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July 2014 - Darwin

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    Posted: 25 Jun 2014 at 10:57pm

Congratulations on winning July 2014 MOTM Luke! How does it feel to be our exclusive Member Of The Month and having your name up in lights?

I know most people say this but I was genuinely surprised and honoured to be chosen out of the many members there are out there.

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.

Well I’m 38; married (10 years in August) to Avril, have two brilliant boys and Zac the big black lab. We live in the North East of Scotland, but I am an immigrant as I was born and bred in Wiltshire, we moved up here in 2007 as the arrival of Ludovic meant we wanted to put down roots near one half of our family and my better half’s family lived in the more affordable location, here has the added bonus that the local school is awesome compared to the state schools we could afford to live near to in Englandshire

I am a teacher of support for learning specializing in working with pupils with autism and dyslexia.

Outside of work my interests are varied, I play a fairly vast array of musical instruments, I love taking to the local forest trails on my mountain bike, I sing with a local choral society, and am a regular on stage at the local folk club, I work on set design and stage crew with the town’s amateur musical company, and even get time to fit in a bit of carpentry occasionally.

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?

I was a long time lurker of the general sections before becoming a paying member. I found the forums when doing some research on the Primera prior to buying my first one. Would I recommend the forums, yes and I have done many a time. I have been a paying member of a popular forum for Skodas and when my Octavia has had problems I’ve posted the same queries here and on that forum, and have always received better and more rapid responses here than there.

Your join date from your profile shows July 2004 WOW! Which means you have now completed 10 years of NPOC Membership and probably earned some sort of badge (that’s a lie by the way, no badge here haha!) but massive respect and well done! What keeps you coming back and signing in every day here?

Not fair I want a badge! I keep coming back because of the friendly atmosphere here and the mountains of advice available on so many other things outside of the Primera universe. It’s been said many times but I think the people first attitude of NPOC is the forums biggest strength.

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.

Everyone should become Elite for the member benefits, if you do take advantage of even just a couple of them a year you are getting more out than you put in. I also love the added level of democracy we leets get when ‘da management’ petitions us on proposed changes to the club.

I’ll just throw this one straight out there now, do you own a parrot?

No my Bluetooth kit is a Samsung LOL!

So you’re a parrot less pirate, which is kinda not normal on the scale of pirateness! But we’ll accept this minor issue and progress to a serious question LOL! You only have 1 leg (yes I know you know this!) but I’m pretty sure you’ve told us why but buggered if I can remember how. If you say it was bitten off by a shark, after you fell overboard during a battle at sea, I will refuse to believe you, anything else, please tell us the story if you don’t mind..

Nothing as interesting as shark attack, although you must have dredged that one up from conversations at JAE, when I told folk of all the things that pupils at school have guessed which includes the above, shot off in ‘the war’, standing on a land mine, crocodile attack and science lab explosion.

The real story is that I am a real life mutant and was born with the lower half of my left leg essentially back to front. I still have this weedy mutant leg but about 6 operations later it faces the right way, it is just too weak to be of any use hence the false leg on top.

So let’s get to cars sir.. 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?

I passed my test in 2001 and my first car was a 1984 Mini Mayfair, I swear it felt like the fastest car I have ever driven, but that’s all about perspective and having your butt just a few inches off the ground. I had that one a little over a year when it’s brakes gave up going downhill causing me to use the verge as an alternative set of brakes, sadly the massive rock hidden in the long grass didn’t do the passenger side suspension any favours.

Number 2 (really was a pile of number two) a gold 2.0 Ford Sierra which drove like a boat, so I sold that one on in 6 days.

Number 3 was my Subaru Justy, this was an awesome little fella, with its switchable 4 wheel drive, it drove like it was on rails, it was also my first proper foray into modding, getting alloys a K&N air filter, doors de-bump stripped, and home-made front splitter and monster sound system, it also had a set of swift side skirts modded to fit, and a custom rear valance, unfortunately before they made it onto the car it put a con-rod out the front of the engine when it’s oil pump failed at 70 mph on the M4.

When looking for a replacement I was considering an Almera and Bristol’s Nissan dealership happened to have just taken in an ex motability Nissan Primera in part-ex and showed me round that. I took it for a test drive and was sold pretty instantly and so shortly thereafter it became number 4 my AJ4 hatch. Unfortunately that met an untimely end, when I was rear ended as I stopped to give way at a mini-roundabout.

I replaced this with number 5 my BT3 loon, which became modified in the popular OEM+ Style! The car started out as an SLX but ended up with:

16" Team Dynamics Cosmos alloys (I was the 4th NPOC member to own these alloys!)
Sparco Strut Brace
K&N Panel Filter
Full grey leather interior and door cards from a P11 SE
Body coloured centre console and instrument binnacle
4-2-1 Stainless Manifold
Powerflow Stainless catback exhaust
Double rear foglight conversion
Rebadged front and rear with Infiniti badges

The ICE also got upgraded with JBL component speakers up front, JBL 6X9's in the rear, JBL 10" sub in custom fibre glass enclosure - All of that was powered by a Sony MP3 head unit through an Alpine 5 channel amp! Possibly overkill for a car but it was a sweet sounding system, which was better than my home stereo. At the time I did the ICE install, I was commuting up to 3 hours a day, so figured as I was listening to it a lot, I might as well fully enjoy the experience.

