Life in cars

TG’s favourite stunt driver has been push­ing the en­ve­lope for years, and he still hasn’t be­come a car anorak...

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - Terry Grant

My very first driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence was when I was eight years old. I was on the road, and my dad was sit­ting next to me. It was in a big, old Rover – not sure of the model – and I couldn’t sit on the seat be­cause I wasn’t big enough. So I used to do the steer­ing, and when I changed gear I lifted my­self up us­ing the steer­ing wheel, put my foot on the clutch and changed gear, so I was stand­ing all the time. We got stopped by the po­lice, and the po­lice­man couldn’t be­lieve it at first. He told my dad off a lot more than me…

I bought my first ac­tual road car when I was about 13. I saved up all the money, I think it cost me some­thing like £25. It was an Austin 1300, so it was a re­ally old car any­way. It had a bro­ken gear­box so it didn’t ac­tu­ally drive, and it was about a mile and a half from where I lived, so I used to ride my bike there with my mates, then we used to just sit in it and lis­ten to the ra­dio and mess about, then ride back home. Even­tu­ally it got taken away for scrap some­where, but all the time I owned it, it never turned a wheel. It was just a place to go, my man cave. I can’t re­mem­ber the first car I prop­erly drove around in, it may have been a Ford Es­cort or some­thing like that. I can’t re­ally re­mem­ber what it was, to be hon­est.

It was very easy to pass my test. I’m sure it’s very dif­fer­ent now to what it was when I passed it, but it was all about the driv­ing back then. You had to an­swer a few ques­tions and read a num­ber plate and that was it. And I could already drive, so it wasn’t a prob­lem.

I was in my early twen­ties when I started [rac­ing cars]. I used to mess about while I was do­ing it – do a few donuts, a bit of drift­ing. And those were the days be­fore drift­ing was even called drift­ing. I kind of got a bit of a name for my­self. So one thing led to an­other, and I was asked to do a display. And it just went on from there. In the end I just gave up rac­ing, be­cause I was too busy, and now I’ve been do­ing this for many, many, many years.

Be­lieve it or not, I’m not re­ally into cars. I know it’s what my job is – we counted last week I’ve got 32 cars I use for stunt work, at my house. Then I’ve got my mo­torhome, my van and my road cars. I have a big car col­lec­tion, but I’m not into cars. I mean I ob­vi­ously like cars. But some things go straight over my head. I un­der­stand the dy­nam­ics and how they work, but if some­one goes, “Oh, what en­gine is that? Is it the one with the vari­able valve…”, I don’t know!

TVR – back in the hey­day – was the first real man­u­fac­turer I was [af­fil­i­ated] with, when it brought out the Tus­can, the Speed 6 and the Tamora. I still have one. Those cars were great. Now I have the new Range Rover Sport SVR. I had the choice of the blue or the or­ange, so of course I went for the or­ange. And it ac­tu­ally looks re­ally cool, and I’ve fallen in love with it. Be­fore that I had an F-Type V8 four-wheel-drive. I have a full range of JLR prod­ucts as stunt cars. I kept the F-Pace that I did the loop in. One’s in a mu­seum in Gay­don, and the other they’ve given to me.

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