Phil Ternent



Childhood car crush
Auntie Marion used to take me to Boydells once a week to buy a Dinky or Corgi model car. I remember getting my James Bond Aston Martin DB5 with ejector seat and tyre-slicing device. I also had an E-Type model which I loved.

What’s in the garage now
My day-to-day car is a BMW i3. This is their electric car, I’ve been driving electric cars for over four years. The version we have has a range extender petrol motor which when needed powers a generator that keeps the battery topped up. It’s a brilliant car, great fun to drive and really practical. Been all over in it including as far as Stansted. Noticed Rowan Atkinson has replaced his McLaren with one last month. The other cars are all now used for our business Northumbria Classic Car Hire.

There’s 2 E-Types, a dark blue 1970 fixed head coupe 4.2litre which I’ve owned since 1991 and a British racing green 1969 roadster. Very pretty looking cars and still superb to drive. There are also 2 Targa-top cars from 1973, a Porsche 911E and a BMW 2002. Targa top cars offer the best of both worlds, a convertible for sunny days or a fixed roof for typical North East days. I enjoy driving all of the classic cars on days out up the coast or into the Cheviots.

If you could own any car
Probably a lightweight Jaguar E-Type, even one of the six replicas going on sale this year for over £1 million. It doesn’t need to be one of the £5 million originals!

Captain Slow or Jeremy
I talk very slowly my friends tell me – but I like to have some fun in the car when it’s OK to do so; I’ve been out in my E-Type roadster today to go to a Jaguar dealer to test drive an F-Type with a friend. Also testing our 73 BMW 2002 cabriolet after some carburettor adjustments – there was some fun to be had in all of them!

Who should present Top Gear
A bit biased but Brian Johnson from AC/DC did a good job on his TV show Cars that Rock. He’s got the character, knowledge and reputation to be able to succeed in Jeremy’s shoes.

Tracks of your tyres
Don’t really bother to listen to music in any of the classic cars as they sound so good all by themselves, especially the Porsche 911e with the Targa top off. In the electric BMW 13 it’s normally from Spotify, a real mix – Zeppelin, Jungle, Blues, all sorts – often stuff I’ve heard on the Bob Harris Sunday morning show.

Dream road trip
I would love to drive down to the Amalfi coast in Italy with my wife, she also loves Italy and suffers classic cars. But I’d probably want to drive our 1973 911 Targa from Newcastle, across on a ferry to Amsterdam then through Germany into Italy.

We recently were on holiday in Sardinia in a standard hire car – but I always look for the green roads on the map, which are the scenic ones. We were driving along a beautiful winding road when we reached the brow of a hill on a blind bend we were flagged down by a young couple waving us to stop.  We thought there must have been an accident so slowed to a stop.  When they ushered us slowly around the bend we discovered the reason for the holdup – three brand new Mercedes sports cars, worth roughly £100 – £150K each parked in a layby ready to race up the road for a photo shoot when the coast was clear.  Now that is the sort of place I’d like to be drive one of my classics.

What’s on the wish list
I have a vision of buying an Ivory or a cream Morris Minor convertible with red and white leather interior and a burgundy hood. Nothing too fast but beautifully quirky and ideal for tootling around Northumberland.

What’s in the glove box
Depends on the car! The i3 – boiled sweets in a tin box for when you need something sweet and Northumbria Classic Car Hire brochures to hand out here and there. The classic cars have owner’s handbook and help sheet on how to put the hood up etc.

Memorable Car Moments
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of driving lots of the local roads and country lanes in classic cars, especially when pursuing my other interest of fishing. Often driving back on a warm evening in the dark with the top down and a few trout in the boot. On holiday we always hire a car, lately upgrading to convertibles. The drives around Puglia in ancient olive groves and beautiful coastline were particularly memorable with great views and lovely scents and smells.

How clean is your car
The i3 is fairly clean as it was recently in for a software upgrade and the dealer always gives it a valet. The classic cars are kept very clean, ready for the next hire.

Scary moments
Nothing in recent years, touch wood. I’ve had a few scares in the past including seeing a wheel go past me in the outside lane on the A19 in the dark, only to realise I was travelling on 3 wheels. Most of my really scary moments were on two  wheels on motorbikes.

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