Charities receive QSI Award money
Oct06

Charities receive QSI Award money

Two children ’s hospice’s from the south-east have received the money raised from The Chauffeur QSI Awards Charity Auction which took place in April this year. Almost £4000 was given to the two establishments which look after terminally ill children and give respite care to their parents. The CHASE Children’s Hospice based in Guildford and the Naomi House Children’s Hospice in Winchester, both received the cash which was donated by the limousine and chauffeuring industry. Patron of the CHASE Children’s Hospice, Max Clifford told us, “I would like to send a personal thanks to everyone who contributed. The CHASE is a wonderful, caring place and it values every single penny which is...

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World’s apart, year’s ahead for COIF Limos
Oct05

World’s apart, year’s ahead for COIF Limos

Two years ago Limo One introduced the first limousine with a COIF — The Ford Excursion. This meant there was now a street legal limousine that could carry more than eight passengers for hire under the PSV regulations — 13 passengers in fact. We discover the newest COIF limousine to hit the industry… Noticing the trend at the 2007 Las Vegas Limousine Exhibition and a dramatic increase in limo coaches and less Towncars, Limo-1 identified that the UK would eventually steer in the same direction. But it was time for the UK and Europe to make a stance and lead the way with a new vehicle design that would meet all the forecast EU regulations, including Digital Tachographs, 62mph speed limiters, specified turning circles and E-marked components. The Mercedes Sprinter had been used in America, under the Freightliner badge. Whilst well designed, Limo-1 identified that it would not meet stringent VOSA requirements and so not achieve COIF certification and, as a limousine conversion, it could be done much better here in the UK. The Mercedes Sprinter (or VW Crafter equivalent) are a prestige chassis marquee and an attractive design so well able to compete with the Hummers or look-a-likes. The Limousine conversion however needed to be something totally different and resulting in a far more exciting experience for the passenger in a vehicle that was more economical to run, safe, street legal, RHD and a higher residual value. With that decided, a converter in the UK had to be found. A coachbuilder was chosen which had the perfect facilities and in-house craftsmanship and, for them, the timing was spot on. Tawe Coachbuilders in Pontardawe, Swansea was selected. A collaborative approach was adopted and Limo-1 International and Tawe Coachbuilders visited the International Limousine Exhibition in Las Vegas this year to research the market, but more importantly to fully appreciate the way these vehicles were put together and to find new concepts and new innovative technologies. Since then a new laminating machine has been purchased by the coachbuilders that coats plastic, metal and wood of any shape in any solid colour, wood grain colour or stone or graphic feature — one of the few such machines in Europe, let alone USA. Tawe will be using this technology for all their interior trims, bar surfaces, table tops and dashboard sections etc, just the same way as major motor manufacturers do. It has been an exciting and challenging journey but, in collaboration, Tawe Coachbuilders and Limo-1 has successfully introduced the first UK-built RHD limousine conversion in Europe which attained full C.O.I.F. certification for 16 passengers on 28 August 2008. Tawe has structurally re-enforced...

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Chauffeur Trained Packages from IOPDC
Oct05

Chauffeur Trained Packages from IOPDC

Research conducted recently by the IOPDC has highlighted the growing requirement for the establishment of certificated professional training programmes to be available to chauffeurs and chauffeur operators. Over 70% of chauffeur companies surveyed in London and the South identified better Driver Training as an essential element in the future development plans of their operations. Given the increasing legislation within our industry, the Institute sees this as a natural progression towards better standards and levels of professionalism for all. Naturally, in these times of heightened security risks, some chauffeurs do need to be able to drive in a threat avoidance style! It is just one example of a driving technique that a professional chauffeur might incorporate as part of his overall skills. Through the IOPDC, chauffeurs can gain access to driver training at all levels, which will deliver multiple benefits. Better driving causes fewer stresses on the driver and the vehicle, and can even extend the vehicle’s working life, while also reducing running costs, whether that vehicle is a car, taxi, van, or even a bus. Some simple modifications to individual driving styles could also have a dramatic effect on reducing environmental impact. By learning various driving skills, drivers and chauffeur operators should be able to gain more specialised and varied work. From an insurance perspective, drivers having undergone a certified training programme will generally present a better insurance risk and thereby reduce the frequency of claims and the costs to the insurer. Obviously, vehicle insurance cover is not only a legal requirement, but for professional drivers it gives the added peace of mind of knowing that, if the worst should happen, even in the event of a total loss, their business can continue to trade. There is a number of ways in which companies, drivers, and chauffeur operators can not only manage their own risk, but also look to reduce their premiums, and these are all areas where the iopdc is working to help its members. In completing Health and Safety audits, the inclusion of driver training has been proven to reduce the frequency of claims and the subsequent cost of claims can plummet. However, in response to the ever increasing costs of fuel and the growing number of requests received by the Institute in this respect, in partnership with a leading driver training organisation, we shall be offering a training course that focuses specifically on the benefits of saving fuel, by using Eco Smart Driving techniques that have been proven to reduce fuel consumption by between 6% and 25% depending on driving style. In addition to improved fuel economy, other benefits of the training are: • Reduced driver...

