does it feel to be our exclusive Member Of The Month and having your name up in lights?

I was quite taken by surprise when I saw my inbox on the NPOC forum contained a message from you, even more surprised when I read the content. I must be quite honest and admit that I am quite humbled by this award being given to me, as I know there are a lot of other members who well deserve the honour. By the same token I am chuffed to bits with a big grin from ear to ear!

We’d love to find out about you the person. Please tell us about yourself and what you get up to, away from the NPOC.

When I am not scouring either the forums or our NPOC Facebook page I am hard at it driving petrol tankers for a living, making sure all the petrol heads can keep up all the good work they do.

I also seem to spend a lot of time on the phone now talking some of our younger members through minor repair issues that they’ve got stuck on while fixing their Primeras, like the odd minor engine change etc. I feel it’s important to freely pass on any knowledge that has been passed onto me by other members in our great club, to help keep us alive as a club and to maintain the ethos of the club - That it is a club orientated around its members and not the cars. I personally don’t see any of us as members but as more of a big family.

I know it’s been a while now but can you remember how you found the NPOC forums and are we any good? Would you happily recommend the club to other Nissan Primera owners?

Well Shaun it’s your entire fault really! Going back to the end of 2009 a problem developed with our GTLE, someone had tried to steal it and in the process burned out the ECU, so off to Nissan to get a new ECU to be told it would take up to 3 months to get and would cost an arm and a leg too. So off on an internet search I went (Google is god!) and instantly up popped NPOC. I applied for my membership and put out a call for help – BAM! No sooner had I done so I got a reply from you offering the very part I was seeking at a great price. The very next day it arrived and was fitted to my baby curing all of her ills. From there on in I have enjoyed being a part of NPOC and all that it offers, through its diverse and friendly members.

Your join date from your profile shows February 2010! Which means you have now racked up 6 years of paying NPOC Membership! Massive respect and well done! What keeps you coming back and signing in every day here?

As I have already said earlier it’s the members in the club that keeps me in NPOC, the characters, their ideas and contributions and the willingness to help others when they can is just outstanding. Some of the friendships I have formed in my time so far are brilliant and always bring a smile when we all get to meet at the various events we all go to.

You’re an Elite Member here (our highest level of paying membership and respect to you too)!! Are you still getting value for money with that? And please sell us the reason, why everyone should become Elite.

For me being an Elite Member is a no brainer, it affords me the ability to get great discount deals for all of the events we go to, most importantly the free breakfast at the iconic Ace Café at our end of year meet. But more importantly I hope that as an Elite Member as with other Elite Members, it shows I am a dedicated long term member of the club and committed to promoting it into the future.

So let’s get to previously owned cars list please Ricky, being a good looking 50 year old something from the Midlands, this should be an epic list! Give us your car ownership history from the day you passed please and I’d love you to accompany this lot with some olde photos if you have them?

OK the photos will be a bit hard to do due to a psychotic former wife burning everything I owned. The list of cars I have owned is in some cases awesome moving to the cringe worthy!

My first semi legal venture into the motoring world of weird and wonderful was a Mini Scamp that a friend and I built from a kit, now if you’re all wondering what a Mini Scamp is, it’s very similar to a Mini Moke - I taught myself to drive it by going backwards and forwards up and down my friends very long drive, until I was ready to venture out onto the public highways (I was 15 at the time LOL).

My next motor was a 1967 Morris Mini in black. From there I moved onto a feisty Austin Mini Cooper, a real one with twin tanks a 1071 screamer engine, full race straight cut gearbox, roll cage, basically a full blown rally car. I kept this Mini for quite a few years moving on from a 1071 CC engine to a 1276, 1380 1460 and finally onto a Lotus 1600 twin cam with a cross flow head being fed by two Weber 40 side draft carburetors, still being mated onto the straight cut gearbox it originally started with, oh boy was it fun to drive!

I then needed a more practical daily and someone I knew needed some money fast and had one of the older Audi 80’s, it was a 1600 LS model, a bit beat up but comfy and economical. I liked it so much I bought an Audi 80 Sport, I loved driving that and shortly moved onto bigger things, namely an Audi Coupe or 3, followed by the inevitable ultimate Audi Quattro.

Then along came our daughter and the Quattro was a pain to get the baby seat in and out of, so 4 doors were needed again.

As luck would have it, a friend was selling off one of their company pool cars at a very cheap price and so began my adventure into Nissan, with our first gleaming white Nissan Primera P10 2.0 LX, quite comfy and practical, everything you could ask for from a family car and it served us well for many years.

