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Celebrities - and their cars

2013-09-02 08:44

CHICK MAGNET DELUXE: George Best, one of the greatest footballers the world has seen in the writer’s opinion, owned a string of E-type Jaguars similar to the one pictured seen here. Image: DAVE FALL

DAVE FALL

DAVE FALL'S research for this column had him searching for celebrities – TV and otherwise – and even a professional footballer or two who owned interesting wheels.

Finally, the rain-soaked week we’ve been experiencing in Cape Town decided to take a break, just as well really, as there had reported sightings of drowned ducks in my area and it was finally time to get my newly acquired* motorcycle out and have a Sunday-morning breakfast ride with a couple of pals – which just happened to last well into the afternoon.

Back home, my research for this week’s column had me searching for celebrities – TV and otherwise – and even a professional footballer or two – who had owned interesting wheels.

BUTTERFLY RIDE

Harrison Ford had an Austin Healey 3000. Film buffs might have had a continuity error field day had Ford’s Healey made an appearance in the Indiana Jones movies but we could have overlooked it. Imagine how cool it would have looked to outrun that boulder seen at the start of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in a spoke-wheeled 3000?

Champion boxer Muhammad Ali owned a Rolls-Royce Corniche. The Greatest clearly liked to float like a butterfly behind the wheel, too, hence his choice of heavyweight wheels. The car went on to be sold by auction house Christies for the equivalent of R250 000, complete with a receipt signed by the big man himself.

Stunt motorcycle rider and now, sadly, departed Evel Knievel had an Aston Martin Lagonda. The legendary crasher of two-wheeled widow-makers Knievel summed up the over-the-top spirit of the 1970’s neatly, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise that when he opted for the luxury of four wheels his motor of choice was a Lagonda.

Not happy with the standard set-up, he had a big-block V8 shoehorned in, the interior plastered with cream leather and the underside of the bonnet was mirrored. Pure class.

GEORGIE BEST IN A JAG

Ex-professional footballer Jimmy Hill had a posh-for-its day Talbot Tagora. A surprisingly odd choice of company car given the football oracle was chairman of ever-ailing Coventry City FC. Jimmy got that job, incidentally, when the previous chairman upped sticks to South Africa – perhaps he caught sight of the Talbot being delivered.

Another soccer star known to many South African soccer fans was George Best (the best footballer I’ve seen, incidentally) once owned an E-type Jaguar. Well, if you were going to be a Sixties icon, you had to do it in an E-type, didn’t you? Besty loved them so much (cars and many, many girls) that he had a whole series of E-types, but his first had the registration number VIC 777D because of his number seven shirt.

Past Formula 1 champion James Hunt drove an Austin A35 as a youngster. Motor racing legend Hunt went on to drive some serious cars for a living and in his spare time liked to swan around in a W116 S-Class. That was until he ran out of cash and wound up in an Austin A35 van. It wasn’t all bad news though, apparently, it was perfect for transporting his budgerigars to bird shows.

Breaker of the law and still missing Lord Lucan had a Ford Corsair. We all know the story but if you’ve perhaps forgotten Lucan disappeared into thin air but the Corsair he borrowed from his murdered maid showed up in a coastal English town full of blood tains and with the alleged murder weapon – a big lead pipe – in the boot.

LORD LUCAN IN ZIM?

impounded by police, the car simply rotted away waiting for further evidence. Lucan is believed to have escaped to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). Perhaps he’s still there.

Ex-British prime minister Harold Wilson had a Rover P5. A quintessentially British limousine for a quintessential prime minister, I suppose. Wilson’s P5 even had a specially tray for his pipes.

TV current affairs host David Dimbleby once owned an NSU Ro80. It seems like a strange combination but the steadfast political commentator and Question Time presenter invested good money in a Ro80 once. Apparently it was sold on after a couple of engine changes, No surprises there then.

Tom Jones owned a Mercedes 500SEL. The UK’s favourite Welsh vocalist certainly topped the pile when it came to motors. His choice of Merc was second to none, with a five-litre V8 that had almost as much power as Tom’s lungs.

*More about the writer’s new-to-him dual-purpose machine soon. All to be revealed on Wheels24.
 
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