This month on the #fundyourpassion podcast we spoke to The Intercooler, co-founders Andrew Frankel and Dan Prosser about how to become an automotive journalist and what cars they are excited to review in 2022.
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Darren Selig

Amanda Stretton

Darren Selig

Darren Selig

Dan

Dan Prosser

andrew

Andrew Frankel

Topaz
JBR at Topaz

Episode Transcript - FULL TEXT

Amanda Stretton
So, hello everybody and welcome to the fund your passion podcast. We are on episode 12. Can you believe it? Darren, I’m delighted that you’re joining me. I know you’re feeling a little bit under the weather, so I’m going to do my best to stay chirpy and cheerful.

Darren Selig
Yes, Amanda, I’m relying on you to carry me through the show feeling a little bit hoarse today but fortunately the PCR was negative and hopefully the family and I will be off to Dubai. So, to check out the JBR of Dubai, because as you know in Dubai JPR is the area where all the supercars go. So that’s not actually why we chose the name JBR for the business, but it is a remarkable coincidence.

Amanda Stretton
It’s a remarkable coincidence. I trust you’re not just going to be working there, are you going to be doing anything recreational? There is a great waterpark.

Darren Selig
Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. Apparently, we’re going on camels in the sand dunes. I can’t wait for that. I think I’m going to get one of those car things across the dunes. That looks like a lot of fun.

Amanda Stretton
Oh, the bugging.

Darren Selig
Yeah, the buggy thing. Yeah. Everyone’s done that out there. But we’re gonna give that a go.

Amanda Stretton
Our guests are nodding. I better introduce them so that we know who we’re talking to. I’m delighted that in this episode, we’re talking all things Intercooler. And joining me are the journalists, Andrew Frankel. Andrew, brilliant to see you obviously, you’ve been hacking, let’s say for many, many years. And Dan, lovely to have you with us as well. Another seasoned veteran, not just as a journalist, but also podcasting. So, in actual fact, Darren, you are in safe hands because, yeah, these guys are pros.

Darren Selig
They’re Pro, you’re pro. And I’m just the bluffer amateur.

Amanda Stretton
Obviously, we have got the benefit of being on Zoom. So, I can look at all your lovely faces. And you guys are both nodding when Darren was talking about going bugging across dunes. Have you both done this before?

Andrew Frankel
You’re only driving the buggy. I wouldn’t want to be a passenger and one of them for anything.

Darren Selig
Good dvice, I’m going to do that

Andrew Frankel
Well, because when you go outside of a dune, you never know what’s on the other side of it. Oh, good point. And, and it’s bad enough if you’re driving it. But well, I’ve never been a passenger in one but I’m a terrible passenger at the best of times. And the idea of sort of going over the top not knowing what’s on the other side. And whatever happening then being somebody else’s fault is just not something I’d want to countenance really well.

Darren Selig
You don’t need to do what I did, which is be a passenger in the Brabham BT62, going round the track driven by David Brabham himself. It was fantastic, but I was delighted when it was over. No disrespct to David. My stomach was in my head. It was horrific.

Amanda Stretton
Dan, have you done much track driving or passenger driving on a track?

Dan Prosser
Plenty of driving, and bits and pieces as a passenger? I’m like, Andrew, I hate it. Yeah, terrible, terrible passenger, although better on track than on the road on. You know, if I’m sat with someone driving quickly on the road, I’m just looking at every tree thinking we’ll hit that one.

Amanda Stretton
Does it make a difference to your driving with?

Dan Prosser
Oh, I have I have done a bit of co-driving. And I’ll never do it again. It was awful.

Darren Selig
Is that like when you’re a driving instructor and you’ve got the extra set of pedals?

Dan Prosser
I wish I just had to clutch it the whole time. So, we couldn’t go anywhere. No, I was I was terrible at it. I’m such a poor passenger. That’s the amazing thing about rally car drivers is that somehow, they switch off that component in their mind and do the job. Whereas I couldn’t switch off that component. So, I couldn’t do the job. I was hopeless.

Amanda Stretton
Do you think this is part of being an automotive journalist, hack? Expert, test driver racer, whatever we’re going to call ourselves here. We hate being passengers.

Dan Prosser
I think most of us do, we’d rather be in control.

Darren Selig
Yeah, some. I mean, Chris Harris, for instance, is a very good passenger, which I’ve never really understood. But he sat next to me, and we’ll be doing all sorts of really stupid stuff. And he tends to sort of sit there with a smile on his face and not sort of start shrieking or grabbing things.

Amanda Stretton
Lack of a lack of imagination on his part.

Andrew Frankel
I do not know what it is. I mean, we all know going car launches all the time, we always must pair up with someone. And the first thing I do when the invitation comes in, and I think I’m going to go and do this I ring up whoever is hosting this thing and say who else is going. If I cannot find someone who I think I might trust to drive with, I will think of an excuse not to go. Because these are cars so powerful that a lot of the things that we drive completely outgrown the environments in which we get to drive them. And the idea of, you know, honking down some side of some Italian mountain or something with 900 horsepower with an idiot driving it. I mean, I just, I have got the stage in my life, I don’t need to do it.

Amanda Stretton
Oh, go on you are going to have to just give us – can you tell us a car launch or a name even?

