Chewin’ the automotive fat with car aficionado David Gandy. He’s also quite well known as a model too apparently…
Q&A with Marc Stickley
As an interlude to moving around Corsica in a shiny red EPace, I caught up with long standing Jaguar ambassador (10 years no less) and also friend of Riddle, David Gandy. The keen eyed among you will know David from his modelling exploits – he has long been the face of Dolce & Gabbana, is Mr Light Blue and now has his own clothing range with M&S. But our chat reveals a lifetime passion for motoring, including a competition racing licence and much more besides- David is Ambassador for many charities, notably Style for Soldiers with Emma Willis and as principle Ambassador for Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. He is also a keen businessman, investing in British businesses that catch his eye – the London Sock Co. among them. He is due to release his own luggage range with Aspinal’s of London, which we await with interest. Chatting cars, power boats and life in general, David spills the beans on his primary passion: Motoring.
When did your passion for cars begin?
I think I was born with the passion – it certainly isn’t a family thing. Like most school boys of the era I had a poster of an F40 on the wall as a boy (me too), but a two week work experience with a car magazine turned into a three month job. In fact, I bumped in to the Editor many years later and reminded him I’d been on his staff. He didn’t remember, thought I’d met him at a launch event. I still bump into the guys I worked with then, many of them now editors themselves. We often laugh how they use to scare the shit out of me with their driving at the test track..!
Was there a car that sparked the interest and have you been able to drive it since?
For some reason is was the Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2. Perhaps because it was in group B rallying in the early 1980s. I still adore that car, and even though I’ve never driven one, i often think of adding one to my collection.
What is it about cars that does it for you?
I love driving, I love the freedom. People often think I’m a bit of a car snob, but I love driving so much I really couldn’t care less what I’m driving; I’ll drive anything and have fun. There’s also a fascination about the mechanics of cars, and as I see my classics being restored, there’s an eagerness to have a go myself.
What was your first car?
Ha! A Ford Fiesta 1.1 Ghia, with aftermarket electric windows. You had to press the button and give it a thump. I once got stuck in the car on a date after both the door handle wires snapped and she had to climb out the window…I never saw her again ha ha!
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What is your dream car? What would be in a dream garage?
A Jaguar XK-SS. There are only 16 left and I got to drive one. It’s not an easy car to drive and when the owner casually reminded me he’d just turned down 18 million quid for the car, you really concentrate!
What is your most memorable driving experience – good or bad?
The Mille Miglia for sure – in the Jaguar XK120 with Yasmin Le Bon. So exhausting, but so exhilarating. It’s a race where there doesn’t seem to be any rules or laws and the Italians (including the police) encourage you to go faster and faster…
What’s the best road you’ve driven?
Those Mille Miglia Italian roads were great, but you hardly have time to sight see! The roads on Corsica were great for this Jaguar EPace launch. The best though has to be the road to Rome on the second night of the MM. Racing down the mountains against two Maseratis with Italian drivers, as Rome came into view, was just very special.
After the Mille Miglia, do you have any other competition aspirations?
I plan to do the Mille Miglia again, but I’d like to expand my competition licence (an International Competition Licence). I would love to take six months out to do that and concentrate on honing my racing skills.
What do you see as the future of cars?
Well, we have little choice. According to the government it’s got to be electric. But they need to define that future better – does electric also include hybrid? Where is the infrastructure to support this change? Electric technology has developed really quickly, Jaguar have proved that with the all-electric I Pace. However I am not going to say I’m not going to miss petrol engines. If you have the passion for cars and racing, you are never going to get the same thrill from a silent electric engine.
Who knows where technology will be in 10 or 20 years though? We are only in the infancy of electric technology. The diesel hypocrisy – encouraged to switch, now being penalised by taxes to drive them – can’t happen again for electric. Hydrogen could work and with the development done, it’s hard to see why it isn’t an alternative. The success of electric will revolve around the infrastructure and laydown of the charge points. Where do you charge your car in London if you have on street parking or what if an emergency vehicle runs out of power and takes 20 mins to charge for example?
What makes a good driver?
Awareness. And at speed, that needs to be heightened.
How do you see yourself as a driver?
Oh, I have my good days… I’m not the most skilful track driver, racing has definitely helped.
British model David Gandy has been a Jaguar owner for the last ten years and is a true fan of the brand.