There is nothing special about a boss wanting to drive something big, red, fast, loud and sporty. But one Newport businessman has gone a little further than most. Business Update met James Norvill, managing director of GD Environmental to learn more about the car that has Gwent smiling.
Business Update: So, the Skipcar - why?
James Norvill: I had a social with our PR man and was discussing ways to prove that we operate the fastest skip hire company around. Up came this throw-away comment about producing the world's fastest skip. We laughed about it, then thought about it.
The following day I bought the donor car.
BU: The world's fastest skip?
JN: I admit that it may not look particularly aerodynamic, but it is really a 4-WD Subaru Impreza rally car in disguise. At its heart beats a 300bhp engine; so it is as quick and maneuverable as any sports car on the road. We're planning an official track day in the autumn where we hope to set the inaugural world speed record for a road legal skip.
BU: Did a lot of work go into it?
JN: In the true tradition of classic British vehicles, we had a shed and a small team of guys who toiled into countless early hours for several weeks. What they produced was this one-off masterpiece which puts a smile on the face of everyone who sees it.
BU: What's the response been like?
JN: We have had an awesome response. People crowd around it, take photos of it from their cars and vans. We even get respectful nods from the burliest of lorry drivers.
So long as the rain keeps off, we hope to have the skipcar out every day, up and down the length and breadth of South Wales - so keep your eyes on your rear-view mirror. We also want to make the Skipcar available as a promotional tool for regional charities, and welcome any request to use it.
The Skipcar will also be out and about with our Carbon Neutrals team.
BU: What are the Carbon Neutrals?
JN: Environmental stability is the greatest gift we can leave future generations in Wales. The Carbon Neutrals is a small, but growing, team of people, who will take our recycling message to schools and shows, colleges and construction sites, large events and public arenas throughout the area.
BU: So they have quite a serious message then?
JN: Absolutely. Each household produces about one tonne of rubbish annually, and our waste transfer station is on track to recycle, in its first year, the equivalent weight of every person living in Gwent. However, we want to help the people of Gwent to do more. The Carbon Neutrals will be promoting various simple, fun and realistic hints and tips that individuals can adopt to ensure that they are doing their piece for the nation's future.
BU: Where can people find more details?
JN: The first step is to visit www.carbonneutrals.co.uk There you can book the Carbon Neutrals for a visit, or even sign up to be a part of the team.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
How to create the Worlds Fastest Skip
Thought up during a social night out in Cardiff the Skipcar has become a phenomenal success and an icon for the waste industry.
Here is a brief description of how the Skipcar was created:
Week 1 - Purchased a second hand Subaru Impreza Rally Car from Newport Auctions. A small team of GD Environmental workers stripped the car to its base. This included the removal of all doors, windows, car roof and seats.
Week 2 – Mechanics Lance and Richard took over the creative design and build of the car. The team shortened the cars chassis to assure the cars body could fit into an 8 yard builders skip and began measuring up the remaining infrastructure of the car.
Week 3 – The team continued to work on the cars interior including the fastening of rally seats, top of the range sound system and finishing all electronics for the cars CPU.
Week 4 – Following the completion of the cars interior, the team then began work on creating a “Skip on Wheels”. This was done through fitting a strong reinforced steel frame around the exterior of the car.
Week 5 – To create the appearance of a skip, light steel panels were welded to the cars newly constructed frame. Once the panels were attached to the exterior of the car, it was pained red and sprayed with GD Environmental’s corporate branding.
Week 6 –The Skipcar was successfully completed and ready for the road within an impressive 6 week period.