IT'S a minor miracle TV presenter, motoring journalist and general antagonist Jeremy Clarkson developed a passion for cars.
He's made it this far despite growing up inspired by Ford Cortinas.
The car his parents drove was a Ford Cortina and it was also his first car.
"Always Ford Cortinas," says Clarkson. "That's why I bought a Ford Cortina, I didn't know there were other cars. I was raised in a Ford Cortina, only ever went anywhere in a Ford Cortina so I thought I better buy a Ford Cortina then."
His example was a 1969 Ford Cortina 1600E. "I got it in 1977. I just loved that thing, extra (spotlights) on the front … extra brake lights, fur-lined doors, race seats. I went to town on it".
The motoring tragic laments his 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6, "the best and the worst I owned".
"It simply never worked but I loved it to death. It was like a really badly behaved dog."
Clarkson's current dream car is the McLaren P1 - a rival to the fastest machines from Porsche and Ferrari. But one dream car likely to stay that way is the sleek Alfa Romeo Montreal from the 1970s. "Regrettably, I've never driven one of those."
Clarkson's daily drive car, though, may come as a surprise. It's a Volkswagen Golf, of the hot hatch variety.
"I do have a VW Golf GTI. This is my first one. I had VW Sciroccos back in the day. And I always thought it was an itch that needed scratching to own a Golf GTI. It does everything, that thing. It's cheaper than the (flagship) Golf R and you spend less time explaining to people what it is."
Another shock for revheads: Clarkson opted for the automatic dual-clutch gearbox with "flappy paddles" rather than a six-speed manual.
"I'm mostly in London (and) I can't be arsed to change gear. I just leave it in automatic and potter around London and nobody notices you except for traffic wardens."
Between London traffic jams, Clarkson and co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond are putting the finishing touches on the second season of The Grand Tour which, for now, will remain on streaming service Amazon Prime Video, while the first season is broadcast free-to-air on Channel 7.
Will the trio return to free-to-air TV full time one day? "Who knows what happens in the future? For the foreseeable future, it's all on Amazon and you have to subscribe to get it. But you should never say never. Who knows what the world of broadcasting is going to be like in two or three years."
Season Two of The Grand Tour is available on Amazon Prime Video from 8 December, 2017.
1969 Ford Cortina
Daily drive car
VW Golf GTI
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