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Be assured… with Chauffeur Assured
Oct02

Be assured… with Chauffeur Assured

A unique product aimed at the chauffeuring industry was recently launched in style at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey. The Chauffeur Assured scheme which is aimed at reducing operators costs and keeping your business on the move was announced at the Brooklands Double Twelve event which was attended by Formula One stars Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen. Chauffeur Assured combines the unique selling points of the industry’s major suppliers to bring you bespoke risk management and insurance solutions. Aston Scott Ltd has exclusive scheme arrangements with the UK’s leading insurers. Like for like replacement PCO licensed vehicles delivered free within M25 from Licensed Carriage Hire and free membership and independent business sector advice from the Institute of Professional Driver & Chauffeurs. It also offers the industry comprehensive accident management service from Chauffeur Assist. A spokesman from Chauffeur Assured told us; “We remain totally focused on customer service dealing with the self-employed chauffeur to the UK’s leading fleet operators. As part of our service standard your call will be answered within four rings further demonstrating our service...

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The Classics remembered – The Jaguar MkX
Jun02

The Classics remembered – The Jaguar MkX

In the early sixties, Jaguar was on a roll having acquired Daimler in 1960 followed by the truck manufacturer, Guy and engine manufacturers, Coventry Climax and Meadows. Robert Couldwell discovers the classics from Jaguar… It didn’t neglect its own range and to even wider acclaim than the ground breaking XK120 it launched the fabulous E Type in 1961. This was one of the world’s first 150 mph cars although Jaguar did have to pay special attention to the engines of the road-test cars to achieve the magic ‘150’. Mind you the genuine 145 mph that the production cars recorded was pretty impressive when the average family car could barely crack 75. It is almost incredible in camera-torn Britain today that back then 145 mph could legally be achieved on any de-restricted single or dual carriageway. Not content with launching the most advanced sports car available, Jaguar went on to launch the luxury limousine, the Mk X in 1962. This was the final version of a long line of post-war executive saloons which started with the MkV11. Both these new models had some pieces of their design in common – both featured the triple 2 inch carburetor version of Jaguar’s new 3.8 XK engine, as had been fitted to the XK 150S, both had monocoque bodies, replacing the previous models’body on chassis construction, and both featured Jaguar’s newly designed de Dion independent rear suspension mounted in a separate sub-frame with inboard disc brakes. This design stood the test of time and was still being used in the mid eighties, its only real disadvantage being brakes barely accessible for servicing. It is a testament to the twinoverhead cam engine designed back in the forties that it could serve both a relatively lightweight 2-seater sports car and a leviathan limousine nearly 17 feet long and 6½ feet wide. This was down to its inherent smoothness, balance, torque and tractability. The Mk X arguably wasn’t one of William Lyon’s greatest styling achievements with its rather bulbous flanks but its tremendous bulk was quite cleverly disguised and it certainly had road presence making it ideal as a classic ‘limo’. Jaguar attempted to modernize the interior of the Mk X but there was a lingering feeling that costcutting had taken place and that the luxury, while still evident wasn’t as deep. One benefit was that the interior was more spacious with the rear capable of taking three in real comfort. For that matter the front could also take three. Thanks to the less raked rear lines the boot was also more commodious, perfectly capable of carrying two sets of golf clubs or luggage for a...

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Hertfordshire’s biggest secret – Vantagefield Coachbuilders.
Jun02

Hertfordshire’s biggest secret – Vantagefield Coachbuilders.

Set in a quaint village in Hertfordshire, is a coachbuilder that sets itself apart from pretty much any other coachbuilder in the world and builds vehicles which are unique in every way. Paul Gibson discovers the secrets behind Vantagefield International… The name Vantagefield has been synonymous with excellent customer service and quality products from its conception in 1982, and that is exactly what it still does to this day at its exclusive premises in London Colney. Walking into the offices of Vantagefield, a complete portfolio of the companies work sits proudly in the reception with its vehicles dating back decades — you can tell it is a company which relies on its worldwide reputation for its work. The company is involved in both the manufacturing and sales of unique luxury and bespoke vehicles which are made to order from wealthy individuals, celebrities and even Royal families throughout the world. Just a few moments with owner David Linder really makes you realise the unique work it carries out and how well respected David is within the coachbuilding sector. When the largest luxury car manufacturers in the world are calling you for advice and to carry-out work they are unable to complete, is a credit to anyone, and this expertise really shows when you see a Vantagefield produced vehicle. In the long line of vehicles built by the company is an amazing stretched Maybach 62 limousine, which was ordered by a King from an undisclosed country. The stunning left-hand drive vehicle was obviously not long enough for its new owner, as another one metre in length was added, and included two extra rear seats. Just sitting inside this beautiful vehicle, it really doesn’t feel as if this vehicle has been adapted in any way. The quality of workmanship and materials used to accommodate the extra length, all still have the high Maybach quality and no corners have been cut. The interior offers two rearfacing electric Mercedes-Benz S-Class front seats and an electric division still giving the rear passengers that privacy. The two forward facing seats still recline in the airline-style without touching the facing passengers which shows you the true length of this vehicle. When the European spec vehicle was completed, it was shipped to its new owner, but unfortunately the King died before the car was delivered, so the vehicle is now back in the hands of Vantagefield and is being offered to very serious buyers within the chauffeuring sector. Some of the other vehicles in the company’s bespoke portfolio are projects such as the previous shape Mercedes-Benz S-Class which was ordered by a client who liked massive amounts of...

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