Mark Thomas, owner of Bond Exige
‘Boys will be boys’, right? And why not? To keep the things that get your inner child going is like, I would say, to allow yourself to feel joy without having to worry too much about anything else… to escape from the everyday responsibilities for a brief moment, to give yourself a pat on the back and say ‘go have fun’!
The love of all things with engines and fast cars, has been with me from young age, perhaps because dad was an engineer. That inquisitive nature has been with me always and as a child I always built, programmed, and played with computers. Playing with computers became working with computers and ultimately became founding and owning a computer software company. I recognise I have been fortunate to do what I love and able to reward myself with some fantastic sport carts.
I am an automotive enthusiast of all genres and aspects, from racing to engineering and club events to the ownership experience.
Sports car ownership
I have been fortunate to own some exciting sports cars over the years. Whilst these have been my ‘fun’ cars, my ‘daily drive’ has always been an economical diesel saloon; Peugeot 406, Jaguar X-Type, BMW 5 & 7 servies.
My first ‘proper’ sportscar was the transition model from TVR S series to the legendary Griffith. Such a great looking car in Monza Red and tan interior and rose wood dashboard. Weighing only 1,052kg the 240bhp Rover V8, famous for its lightweight aluminium, head made the car feel incredibly fast. Lacking ABS, power steering, airbags or any discernible safety features it was a pure driving experience. Upward facing exhaust pipes made it so loud especially in a tunnel!
TVR Chimera 450
More luxurious than the V8S, and with 285bhp faster too, the Chimera was a felt like a step up a proper supercar.
Porsche Boxster S
The example I purchased was full of optional extras and the Porsche Active Stability Management PASM was amazing. The road holding was exceptional, and as you might expect the build quality was superb. Ultimately, just too boring, and sanitised, so after just 18 months it was time for something more dramatic!
Aston Martin Vantage
The most beautiful car I have owned and one of the most beautiful in automotive history, Ian Callum’s masterpiece. Amazing chassis balance and driving dynamics, but ultimately not fast enough for me to feel it was sporty. Whilst this was not my daily drive, I would try and drive this a couple of times a week to work. Everyone seemed to love the Aston, not just me.
Lotus Exige Sport 410
Almost feels like a full circle back to the TVR V8S, with that authentic driving experience. Wonderful on the road and track and stunning looks.
I was a member of the TVR car club for many years, and I am currently a member of the Lotus Drivers Club which is a fantastic organisation. During my Aston ownership I was a member of the Aston Martin Owners Club and for a while a Director of the global organisation.
I have displayed both the Aston and Exige at many events. With the Aston Martin, the highlights include entering concours competitions. As for the Exige, most recently, was displayed at Supercar Fest at Shelsley Walsh, Silverstone Classic and the Castle Coombe Show n Shine.
My top three favourite track day events would be, 2019 Pembrey driving a single seater, Rockingham around the banking in a Noble M400, and Morgan up the hill at Prescott.
As a massive motorsport fan, I have attended F1 at Monaco, Sepang and Silverstone, together with several trips to the Le Mans 25 hours.
Work hard, play hard!
I have been lucky to get to do what I love and enjoy for the living. I started, owned and was on the board of several organisations during a 30 year in IT industry. After founding a web software and development company in 1998 and successfully selling in 2015 I retired in 2019. Now Angel investor and Non-Exec Director / Advisor working as a Non-Exec for a software company that works in the UK and US.
Just as the Internet was starting in the UK, I helped build Carworld which launched 18 months before Autotrader and worked with a motoring journalist on a couple of online magazines Driving Now and 150+. I was also responsible for several TVR dealership websites, several Audi / VW dealership websites including their flagship site Aston Green Audi in Slough. My favourite client during that time has to be Newtown Motors, who are local to me, with their Nissan and Vauxhall franchises but also TVR, Nobel, Morgan and Lotus over the years. Whilst there was lots of automotive clients, and fun test-driving cars, there were many clients across a variety of industries which kept me busy and constantly challenged.
What’s next or in the future
Every petrol head must own an Alfa and like everyone else I would love to own a Ferrari. There is plenty of time, and opportunities, to enjoy a few more different driving experiences, for now I am smitten with my Lotus Exige Sport 410.
More details for me can be found on LinkedIn: Mark Thomas Non Executive Director / Advisor at Boardroom Advisors: Part-Time CEOs MDs NEDs for Scale-Ups and SME's.