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November 2015 - Blue

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    Posted: 19 Oct 2015 at 4:54am

Congratulations on winning November 2015 MOTM Matt! How does it feel to be our exclusive Member Of The Month and having your name up in lights?

It feels strangely dizzying, in a way. I've never really thought about myself getting the accolade but when the email came it certainly brightened up my day no end! I got pulled up on it at work, where I was at the time LOL. I got the inevitable: “Why have you started grinning like an idiot, all of a sudden?”

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.

OK, here goes: I'm 36 years young and live in Swansea, South Wales, where I have been for the last 24 odd years. I was originally born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and this is where a lot of my family comes from. My 'rents and I moved to Inverness, Scotland when I was about 1 and we lived there for a good 7 years and this is where my sister was born. There is audio tape evidence of my Scottish accent back then. Needless to say, no one will ever ever hear that ever, if I ever have any say in it! Ever. I moved to Grimsby for four years but moved back at the beginning of last year.

I was, until recently, working in a Glass Factory where double glazed units are produced but the environment, people and culture were not for me so I've just last week started working at 'Gringo Imports' – It's a place where we import clothing and crafts from places like Nepal and the poorer parts of Indonesia and India, making sure they get paid a decent wage at the same time. It's weird and totally different from what I've done before and totally laid back. As many will know, I worked for many years in ltd, where it's very regimented and straight down the line. Here it's so laid back it's come as a bit of a shock to my system LOL.

In my spare time, I play bass and guitar in all their forms (electric, fingerpicked acoustic, double bass, fretless etc). I record a lot of my stuff but mainly for my own enjoyment. I've started building my own instruments as well, which I'm really enjoying.

During the summer months, I do a lot of kayaking and half-arsed fishing with my sister and bro-in-law, who are both slightly less half-arsed about the fishing.

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 can remember it well. I went to Halfords of all places as I'd recently been getting the urge to mod up my car. A good friend of mine had recently got a sound system installed and I'd gone down to see what was available – My previous cars had all had their stereos done out, thanks to my love of music. There was a chap there, who, in answer to my question about air intakes (yes, I'd wandered off from the music to look at some fancy stainless pipework!) had suggested the AOC, as there were folks there who had the same 1.6 engine. Perhaps they could help?

By this route I found NPOC and through the mesh of fencing separating me from full membership, I could see members like “Naughtynorm”, “Disco”, “Stevie-Boy”, “Shunky” and “essNchill” and various other members posting up stuff that I just really wanted to read, not just the general section stuff. I signed up there and then and dived straight in, never introducing myself, just posting a photoshop I'd done of a convertible Nissan Primera. Ha ha! Ahh the memories…

There have been countless times I've had to rely on the good will and knowledge of members of NPOC and they've never asked for anything back, though I try whenever possible. I have recommended NPOC every step of the way, even to some who are just interested in the car. I'll no doubt continue to do so.

Your join date from your profile shows March 2006 WOW! Which means next year you would completed 10 years of NPOC Membership! Massive respect and well done! What keeps you coming back and signing in every day here?

It's been so long now that I don't know what I'd do if I didn't get my daily NPOC sesh. As much as it may seem like a bit of a ritual, coming back every day, I can't imagine not keeping in touch with all the friends I have made along the way. There's still a lot going on here that I love to keep up to date with: All the new and imaginative mods, the issues arising, the banter and friendship, the new members and old faces that periodically post up. Can't and don't want to imagine a life without NPOC.

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.

I think I've had my fair share of Elite value over the years. I went Elite after my first year and have never really looked back since. There's a lot to be said for the discounts that are given out by the Club Owners when there's a group buy or tickets to JAE, breakfast and BBQ's. My God, it should be me thanking and dishing out the respect to you!

The Elite membership provides a backbone to this club and when you look at the number of regular contributors and visitors to the site who are at Elite level of membership, it goes to prove in itself that there must be a good reason for them paying the extra.

I’ll just throw this one straight out there now, you’re Welsh and as we all know, there is no electricity in the Wales – I’m hoping you have plenty of coal stoking the steam generator Welsh thing, so you can get this feature completed but seriously now, how do you all get by without Electricity LOL?

Ha ha! I wondered if this was going to be brought up! The electricity, now that the coal is on the wane has been primarily generated through static electricity. Through the invention and successful breeding of nylon-coated sheep, this is harnessed via a method that is known as 'coupling'. It's not a very complicated process and people have been known to get very fit through its implementation.

