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My first car – David Gandy: 'All my mates had posters of girls on their walls, but I had pictures of cars'

Ford Fiesta David Gandy my first car Rex
David Gandy remains very proud of the 'Ghia' trim level of his first car, a 1988 Fiesta Credit: Hannah Young/Rex/Shutterstock

David Gandy’s passion for fashion is paltry compared to his ardour for fast cars and hand-beaten bodywork. 'Handsome’ is the epithet that best describes this male model's garage, which includes Jaguars new and old and a brace of beautiful vintage roadsters.

Tell us about your first car…

It was a ten-year-old Fiesta 1.1 Ghia. The 'Ghia’ bit was important, as it came with such status symbols as four wheels and a gearbox. It had after-market electric windows added, and for these to function you had to thump the door with your fist while pressing the button. I had to have the heating on max in hot weather or else the engine overheated in traffic. That all said, it was my pride and joy.

An F-type is David Gandy's daily driver

How old were you when you started getting interested in cars?

I’ve been obsessed with cars for as long as I can remember.  However, none of my family are remotely interested.  As a kid I had to go to my friend’s grandfather’s house to borrow his car magazines and stare longingly at the pictures. All my mates had posters of girls on their walls, I had pictures of exotic cars.

What was your first crash – if you’ve ever had one?

My First crash was in my Peugeot 106 XSi.  Peugeots are famous for lift-off oversteer, which is partly what makes them so exciting. In the 80s and 90s they were called 'hedge trimmers’ as most drivers ended up backwards in a hedge at one time or another, and I was one of them.  

Which car do you own now?

My daily driver is an all-wheel-drive Jaguar F-Type Coupe, and I’ve started to indulge in classics; I have a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL, a 1964 Porsche 356, and a 1954 Jaguar XK120.

David's dream car – an XKSS

Which car do you most regret selling?

Every car I’ve sold has been replaced with something superior. I did have one of the first RHD Audi TTs and I still think it’s one of the most beautiful examples of modern car design. With its Bauhaus inspiration, it’s still fantastic to behold today. I also had a Jaguar XKR-S, which was my first properly quick car. The standard XK was handsome but the S got some real muscle, not to mention 542bhp. I miss that one.

What’s the dream car, money no object?

Jaguar XKSS. A 1954 original, which I have driven, is worth around £15-20m. It is both beautiful and brutal, a 1950s racecar for the road. Only 16 were made, but Jaguar have just built nine all-new XKSSs that are identical, with a price tag of over £1 million. Bargain!

What’s your biggest pet peeve when you’re driving?

People who have cushions in the back seat of their car! It’s not a living room, who exactly are they for? Middle lane hogs on motorways, sitting there at 65mph when the inside lane is empty; I know I’m not alone in loathing that.

What’s your most memorable experience in a car? (Keep it clean!)

The best was the first time I drove the Mille-Miglia, in an XK120 alongside Yasmin Le Bon. I’ve had the privilege of participating a few times now, however the format changed recently and I feel it’s got too commercialized. That first time in 2012 was astounding, though. It’s 1,000 miles in three days. The weather was dreadful, there seemed to be no rules whatsoever, and the Italian police were encouraging us to go faster and faster. We crashed, we were exhausted, but I don’t think I’ve smiled so much in my life thanks to the wonderful and passionate Italians that lined the route.

The worst memory was one of my first dates in the Fiesta. The door handle wire broke in the driver’s door, so I had to jump over and get out the passenger door. Then on the way home the passenger door wire broke. I had to press the electric window button whilst thumping the door, and the girl had to climb out the window. Needless to say, there was no second date.

CAR HISTORY

1998 - Ford Fiesta 1.1 Ghia (1988)

2001 - Peugeot 106 XSi (1993)

2002 - VW Polo GTi

2004 - Audi TT (1999)

2008 - Jaguar XK 2010 -

Jaguar XKR 2012 - Jaguar XKRS

2013 - Mercedes SLS

2014 - Mercedes Benz 190SL (1960)

2014 - Jaguar F-Type S

2015 - Mercedes A45 AMG

2016 - Jaguar F-Type AWD Coupe

2016 - Porsche 356 (1964)

2016 - Jaguar XK120 (1954)

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