If that doesn’t convince you, this will seal the deal: Will owns a Veyron. I popped over to Wilton House the other day for ATFULLCHAT to talk cars and even better, see the cars.
A passion for speed runs in the family. When perusing some family photos, Will found a photo of his great Grandfather on his mother’s side, Henry Tate, sitting in a fabulous car. With no badge evident, identification was somewhat tricky but finally the photo was sent to Ben Collings in Wales, who not only knew what the car was, but knew its whereabouts too. The car? A 1908 Grand Prix Mercedes; now the earliest surviving example of a GP car, and currently owned by an American. The car was capable of in excess of 100mph (and probably still is). I mentioned what huge cojones those boys needed back then, to drive such machines at utterly insane speeds, on wooden wheels, no Nomex fire suits... Will agreed. “They were totally mad. You only had to run wide at Brooklands and you were over the top. However that’s a pretty sensational way to go. Better than dying of Alzheimer’s...”
Will took me through his auto(motive)biography:
“My cars have basically doubled in engine size as I’ve gone along. A Ford Puma 1.4 was my first car. It had the most amazing gearbox but I had to turn the a/c off to make it up the hills... After that came a Honda S2000. It was a sensational car, which I sold after a while but then I bought another as a track day car. It’s heavily modified; Titanium exhaust, magnesium wheels, racing brakes, roll cage, carbon fibre spoiler and bonnet, and I’ve stripped out the a/c, the motor for the roof, everything.
“Skyline R34 GT-R V Spec. I’ve had two - the first was stolen from Kensington Church Street. The Police found it a year or two later but by that stage I’d bought another.
I was going to sell it and buy a Porsche but I just couldn’t let it go... I bought a 911 Carrera 2 S (997) anyway, but only kept it for four months in the end. It was just too perfect, it had no character at all. I like a car where you have to learn its nuances and intricacies, whereas this had none. The steering, the handling, it was all too great. I suppose it was my biggest car mistake.
“Audi RS4 Avant – I adored this car, but once I started racing I sold it. Racing just kills your enjoyment of driving fast on public roads, plus I was always worried about speeding, so it was sold.
“Along came the Landrover Discovery. Actually, this is the best car I’ve owned. It’s a big old beast but it handles really well, has an amazing stereo, seven seats, incredibly comfortable... I can get to Scotland in less than one tank of diesel and best of all, I don’t have to worry about speeding. The opposite in fact!”
There are also a handful of classics in Will’s collection; an area he is increasingly interested in:
“Datsun 240 Z, 1973. A great car and still looks amazing.
E Type Jaguar – 1966 Series 1, 4.2 litre convertible.
BMW CSL 3.0 litre, 1973. Very rare.
Maserati 3500 GT, 1959. It’s away being restored as we speak.”
And then the piece de resistance. The Big Daddy. The 1001bhp Bugatti Veyron.
“I bought the Veyron in 2008. It’s the most mind bogglingly amazing car but totally impractical for British roads. The fun thing about this car is flooring it – but at 40mph you can only floor it for literally about half a second and you’ve hit the speed limit! Even from a standstill it only takes a couple of seconds to get to 70mph. I’ve taken it to Germany, there you can cruise at 150, 170mph and then blip the throttle and go over 200mph. It’s incredible. I also took it to the Nurburgring, scared myself and then someone told me my insurance wouldn’t be valid – so I stopped!
“Servicing costs are horrendous of course; the first one alone should have cost £30,000 but the car had developed an electrical fault so I came to an agreement with Bugatti.
"This car will never be sold though. It’s a family heirloom”
Want to see the Veyron? The Wilton House Classic Rendezvous and Supercar day is on August 5th 2012 and Will’s fabulous car will be in pride of place. It now has a fighting chance in the rev-off - I spotted the box that the aftermarket exhaust came in.. ;)