Andrew Frankel
The most part and I’ve ever been on a car launch or just it wasn’t I was in a Ford KA; this thing called a streetcar. They launched in the south of France 20 years ago. And there was an American driving it No offence to American drivers. He just happened to be American. And I knew I was in trouble when he got in the driver’s seat and put on a baseball cap backwards, which he got out of his Ferrari livery Hall, and then decided to drive this thing. And I remember we came onto the street. And he decided to overtake the car in front and missed the 40 cyclists coming up the same straight. And if there hadn’t been a huge layboy to one side, in which all 40 cyclists disappeared to save their own lives. That would have been that would have been, yeah. And it’s pretty much the only time I’ve ever got on top of my sort of British reserve and just had stop driving or I’m walking back. But yeah, no, I’m not very good at that, I’m afraid.

Amanda Stretton
Well, we could talk about being passengers and car launches and exciting things like that for hours and hours on end. But I’m conscious that we’re actually here to talk about intercooler. Now, this is a digital car magazine. Is that how you describe it?

Dan Prosser
Yeah, I think it I think digital magazine, almost covers it. But it’s more than that. You know, we do lots across social media. We have had a podcast as well. We do video. So, it is, you know, if you’re digital, you’re not just written word, are you these days? You are, you cover everything. So yeah, I mean, we launched as an app 10 months ago, or something nine months ago. And soon we will be launching our website as well. So, we are continuing to evolve this thing. But the key thing about it is that there are no ads, and its subscription only. So, it is the only digital car magazine of its type. And we have had a great response, haven’t we, Andrew? I mean people they get what it is that we do. Throwing the emphasis on quality, rather than quantity, rather than just reporting on the latest stuff that is going on in the industry driving the newest cars, we try and tell people things that they did not know before. And it seems to work.

Amanda Stretton
And do you find having the platform of obviously, as you say, this is a digital platform that you are actually working on as opposed to hard print? Do you feel that that offers you more opportunities?

Andrew Frankel
It certainly does. I mean, we now exist in four unusual places. We have the podcast, we have the Instagram, we have the app, and soon we’ll have we’ll have the website. Also, it gives us an awful lot of resilience. I mean, you know, there have been, you know, for print publications that I used to work for regularly, which in the last year have ceased to exist. And, you know, that saddens me, because, you know, I love print, and I always will. And I look at magazines like red rat, and Magneto, and I love reading them, and I always will. But their problem has been that, you know, as we know, there has been a bit of a chip crisis. Car manufacturers do not advertise. And so many publications these days are so dependent on advertising, both for their revenues and for their content. And we just decided a long time ago, we were not going to play that game we partner up with, you know, key people who feel the same way we do like JBR, for instance. And a few others. But other than that, you know that you will not find any banners or pop ups or clickbait or anything like that on our site. The idea was, is that we would provide motoring journalism, or the kind of quality you had hoped to find the quarterly print publication, but we do it every day. And so, every single day you go on the app. And there’s new story written by Henry Catchpole, Andrew English, and Eddie Robinson. Now the I mean, there is a huge incredible bunch of contributors, what we regard as the best bunch of motoring journalists working under one roof, probably anywhere in the world if that’s not too arrogant thing to say. And one or other of us will write something new for the app every single day. And so, you wake up seven o’clock in the morning, go on there and there will be another considered thoughtful story on their which is downstairs we hope will tell you something you did not already know. It will not be you know, a review of the latest you know, plugging crossover SUV. So that is the idea behind it.

Amanda Stretton
I was just that I mean, there is a whole the topic of conversation about new cars, obviously, you’ve got such established history and beginning to get the picture of what you think of the latest plug in electric. Maybe I should not be diverting those questions to Dan.

Darren Selig
Did not seem so enthusiastic anyway. Well, enthusiastic as I am about EVs in, you know, the high-end supercar market anyway.

Amanda Stretton
Okay, well, I’m going to wave the flag then for them, because I like it. But anyway, I will. We’ll get onto that a little bit later. But in all seriousness, I mean, the Intercooler has just gone from strength to strength, and you must be tremendously proud of what you’ve managed to achieve in such a short space of time.

Dan Prosser
Yeah, what makes me proud actually is well, a, that we’ve built this amazing team of writers, contributors who want to be involved. And actually, they’re not just established car journalists, we’ve got designers and engineers, and people from outside our core industry writing for us and writing brilliant stuff for us. But I’m also proud that people seem to be enjoying it, you know, our subscribers get what it is that we want to do. So far, it does feel like we found this little niche, and we’ve sort of nestled into it quite comfortably. We’ve got an awful lot of work to do to really establish this as a business. But, you know, we’ve got a brilliant partner, in a, I was the sort of business brains behind it, who’s backing us brilliantly. And so, I think what we have actually is an opportunity to really build something. And with partners like JBR, you know, just gives us more and more opportunity to build an audience to keep producing great stuff. And I’m just absolutely convinced that we’ve got something here, you know, we just need to keep going, keep iterating, keep improving it. And I think we’ll look back a few years from now and go, it was exactly the right move.

Darren Selig
I’ve got a question for you both, maybe I’m just being stupid. But when you open a magazine, you bite off the shelf, you know, for me, first and foremost, I’m looking at all the wonderful photography, and all the pictures, and its very eye catching. And then I kind of get to the detail of the text of the article getting into that. It just does that hold true. When it’s online, on intercooler, people coming to you to look at pictures, the photo photography, as well as the writing, or is it more about the fact that you are incredible writers, and basically, the best in class at the sector. What’s your views?

