John Nevill thinks he’s got the best job in motoring PR – which is a bit surprising given that he works in a freezing cold mega-shed in the middle of the sprawling Ford Dagenham site on the rather bleak Thames Estuary.
Rather than champagne parties and exotic car launches, John’s job involves looking after a fleet of “old bangers – well, several million pounds worth of heritage vehicles that cover over a century of Ford’s presence in the UK.
John and his team, Ivan and Colin (the mechanical super heroes, affectionately nicknamed Batman and Robin), aren’t simply caretakers of museum pieces though as they run a heritage workshop, ensuring the cars are available for media and others to drive and use to communicate’s Ford’s impressive history.
Members of MIPAA had a private tour during a writing workshop kindly hosted by Ford’s PR team today – and for me, the most interesting models are the everyday cars that epitomise the latter decades of the 20th century.
Most of these have been donated as their owners prefer to know they will be lovingly used rather than thrashed by boy racers who are less appreciative of Ford’s heritage motors. Indeed, there are some lovely human interest stories behind many of the cherished cars.
It is also good to see the guys are looking to the future and adding in a few modern Fords they anticipate will be classics in a decade or two. Personally, I not so sure about the bright pink Lady Penelope Ford StreetKa produced in 2004 to coincide with Ford’s involvement in the Thunderbird movie. But, it undoubtedly says something about the early 21st century!
Image of John, Ivan and Colin from Dep-O magazine website – which has a great report on Ford’s “king among sheds”