Why do I work through the night?
It was around the time I turned seven. I was mad about cars, building model cars – 1:35 and 1:25 scale electric model construction kits from Japan. It was all I thought about, all I wanted to do, all that inspired me. My Dad promoted this creative, mechanically mindedness in me – it’s your fault Dad. I’m a petrol head…
My grandfather was also, a petrol head. I can clearly remember watching TV early on a Saturday morning with him – It was the height of 80’s World Rally Group B fever, and there right in front of us was an Audi Quattro having its gearbox replace – right there in the mud under a floodlight tent by the side of the road. Audi mechanics all feverishly working away – getting the job done, and in record time. My Grandfather understood the complexity of just what this entailed. I was just a kid, and if it could be done – then hell I could do it, right?!
The day I turned seven my Dad drove me to Camden Town to a model shop, where we bought our first 1:10th scale RC Tamiya. It was a Sand Scorcher Racing Baja Buggy, and my first real car. I set about putting it all together as soon as we got home, the photo above is me hard at it. I worked through the night – well up until about 11pm, and that was really late for a little fella like me. I built the gearbox, drive train, chassis, suspension, steering rack and wheels – a complete rolling undercarriage. I crawled into bed – shattered! – yet, totally exhilarated. I’d never done anything close to this level of complexity
In the morning I was just a little bit blurry, but there on the kitchen table was the pride and joy of my hard work. My Dad was both proud, a little astonished yet unsurprised. I’ve always drawn my inspiration from many sources. Sadly after loads of searching I can’t find the same film footage that I watched with my grandfather – so this YouTube clip is about a close as I can find, you’ll get the idea – still fucking amazing, right there in the road – in and out, bam just like that!
Because, it’s always midnight in the workshop…
To this day I am still driven by the same energy almost four decades later. Only now the cars are real and the child is our daughter. I no longer run a design department nor am I on the board of directors, hell I don’t even ‘go to work’ anymore?!
I do still ‘work’ – I work even harder now in many ways than ever before. I had to adjust my life, completely. After our daughter was born everything changed for me. My outlook on the way things are done, often without question as ‘the norm’ started to wear on me – So, I gave up the day job – built a workshop and work in there while my girls are asleep. It’s like the night stage of a great 24hrs endurance race, only with black tea and old jazz records on in the background. There are no interruptions, no calls, nothing but just the pure experience of being at one with your craft. This leads me to a natural point, where the Midnight Workshop comes to life – it’s just a blog, yes – but it’s also the starting point of a much bigger picture – ‘great things have small beginnings’
There’s a plethora of activity, toiling away on all aspects of my craft, my soulful ventures as I’m calling them – but all through the night, through the witching hour – a time when truckers, hookers and madmen roam. A time when, somewhere in the world there’s a race crew, a track, and ‘happy hour’ to be had at dawn – when the dead of night is replaced by the pink hue of dawn, when the air is cold and the intake manifold is hungry – that’s where you’ll find me, that’s where the magic happens – this is my happy place – This is my Midnight Workshop
Here’s a great example of #Nismo hard at work rebuilding the front end of a crash damaged GT-R. Within minutes that car was back out on the track battling it out in the 24hrs of Spa! Further inspiration, as if we needed any more encouragement…
So, that’s why it’s the Midnight Workshop. It’s simple really – I just needed to get back to this little chap, he’s had it right all along – and I know this, he’s well impressed with where we’ve ended up