Andrew Frankel
I think that you know, there are lots and lots of places you can go, you know, not just Instagram to find beautiful pictures of cars. The imagery is important to us. But we’re not primarily a photographic resource. If we’re going to spend money on photography, we would tend to spend it on on archive stuff, if we got some story about some great racing driver or something like that. And there’s wonderful photography and you know, all the archives that we can go and get that from. But you know, if you think about, if you think about the print products that really specialise in the writing, you think of things like the Economist or The New Yorker, or the week or private, you know, like us, they are not having big on on photographs, I think when the website comes along, that will give us a bigger and better opportunity to do more in that sort of direction. But we are at the moment primarily about the quality of our writing. And we will always have the photography that we use is is up to the standard, but it’s not what we’re here for.

Amanda Stretton
Do you think this is a generational thing as well? So, I mean, the younger generation. I am not a big fan of of magazines, in that. I like to look at them. But then once I’ve looked at them, to me, they’re then obsolete, the idea of keeping them and referring back to them is actually something I would never do. And because I think I’ve got a beautiful, massive, great big apple screen to me, and it looks so much better when it’s on there- this photograph or this article, rather than me reading it in an actual physical magazine. That’s just my preference. But I’m just wondering if this is a generational thing now that people are actually turning to their computers, tablets, mobile phones, whatever. And that’s where they’re actually seeking to find information, rather than picking up with Mike saying is that what you’re finding?

Dan Prosser
I think that’s happening. I think if you look at the macro trends, you know, if you sort of accelerate down the road, 10 years, 20 years, it’s only going to be more so particularly young kids now, they’re not picking up magazines. And when they’re adults, they won’t pick up that as a habit. You know, I understand why people really have a thing for prints. I can’t remember the last time I sat down with a paper product, even a book. If I’m reading a magazine, it’s probably on an iPad or something. So, I just think the trend is going that way. And I’d rather be swimming with the tide rather than against it. But yeah, I mean, there are there are great opportunities on you know, like you say, if you’ve got a big, beautiful screen in front of you, you can render gorgeous image on that. Far bigger than you ever could in a magazine. And it’s gonna look fantastic. So yeah, definitely. With digital, you’ve got all these opportunities. And I just think it’s future proofed as well.

Darren Selig
I think it’s a good great point on the archiving stuff. Because in our office, we’ve got, you know, rows and rows of shelves, with magazines galore, books galore. And no one ever takes them off the shelf wants to read them the first time. So at least in in digital, it’s forever in an archived way you can access.

Andrew Frankel
Yeah, I mean, I think there will always be it’s like solid vinyl, isn’t it? I think there will always be a constituency, things that don’t tend to die out. I mean, you know, horses didn’t die, when cars came along, they just got used for a different purpose. And I think that print, there will always be print magazines. But there’ll be very small, there’ll be very expensive. And, you know, I think rover and Magneto have got the right idea where they have a big cover price, they don’t come out very often. So, they don’t take up a huge amount of space. But absolutely top quality and worth waiting for when you get there. And I think that’s the way that it’s going to go but for us, you know, we are well. So, we’re only just through the entry door in terms of what we want this business to do. And you know, we have got so much stuff that we have to accomplish, before we ever thought about going down a road like that, and also others do it terribly well. And I just really liked the idea, particularly when the website comes on. We’ve already got hundreds of stories written by the best writers. And they’re there on the app, but you’ve got to go looking for them. And you’ve got to know that once we have the website, it’s just going to be fantastic. And people literally everyday going to be able to dive into hundreds of stories written by the best American journalist in the world. And they’ll just be sitting there in front of them. And, you know, I find that just as a consumer of motoring journalism, I find that immensely exciting, because you know that it’s not happening anywhere else.

Dan Prosser
Yeah, if you if you subscribe to us, you immediately have access to everything we’ve ever done.

Amanda Stretton
So how do they how do you both go about editing this, then if you’ve obviously got this this great big group of, of contributors. How do you? I mean, how are you actually controlling what goes out? Who?

Dan Prosser
TI literally do it, upload it to the, to the CMS and so on. But the sort of ideation thing, I mean, we just lean on our contributors. You know, we will have conversations with them find out what they’ve been up to what’s on their minds at the moment, and we trust them. But it’s, I mean, there’s no, there’s no particular strategy. Actually, it’s a lot of a lot, you know, it’s basically depending on what feels right. And as you do it more and more, you have more and more than under understanding of what it is that works.

Darren Selig
You’re back to being the passenger in the car, because you’re trusting they’re driving and they’re driving is writing, the content consequences

Dan Prosser
The consequences aren’t so grave either.

Andrew Frankel
I think there is an important point, which is another reason which I think I hope we think we are different. One of the key things that I was always very keen on only because it’s what I grew up. I mean, I grew up on car magazine in the late 70s, early 80s. But I didn’t actually read car magazine for the articles. I read them for the people who were writing them. I read them for the George Bishop, Mel Nichols, Steady Barker and Phil Llewellyn and guys like that. And that’s what we hope we’re already doing that people because people know who right for us. They’ll just kind of think, well, I’m really interested in what Andrew English got to say what Henry capitals got to say today, because they’re such big names and they’re so highly respected. And yeah, these guys could talk about you know, tiddlywinks or budgerigars and hopefully they do so an interesting way, that people will come to us, not just for our stories, but for the people who write them. And that’s yeah, that’s pretty core to what we what we want to do.

