What 1980s car-loving celebrities thought of their cars

In 1984, Autocar introduced a new column in which famous people of all kinds would discuss their motoring lives – often with surprising and amusing results.

First was actor Rowan Atkinson, who was three years into owning an Aston Martin Vantage. “They are very difficult cars to get to know – very, very British and old-fashioned. And for just that reason, I love them,” he said.

Having found fame with a comedy record about a motor, Alexei Sayle bought a Rover P5 Coupé: “I really wanted one in black, cos they look really evil. It’s got to be something British, hasn’t it? I would never buy a Porsche or anything – they’re crap. Well, the people who drive them are.”

Nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow was one – or rather he had been. Tired of exotica, he’d bought a pink Fiat 500 Gamine: “It’s so cute, but what a pig to drive!”

Enjoy full access to the complete Autocar archive at themagazineshop.com

By contrast, F1 commentator Murray Walker fancied a Porsche, specifically a 944 Turbo, while at the wheel of his Vauxhall Astra GTE. Still, “what I wanted was a motorcycle on four wheels and this is it. It is a sporty little device, fast enough to pass what I want to.”

Ken Tyrrell couldn’t have been more different, choosing a Ford Granada Estate, of which the boot was perfect for airport runs with his F1 team and its quietness ideal for listening to Test Match Special: “I’ve never had the urge to own a fast car since I stopped racing.”

Liberal Party leader David Steel MP loved classics and owned a 1961 Jaguar MkII: “I get a pleasure from driving a car so distinctive, and it is useful in that my constituents recognise me by my car…”

Novelist James Leasor had even more vintage taste: a rare Cord 810 roadster and an SS Jaguar 100 from the 1930s: “I suppose my love of extrovert cars comes from being brought up in an environment that was the very antithesis of what they represented.”

Unlike today’s luxury SUV-loving sportsmen, footballer Tony Cottee and rugby star Bill Beaumont had Fords. The young striker drove an Escort 1.6i Cabriolet (although he’d just won the Fiat Uno Young Player of the Year award) and the retired lock a Sierra XR 4×4, owing to the safety benefits of 4WD and ABS.

When not in his Tardis, Doctor Who travelled through time and space in a Sierra 4×4: “It handles even more predictably than [my old] Quattro,” said Peter Davidson.

Radio 1 DJ John Peel revelled in being a contrarian: “I was reading an editorial in a magazine on 4WD vehicles. They described the UMM Transcat as possibly the ugliest vehicle ever to be offered to the public, which whetted my appetite considerably. We’re very fond of it.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top