Jaguar XE, DriveWrite Automotive

The Unsung Automotive Heroes

On a chilly, wet and windy morning that heralded the onset of this freezing spell we are currently enduring, the Jaguar XE R-Sport (that will be reviewed tomorrow) was delivered straight to my domicile. How good is that? Not only are motor manufacturers prepared to lend the likes of me their wares (although it is in their interests obviously) but they actually deliver and collect them. It’s all very civilised.

Not only is the car delivered but it is also delivered clean, often under difficult circumstances. Take this brilliant Jaguar (go on; you know you want to) for example: The driver had to travel a fair distance with this vehicle in some pretty poor weather and really appalling traffic for several hours, but was he downhearted? Well yes; in fact he was a bit fed up but that didn’t stop him giving the Jaguar a final wipe over despite the fact that he had washed it nearby. It had picked up some wet road dirt even in the short final stretch.

That’s it in the image above. I took the pics a couple of hours later. It had rained and even driving the few miles to that spot (my usual photo locations being water-logged) the car still looks presentable. There’s nothing anyone can do about our winter weather and it is impossible to keep our motors clean. Nevertheless the delivery drivers from the various companies always do their best to present the wheels well. They need a bit of praise.

In all weathers, all year round, these automotive heroes travel the length and breadth of Britain doing their best to keep car scribes happy. Sure, sometimes it must be nice driving around these septic isles of ours in sundry superb motors but that’s not all the job entails.

They also have to collect vehicles from elsewhere, often meaning transfers via public transport to remote locations. They use trains and buses and taxis and even shanks’s pony and they do it in all weathers and still remain – by and large – cheerful. Like yomping troopers they have to carry laden rucksacks and be equipped for any eventuality.

Most amazing of all is when they have to coordinate public transport to ensure that bus X meets train Y. Because they are dealing with British public transport services this is often not always possible meaning some convoluted route planning and an absolutely expert grasp of mobile phone transport apps. In the same way that our London black cab drivers have to learn ‘The Knowledge’ so these stalwart men and women have to gain an in-depth insight into how to transverse the Nation – and do it in a timely fashion.

I have known drivers have to do up to three transfers in a day which sometimes leaves them many miles from home, in the wet, in the dark with perhaps just an owl for company. They have to do this on a diet of bad railway coffee, dubiously sourced sandwiches and a determination not to be beaten.

So let’s hear it for these unsung automotive heroes of the motor industry. The next time you are looking at some gleaming set of wheels on car review pages, spare a thought for the person who got it there. It’s easy for us lot; we might have to spend time with perhaps unlikeable cars but we can at least do it from the comfort of our own homes. For that the motoring scribes should be grateful. Geoff Maxted