I'm currently pedaling a bicycle-powered generator however which makes typing a challenge but, everyone knows I've got a lot to say so buckle yourselves in.

So let’s get to cars sir (but please leave the Nissan Primera’s out of this one and also your current car).. 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 in the Spring of '99 and shortly after purchased a 1.6 Ford Orion off a mate of my Dad's. I kept this wonderful car for a few years, upgrading the stereo and speakers, until it got pinched from outside of my mate's flat. Ironically, we were upstairs playing GTA3, so it only goes to show. I got the car back but it had been rammed into a steep curb and was written off.

Next two cars were Nissan Primeras.

These were followed by a Nissan Almera N16 SXE, which I purchased from “Stevie-Boy”. It was the most comfortable I've ever been buying a car, as I knew it had been looked after and it provided several years of faithful service. Eventually it succumbed to a vacuum pump issue (two bloody days before I was about to move back to Swansea) – Thankfully, the van my Sis & Bro-In-Law were bringing up had three seats LOL.

Once settled back in Swansea, I purchased my current car, the Mazda.

That, right there, is the short history of my car ownership. Some people go through cars like there's no tomorrow but I guess I get attached to mine and keep them for as long as possible.

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

I've always been a bit funny over having favourites as you'll no doubt find out in future questions. The Orion was my first car ever, and it started off my stereo modding phase. That said, the Almera was such faithful car, with all its mod-cons and big old 2.2 dCi lump. Hmmm. Not sure I could pick between the two...

During your time at the NPOC, we’ve seen you rocking a couple of Primera’s. Please tell us more about them and list all the goodies they had and let’s see some photos too, to remind us all about them:

Indeedy, the reason for my being here in the first place was my red 1.6 P11 hatch. It was a little underpowered but fun to drive nonetheless, and also started my first major foray into modifying a car for looks as well as just the stereo! I think I'd pretty much decided I wasn't really going to bother with doing any power mods.

It had:

Sony Stereo (can't remember what one though)

Vibe BlackAir 6” speakers and tweeters up front

Vibe QB 6x9's

Custom stealth shelf

Black light neons

Ultrabright neons

Vibe twin 12” subs

Vibe Monoblock amp

Clear rears

Laguna splitter

Sebring Exhaust

Bee-sting aerial

Headlight protectors

Fox Racing 18” alloys

GT half-leather seats

Stainless gear surround

Stainless Primera door kickplates

Sparco gear knob

Stealth stereo cover (this was probably the best mod I ever did – it was an old Micra stereo fascia that I'd detached and glued half a cassette tape sticking out of the tape slot. It had some foam on the back and would fit perfectly over the Sony stereo so it just looked like it had a rubbish standard unit! LOL, priceless! From outside, you genuinely couldn't tell!).

David Leslie Stickers

NPOC air freshener

NPOC tax disc holder

I'm sure I've forgotten other things but that's about all I can remember for now.

The next was the black P11 GT saloon which was, most notably, owned by George “Nabber”. He sold it to another member and, after a few years, it came my way. It definitely had more mods than you could shake a stick at but I couldn't take credit for most of them. However, they were:

Jim Wolf cams

A&S Cold air intake

SS Autochrome header and downpipe

Full Powerflow stainless exhaust

Blue cam cover

Koni dampers

Eiback springs

Eight ball gear knob (though this flew off in my hand so I put my Sparco one on!)

Short shifter

Eventually, I got round to fitting all the same stereo guff that I had from the last P11 apart from the shelf and all the neons.

Alpine Stereo

18” Wolfrace alloys

Look, I'm sure there was a ton more stuff on there but I really can't remember what they were. There's no way in hell I had more mods on my P11 hatch LOL!

The engine on this developed a rattle from the bottom end due to an oil leak, so I had to get it swapped out. Thankfully and this highlights the generosity and kindness of the NPOC members, “Ant-Dat” really sorted me out by picking up an engine from the opposite end of the country and taking it back to the Dat-Cave. I drove up and we (well, I say 'we', it was mainly Ant of course) swapped out the engine and cams etc. It says Legend under his name and forum profile and there's a whole host of very good reasons as to why!

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?

