David Gandy covers this weeks The Standard, photographed by Hamish Brown in London. His first contribution for this magazine came in 2011 as a guest editor for their "Men's Special Issue". This time around David pens this wonderful article for the The Standard. He gives us a brief look into his first love, cars that is, and how to look good driving them.
How To Drive
By David Gandy
The Ride of your Life
The male model and petrolhead on the joys of going roofless
You’d think it was impossible not to look cool in a soft-top, but having just spent three days with Yasmin Le Bon in an open-top 1950 Jaguar XK 150 completing the famous Mille Miglia rally around Italy, I felt more Mario Kart than James Dean. I lost two pairs of glasses, three caps, my voice, and I still have tiny little stones embedded in my face from the, ahem, “small” crash we had (we came off briefly after another car gave us a nudge). Thankfully, we patched up the car and carried on.
Back in London I’ve been filming an advert for Jaguar. At 3am I was zooming around London in the new F-Type. As we hit Parliament Square. I looked directly above me at the wonderful sight of Big Ben. The brisk, cold air hit my face, while the heated steering wheel, seat and vents kept me nice and toasty; the deep V8-engine rumble reverberated off the buildings like I’d never heard before. I’m smitten and have decided to invest in my own F-Type. After all, the British virtually invented the idea of open-top motoring and I think it’s about time that I carried on this tradition.
Given the climate, it’s strange that the British have always been such enthusiastic purchasers of soft-tops – even more so than the Italians and Spanish. It’s probably because British weather is so awful that we feel the need to take advantage of the few rays we do have at any opportunity. We then turn up at our destination with a lovely tan below the elbow and, more often than not, a rather sunburned nose. Not to mention flyaway hair that Boris Johnson would be proud of. Even with modern wind deflectors, one’s barnet takes such a beating that no amount of gel or industrial-strength wax will help. Embrace it: the thrill of the ride is always worth looking a bit rough round the edges.
WHAT TO WEAR
Cruising in your soft-top is an opportunity for some old-school masculine elegance. Channel Steve McQueen in a Belstaff jacket. There’s simply no need to wear driving gloves when the steering wheel is already heated, and a flat cap will blow straight off your head. The most essential accessory is a beautiful woman in a glamorous headscarf by your side.
WHAT TO PLAY
If you’ve ever tried to listen to music in an open-top car at anything over 50mph, you’ll know it’s impossible – as are conversations with passengers (although this might appeal to some). The good thing about a hard-top car is that it allows seclusion from the rest of the world. In my Jaguar XKR-S, I can sit quite happily listening to Magic FM, talking to myself, wearing odd shoes and no one has to know. It’s brilliant. But in my new roofless Jag I’ll just have to accept that the world does not need to hear me singing along to Barbra Streisand’s greatest hits – especially not with the big hair, sunburn and mismatched footwear.
WHAT TO DRIVE
* A Jaguar F-type V6S is what Jaguar does best — classic glamour
* The chicest cabriolet is a 1960 Mercedes 280 SL
* The most fun you’ll have with your pants on is in a Caterham Supersport
* Driving a soft-top doesn’t get any better than a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé — pure elegance
* A Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupé brings affordable open-top motoring to the masses
WHERE TO DRIVE
* The Pacific coast Highway that follows the rugged, sensual Californian coastline, with Big Sur, Carmel and Pebble Beach along the way
* The beauty of the Tuscan Hills makes for a relaxed soft-top ride Italian-style
* Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany is a 20km race road. There’s no speed limit so it’s where car manufacturers go to test their latest models
* The Stelvio Pass is 9,000ft up in the Italian Alps; the 48 corners in 15 miles make it a great drive
* London’s Embankment late at night