CAR’S CURVE­BALLS

6 ques­tions only we would ask

CAR (UK) - - INSIDER -

Tell us about your irst car?

A 1969 Mini which I painted my­self in Day­tona Yel­low and ›it­ted with Cos­mic wheels and Dun­lop SP70s. I paid £100 for it in 1979. I bought a Mini be­cause I wanted to be a rally driver.

What achieve­ment makes you most proud?

Lead­ing the brand strat­egy and cre­at­ing a plan to launch the Con­ti­nen­tal fam­ily – GT, Cab and Fly­ing Spur – all from a stand­ing start. It was the hard­est I’ve ever worked and the most sat­is­fy­ing.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done in a car?

Driv­ing the Team Birkin Bent­ley Blower. We bought the car from a col­lec­tion when I was here last time, re­stored it, and I ran it in. I then drove it to Bres­cia, did the Mille Miglia and then drove back. That was the most amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Tell us when you screwed up?

Go­ing to Saab [in 2010]. I was there for just un­der a year. [He left a year be­fore it went bank­rupt.] I joined be­cause there were all sorts of op­por­tu­ni­ties. Vic­tor [Muller, from Spyker] hired me just after he bought the com­pany. He was bril­liant and the man­age­ment team it­self was great. But there were var­i­ous things go­ing on in the back­ground to un­der­mine in­vestors’ con›idence. I mis­read that sit­u­a­tion.

Su­per­car or clas­sic car?

There’s noth­ing I’d want more than a Blower Bent­ley. My house in France [in the Grand Mas­sif] is called Chalet Birkin.

Com­pany curve­ball… When did Bent­ley last win Le Mans and how many times has Bent­ley won it?

Last time was in 2003 – I was there. It was the sixth win. The oth­ers were in ’24, ’27, ’28, ’29, ’30. And Bar­nato was in three of them.

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