What is your role at Re:Fuel?
I’m the Community Development Manager, and I also strive to bring interesting cars along to our Open Days (like the SLR 722s Roadster I’m sitting in front of below!)
How did you get involved with Re:Fuel?
I’d known Dan for a while through my day-to-day life, and one day I got a message from him asking if I wanted to meet for a chat. Next thing you know, we’re coming up with a date to have our first official Re:Fuel meeting.
What’s your favourite thing about Re:Fuel?
Before Re:Fuel, there has never really been a diverse, grassroots, car community in the South West. Sure, we have some amazing clubs and events, but nothing that’s very regular and allows all facets of the automotive community to interject with one and other all year round. It’s usually one event for one group and one for another. The thing is, 99% of all cars have two things in common, 4 wheels and a driver (for the time being), and it’s what you do with that combination that makes your car unique, and Re:Fuel is where you can now share those stories with other enthusiasts/admirers.
What were you doing before Re:Fuel?
I’m the founder of an automotive start-up called Ideal First Car, which helps first-time car buyers get on the road, in a car they want, for a price they can afford. I started the business when I was 17 at College, and from there it has grown from bedroom to boardroom, so to speak.
From the age of about 11 to 14, I used to walk around the local industrial estate taking pictures of the latest and greatest cars to hit the showroom floors. I would then share them on Instagram. It grew to a couple of thousand followers and it introduced me to the online car community; where I could utter the words ‘Individual Throttle Bodies’ and not be laughed at. Furthermore, I became exposed to automotive YouTubers, like Supercars Of London and Shmee150, which meant I could now see cars you’d only dream of seeing in the South West, being driven around in the wild; as they should be.
From 15, I volunteered in some dealerships around Devon (Porsche, Mercedes, Volvo to name a few) so I could learn about the industry behind my passion and, potentially, turn it into a career one day.
Tell us about your home life!
I live in a stereotypical Devon village just outside Exeter; the sort of place where the local school has about 80 people in it, and if something happens the whole area knows about it in a matter of hours. But I love it. I split my time between Exeter and Bristol throughout the week, and on weekends I usually work from home – so it’s sometimes hard to find the time to relax; and if I do I usually end up doing something car related, so I can’t really win!
What do you do when you’re not working?
Work some more…
What car do you drive?
Going to breeze past this one as being 20 yrs old it’s pretty tragic compared to Dan’s and Josh’s collections. Here’s a picture of me driving something a little more respectable on my 19 birthday. Up until that moment I had only ever been a passenger in a 458 so as I’m sure you can imagine I’m shi**ing a brick in that picture. Although, after the first few minutes, the car became very intuitive to handle, and the driving experience was incredibly exhilarating. I got out of the car vowing to own one someday. It’ll be either a Rosso Fuoco Coupe or Blu Tour de France Spider.
What is your favourite drive?
One with great roads, good people and epic cars!
If you could go anywhere where would it be?
Devon. No matter what Dan says (being Cornish). But outside of my home county, I do love a road trip to the South of France. My Dad and I completed one about a decade ago in our 9-seater Defender 110 to Aix-en-Provence; which wasn’t has bad as you might think.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I used to be a goalkeeper for Plymouth Argyle’s Development squad when I was 15-16 yrs old.
Exeter is my home city. When my family settled back here after living abroad for a while, my parents decided to stay in the region full time as it’s a great area to raise a family, and what it has to offer in terms of culture and community is pretty substantial. It’s not London, but that’s what makes it so unique. We also have a vibrant community of petrolheads here in the South West; with the cars to match. Plus, growing a business in a city like Exeter means you get to meet fantastic people with a host of different life experiences and get to be a part of the innovation currently happening around the city.
What are you working on right now?
Ideal First Car and Re:Fuel takes up a lot of my time. However, myself and Josh are currently developing the Re:Fuel membership packages; that will provide even more depth to the Re:Fuel experience across the board once we secure our permanent premises. But if you want to see what I get up to with Re:Fuel, then follow me on Instagram @george_refuelsw