Amanda Stretton
You sort of nailed your colours to the mast when you were talking about some of the new product that’s coming out. How do you how do you maintain excitement, enthusiasm? And something interesting to say about that? If you are not so interested in it?

Andrew Frankel
I made a particularly particular reference to you know crossover SUV. I mean, for me, I like cars, we know what they’re for. And cars that just tried to do everything, not terribly well, that doesn’t get me excited. Any number of new cars out there today, and you know, pure EVs, I can get more than excited about. And, again, one of the great liberating things about what we do is we don’t have to cover everything, you can be really selective. And if you look back at the cars that we do, we do review, and there aren’t that many of them, they’re all just interesting cars. We don’t have we’re not on the hamster wheel, we don’t think oh, gosh, you know, somebody just launched a such and such with three different engines. And we just don’t have to play that game. Because at the back of our minds, you kn ow, there aren’t advertisers who you know, and there isn’t an advertising department. So, you’ve got to review this, because otherwise Fred won’t advertise with us. We just don’t do that. So, really, and I do mean this, the only criteria we have for a story fit for the intercooler is that it’s interesting, and possibly also, that tells you something that you didn’t already know, that’s a component of being interesting to me. And then, you know, we’ve even done started doing the old stories, which isn’t really about cars, although 95% of our content will always be automated. We just want to be a place where people go to really read really great stories written by really great writers. And we think that if we pour all our attention into the product, the product and the product, then they will come. And we think that once there’s a website as well, which will make life you know, and the whole business of sharing and everything else massively easier. They will they’ll do save more.

Amanda Stretton
And then Dan what about you? How do you keep keep motivated, interested? Excited?

Dan Prosser
I’m perhaps a little bit more sanguine than others on this call about the future. Well, I actually don’t know where we’re heading. The truth is Ferrari are going to launch a hybrid mid-engine hybrid supercar with best part of 100 horsepower this year. I think that’s fairly exciting. So, there’s plenty, there’s plenty of stuff coming through that really does light a fire. But you know, I spent a lot of time thinking 5/10 years down the road, and what direction are we heading? I did. I mean, it seems to me at the moment that you know, everyday driving and hobby driving will diverge. As you know, we’ll probably have electric cars every day, and something fun back in the shed at home for the weekends, which is, you know, that’s great. I can see that working for me. But I do wonder about that convergence of sports car, supercar and electric. Is it possible that a car powered by batteries and electric motors that’s designed to be thrilling to drive- can such a thing exist? And I have a lot of conversations with people who reassure me in quite sophisticated ways that it can be done, for instance, David Twohig, who is one of our writers, and a brilliant guy, he’s an automotive engineer. He’s got background in sports cars; he’s got a background in electric cars. He is adamant that it can be done. And so, I suppose I’m not exactly excited about this future generation of electric sports cars and supercars, but I’m enormously curious about them. No one is really built an electric sports car that’s affordable. And so, until someone does, we don’t know what it’s going to be like to drive. So, I’m just I’m really curious about them. And I can’t wait until Alpin, Lotus or Porsche or someone builds one. I can’t wait to have a go because it’s fun to drive, genuinely fun to drive the way a great petrol car can be. All of a sudden, the future of automotive looks a whole lot rosier.

Darren Selig
Do you think this is generational? Do you think the 20 early 20s generation today think the same way because maybe they’ve not had the same experiences of well, you actually you don’t look that old Dan, to be honest? For the rest of us it’s hard to move on, isn’t it to the changing technology? And I’m not so sure the younger generation see it in the same way.

Amanda Stretton
My kids fight over who is going to inherit which of my cars because they love them, they absolutely love them. And they’re both under 20. And they’re just starting on their automotive journey now, but they love the old cars.

Darren Selig
But they’ve been brought up in a household, who are interested in cars and the way you are and have seen the cars in that’s not true for most households. Good point. So, I don’t know what the answer is to be honest, but I just get the feeling the younger generation may look at this a bit bit differently.

Amanda Stretton
And I’m still waiting for the exciting electric crossover SUV to come out. But Darren, you know why that is?

Darren Selig
Yes,

Andrew Frankel
I get the feeling of man; you may have a view on this. But I think that young people are actually getting into old cars in a way that my generation didn’t so much. There is apparently a huge interest among young people who are looking at cars from, not even just the sort of 70s and 80s. But, you know, 50s 60s, even prewar. And I’m curious as to why that might be. And it may be that these are the petrol heads who are not finding modern productors, as entertaining or as interesting, or as captivating as, as we did when we were their age. I don’t think there are huge numbers of them. But we have one of the things that we do, which is very close to our hearts is we always have a young writer, as part of our team. And we’re on our third now, what happens is we get a young writer, and then some big publishing house comes on take, which from our point of view is job done, because that means they’ve been able to they got themselves a proper job in the industry, which we’d never be able to provide. And we’ve been able to give them a little bit of airtime, which has got them noticed, and then they’re set, which is fantastic. And we did it because you know, certainly when I started this, there was no one doing that for us. And so, we recently had a competition to find our latest one. And we thought we’d probably get I don’t know, seven or eight entries, I think we had over 50 in the end. And it was very interesting reading what they were writing about. And they were not writing about the latest crossover SUV plug in hybrid, they were writing about stuff that interests all of us. A lot of it pretty old stuff. And you kind of wonder where you know, and everybody who entered had to be 21 or younger, and they’ve got it from somewhere. And the passion, there’s no shortage of that out there. You know, it may be that there aren’t quite as many of them now as they were because there’s so much other stuff in their lives, isn’t it? You know, when we grew up with internet and all these other distractions, you know, cars were quite an obvious thing to latch on to. That’s not the case anymore. But there’s no shortage of talent, and there’s no shortage of passion, I don’t think, among the young of today. I just hope that they are able to be as lucky as we have been to be able to indulge that passion for for as long as they’re driving cars.