This Nissan Primera stayed with me for 8 years until I moved onto my current Octavia.

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

They all had their good points, the Mini was great simply for being a classic Mini, the Justy was an awesome handling little car, and I really don’t need to sell the Primeras here. It’s probably easier to pick out the Sierra as my least favourite.

Now most of us know you from your Nissan Primera’s whilst you’ve been a member and thankfully we have seen you out and about at Club Meets over the years too but 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?

Although being a petrol head I knew about the Primera BTCC racing heritage and pedigree, I hadn’t really considered one because I was looking for a medium hatch, but the chance encounter mentioned above had me sold, even though it was bigger than what we were looking for at the time.

Nowadays and for the last few years if I remember correctly, you’ve been in the heavy oil Skoda, what was behind the decision to go from old skool Primera (P11) to new skool?

It was all down to size and boot access, our second child (Godwin) was now taking up the space on the back seat that our Labrador Zac used to travel on, so he (the dog not Godwin) was relegated to the passenger foot well, and my wife being tall, and me having the falsy meant that getting him and the front seat passenger comfortable was just not happening, so sadly the loon had to go in favour of the estate. Having had a VW Golf a few years before as a loan car when the red prim was off the road, I knew I wanted a DSG ‘box from the VAG stable because they have the full auto option and the option to flick it into manual mode, for that little bit of extra control in tricky conditions.

Were the 144 or P12 tiptronics a complete no go?

I wasn’t averse to the CVT style tiptronics, it’s what the Justy had, it’s just that the 144 was already too long in the tooth. I had considered the P12 but there simply weren’t any available within a reasonable distance, as it was we travelled to Kirkcaldy (260 mile round trip) for the Octy.

Obviously you’re limited by license and limbs, to drive automatics only.. Has this ever stopped you owning what you really wanted to own, or is there always an automatic equivalent?

This has been the toughest question of the lot, having thought about it for a while I think that the answer is no it’s never held me back, possibly because my situation has influenced the types of cars I desire but so far I’ve always found something to suit my driving needs at the time. It was probably hardest when I had just passed my test and I needed something with an engine size in my insurance budget and most small automatics are gutless driving Miss Daisy style  shopping trolleys, but I think I did OK in my choices of small car.

Time for the quick fire question round!

What makes you smile? 

My kids succeeding, that includes my pupils as well as my actual kids.

What makes you sad? 

Bigotry and bullying of any kind. You will struggle to find a school that publicly acknowledges that they have an issue with bullying, but it has happened in every school I have ever worked in and it would be an unusual week if I didn’t have to deal with bullying at some level.

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

One of my surgeries had previously only been performed on Russian racehorses and was so complex that the medical engineer was fabricating pieces out of titanium to order, in the corner of the operating theatre.

Your favourite colour? 

Silk Cut purple.

Your lucky number? 

13.

What will it say on your gravestone?

He tried he his best.

Your favourite drink (any)? 

Rum. No really, I do genuinely drink mostly OVD or Sailor Jerry, it’s not just a cheap pirate gag.

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

Something big, luxurious and wafty like a Mercedes E-Class, or a range topping Nissan Pathfinder. The biggest thing I miss about my Nissan Primera is the leather, which I now believe is almost essential when you have a 7 year old, 3 year old and a dog and at least once a year make a journey, which means you are all in the car for at least 10 hours.

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

Easy one this. Audi RS6 Avant Estate. 5L V10 engine gives Lamborghini performance in a pretty ordinary looking car. OK so the hooge standard wheels and monster twin exit exhaust give the game away a bit. There are a few on Autotrader under £30K right now and as I walk to work in 4 minutes, for all the miles I actually do in a year I could probably afford to run one… Still don’t think I’d be able to pull any “oh the bigger engine doesn’t need to work as hard, so it’s actually more efficient to own than a 1.9 diesel dear” tricks on Avril though.

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

I am afraid I have two (surprisingly being restricted to autos). Number one is of course Shaun’s mighty AT9 (pictured below), which I was seriously considering making Grim an offer for, before it mysteriously disappeared from the for sale thread and Shaun has done a great job taking it in a similar, yet bolder direction to that which I had taken my BT3.

The second is Tim’s Subaru Legacy B4 RSK (pictured below), this has been on my wish list for as long as I have known about them.

You’ve shown up at a few club meets over the years whilst you owned the BT3 P11 but we haven’t seen you for a good few years now! I know you relocated to the other end of the big Island we live on (the tartan end LOL) and changed cars but when are we gonna see you out again Luke?

