Car SOS: Fuzz Townshend creates a stir at Beaulieu International Autojumble


Musician, writer and presenter Fuzz Townshend epitomises Brits’ love for old metalFilming at Beaulieu International AutojumbleCurrent series: ten classic vehicles to re-commission in 24 weeksCar SOS: aired in over 100 countries, bought by Channel 4/More4Sunday slot pulls over half a million viewers

British TV presenter Fuzz Townshend created a stir (in more ways than one) when he filmed a sequence as part of a new episode of TV programme Car SOS at last weekend’s Beaulieu International Autojumble.

Now in its third series, Fuzz’s show, co-presented with Tim Shaw of Fifth Gear, has provided further proof (were that necessary) of Britain’s undying love for classic vehicles, even though some restoration projects may need rescuing by his team. According to a survey published in 2011 by The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, there are just under 900,000 pre-1981 vehicles in Britain, and owners spend some £3 billion a year to support their classic car interests.

Car SOS, a National Geographic Channel production, is aired in over 100 countries and has recently been bought by Channel 4/More4; its Sunday slot pulls over half a million viewers.

Fuzz’s plan to make contact with parts suppliers at Beaulieu, and help bring back to life neglected and forlorn classic vehicles secretly selected for rescuing, was successful, even though the presenter’s unorthodox way to request specific parts generated some mirth among the Autojumble’s public.

“I hit on the idea of using the tried-and-trusted method of pinning a notice on my back requesting parts for certain cars,” recalls Fuzz. “The Series Producer duly penned the note and stuck it on my back, filming it as part of the sequence. When a stranger asked me if I got my kicks wandering around Beaulieu, I replied that I enjoyed it very much. The real significance of that question was uncovered when, removing the ‘request notice’, I found that I had walked around for half an hour with a sign saying ‘Kick Me’ on my back.”

For someone who regularly travels up and down the country seeking classic cars worth saving, being surrounded by a sea of old car parts and ephemera at Beaulieu was a worthy beginning to a week spent filming and re-commissioning cars on a tight schedule (Car SOS consists of ten episodes per series within a 24-week period).

The week ends for ‘dynamo’ Fuzz with the assessment of the car re-commissioned in his own workshop, before the presenter is off to play drums for ‘The Beat’ at Colchester Arts Centre. Townshend has also started a monthly column in Classic Car Weekly and writes regularly for Practical Classics.

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