Amanda Stretton
So, what advice would you both give to young people who want to follow a career path similar to yours? What would you say to them?

Dan Prosser
Keep an eye out on our Instagram, probably not anytime soon. But we ran our young writer competition for the first-time last year, late last year, and we’re gonna do it again. And, I mean, there have been similar things in the past. And there are similar things ongoing. So, you know, anyone who is serious about a career in this line of work should just enter all these competitions ours is one of them. But I suppose the point about what we do is that the winner will write for us, they’ll become one of our team of writers, and they will contribute, and they’ll have our input. You know, we won’t publish anything that doesn’t meet our standards. So, we’ll work with them and help them improve. But otherwise, it’s just written, write, write, read, read, read. It’s actually a very interesting question because a lot of young people, send me some stuff they’ve written and say, you can give me some feedback on this. And what I find interesting is that most of them, write opinion pieces, or a lot of them do. And the truth is an opinion piece is the hardest thing to write. So, what I say to all of them is just go and do some reading. Find pick a car that you like, pick a car that’s fascinated you forever. Dig and dig and dig and dig until you find a nugget something that you find interesting that you didn’t know before, and that you suspect other people didn’t know before, and then just writes a really thoroughly researched story about that car. That’s how a young person can deliver a really good piece of car journalism that we might publish. You know, what, we’re probably not going to take an opinion piece from a 20-year-olds.

Andrew Frankel
there are a few bits of advice. I mean, don’t expect to get rich. Because you know, unless you’re on the telly, very few do. So, it really is a labour of love. If you are passionate about it, and you can get into it, it is nevertheless one of the best jobs in the world. But there is no, there is no shortcut to writing. I mean, lots of people can, frankly, can drive to the requires standard, you need to be a good driver, you need to be able to assess cars, you’ve got to understand what cars are saying to you. But you don’t have to be Lewis, you really don’t. But you do have to be able to write if you’re going to have a good career. And by that, I mean, you don’t own your career writing press releases for windscreen wiper manufacturers. If you want to have been out there driving new cars, making verdicts making a difference. You have to be able to write and there is no substitute mean even people who’ve been doing it for a long time, like me, you know, I didn’t come into this industry, knowing how to do it. I had to learn I had to learn the hard way. And you know, so get published, it doesn’t matter what you’re published in, go and do work experience on magazines. They’re all you know, websites, they’re all looking for people who are prepared to give a week free of charge, because why wouldn’t they, work hard, arrive early, leave late, get yourself notice, be creative, be proactive. I mean, it’s all basic stuff. But so many people don’t do it. So, and it’s actually, so the right sort of person with the right sort of motivation and the right kinds of talent, I still don’t think it’s that difficult to get noticed. And then you know, then you can do it. But you’ve got to really, really want it.

Darren Selig
I have got a burning question following from what you’re saying then, which is there’s been a huge rise in social media influencers, and a number who is specialising in automotive. So, they say that they are, who are effectively writing articles actually not writing any words, but just videoing themselves reviewing cars, and pasting their stuff. And off it goes. You know, how do you feel about that, you know, compared to the well-seasoned writer whose digging and digging, digging and finding the nuggets.

Dan Prosser
There are some great guys and girls out there doing it to a good standard. The thing that I would say, you know, if you want to learn to really communicate about cars, if you want to learn to really assess a car, if you want to improve your knowledge of the industry, you’ve got to work side by side with people who’ve been doing for decades. You learn more sitting in some new sports car alongside a very experienced, well-established journalist on some Welsh Moreland roads. You learn more in those 20 minutes about how to drive, how to assess a car or how to describe a car, then you will ever learn in five years doing on your own. It’s so important to work with people who’ve been doing it well to a high standard for a long time.

Amanda Stretton
Do you think it’s gonna get more and more difficult for people to actually be able to assess cars as more and more cars become so standardised so just shared components? hey’re all They’re all good. None of them are outstanding.

Andrew Frankel
I don’t think it will happen. I think it is happening. I sit on the car of the year jury and so the intercooler tends to, but we did we only tend to write about interesting cars. But the car of the year because it’s it’s a consumer award, we have to drive everything

Darren Selig
I can already guess what hasn’t won.