When I passed my driving test, I was working for a firm that performed non-destructive testing in the steel and petrochemical industries. A lot of these places that I had to work at were a good distance away and I used to get a hire car from the company. One time, I arrived at work to be greeted by a dark blue Nissan Primera P11 hatch, which was to be my steed for the next two months. It had the 2.0 diesel engine and probably due to my inexperience, I thought it was the fastest thing I'd ever driven (lots of my mates who were on the same job commented that they thought the engine was not as good as other diesel cars of the same year though). It was lovely and comfortable and I think I really felt that this was the height of motoring lushness.

After my Ford Orion got pinched I was car-less for a year or so until I got the money together for a new ride. My mum and I went to this local car garage in the easily-pronounceable town of Llanelli (think somewhere on the lines of 'Clanethlee' and you're not far off LOL). There in the middle of the lot was this bright red P11 hatch which was dazzling in the midst of all the whites, greys and blues of all the other cars. Needless to say, I immediately fell in love with it and took it for a test drive and shortly after, I took ownership.

**Shaun added the following image.. It's a Welsh Sea Eagle turd, which Matt brought to Peterborough 2007 on the front of his P11 LOL!**

Last time we saw you at a club meet (which if I remember correctly was JAE 2014 – Over a year ago Matt!!), you were rolling in a lovely blue Mazda 3 summing or other. Still got this? Tell us more and show us some photos (she’s Jap and lovely):

Yes, it was JAE '14 and, to my eternal shame, I've been unable to attend anything since then. The up and coming Ace Cafe will change this!

I was in a very lucky position to get a nice new(ish) car at the beginning of last year so I went on the hunt. After hovering around looking at convertibles for way too long, and various cars that I really couldn't afford to run, I started looking at cars that had a similar 2.2 tubby Derv lump like my N16 Almera (which had gone to the great carpark in the sky). I went round loads of garages this time, looking at P12's, Toyota Auris's's's, Almeras and similar. I was hovering around Phil “Twelve”'s Mazda hatch at Japfest and I really liked the styling and spec, though Phil was less enamored with its performance. This lead me to look at the Mazda 3 Sport and by a massive amount of hunting about, I located the slightly rarer saloon in celestial blue. It ticked all the boxes for me and was also (just about) affordable.

Some of her spec is:

17” alloys

Electric folding mirrors

Climate control

Sports bumpers

Sports seats

Stiffened suspension

Full Bose stereo with 6 CD changer and Bluetooth

8 Bose speakers

Rear parking sensors

Cruise control

Keyless locking / Engine start

Push button start / stop

Sat Nav

185ps 2.2 motor

It has an odd engine, in that it's very relaxed and sedate. It's really great for cruising but it was strange driving it at first. The throttle needs a good push before the motor really lights up which, in typical diesel fashion, gives you a whole heap of nothing until it hits the sweet spot, then you get pressed through the fabric of your seat and a huge dollop of tubbied derv goodness comes flooding out in one go. It'll do 0-62 in about 8 seconds or so, so it's got all the go I need. I might have been having unhealthy ideas about remapping but I need to have a good think…

Since I've had it I've not really done any mods. Apart from some wind deflectors, dash camera and when the need presents, Mazda roof bars for my kayak.

Overall, I'm really happy with her. She has the get up and go of a GT Primera but all the creature comforts of the Almera, plus a few extras.

Before I need to hightail it out of Dodge for being a heathen, it'll never be as good as my Black P11 GT. It has got the power, but not the outright raw power and visceral experience that the GT had. It's a bit more wafty, for want of a better word.

Time for the quick fire question round!

What makes you smile? 

My Nephew 'Finn'. What a cool little dude. We were on hols and he fell asleep in his push chair – When he wakes up and doesn't know where he is, he usually starts crying. This time, he opened his eyes and saw me sitting guard. He put the biggest, most awesome toothless grin on and then promptly fell back asleep! Amazing.

What makes you sad? 

People who take advantage of my trusting nature.

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

Back in the early naughties, I was in a band called 'Aeronaut'. We ended up doing the whole rock and roll tour thing in the UK and Germany. I was a different man then….LOL

Your favourite colour? 

Would it surprise you to know that it is Blue. Very specifically, Aqua blue so not far from the Mazda's colour.

Your lucky number? 

27. I guess.

What will it say on your gravestone?

Died from not forwarding that chain email to ten other people.

Your favourite drink (any)? 

Used to be Guinness but I seem to be more of an IPA man now.

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

Z32 Fairlady (I'd settle for a 300zx though, LOL!)

