About

So this is my website, I have almost no experience in such things, but being an engineer I thought I would have a go. I want to learn something about websites, or at least how to use templated ones, find out about and how to use DNS records, tell a few tales and record some things I find interesting. Primarily I am inspired to record what I am doing with my building of a Gardner Douglas GD Euro Cobra Mk4.

I will also write about some of my cars and other things that may only be of interest to me.

As The Who sang in 1978… “Who are you?”

I am Nigel Cooper, born in 1956, with a fondness for family, close friends, dogs, specific cars and enjoying and discovering wine. I live in the West Country not far from Bristol. I am married and have a ‘pigeon pair’ of children who have now flown the coup, they both have my wife’s intelligence. My son is a masters-qualified acoustician, now designing ‘Intelligent Buildings’ that respond automatically to occupants and the environment. My daughter has as many degrees as my wife, emigrated to Iceland, and is an Icelandic-English translator. I have two beautiful Icelandic grandchildren. My wife and I live with a German Pointer and a Wire Haired Vizsla; we would never be without dogs.

Education (beyond my intelligence)

I only ever paid proper attention to maths and the sciences at school. I have latterly developed an interest in other matters, so I like to think I am a few steps removed from being a total heathen. I liked knowing how the world and things worked and in the case of chemistry what made a useful or amusing bang.  I confess that I am lazy or, rather, that I prefer to find easy ways of doing stuff so often I don’t ‘just get on’ with something; I always have a planning phase (sometimes the task wasn’t necessary!).  After school it seemed far easier to go to university than work, besides I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I studied at Bath University, it gave me time to think, and have a great time and make lifelong friends. I always worked in holidays at school and university as money was never plentiful. Since graduating I have been an engineer all of my working life. Straight after graduation I went to Oman, for three months, to work for massively higher salary than I could get in the UK; I only did this to pay off my bank overdraft.

Work (risen without trace)

I am now retired as of May 2015, having worked for 34 years as a consulting engineer designing all manner of mechanical and electrical systems for major building projects. As an MEP designer I like to say that I brought buildings to life. Without MEP design most buildings today would be uninhabitable or just not work. My firm designed building fabric and orientation, glazing, shading, ventilation, drainage, air-conditioning, lifts, electrics, lighting, heating, IT, security, acoustics, fire safety, sustainability etc. etc. Strangely, a lot of my best work is never noticed, because it just works; people are comfortable, safe and everything does what you expect it to so people can just get on with living, working or whatever.

I have worked in a lot of different countries, mainly around Europe but also setting up an office in the Middle East. Most often I worked in London, as that is where the major clients were, no matter where the construction projects were. You may have shopped in a Mall, stayed in a Hotel, swum in a Pool, connected to Data Centre, been treated in a Hospital, worked in an Office, Factory or Laboratory, sat in an Auditorium or Sports Arena or even lived in an Apartment building that I was involved with.

I am proud to have been a senior partner in the firm, and helping it to grow to the business it is today, I will always wish it every success. My work had always kept me happy and busy, perhaps too busy. As my job involved being with clients and architects I never really had a 9-5 day. Most days I was commuting early and late. I am now revelling in the freedom to do what I wish when I and my family wish.

Cars (from banger to better)

I have always been interested in cars and tinkering with all manner of mechanical and electrical things. I dismantled things as a boy and eventually was able to repair far more than I broke. Luckily my dad was a fitter, working with precision engineering, so he was practical and had tools I could borrow until I collected my own. My early car and motorbike history, as a schoolboy and student, was funded by part-time jobs; for a couple of years I was the quite big chef at Little Chef. Lack of funds meant that the only way I could keep on the road was to repair, rebuild and maintain everything myself and with the help of my brother. I did have dreams of better cars, which never faded as a succession of company cars went across my front drive, but had to wait a long time until other life essentials were paid for. My foremost schoolboy dream was to own an E-Type and that, eventually, came true when I was 50 (and again at 52).

In the summer of 2017, I needed another diversion after a disappointing venture into American Muscle (Those American cars from the late sixties were beautiful to look at but barely evolved from hay-carts in terms of build quality, technology or handling).

I developed a strange desire for an open two-seater to ruffle my hair, whilst it remains, as I have never had a convertible. The plan was to have a large V8 to make the sound-track. I considered a TVR Griffith, then thought about the possible fun of building my own car. I am retired, I needed another project, (my other cars work and don’t need a whole lot of attention!)… This quest led, after much review, to Gardner Douglas. In my opinion Gardner Douglas are the most developed and modern vision of the Cobra, it is not slavish to now superseded elements of the original design or materials and is sensibly upgraded. The GD Cobra is also within my reach as some dreams aren’t; I realise I am unlikely ever to own a Maserati Bora (that is a really old childhood memory of instant desire).

Welcome! (this is really for me, but hopefully you will find something of interest)