Andrew Frankel
Well, there are 51 jurors. But also, you know, you put a different hat on when you’re doing that because the criteria are not which cars most fun to drive. Its which car is best at doing the job for which it was designed. And that might be a very, very different job to the sort of thing that would interest me in a car. But we do still have to go off and drive all these things and they are getting vanilla is absolutely the word. You know, because they basically all have the same motor for wanting. An electric motor is an electric motor or a battery as a battery, a single speed transmission as a single speed transmission. So, it’s becoming ever more difficult to put those key distinctions in so what people are doing because there’s very little you can do on the engineering side is they’re putting all their resources into the design side. So, you get cars with much more interesting interiors these days. Not all the necessary work any better. But you get these helps with these huge flat screens. There’s lots of creative stuff going on there. But in terms of what cars are like to drive, yeah, it’s much more difficult and it is happening right now. And it does worry me. And you know, this isn’t going to be a problem, which is going to trouble me because I’m near the exit door of my career than the entry point. But, for the very young motoring journalists today who are still going to be wanting to earn a living out of assessing cars in 30/40 years’ time. Yeah, it’s gonna be tricky.

Amanda Stretton
So, what are the cars that you’re both most looking forward to coming out, and actually having the opportunity to review in the coming year? Dan will start with you.

Dan Prosser
Plenty, the Lotus Emira. We had this conversation on our podcast, and we think there’s a chance it could be the last great driver sports car. Because no one’s going to develop a new combustion engine sports car from now, because you won’t be able to sell it for more than eight years in the UK. It’s just not going to happen. And then everything will be hybrid or electric after that. And we know what the implications of that are. So that’s a significant car. Also, the McLaren Arthur, actually, it’s The Arturia isn’t it? But it’s there it’s their hybrid one. We should have been driving that a while ago now. It’s been it’s been heavily delayed that thing. I hope they managed to get on top of the issues. And I hope it’s a brilliant thing to drive. I just I’m very curious to see.

Andrew Frankel
The Ferrari 296 GTB. When I drove the SF90 I came away not really being able to understand who the car was for because it’s this 1000 horsepower near 1000 horsepower hypercar. But they’re not limiting its production. So, it’s not like a specialist thing. And that shows its value. But because it’s got a German front axle, there’s no space for anything at all. There’s no luggage space, so you can’t actually go anywhere in it. And I remember just saying, if they just took away that electric driven front axle, they’d still be left with an 800-horsepower rear wheel drive car, which you could actually use. And that’s what the fuel 960 DBS and that fascinates me, because I think that could be I don’t know, you must never prejudge these things. But if Ferrari have got it, right, and they rarely get these things wrong, that could be an extraordinary car. I mean, that could be a sort of peak supercar. And I’m very excited about driving it, although annoying enough. Dan’s gonna go and drive it for us. So, I’ll have to wait.

Amanda Stretton
Do you draw straws about who gets to drive what or is it availability?

Dan Prosser
Its more availability

Andrew Frankel
Sadly, we turned down 99% of the stuff that comes into us because apart from being motoring journalists. We’re actually trying to run a business, which neither of us have done before. So, it’s kind of you know, it keeps us grounded most of the time, but something like that comes in and obviously, you know, we’re not going to say no to that. Are you going to Spain to drive that?

Dan Prosser
I think so. Yeah.

Amanda Stretton
Oh, is that coming up soon? Sounds lovely.

Dan Prosser
March, like next month? Yeah. You say where are you going? I’m going to Heathrow. And then you land somewhere and drive the car. And then come back home.

Amanda Stretton
Because Andrew, you also drove the Gordon Murray T33. Recently, didn’t you?

Andrew Frankel
No, there’s only a model. So, I went and stood in and around car park with Gordon for a couple of hours and spoke to him about it. I can’t wait to drive it

Amanda Stretton
Or the T50, have you driven that?

Andrew Frankel
They’ve not done any press drives in that. Although hopefully, keeping everything crossed. You know, we’ll find a way into that before the end of the year. The T33 is just a really, it’s just a really interesting thing. I just love the way that the Gordon’s mind works. Everybody else is thinking oh we got to downsize fewer cylinders, more turbochargers, plug in this, electric that. And Gordon’s going nah we will just do manual V12. There is a sort of refreshing traditionalism, about that which appeals to me,

Amanda Stretton
He’s a phenomenal mind. I remember talking to him about that. What was it that pickup truck thing? He did that flat pack box or the ops. Yes, that’s right. Yes. It was fascinating listening to how he went through the problem solving of all of that. Yeah. So, Andrew, I’m not wishing to dwell on the negatives here. But you just said you’re sort of further to the exit of your career than the beginning?

Andrew Frankel
I’ve been a motoring journalist for 34 years. What will I be 34 years’ time – I would be 90? So, I think it’s I think it’s unlikely. Frankly, I’ll be I’ll be happy to be retiring at 90.

Darren Selig
With so much experience, are you still finding those nuggets you talk about, the new things to talk about?

Andrew Frankel
There’s always something interesting, it just depends how hard you dig. History isn’t a finite thing. It keeps on being made, what we’re talking about today it’s good. You just keep on digging. One of the things that some people said to us, when we started talking about doing the intercooler was well, you’re just going to run out of stuff to write about. It’s the one thing which has never ever worried me. We’re never going to get to the stage where there are no more good stories to tell. And even if Dan and I ran out of good stories to tell, we’ve got such an amazing bunch of people working for us, that between us it’s never ever going to happen. They’re always going to be good news stories to tell. It’s not just, you know, gazing into the past thinking things aren’t what they used to be, you know, it’s a constantly evolving thing.

Darren Selig
I was just going to say, if I was given the opportunity to look at some cars this year, I think I’d be quite keen to see what the Tesla Roadsters like, if that ever appears. Because I’ve always been a critique of Tesla design. I’m not a big fan of them. But I think that looks reasonably nice. And you know, it’s a roadster type of sports car I think maybe that might tick the boxes. But that’s why I’d like to give it a go to see if they actually got it right.

