In this week's automotive adventures, Steve reveals some unexpected facts about Bolton, and shows off the perfect Jaguar-themed addition to a suit and tie. But first, let him give you the lowdown on an exciting reader competition.

Reckon you can write? Fancy giving it a try? We’re hatching a ‘My First Car’ competition for you, our loyal readers, aiming to help fill some time you might have on your hands with an interesting challenge and hopefully to bring you some of the absorption and satisfaction that turning a phrase does for us. The rules are simple: tell us about said car in just 300 words (more means disqualification; writing short is a test in itself) and include a couple of happy-snaps of both the machine and, hopefully, yourself. Extra points for style and amusement. One more thing: you can only enter once. The competition closes on 28 April at 2359.

We’ll publish the best work online – where I’ve placed a tale of my own first car. After a few months, if the idea works and once restrictions are lifted, we’ll invite a dozen of the best writers to Autocar HQ for lunch, a chance to meet the team and talk about what makes a good story.


In a life full of uncertainties, one thing we know is that we won’t be at Le Mans this summer for the 24-hour race. True, there’s a revised date already fixed for September, and one extra-good thing is that if we’re free and clear of the Black Death by then, there’ll be so many great car things to do at weekends that we’ll be dizzy from it all. Still, Le Mans in June was such a fixture that life already feels weird without it.

Just before lockdown but after the race was canned, we hatched a plan for a substitute: a trip to Bolton. It’s a little-known fact that this gritty Lancashire town is twinned with Le Mans and even has a fine street at its epicentre called Le Mans Crescent, site of some magnificent civic buildings. I was planning a 450-mile round trip from the Cotswolds to Bolton, returning via Lincoln – which is favoured with a Mulsanne Way in one of its suburbs – but travel restrictions landed before I could pull the Bentley’s selector into Drive. The first line of the story was going to be a hack’s dream: “Can’t do Le Mans this year? Go to Bolton. It’s the next best thing…”

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