I then bought my current Nordic GTLE Loon and have loved her ever since.

Have you got a favourite out of the “previously owned” list above and why?

I think overall the Mini Cooper was my favorite mainly because in its time there wasn’t much about that could catch it, I used to love those silly police 1300 Allegros disappearing behind me LOL!

In your current fleet right now you have a Suzuki Swift Sport that you call “Skank” or something (haha) so please tell us more about this one and show us some photos (oh and I do genuinely love these lil’ Swifts!):

Ah the Skook! The problem with the Skook is that I like to drive it as it reminds me of the Cooper. They are great fun, very uneconomical in the right hands and an overall little demon - Every time I get in it I sprout devil horns!

She touts a not too shabby 1600 VVTI engine, that coupled with its light weight gives a great power to weight ratio. It ain’t the fastest but it sure raises some eye brows from time to time. The gear change is short, precise and smooth, with its superb handling it makes quite a formidable little shopping trolley!

I love driving it when I can steal it off the wife cos it’s just fun all the way. When the next breed of Suzuki Swift Sports come out in 2017, we will more than likely get one as it will be offered with factory fitted upgrades such as big brake options, bigger engine sizes, Turbo charged or Supercharged options are going to be on the menu as well, so it will be an adventure we will continue with.

If you’re looking for fast fun with a low budget, the Suzuki Swift is a good option and can punch well above its weight, as a few Scoobys have found out with me at the helm, around the lanes where I live. Such a joy to drive!

So bringing us back to the Nissan Primera era.. What got you into a Nissan Primera to start with, was it on the list of cars to own back in the day, or a chance encounter?

The advent of kids got me into a Primera, we needed a good four door saloon with a big boot. Our first P10 came along just at the right time and served us well for many years even after getting the Nordic P11. It was just the practicality of the design that attracted me to it.

I must admit coming from having performance cars to a family saloon and a Japanese car at that, was I thought, quite a bit of a come down for me but I was so impressed with the P10 LX that I decided to give the P11 GT a try.

The main event on your driveway however is a sexy Nissan Primera P11 GTLE in awesome Nordic blue paint and to top it off, she’s a saloon! Please tell us more about this one and list all the goodies it has and any changes you’ve made and let’s see some photos too:

My Nordic is a 1999 2.0 GTLE Saloon, with the full leather interior that accompanied the GTLE’s.

She started life off as one of the cars that was used to promote the P11 GT’s when they first appeared - I actually remember seeing her at our local Nissan dealership with all of the wild thing decals on, when they were running the TV adverts to promote them. She was being used by the Managing Director of Polsworth Garage at the time and at about 1 year old she came up for sale and I got her for a great price from Nissan Polsworth. Once again I was not disappointed with the practicality of the car for family use and she was a real head turner too, in that Nordic colour.

Now a lot of people have done lots of modifications on their Primeras and I am not to be excluded but I’ve tried to keep my mods discreet and tasteful and not gone off at the plain barmy or insane end!

So here is a few of the modifications she has had done:

Fully braided HEL brake pipes - I got HEL to change the design on these so they now fit the P11’s correctly.

ASUKA 17 inch light race alloys.

Monroe Sensa-Trac Shocks all round sitting on APEX lowering springs(30 mm drop).

High Carbon Content Discs all round (none of this fancy drilled or vented stuff just good high quality discs).

Stainless Manifold (provided by member “Grim”) and a very nice Japspeed 2.5 inch Stainless Exhaust (that member “p11primeragt” keeps trying to buy back!)

Recently I have done some little mods, like illuminating the window switches and doing the obligatory LED bulb replacements in the dash board.

What’s your favourite thing / part about the GTLE?

In short for a Saloon of her weight and size she handles very well. When you take into consideration her age and power bracket, she’s still quite formidable when she needs to be. So for me it has to be the way she handles and I always feel confident driving her. She was good in standard form but with the addition of better shocks and stiffer springs she’s even better!

So imagine this.. Money is no object and you can build yaself the ultimate Nissan Primera, you can do anything you want here Ricky – What would you create?

I think the biggest disappointment for all of us with GT’s is that we never got the SR20 VE in the UK, this would be my primary option to change. I would also look at some better engineered suspension components as well. The design is good but the engineering and materials of that time can now be improved upon. One of the other things I would improve would be the brake calipers moving onto dual cylinder Calipers all round, all of these changes will happen as time goes on.