Dan Prosser
I’d like to know what all that power feels like, all that acceleration. But it does feel to me that, you know, this is the issue that I have with electric performance cars, is that it seems they have one trick at the moment, which is to be really, really, really, really fast. And you just can’t use that on the road.

Andrew Frankel
So, they’re the interesting route for the electric sports car, is I can see companies like Cater ham and Ariel doing this. Because the moment it becomes a pure recreation is the moment you don’t need the range anymore. And that’s the critical thing. And if you don’t need the range, you don’t have to have a big battery. And if you don’t have to have a big battery, you can have a light car. So, you could have a Caterham weighing, okay, patrons, they weigh five 600 kilos, you can have one which may weigh eight 900 kilos but would still be ridiculously light compared to anything else. Which had a range of 130 140 miles. And that can still be a very special car, I think it gets really problematic when you start down the road of creating great drivers cars that can do distances, because with the EV, what we do know is that if you want to do a distance, you have to have the weight until some miraculous breakthrough in the technology comes along. And goodness knows, you know, I’ve been waiting for solid state batteries to happen for almost as long as I’ve been doing this job. And the thing about solid state batteries, which is the great breakthrough technologies, they’re always about 10 years away. So, you know, I can’t see that happening. And they do get better. For car manufacturers like you know, big luxury companies, Bentley and Rolls Royce, they’ll have a wonderful time with EVs. Because what do you want from a luxury car? You want torque and you want silence? Well, that’s an EV, isn’t it? And right down at the other little sports cars, I think they’ll be fine. It’s all the stuff in the middle. It’s all the stuff and it’s the electric 911 but I just can’t get my head around. Whoa, don’t mention Porsche. And Dan, you drove you’re one of the first journalists I believe to drive the new Rimac Concept One what was that like?

Dan Prosser
Yeah, so this was a few years ago. This is the one before the latest car the Avira. So, it’s a really interesting thing. And what’s clever about the remark and certain other electric cars, is that they have one motor per wheel. And so you can do this all wheel torque vectoring thing which is way more precise and responsive than the kind of all wheel torque vectoring you can do with a combustion engine car and so they can actually make the car behave in really awesome unusual ways, they can make it feel a lot lighter than it is they can make it pivot on a dime, they can, you can technically make it do that Army tank thing where just spins on the spot.

Amanda Stretton
It’s always useful that.

Dan Prosser
Extremely useful. So, you find stuff driving this car, you think it just behaves unlike anything else I’ve ever driven before. It’s really interesting. The car that I drove was very limited on range. So, it was difficult to get beneath the skin of that car. Also, you see these headline power figures, 1000 horsepower, 2000 horsepower. They don’t feel it. You know, they don’t, you’re not suddenly thinking this feels twice as accelerated as a 911. Turbo. They feel about 911 Turbo fast to me. So they’re curious things. But this idea of all wheel torque vectoring is very interesting. And it’s inherently heavy, inherently complicated. But there are companies working on exactly that theory now. And they’ll make cars do extraordinary things. And I am quite excited by that stuff.

Amanda Stretton
Andrew, picking up on the point you made just about sort of big SUVs and big luxury cars. So, what’s your view? I’m also thinking about what you were talking about the screens as well, and driver and passenger? I mean, obviously, with with big companies like Mercedes now going on, they’re sort of EQ, and I’m thinking particularly of the EQS. What’s your view on something like that?

Andrew Frankel
Well, I haven’t driven an EQS yet, I think the one I was going to drive got damaged. And it’s meant to have this hyper screen in it. So, I’m, I’m looking forward to trying it. I mean, the sad thing, and this is everything about me really not very much about the cars I’m talking about. But these days, the criteria I apply to cars, first and foremost is how little do they annoy me, it’s really sad.

Amanda Stretton
You are sounding like a grumpy old man.

Andrew Frankel
And there’s a good reason for that. You get into cars, and they start binging and bonding at you almost before you got your seatbelt on. And you then head off down the road. And it’s telling you that you know, you’re too close to the car in front or there’s a car coming up behind you. And then you try and go around a corner and it doesn’t like the line you’re taking. So, it decides it’s going to do one that it wants to do and and so all this stuff, which they call, you know, driver assistance or driver aids or whatever, I just wish cars would leave me alone a bit more. And all the sort of stuff that you’re talking about it all looks amazing, but it’s the balance between form and function. But ultimately, how well does it actually work. And if you’ve got to dive through three sub menus just to turn your bum warmer, or to turn the radio up then that’s when the priorities aren’t around the right way. If you spend more time looking at a screen than the road. All these safety systems are meant to make you safe, but they never measure how much more likely you are to have an accident because you are staring at a screen trying to figure out how it worked or you know, you’re trying to stab little icons with your finger. And who knows and clearly people do crash calls as a result of that which would never happen if there was just a button.

Amanda Stretton
They are now giving it to you as heads up display. So, they even more distracting you.

Andrew Frankel
I do sound like a grumpy old man. But I don’t think I am, I just like stuff that works. And if this stuff was that beautiful, and it worked really really well. So, it was intuitive, and it was easy and functional. And it actually allowed me to spend more time thinking about what I should be doing which is driving the car, then bring it on, no one be happier than me to see these systems work as well as well as they look. I just haven’t come across one yet.

