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[NEWS] Steve Cropley: First speeding fine in 20 years - and not even in a car

Steve Cropley: First speeding fine in 20 years - and not even in a car

Alpine A110 2022 parked with classics Steve Cropley
Steve's high-tech Alpine A110 stands out sandwiched between a pair of practical classics

Steve's week involved heading down to Goodwood GRRC's breakfast club, and being nicked for speeding

This week, Steve received a speeding fine near our London office riding his BMW electric scooter. But first, he tells us about the Goodwood GRRC's breakfast club and the recent news about Aston Martin's investment plan...


Great motoring morning: took the Alpine A110 to Goodwood for the GRRC’s breakfast club and enjoyed it more than any I’ve attended, mainly because of the variety of cars on hand. You had to register to display a car and someone, somewhere, curated the attending motors for variety.

How often can you see an early Mini Moke parked a few yards away from a late 1940s Triumph Renown saloon, with a slammed Chevy pick-up opposite and a beautiful vintage Invicta a few yards away? Breakfast clubs have become common since the Duke of Richmond had the idea — and these days the smaller ones tend to be best. But this was special.


The air is full of Aston talk. They’re borrowing £639million from the Saudis, half of which will pay accumulated debts. I’m a balance-sheet ignoramus, but by my calculation this latest cash poultice equates roughly to the company’s profit margins on 21,000 vehicles — average price £250k — and Aston currently makes 5000-6000 units a year. Under those circumstances, what on earth is the hope? 

But hold on: Aston is 109 years old, and has been rescued seven times from worse circumstances. What's more, hard headed Geely lately bid to buy it outright. There’s obviously value there. But I’d love someone to explain what a stable, profitable Aston operation would be like — what models, what volumes, what supporting activities, what management. Aston has chewed up many bosses: can Lawrence Stroll really be the man for the job?


Uplifting sight in Moreton-in-Marsh as I headed north: hordes of cheerful Austin Sevens every one seemingly unique in colour and spec. This is the Seven’s centenary year, a hugely significant anniversary, and the fraternity had gathered for a week of shenanigans at the nearby Fire Service College. I find events like this — and Goodwood, above — deeply reassuring because they remind you of the sheer size and enthusiasm of the ‘special car’ lobby. Few of us do big miles, so we do negligible environmental damage. But if there’s ever a threat we’ll have a strong lobby to fight for the freedoms we have. 


I’m nicked! A notice has arrived explaining that I’ve been clocked at 26mph in a 20mph zone near our Middlesex offices on the outskirts of London. I’m annoyed because this my first transgression in 20 years and I like having a clean licence. I’m also cheesed off because the council’s reason for its new, dog-slow limit on a safe, familiar road is to cut noise and pollution — and the offending vehicle is my near silent, zero emissions BMW electric scooter

Most of all, I’m annoyed by the triviality of it all. This road doesn’t need a 20mph limit. It has one, I surmise, because it’s fashionable among councils, all of them members of the Anti-Destination League. Thus the authorities want to award me points - or send me on a speed awareness course - for riding a zero emissions machine 4mph slower than was deemed legal and safe a few months ago. Makes you tired. 


An interesting Twitter thread suggests that most people own “eight or nine” cars in a lifetime. Seems amazingly few, doesn’t it? Set me off listing the cars I’ve owned (again). So far it’s 47, and more will doubtless emerge from the fog. Also 40-ish motorbikes, two aeroplanes and half a boat. My biggest regret is not having pictures, dates and details. Never bothered at the time, but now it matters. Free advice to those involved with cars: store your motoring history.

And another thing...

Since suggesting Matt Prior and I might have a bash at a podcast we’ve had plenty of mail, some vehement. My mistake was not saying that our print columns would continue, a foolish oversight, so people have been urging us to keep thumping our keyboards. Big thanks to all who sent this unexpected vote of confidence. It makes the job even easier.

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