Dino Days by Phill Brigstock – A Special Book

We interrupt normal programming to bring you a special treat…. a review of Dino Days by Phil Brigstock.

Dino Days – A Special AUTO-biography

This is a whole new genre of car book – an anecdote-filled AUTO-biography. It is centred on Phill’s twice ownership of a Ferrari Dino, but covers so much more of his family’s life-long involvement in classic cars. It avoids the usual technical-fact design-detail of many single model books, and the tedious detail of I-restored-it-this-way of classic car personal accounts.

Instead Mr Brigstock takes us on a very personal driving CV. He started with a humble Ford (so many of us can relate to that), but quickly moved up to a Triumph Spitfire (related again). However, Phill just kept going. We particularly loved the stories of Lotus Esprits and the Lamborghini Miura – owned by the Brigstock brothers when most of us were still standing in WHSmiths reading Thoroughbred and Classic Cars with a longing in our hearts. The atmospheric, slightly colour-faded 1970’s photos emphasise the nostalgia for a long-gone time.

What is particularly noticeable in the book is an absence of any reference to spannering or modifications. The family were not tinkerers, and certainly it is refreshing to read that any profits were purely accidental, and certainly not the usual Wheeler Dealers type of mythical look-how-much we made on this.

Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer

Talking of Wheeler Dealers, Mike Brewer has penned the foreword to the book. All of the profits from each book are going to the Sporting Bears charity, which we strongly endorse. Sporting Bears members provide paid-for joy-rides for members of the public, with all proceeds going to benefit disabled children. Everybody wins from that. It enables regular people to experience everything from an Austin 7 to a brand new Aston Martin, boosting the image of classic car hobby. Having raised well over £2 million, this is a most commendable organisation.

You must go and buy this book! It is available on Amazon, and at good bookshops. It is a great read….. and it supports disabled children. Just how much incentive do you need? Buy it today!


Go to Amazon……

Where next for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons?

The UK Grocery Market “Big 4” seem unable to counter the growth of Aldi and Lidl.

Grocery Market Shares from Kantar Worldpanel

The chart above illustrates the market shares of all the main players.  The data is from Kantar Worldpanel. Clearly Tesco remains dominant. What is interesting is how the market shares have changed over the last two and a half years.

There tends to be much inertia in grocery shopping.  After all, those huge supermarkets are not built overnight, and customer’s habits tend to be tough to change.  So an increase or decline of 1%, whilst sounding minor, is actually quite a seismic shift.

Over the period shown, the big four have lost between 0.8% (Tesco) and and just 0.1% at Asda.  And where has it gone?  To Aldi (up 1.5%) and Lidl (up 0.8%).

No surprise there, but why? What it comes down to is changing consumer preferences.  The German discounters offer surprisingly good quality food, but with a very restricted range, few branded goods and smaller (hence cheaper) stores.  And the buying public nowadays appears to prefer more frequent, smaller shopping expeditions.


Which leaves the Big Four – with their huge hangars of shops – with a bit of a headache.  Planning restrictions prevented lots of competing shops being built to this format, so having a mega-supermarket was a great advantage, creating a “moat” in that it was difficult for competitors to access the same area.

Now all of those buildings have turned from being key business assets into costly liabilities. They are expensive to operate, meaning that the price of even average goods has to be higher.

Tesco’s made a smart move buying Booker, but Sainsbury’s failed merger with Asda is likely to cost boss Mike Coupe his job.  Both of these corporate activities seemed like trying to shelter from the changes rather than embracing them.

Meanwhile, Aldi and Lidl continue to open more of their medium-sized units, stealing market share and weakening further the finances of the local mega-shed.

And the Future?

The major operators are fighting back – making their logistics operations ever-more efficient, emphasising their better, branded products and greater choice.  Whilst it is great to push their strengths, what they need to do to meet this challenge is to provide more of what the customer wants. This will mean more mid-size stores and fewer major centres – plus a great online offering.

This will all be expensive, and who knows where the eventual market shares will even out?  And that is before we even start to think about Amazon and Google trying to break into the UK grocery market.

So until there is greater clarity, we advise avoidance of the UK grocery sector until the war is over.


PS. Didn’t we do well, not mentioning Brexit even once???