Amanda Stretton
And I’m conscious that we aren’t marching on with time here. So, I’m going to try and get through some of my last questions quite quickly. And Andrew, I understand, apparently you are a former and current Guinness World Record.

Andrew Frankel
The formal one was okay. The form one is a complete cheat because I wanted to break a Guinness record. I didn’t want to set one. But when I first became a motoring journalist, I happen to pick up a telephone one day which will and on the other end of it was a bloke called Donald MacFarlane, who was the editor of the Guinness Book of Records, and he wanted someone to edit their motoring pages. So, my first ever freelance gig and I got paid 50 quid for it. That allowed me to suggest ideas and I suggested the fastest lap of the UK circuit by a production car. I then got my boss who sadly died to go and set in a Ferrari Testarossa. I knew that next year that car is going to be replaced by a much quicker car, so I could go and break it. So, I broke a record that I not only set but invented. So yes, I very briefly held the record for the fastest lap of UK circuit by a production car, which I did by driving around Millbrook, which as you all know, is a constant ball at 175, I think in a Ferrari. And then it got beaten again almost immediately. And the other one, the current one is the largest number of countries you can try through on a single tank of fuel.

Amanda Stretton
And how many was it and where did you go? And what car were you in?

Andrew Frankel
I was an Audi A6 diesel. We went to France. Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Bosnia.

Dan Prosser
I bet you wish you hadn’t asked.

Andrew Frankel
We ended up in Hungary. So, I think there were 14 or 15 countries.

Darren Selig
That’s quite a list that somebody said they couldn’t remember.

Amanda Stretton
Yeah. That’s actually quite impressive. I’m like a certificate. You get a medal.

Andrew Frankel
Yes, my living room is adorned with that very piece of paper. It was unbelievably dull. Because we had to do it nonstop because we didn’t want the engine getting cooled cold or anything. So, we’d so we literally just blitzed it. And I can’t remember how I took about, I don’t know, 27 hours or something. And it was it was just duller than dull. It was done with the RAC who wanted a record, they could make a noise And I used to write some stuff SO they asked me to do it.

Amanda Stretton
Dan, any anything notable records or achievements for you?

Dan Prosser
Um, no spring to mind. I was the first journalist to drive a Rimac. You know, I think I think that might feel more significant in 20 years than it does today.

Amanda Stretton
And more significant than Andrews 14 countries. Was it?

Dan Prosser
It’s cooler than that. Yeah.

Amanda Stretton
I’m not judging. Okay, so give us just a quick lowdown. Obviously, you’ve got the the website for the intercooler coming, any dates on that? Do we know when that’s going to be?

Dan Prosser
It’s a couple of months away still. We’re looking at we’re looking at springtime. We’re making sure we get it right. Rather than, you know, get it live in a hurry. But yeah, I mean, it’ll be at theintercooler.co.uk. And in the meantime, we’re still doing lots of stuff on Instagram at the intercooler and the podcast every week. So that’s enough to keep us busy. That’s for sure.

Amanda Stretton
And any further steps or any future plans that you can enlighten us on and things to look forward to?

Andrew Frankel
I hope not, only because our plates are so full at the moment. And there’s all sorts of stuff that we’d like to do. We are going to be more events, we had our first track day last year, which we did that Thruxton. It was a wonderful, wonderful day out. And we are incredibly lucky because Karen Chandock, who’s one of our team came down and spent the day scaring up punters witless. Henry Pearman turned up with some group C cars, and so people can watch that lot going around, which was unbelievable. And there wasn’t a red flag all day, it was amazing. So, we had we had a wonderful time, and people were very kind about it. So, we’re going to do some more of that. We’ll probably go off do Bicester Heritage Sunday Scrambles and do the sort of things where we can just meet up with people.

Amanda Stretton
I’m a big fan of the scramble. Yeah, I love it. Great. Well, listen, guys, thank you so much. I’m speaking on your behalf Darren, but we’re wishing you all the very best for the future.

Darren Selig
Yeah, we are very excited to be working with the intercooler. And definitely, the quality of the output in the writing is exceptional. I do agree with you on that.

Andrew Frankel
And just just finally, I know, I would say this because I’m on this podcast. But the support of JBR has been fantastic. It really has

Amanda Stretton
I’m just going to drag that back very quickly, because we call ourselves fund your passion. And actually, that is what you’re all about, isn’t it?

Darren Selig
Yeah, pretty much. We are here to support the enthusiasts who are passionate about cars. And you know, that may be a car that cost 25,000 pounds or a car that costs over a million pounds. It doesn’t really matter. It’s about the passion, and the enthusiasm and experience that people have with these cars in trying to bring that to life for them and help them on that journey. Whether they’re aspirational, or perspiration on the other end game around the track. So that’s why we exist. That’s what we enjoy. And we love to hear all the stories from our customers about their cars and experiences that perhaps these guys like to write about.

Amanda Stretton
Great stuff. Well, listen, Dan and Andrew, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been an absolute pleasure and lovely to hear about what you’ve been up to thank you and best of luck for the rest of the year.

Andrew Frankel
Thanks for having us.

Amanda Stretton
And thank you for listening. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and we will see you next time. Bye bye

The Fund Your Passion podcast is brought to you by JBR Capital. JBR Capital Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm reference number is 682493.
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