Famous for presenting Fifth Gear and Top Gear on TV, Tiff has driven everything from superminis to supercars. But his first love is racing, with a career spanning Formula Ford in the ’70s, grand prix drives in the ’80s, World Sportcars and British Touring Cars. And the pasion still burns; he’s a regular at the Goodwood Revival, racing mouth-watering classic cars.
The great danger of wandering into a classic car conversation is that, at some time or another, you are bound to deeply offend someone who’s just bought his dream, which doesn’t exactly fit in with yours! So whenever I mention my favourites, I tread gently…
My classics tend to be the ones I grew up with, the ones that bring back family memories, so I always go a bit gooey when I catch sight of cars as simple as a Morris 1000 or an Austin A35. They were all my family could afford, but you can always dream the dream.
Jaguars of the ’50s and ’60s are always right up there, and getting to race both a MkII and a huge MkVII at Goodwood were both dreams that came true – but neither were quite as special as the E-Types I’ve also had the great pleasure of racing – I shall always be grateful to the owners generous enough to trust me with their steeds.
The classics that my heroes drove also feature on my list – even though that almost entirely confines it to Jim Clark and Lotus! The original Elan was a very special car and the MkI Lotus Cortina was another iconic saloon that I got to race at the Goodwood Revival meeting, where classics rule.
I have to admit my choice is biased firmly towards British manufacturers as that’s what I grew up with. But if you get to talk classics with me, please don’t mention the Triumph TR7.?I was loaned one of these when I turned professional as a racing driver with the Unipart Formula Three team – and the blooming thing blew a head gasket not long after I’d got hold of it!