Hello and welcome to Thame Cars

We are sharing some insights, advice and stories around the popular motoring challenges that we all face.

Many thanks for reading

Nick Allen

Managing Director

Electric cars are coming. It’s confusing, but for some of us drivers there could be some big benefits. Read more


Electric cars are coming. Are you confused about the future of motoring?

You are not alone. It was not too long ago when we were all recommended to drive diesel cars because, they were quick, economical and often had the extended range of 600 miles on a full tank. But things have since changed, and now we are back to petrol cars due to the lethal particulates in diesel emissions. Cities have imposed restrictions, including charges and zones, and electric cars are now the future. Oxford doesn’t show much love for any cars or motorists, to be fair it never has, but that’s another story.

Electric cars are coming, there is no doubt of that. But the date for when all cars will be electric, is not set in stone. The UK government has repeatedly changed its target date for phasing out petrol and diesel cars. The current target is now set for 2035, with an interim goal of 22% of total car production being electric for 2024. Car manufacturers who fail to meet this target will be fined £15,000 for each petrol/diesel car they produce over the 78% threshold.

At Thame Cars, currently 12% of the cars we sell are EV’s, hybrids or plugin hybrids, which we think is amazing but there is a way to go.

Currently this situation is good news for used car owner/drivers. With the need to produce more electric cars, manufacturers will have to make them more affordable, leading to a decrease in EV car prices in the coming months (there are already early signs). For those who are considering electric cars this year, if you have more than one family car and can get installed your own charging point at home, then you are one of the best candidates for an EV.

The electricity charges versus the petrol or diesel cost, the flexibility of another car for really long journeys, and used EV’s coming at lowest prices to date, could be a big win for you.At Thame Cars, we understand the confusion and challenges surrounding electric cars, and we want to help. We're planning to hold a free, 60-minute session to help people learn more about living with electric cars.

In this program, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and get a better understanding of what it's like to own an electric car. If you're interested, please register at isittimeforanEV@thamecars.co.uk.

In conclusion, while the changes in the motoring industry may be hugely disruptive and confusing, there is a silver lining. With the push towards electric cars, we can look forward to a cleaner, more eco-friendly future with blue skies ahead.

It's hard enough learning to drive, this practical advice will save you money, get you driving sooner and help with the highs and lows! … Read more


Gen Allen recently passed her driving test. Here is her ‘Learning to drive story’. She shares some brilliant insights and advice.

If your 16-year-olds are starting to look at Golf GTi’s and Mini Convertibles on Autotrader, you must read this!

When did you decide that you wanted to learn to drive?

I was thinking about driving and a car, long before I was old enough for a license. I did really want to.

Before you passed your test, you got a car?

I was lucky enough to get a car on my 17th Birthday. Mum and Dad had let me know a car was coming. I was really excited, having a car or access to a car was probably the biggest thing that helped me pass my test.

For my 16th birthday present I went on a driving experience day. It was off public roads, but I actually drove with an instructor and was shown the controls and how everything worked.

These 2 things contributed enormously. How things work and how to actually drive in a completely safe environment, saved me plenty of lessons (£30+ a session). When I turned up for my first lesson, I felt I already knew I could do it, and could find my way around a car.

I was that person if Mum or Dad were going anywhere, I would always offer to drive. It gave me lots of road experience.

Were you involved in sorting the insurance when you got your car?

Insurance wasn’t expensive when I was learning. I was a named driver on Mum and Dad’s policy. My car was only a 1 litre, but after I passed it was a lot more expensive. I didn’t have a Black Box fitted, which I would have had to have, if the car had a bigger engine (although when I was driving up the M40 to Marlow the other day, I did think a more powerful engine is something to look forward too when I’m older).​

How did you find your driving instructor?

My Mum and Dad organised the lessons and a friend of theirs recommended my instructor.

I had my first lesson on the afternoon of my 17th Birthday!

They booked a block of lessons in one go, it was at the same time, on the same day, every week.

At what point did you start thinking of putting in for a test? Theory and Physical?