I would love to get out again but the simple fact is that all the main club meets fall outside of the Scottish school holidays and being a teacher I can’t book the Friday or Monday off work to give me travelling time. Maybe when my wee fellas are a wee bitty older I’ll get a flight down to ACE, as despite repeated requests nobody has yet managed to post me a plate of hot pig.

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

Meeting the people behind the forum names completes the NPOC experience, even better if you can make it to one of the overnighters, the craic as the sun goes down and the firelight takes over, just has to be experienced to be fully understood, so if you’ve never been to one get yourself along.

So over 10 years of NPOC membership Luke, is there a defining club memory in that lot somewhere?

JAE 2006 ‘The Year of the Storm’ - It was a great year for cars and banter and then the storm hit! NPOC all pulled together to ensure that our stand didn’t succumb to the wind and torrential rain. 

I remember standing holding onto the communal tent frame with you and Matt (Blue with the red car) and loads of others all around the inside edge of the tent, there were a couple of lighters constantly being passed around the ring of people every time someone sparked up  and then there was a couple of folk ensuring that frame holders always had a drink in hand, there was someone else on roof poking duty to ensure the water didn’t pool and by the end of it all we were all laughing like idiots. Looking back the funniest thing is that I can’t even remember what we were laughing at! 

Then the next morning walking the showground and seeing the devastation to all the other clubs and returning to ours and almost all the tents were still up and in one piece and that was all down to the community spirit holding things together.

I’ve often told the story (when I’m in a room discussing baby names) that I know a guy who called his son Ludovic, which is probably one of the coolest kids names ever! Amazingly, after unleashing the fluffy pink forum search hounds, they returned and told me he was born in 2007 (where has the time gone?), so now he’s 7 years old, how is he getting on with his name, what do his friends make of it?

He is getting on very well with his name and has really grown into it. I asked him today and he said he thinks it’s cool. There was a short period in nursery when he was 4, that the nursery staff tried to shorten it to Ludo, but he was quite insistent that his name is Ludovic. His name came about as we didn’t like calling him ‘the bump’, so we looked at our family trees and chose a cool yet unlikely name to stick with, then in the course of choosing names everything we came up with I could always associate with a past pupil, eventually in the last month of the pregnancy we decided that we could do worse than stick with Ludovic. His brother was more difficult because we were absolutely convinced he was a girl until he was born, so for 3 days he was just called baby boy, until we settled on Godwin, both are unusual and old fashioned names, but they are not whacky like the celebrities kids named after fruit, cities and directions.

Oh and another personal question whilst I’m here.. You’re a teacher as we found out earlier (respect!), if I turned up unexpectedly in one of your classes and asked the kids “Is your teacher cool, or a cock?”, what do you think the majority would say? Oh and I’m only asking as I had some cool teachers and some real bellends too! I think you’re cool regardless!

I strive for just 2 things as a teacher, the first is that the pupils see me as a human being and the second is that I am fair. So I think mostly they reckon I am cool, not in a try-hard kind of way, but in an approachable, banterable, know where to draw the line kind of way.

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

Clearly NPOC for life, although I am going to have get my spare leg repainted as its metal parts are still currently blue to match my old Prim!

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

To be fair it’s not just Carlos and Nissan but most manufacturers, they all have the silly slab fronted, high ride, crossover things with the most economical engines ever made! Just imagine how much further those engines could go, in something which isn’t so heavy and has less frontal area. One of the reasons I have an Octavia is because it looks like a car and not a fakey 4x4.

As I have asked all of the 2014 MOTM winners so far, we all read the debate in the December 2013 COTM about my decision to change the name of our monthly feature to "Member Of The Month" and also change the criteria and so on.. I do appreciate as a winner of this new feature, it’s going to be potentially hard to speak out against the new format LOL but did I make the right call in changing things around here? Or should I have left it as it was?

I think you did make the right call, simply because the reality is that more and more members are moving into newer vehicles for the family workhorse and unless they have the space, time and money to keep a Nissan Primera as a second car. There are more of us who are members of the FNPOC (Former NPOC). I wouldn’t rule out ever owning one again, but it will be a few years down the line when I can afford to own one as a toy.

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 have given 10 years of your life to the NPOC now and I’m sure you have helped out where you can and been part of the success story here. You’re also our very own NPOC pirate, which makes us cooler than other non pirate member car clubs! Thank you Luke, it’s been massively appreciated and here’s to another decade 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 July 2014! Please end this feature, in your own words and feel free to thank anyone who’s made this one possible.

A massive thanks goes out to the Club Owners and the whole staff team, without whom this forum would not exist, but also to all the experts out there who answer the questions day in and day out just for the love of Primeras.

I would also like to publicly thank the search button! I’m not the most prolific poster, but that is usually because any questions I have had, have already been answered by one of the afore mentioned experts and Mrs Search usually helps me find it.



Congratulations once again to Luke!

July 2014 MOTM - Darwin

Written by essNchill
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