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

C3 or C6 Corvette

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

One of the most difficult questions ever! I'd love to have a go in “Mad Maru”'s 11, or “ragt20”'s P12. The usual suspects are all here. “Sprint”s track 10 or, were it still here, “Stevie-Boy”s old red 11 before it got tubbied. Man, there's too many to choose. “Criteria”s 11 looks a marvellous machine as well!

All 5 cars shown below (in the order mentioned):

Nah, I tell you what, I'll say “Ant-Dat”'s P11 because he's done something devious and mysterious under the lid, that I'd take the day to find out exactly what.

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

My initial reaction was to say my first JAE in 2006. That said, I'd happily spend an eternity at last years JAE as well. I'd been through a bit of a bad patch before JAE 2014 but I came back from that meet feeling like a million quid.

JAE 2006:

JAE 2014:

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

People getting together and sharing a mutual passion for the cars or talking about whatever comes to mind and becoming a family in its own right, should be a good enough reason for anyone to think about coming. There's always been such an atmosphere at our meets that makes me feel very grateful to have been included. Come for yourself and find out why!

So nearly 10 years of NPOC membership, is there a defining club memory in that lot somewhere and why?

Nearly 10 years and so many memories. LEJOG with you and “Stevie-Boy” was a massive landmark for me and being part of something that raised so much for charity, made the whole thing a very treasured memory.

Representing the club along with the staff team at Silverstone, at the David Leslie tribute was something I'll take with me forever.

Being asked to be a moderator on the staff team was one of the happiest ever moments as well!

Having the testicular fortitude to go and speak to the guy on the microphone at the racing in Anglesey, to represent the NPOC, after everyone else bottled out, stands out as well LOL!

I have so many happy and outstanding memories from the last 10 years – As ever, I think I'll have to sit on the fence between these four.

I’ve known you to be a lot of “ex” things, for instance, ex bassist in the Stereophonics, ex Scrum Half for the Welsh RU Team and most notably, ex Staff Team Member here at NPOC.. After a few years in the back of house, we lost you in 2010 as your personal life and circumstances changed direction, do you miss being a part of the NPOC Staff Team (we miss you!)?

When I had to make the decision to step down I won't lie to you, it was genuinely one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. I couldn't devote the time I had previously and wanted more than anything, to the make sure the place had the team it deserved.

It's one of my regrets that I had to step down and yes, I do miss it and all the team very much. I was particularly mortified when I found out that “Stevie-Boy” had decided to take a break from Moderating at the same time!

Having a passion for the club, as I do and then being asked to help in such a way, was a very great honour for me.

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

I wouldn't like to think of life without my NPOC family and I think I have found out the hard way why I shouldn't wander too far away! NPOC for life!!

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

Now, I had to give this one a fair bit of thought, as I'm sure everyone else does who gets asked this. Seeing a new version of the Primera eZX saloon and hatch would be favourite as Nissan really doesn't cater for that side of the market. Perhaps it's better to leave it though; There's a lot to be said for crap sequels brought out several years after the original classic! I think in today's market, it would be particularly difficult to get something that rang the same chords as original, so perhaps better leave it be.

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

I tend to refer to my car as 'The Mazzy'. I'm not really a pet name sort of guy but in Wales we can't seem to say people's full name. Everything gets shortened. Everything! I'm not sure The Mazzy is shortening it but that's just the way it's worked out.

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 nearly 10 years of your life to the NPOC now, as both a Staff Team Member and regular forum whore and you’ve helped make NPOC what it is today. You’re also from the Wales, which keeps our ethnic mission statement up to date as well haha! Thank you Matt, 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 November 2015! Please end this feature, in your own words and feel free to thank anyone who’s made this one possible.

I'd like to thank everyone that has helped me, or encouraged me over the years. The numbers of whom must be in the thousands. If you're on my Facebook friends list then you know I love you as family. If you're not then it's probably just because I haven't found you yet - Or you're not on Facebook LOL!

I'd like to thank “ragt20”, “shade” and “twelve” for being the amazing staff team, owners and friends that you are (including Shaun & Stevie here too).

Thank you “Ant-Dat” for all your help, encouragement, expertise and friendship over the years. Even if I did miss a bit on the polish…

Finally, “Stevie-Boy” and “essNchill”, you are deffo brothers for life, as you know. Keep being you and doing what you do.

Oh yeah, if you've made the epic journey down here through that whole article, then you have a LOT of patience! Much love xx.

Congratulations once again to Matt!

November 2015 MOTM - Blue

Written by essNchill

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