After three and a half months of lessons, my instructor put me in for my test. Which was 3 months away. As the test day came closer I had more lessons, sometimes 2 a week.

In preparing for your test, apart from your driving instructor, did you use any other aids to learning, if so, what?

The theory test wasn’t easy, but I found a great app - Theory Test Hero. It gave me loads of practise, advised where my strengths and weaknesses were, and showed my progress accurately. This way I concentrated on the right bits. 

I would say don’t bother applying for your theory until you can pass on the app. Only do the test when you are unlikely to fail. I had to score 43 out of 50 in the multiple choice and the same out of the Hazard Perception scenarios they called Clips. 

You have to learn it, there are no short cuts, which now I’m a driver makes great sense.

Where did you learn to drive and which test centre did you use?

My instructors ‘go to’ Test Centre was Aylesbury. So when I first started, the lessons were on quieter roads, we headed to Princes Risborough, then gradually I spent more and more time on the roads in Aylesbury.

So what happened on the big day?

I didn’t feel great on the morning of my test.
I turned up, went through the motions, gave it my best shot, made some minor mistakes, knew I had, and then sitting in the car, back at the Test Centre, I was informed ‘Unfortunately today, you haven’t passed your driving test’.

Those are not great words to hear.

The Examiner explained where I had gone wrong, I couldn’t take onboard what she was saying, I wanted to get out of the car and get home.
My instructor was waiting for me and was quite matter of fact, told me not to worry, offered me another block of lessons. But I was gutted, I had put everything into learning.
50% of tests taken are failed, I can tell you that doesn’t make you feel any better.

You weren’t giving up, so what next?

I didn’t go back to my original instructor. A few days later the disappointment had passed and I was working out what to do next.

Lots of my friends were learning to drive at the same time as me. From their recommendations I found another instructor. It was different. I booked up, I had one assessment lesson and at the end of it, he said, you are completely ready to drive, get another test organised.

It was a huge relief and did a lot for my self confidence. I kept on with the lessons to keep the momentum going.

Keen to get going I went on to the DVSA website to book a test in Aylesbury.

Nightmare! They were fully booked. Their diary ran out a few months into the future and every single slot was taken. New slots became available on Monday mornings at 6.00 AM. It was like booking tickets for a big concert, if you weren’t there to pounce (and press the button) you didn’t get a ticket and you weren’t going. Within seconds they were all gone.

Not giving up, I learned a bit more.
You can put yourself down for a cancellation. You will be offered a test if one comes up, but they rarely come up. Even if they did, you need to be sure your instructor can be available at the time, with their driving school car.

​One shocking thing I learned recently is that driving test slots are being sold online by people (not the DVSA) at a premium. £50 more than the official price.

I didn’t take this route and I’m not sure it was really possible, it may even have been a scam.

The second thing I learned was that you don’t have to go local. You can book a test at any one of the 380 test centres in the UK.
If you can travel a bit further afield, you can shorten the waiting time by months!
I also learned that some centres have a higher pass rate than others.
I was worried about going somewhere quite far away and not knowing the roads.

The third thing I learned was, there is another app called Testi. It’s live, it will tell you where there are slots at all the test centres or the ones you choose. It’s free but I did pay extra for the Premium account offer. It makes the really slow process of applying your details on the DVSA website very fast, relieving the pressure of it timing out or being taken by someone else.

Tell us about Test #2

It worked. I had another test booked for 3 weeks time, in my car, in Dorchester, not far from Bournemouth, about 130 miles. Mum came with me as parent/instructor on the first weekend and Dad did the same on the second. I drove for miles in and around Dorchester. Then on the Monday morning I was at the Test Centre, ready to go.

On the day I felt I had done everything possible to be ready and I felt confident. That’s not to say I didn’t feel nervous too, but it was positive and sharpened me up.
I knew what I had to do.

At the end of the test the Examiner calmly turned to me and said ‘I’m pleased to say you have passed your test today’.
I was ecstatic!

And what now, you’re a Driver?

