Meet the Rocker: Kushi Cars

We meet Suzie Goodman, founder of Kushi Cars one of our fabulous Rockers.  This year sees its tenth anniversary so we find out more…

Photo: Anna Lythgoe

My Kushi Car is an Indian Ambassador, and the sister of the one we had at our wedding in London 15 years ago. I was looking for a job or a business that could fit around my young family and found that one of the flowery Ambassador cars from our wedding was for sale.

I went to see it on my birthday and test drove it through Portobello Market. The reaction it got was incredible; everyone turned to stare and took pictures. I knew I was onto something very special so I bought it that day, on my birthday! 

What were you doing before?

Before Kushi Cars, I was living in London, working for an Urban Regeneration charity. That’s where I met my husband. We moved out of London in 2007 because we wanted a house and a garden.

How have you kept sane during lockdown?

I’m attempting to home school my teenagers so the days whiz by. This mostly involves taking their phones and sticking a head through the door to check they’re doing school work and not watching Netflix!

The afternoons are spent baking, crafting, walking the dog or running. The running is helping to counter-balance the baking! The highlight of the week is the Thursday night Clap for Carers, which is followed by a street sing song. The musical kids play a different song each week and the rest of us attempt to sing along.

So far we’ve done Never Walk Alone, We’ll Meet Again, Bring Me Sunshine and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. 

Have you always lived in the Cotswolds or did you move here?  If you have always lived here where did you grow up – if you moved here where were you before and why did you move?

I grew up in the New Forest so I am a country girl at heart, which is why having the countryside on our doorstep is important to me. 12 years ago, when we were looking at places to move to from London, Cheltenham seemed like a good place because of the beautiful countryside and good schools.

In terms of setting up a wedding business, The Cotswolds has more wedding venues than anywhere in the UK, plus it is easy to get to being so geographically central. It never fails to take my breath away and I still pinch myself that this is my commute to work, driving to the stunning hotels and barns around here. I really do have the best job in the world!  

My major milestone is that I am celebrating 10 years in business this year and we also now offer an alternative to the flowery bumpers – eucalyptus garlands.

Photo: Anna Lythgoe

What’s so great about an Ambassador?

To be perfectly honest, as cars go, they aren’t actually all that great. Compared to a modern car that is. Thirsty on the petrol, there’s no power steering, so biceps of steel are needed to manoeuvre. Sometimes it feels like you have to stand on the brakes to stop, and don’t get me started on the handbrake.

Let’s just say, if hill starts were a sport, I could enter the Olympics! With no air con, on a hot summer’s day, shade from a tree is my only friend when parked. That and a good old fashioned fan of course. Yep, driving an old Ambassador is not for the faint hearted that’s for sure. But that’s also why I love it so. It’s quirky, whiny and cool. It never fails to get a reaction and turn heads, I feel proud to own such a rare beast.

Whereabouts are you based?

We’re in the regency town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, we travel throughout the Cotswolds. We also drive to Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, The West Midlands, Bristol and Bath. Further afield is possible on request. Hire us for weddings, civil partnerships, TV & film work, photo shoots and PR launches.

More from Melissa Ormiston