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Quentin makes a pit stop

Lynda Moyo learns why Quentin Wilson is against congestion charging, thinks Gordon Brown's a wanker and likes a spot of raving.

Written by . Published on August 10th 2007.

Quentin makes a pit stop

Just like Manchester Confidential, TV presenter and motoring expert Quentin Wilson loves a good rant. So much so that he was more than happy to take a break from ogling the latest cars at the Motor Show at the Trafford Centre, to have a chat about congestion, Clarkson and cars (of course).

“Manchester’s a fantastic place. The nights out I have had here have been legendary and unforgettable. I’m from Leicester which is a complete toilet. When you come up here they’re friendly and up for a laugh.”

Gordon Brown sits there pretending he’s green. Wanker.

What’s your stance on the congestion charge plans for Manchester?
“I’m going to rant now! It’s the same as what Ken said in London. £3 of every £5 went to the managing company Capita. Only £2 went to public transport, on cycle lanes and bendy buses. There’s no proof that says that the congestion charging in London has benefited London’s transport infrastructure significantly. There’s no independent study that says yes this is working.”

But that’s London. What’s your advice for Manchester?
“Be very careful because you’re opening a Pandora’s box that could seriously damage Manchester’s very fragile new economy. Talk to any taxi driver, any bus driver, any local resident and they will tell you that all it’s done in London is move the congestion to a different time and a different place. The pollution is worse than it was when the congestion charge started. Check your facts because it’s not axiomatic that congestion charging works. You need a referendum. You don’t need it ram raided through by a council who thinks it’s a good idea.”

Point taken. You’ve said before that hybrid cars are the future, but unfortunately for most they are still too expensive. Will this ever change?
“Hybrid cars are really important. We can’t carry on turning the sky into the colour of curdled milk because we’ve got kids. We can’t carry on fighting wars with war-mongering hillbilly pigmies from Texas about who owns the oil fields. It’s just a waste of time. So let’s not be dependent on oil. Let’s have hybrids, let’s have hydrogen cars, but let’s get the Government to give us grants to buy these things. We need a fiscal alternative for us to change our behaviour. Gordon Brown sits there pretending he’s green. Wanker.”

Until then, which non-hybrid cars would you recommend for Manchester Confidential readers?
“If you’ve got a few quid then the Mercedes Sport is great. The Mercedes SLK. Citroen and Peugeot have some fantastic cars. If I was going to buy my 30-year-old girlfriend (chance would be a fine thing) a car it would have to be a Bentley Continental GTC. But in terms of something that is usable and practical, the Volkswagen ES convertible, Astra convertible, Focus convertible and the Peugeot CC. The list is endless. If you’ve got under £10,000 there’s still half a hundred really cool cars out there you can buy. And sat nav? The TomTom. It’s the market leader.”

So cars have always been your thing then?
“Yes. I wanted to do the complete opposite to my parents. They were university academics and teachers. Cars were just cool. You do get bored of cars though, people are much more interesting. Guys come up to me and say, I bet you spend all your spare time cleaning your car. No! Cars are fine and they’re great fun but give me people.”

Japanese or German?
“(Starts laughing) German cars. Japanese women. German women don’t shave under their arms.”

How about cars that can turn into alien robots like on the new movie Transformers?
“I think that would be inconvenient at times. Don’t you?”

Could you put together a better ‘music to drive to’ CD than Jeremy Clarkson?
“He has old stuff. I’d have Scissor Sisters followed by Girls Aloud.”

That’s strange. I would expect something a bit more ‘racy’ to be in the car stereo of a car idol such as yourself. No dance music? No techno?“Look, I am the person who used to go to the raves in ‘87. If it was up to me I’d have all house, all garage on CD and the car would just be rockin’. I was there, before anybody knew about raves I was in my little XR3 waiting to find out where it was with quiet little queues of people.”

Watch out Tim Westwood. Maybe Quentin could present ‘Pimp My Ride’ as his next career move? “Pimp my Ride is a bit passé and cliché today. You look at some of the cars and would you be seen in them? The great thing about the car modding thing is that they express themselves. They’re giving kids what the manufacturers don’t give them.”

And finally, the question we’ve all been wondering for years. Who is the Stig?
“Perry McCarthy.”

The Motor Show at the Trafford Centre is the largest motorshow in the region and a very significant moment in car retailing with car dealers bring the cars to you, the people. The show is on until Sunday 12 August. Expect a huge selection of top of the range cars to suit every taste.

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Professor Rob RightAugust 10th 2007.

Manchester is the worst city in Western Europe for Gun crime - more than 55 children are killed each year in gun related incidents giving the city the name of "Gunchester".Manchester was voted the UK's THIRD city in a 2002 MORI poll. It was also voted in 2007 the worst place to live in the whole of the UK.Manchester has the highest rainfall of any city in the UK and is still regarded by many to be a grim decaying mill town.Manchester, the UK's third city is a disgrace!

kgbAugust 10th 2007.

Quentin Wilson is right to be concerned about the effect of the con charge. The so-called booming Manchester economy IS fragile, a lot more fragile than most want to face up to. It is based on a combination of consumers spending borrowed money, and the property bubble. Last time I looked Manchester was the third most deprived local authority area in the country. How many businesses are relocating to Manchester so they can pay this exciting new tax?

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