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.