The first journey I did after passing was with my sister, we drove to Starbucks.
Most of the journeys I do now are local, not that many miles but I constantly use my car.
I do have the music up a bit louder than Dad but not much. I am a sensible driver.
What does all that effort mean to me?
So much, I do more things, I am way more independent, I don’t have to bother anyone else for lifts, it is a feeling of freedom.

Where I want.

When I want.​

Could you give any advice to people like yourself who want to drive?

  1. Get some driving experience before you start regular paid for lessons. A driving experience day or just with a qualified driver on private land. If you can get your own car, better still. It will save you money on lessons.
  2. Don’t feel like you can only go to one instructor. There’s nothing wrong with changing.
  3. While you are learning, if you can, get as much road experienced with a qualified adult, as the instructor.
  4. Get a job, driving is expensive.

Thanks for sharing all this Gen, much appreciated, great advice. Thame Cars.

In praise of Thame drivers, the most tolerant people on the planet… Read more


I am walking into work on the cut through footpath, Oxford Road to Rycote Lane, it’s narrow, bordered by mud, it has a great crack in it, 200 metres long, a shoe deep and foot wide in places. It is a potential hazard. There’s a runner coming, and he is not stopping, so I step off the path. I arrive at work and wipe my shoes off.

Rush hour

Thame has now got 2 really decent rush hours, and later that day Nick shares his experience. The ‘school drop off’ time from his house to Lower School and back, 3.2 miles, 35 minutes, average speed 5.5 mph, in his Electric Corsa!

For most of the Thame 10K runners that would be a stroll!

Temporary traffic lights

The same day, heading to Chinnor on an errand, I opt for a shortcut through town, only to encounter 3 separate sets of (temporary?) traffic lights. They are everywhere in Thame, they snarl everything up for a few days, then they’re gone. Then you turn into North Street, or Wellington Street, or Cornmarket and they’re back! It’s like a Dr. Who - horror! I’ve counted 13 sets of lights in different locations in Thame over the last 3 months. The combined lost hours for everyone in the town, must run into thousands!

 Spare a thought…

We have 2 great blokes who work here. Both solid, mature types. Neither can sing that well, but they are expert drivers, always desperate for the traffic to clear and always patient. That’s who’ll be ringing your doorbell (usually in the rush hour) if you have booked our free collection and delivery, while we are doing your Service and MOT, please spare them a thought…

While no one is specifically to blame for the current situation, it feels like a change must begin somewhere.


The parking challenges in Thame, especially around the popular spots, Waitrose, the Cattle Market, and the High Street, add to the town's woes. Often no parking spaces after 9.30am at Haddenham and Thame Parkway, (220 spaces on the top deck but it’s closed?), just to further the frustrations.


Here is some good news, the worst of the Pothole Season is over. It has been a major issue this winter, numerous car repairs and inconvenience for drivers. The state of the roads has worsened, despite the absence of snow. Think of Thame, we reckon there have probably been 50 to 100 potholes incidents, locally, this winter. You’ll know who you are, this is not a pleasant memory. You may have used the AA or RAC, or put your raincoat on and changed own your wheel, then limped to the garage. However you sorted it out, we know it will have been very disruptive and really inconvenient. You are also likely to be hundreds of pounds worse off and need counselling for the stress!


Occasionally taking a different route home via Shabbington, proves to be a whole adventure on its own. The road is so frequently flooded, I’m sure it won’t be long before we hear someone has kite surfed from the Prebendal to the Fisherman.

Considering the current state of affairs, surely something has got to change!.

You have to love Thame, but it is mad.

However, I do warm to the feeling that the future custodians of Thame, the kids from Lord Williams’s won’t settle for this. Think of a new world order. They will abolish the hours of queuing round the town; they will build fabulous new walkways, they’ll smooth out the roads and pavements, bin all the traffic lights and who knows may even build new bridges at Shabbington and create a huge new water/wildlife park out on the margins of town (with parking). Freeing up hours and hours for more gaming and raving.

So I applaud Thame’s drivers for their patience and kindness, given the huge disruption they have to contend with everyday.

Thame people are 99.9% very kind and forgiving of fellow motorists.

This is, in praise of Thame and its drivers!

The most tolerant and patient motorists on the planet.