One of the things I like about you, is your passion for keeping your Nissan Primera on the road and going, you’re very hands on with maintenance and repairs. What would be the final straw, to see you and the car part company?

There is no final straw. While there are parts to be bought, people that can fabricate and weld and while I can use spanners, she will carry on. If it rusts it will be cut out and replaced, if it breaks it will be replaced. I don’t have the option to give up on her and my son wants to inherit her from me, so she is hopefully going to live on for a long time yet.

Is there anything you’d never take on or attempt, when it comes to car mechanics or repairs and what’s your spanner rating from 1 - 5?

Given the correct tools and environment to work in I will attempt anything except welding and that is only because I have a problem seeing what I am doing, because of a quirk in my eyesight’s ability to process certain light frequencies. I would put my spanner rating at 5+

During the last couple of years, we’ve seen you experiment with car spraying / painting, most people just don’t ever go there! So how did this all happen and how’s your skills coming along?

I quite often see on the Forums or on our Facebook page, some of our people that have little issues with paintwork / rust problems and usually the predominant theme of their posts is that they can’t do it and it will cost them lots to get done, so I decided to show that you can do it at home with limited knowledge and a little practice. I think it was more of a case to inspire people to have confidence in themselves to have a go, it also provides for great entertainment amongst our members to see what we are all up to and what we can all do if we are prepared to try.

If given the right working environment I could easily paint any car to a high standard of finish. In earlier years I was a boat builder building sailing boats and we had to hand paint and varnish these to perfection, so I have an eye for getting things perfect and am not satisfied until I do so.

My painting adventures will continue this year as I have been give access to a state of the art spraying booth, I just need the time to do it now, once I have done some more remedial work and made a start on member “michaelp9149”s bent Nordic, that is also going to be saved and not stripped.

Time for the quick fire question round!

What makes you smile? 

Members Michael Johnson & Chris Palmer.

What makes you sad? 

Learning of another Nissan Primera being broken up by vultures (member “grim” is the only exception and with good reason too - I love “grim”).

Tell us something we don't know about you..

I am very good at Competitive Sailing.

Your favourite colour? 

Saphire Blue.

Your lucky number? 

13.

What will it say on your gravestone?

Not Enough Time!

Your favourite drink (any)? 

Hereford Stowford Press cider.

Your sub £10K second hand dream car would be? 

P11 G20.

Your sub £30K second hand dream car would be? 

Nissan Skyline R34.

If you could steal the keys to someone else’s car (on NPOC) for 1 day, which car would you steal and why? 

There are quite a few, spoilt for choice actually, but currently for its uniqueness it would have to be “birchyboy3”s P11-144 GT Hybrid. This does not discount the others I would love to own for a day, we have some really nice cars out there at the moment, a great display of the love poured into them.

“birchyboy3”’s car pictured below:

Before we now move on to discussing Club Meets, your lovely cats regularly appear on my Facebook feed LOL! Please feel free to tell us more about the cats, they spend as much time in and on your GTLE, as you do!

I am blessed to have acquired some rather quirky and uncouth ferrule cats, none of them were chosen they just moved in. They do some quite weird and amusing things, especially when I am out tinkering with the cars, The black one called Rocky, who appears quite a lot in my FB posts, is a real character and yes he does like to come out in the cars - The only problem with that, is that it’s anyones car and that’s proven to be hilarious on a couple of occasions, as my wife has a hairdressing salon attached to the house. The most notable instance was when Sue’s mum decided to give a customer a lift home - As the story goes she was driving along in her Micra with Daisy (customer) in the back, there were some funny noises (howling) coming from the back of the car and Sue’s mum thought Daisy was having some sort of seizure or fit in the back of the car. Thankfully it was Rocky on the parcel shelf howling away, there are just too many funny things they have done to mention here.

You’ve shown up at a few club meets over the years Ricky, what’s been your favourite one to date and why?

I don’t in all honesty have a favourite, it’s not really the shows I rate, I only go to the shows to catch up with our other members. There is a lot of love in NPOC and my interest in going to any of the shows is to be amongst friends and enjoy their good company.

Tell everyone who has never come out and joined us at a Club Meet, why they should..

It’s a no brainer really, NPOC is quite different to most other clubs in that its focus is on its members and not the cars as such.

In my time as a member I don’t feel like a member but instead, part of a family. Everyone I have met has been willing to share their knowledge, expertise and parts at the drop of a hat. The diversity of cultures and age range bring a lot of wealth to the club as well.

