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Harold Dick and Jeremy Clarkson

I always enjoyed visiting Harold Dick after my vehicle had recuperated in his car barn. Harold relishes making cars well – they seem to improve as soon as he casts eyes on 'em – and his place is full of beautiful old MGs - red ones and green ones with tan leather seats which he is nursing back to health or driving to rallies. I often strolled round imagining how it would feel to take one out for a spin. Do not imagine for a moment, however, that Harold is sentimental about people or cars. About people and cars he cares about, he is tender.

There are cars that he loathes for good reason, and the sign hanging in his office warns "Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine." Many people could usefully read that sign, and all of Harold’s customers, who had been given Harold’s unlisted number by other customers, did.

When my old Volvo had finally expired after Harold had carried it past the 300,000-mile mark - just inside the entrance to my drive, having faithfully carried me home – I looked around for another secondhand car. I didn’t think of ringing Harold at first, but when I did he had the car to hand – a 2002 Subaru Forester with just one lady owner and dog biscuits still in the glove box. Nothing but death could have parted her from that car. I drove the car round the block, and following Harold’s instructions, as we all try to do, I bought it.

It was only yesterday that I realized that Jeremy Clarkson had given the Forester Subaru his seal of approval along with his views on living in the country. Clarkson is a politically incorrect national institution in Britain and, like Harold, has trenchant views on cars and life.

You can find out what Jeremy thinks about your car – Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Citroen, and on through the alphabet - here.

David adds - I became a fan of Jeremy Clarkson’s when he appeared as an unannounced speaker at the Countryside Rocks concert last summer. His remarks drew wild cheers from the crowd. He seems to be the BBC’s only regular who is not stamped in the Islington mold. Like Harold, he is the salt of the earth.

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