Henry Cole, His Cars & His Views
Henry Cole, the motorcycle enthusiast and host of Channel 4’s Find It, Fix It, Flog It, reflects on his favourite motors, ‘despicable’ cars and why he avoids vehicles with Belgian number plates…
What was the first car?
The first car I owned was a maroon 1500 Triumph Spitfire which was a little two-seater soft top which was, to say the least, rusty. It had full air conditioning because there were massive holes in the floor, but I loved that little car. I smashed it up by going into a small tree.
What’s the best car you’ve ever owned?
I’ve collected cars over the years so I’ve had Lamborghinis and Ferraris and all that. I had two Lamborghinis Countachs which I sold for £75k each and now they’re a $1m so if only I had held onto those two I might have had a result. The worst car I’ve ever had was a Vauxhall Frontera. Just despicable. It was diesel powered. It could not pull the skin off a rice pudding. Why would you drive a Frontera? The only reason you would is [because you’re a] tasteless scumbag!
What’s your favourite car?
I’ve got a World War II Willys Jeep which I drive everywhere in the summer because it hasn’t got a roof and also I love Land Rovers. I’ve got three Land Rover Defenders that I love. I love anything that’s British, anything that’s quirky, anything that probably wouldn’t be seen potentially as a car by people. We all, as Defender and Land Rover drivers, wave at each other. They only reason we wave at each other on the road, I think, is out of sympathy.
Have you got a dream car?
My dream car is a flat floor 3.8 E type Coupe series one, gunmetal grey with red leather interior. I’m going to buy one if I can find it in the States, because we have great contacts out there, and then restore it over ten years.
Do you consider yourself a good driver?
I consider myself to be a brisk, safe driver. Because I’m an ex drug addict, I haven’t had a drug or a drink for 28 years and I am the taxi for all our friends. I figure that I have a responsibility, especially in the evenings, to get people back from the party safely so I’d like to believe that I am a safe driver.
What’s your bugbear about other motorists?
That they don’t generally understand motorcycles, well they don’t see you. And people who drive Volvo Estates should go on a course of motorcycle awareness and also people with Belgian number plates, strangely. I always avoid them. I don’t know why but I’ve had some nasty incidents with Belgian number plates. I’m sure they’re all brilliant drivers but the couple I’ve met have absolutely floored me!