The club meets are always a joy to go to. Every time I get to one, I learn something new and interesting that I can apply to the daily use and upkeep of my Cars.

So nearly 6 years of NPOC membership, is there a defining club memory in that lot somewhere and why?

Don’t get too embarrassed Shaun, my defining memory of NPOC is when you reached out in my time of need for a ECU, that action in itself was a very clear indication of the caliber of people in this club.

NPOC for life (regardless of what car you own and drive) or leg it when you change car?

NPOC for life, no question and my Primera will live on through my son.

Tell Carlos Ghosn why he needs to bring back the Nissan Primera brand:

The Primera name and model needs to come back, as the current offerings in the Nissan stable of affordable models, is at best weak and a very poor offering.

The Pulsar they have presented us with is a huge disappointment. They have effectively killed the Micra and as for the Juke and Qashqai I don’t even want to think about them.

Nissan are currently lacking in their model range by not offering a well styled mid range 4 door saloon with performance options, worse still is that their competitors are filling these gaps while Nissan does nothing.

As for the design department they need shooting, if you got to the top end of the model range you have some very sexy cars like the 370z & GTR’s with fabulous lines but in the affordable everyday bread and butter production cars, they have totally lost the plot in styling and performance options. Nissan needs to get a grip on this and re-launch the Primera marquee, to rival its competitors advances.

Final question here and one I’ve been asking all year so far - Most petrol heads have a nick name / pet name for their car(s). What’s yours and why?

Mine is quite simply “Baby Blue”, as for the reason for her name well that’s quite obvious!

Member Of The Month is all about highlighting the unsung / unknown heroes around this club and also their cars, should they be driving a Nissan Primera. You won this feature because you’re a regular at our Club Meets, always happy and smiley and a pleasure to know and be around too! Thank you Ricky, it’s been massively appreciated and here’s to many more years of Club Life! With my thanks out of the way, it’s over to you to see us out.. Congratulations once again for winning Member Of The Month for February 2016! Please end this feature, in your own words and feel free to thank anyone who’s made this one possible.

To thank any one person for this honour, would for me, just be plain wrong. An endless list of names would appear here, for all the help I have had over the years and for all the endless hours of fun NPOC has given me.

What I am going to do however, is something that I did recently on our Facebook Group page, I am going talk about the love, determination and bravery of other members.

Earlier on in this feature you asked me what was my favourite meeting I had been to and my answer was none of them, as it was more about being with your friends. I have to recognise the following as being a testament to the caliber of our members and to the contributions made to it by one particular family.

I wrote the following after the NPOC End Of Year / Xmas Meet at the Ace Café on the 5th December 2015:

“I rarely make comments about people in general, it’s kind of a rule I set myself many years ago that has stood me well for most of my life, the only time I break this rule is when (I hope) I have something good or worthy to say about someone’s actions or contributions that they do and make without knowing they have done so.

I think most of us know about the terrible accident that Mike Birch (NPOC member birchyboy3) was involved in a few months back and how seriously and badly injured he became as a result of that accident.

The annual end of year meet at Ace Café was the first time I had seen Mike since the Japfest 2 meet earlier in the year. As was pretty much the same for anyone else that went to the Ace Café, since his accident I have, like some of you have had, some jovial banter on Facebook with Mike since his accident, to let him know that I (and I’m sure I speak for others here) are there for him and he’s always in our thoughts and we’re all ready to help, if needed at any time.

I was shocked! Not at the beat up body that Mike's accident injuries have left him with as you might think but with the sheer bravery and determination of Mike to be there with us, after all he has suffered. I was deeply moved by the love and support accorded to him by his wife Gemma and brother Graham (NPOC Member grim) in helping him to be there amongst us.

Mike you are an inspiration and your family is a credit, not only to you but also to the meaning of what a family stands for.

I take my hat off and salute you and your family, you are amongst some of the bravest and determined people I have had the privilege of being able to call friends.”

I was asked earlier about why members who have not been to NPOC meets should go, I think the above says it all - NPOC is a community full of love and care for all within it.

Thank you all for being a huge part of my life.

PS – To the following members. Michael Johnson “michaelp9149” and Chris (Mucky Pup) Palmer  “Palmer_Autos”, I would not be famous without out you.



Congratulations once again to Ricky!

Febuary 2016 MOTM - CLASSIX

Written by essNchill

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