So, for those of you who don't know (and just want to look at pretty pictures of cars) James May is one of the original three hosts of the BBC hit series Top Gear. He's constantly made fun of for having the taste of and acting like an old man. He really does help even out the trio with Clarkson being so brash and direct, Hammond being so clownish, and May himself attempting to be some sort of voice of reason.
And maybe that is reflected in his very broad choice of cars. I mean, it's not like all he has are hot supercars or insane luxury cars. As anyone would know who has watched Top Gear or Grand Tour, James May is not exactly the fastest driver in the world so he doesn't really have a need for a supercar that can tear his face off.
Either way, I think you'll find his choice of cars ranging from "wow, old man" to "holy sh*t, you really drive something that fast?" James May probably has the most varied collection of any of the original Top Gear trio. So, let's check out what he's got in the garage.
15 Bentley T2
The Bentley T2 is not the first car that James May has ever owned but it is certainly one of the first cars that he ever reviewed on Top Gear. This very car featured in the very first episode of the show when James was forced to review his own car.
This is one of the cars that no longer belongs in May's garage as he sold it back in 2007 (four years after the premiere episode of Top Gear). I'm sure he got a handsome price for the car as it had still all of the original paintwork on it and it had only gone 80,000 miles in its 40-year lifespan. And doesn't that seem very James May of him? He has a Bentley; this luxury car, and over the course of 40 years, the car doesn't get more than 80,000 miles on it. I feel sorry for the car.
14 The 2013 Dacia Sandero
"Now be forewarned, what I’m about to say may sound a little silly. For 2013 the Sandero will come equipped with power steering, stability control, a folding rear seat, and two actual working airbags."
This is pretty well all that James May could say of the Dacia Sandero, but in spite of him only being able to comment on how very normal it is as a car, it is one of his favourites. It's technically a "super-mini" car, but I dare say could fit into the "hot hatchback" category that each of the Top Gear guys seems to love so much. That being said, I think it's only James May who really revers the Sandero as much as he does. I don't understand the hype of a car that is one of the most "normal" cars in the world, but here it is.
13 1984 Porsche 911
As much as the Dacia Sandero may be one of May's favourites, it doesn't get the same attention that the '84 Porsche 911 Carrera has got. May even describes this one as “the best car I’ve ever bought”. That's pretty high praise considering some of the other cars in his collection. He's no stranger to Porsche either. He's had a '09 Carrera S, and an '05 Boxster S.
I don't know what possessed him to get the "poor man's Porsche" (the Boxster), but he also said of that one that it was once the only car he had bought as brand new. Either way, as much as I may enjoy some Porsches, I can't say the 80's were kind to Porsche at all. But hey, if James May loves an older car that definitely looks like it came from the 80's...I really can't say I'm surprised.
12 Alfa Romeo 164
This is one of Alfa Romeo's very interesting cars. What is so interesting about it? Well...basically the fact that it is in no way interesting. It's even been hailed as one of those Alfa Romeo cars that has been nearly completely forgotten.
To what extent has it been forgotten? Well, James May forgot that he owned one. At least until an episode of Top Gear where he bought on for 1,000 pounds and said of it that it has “Italy's most charismatic V6”. Of course, not very long after saying that, he does cut the car in half and welds it to another car for the segment they were working on. I can understand May not remembering this car for two reasons. One, because it's very ordinary. Two, because it's James May, and of course he'd forget.
11 Bentley Continental R
When talking about some of his favourite cars, James May was actually kind of mean to his Bentley Continental R. "...the Bentley Continental R...one of my favourite cars of all time. But I'm not sure I could universally recommend one. Parking it is an issue, and because it's an aristocrat it has a bit of a drink problem."
Parking it is an issue because it's the size of a yacht. And that, of course, is also why it has a drinking problem; it just sucks up way too much gas. That being said, it still is a luxury car and if you have the space for it in the garage (and someone else to drive it around narrow streets for you) it should make a wonderful addition to a collection. Let's be honest, this car is made for you to have someone chauffeur you around.
10 Ferrari 458 Speciale
Now, this is one hot car that I really didn't expect James May to own. It just really doesn't seem his style. I mean...this car goes fast...and James May typically doesn't. It's still kind of shocking to me, I'll be totally honest. Although, it's less surprising when you discover that he took a long time to think about getting the car in the first place. How long? Well, he waited so long that he only just managed to land purchase of the very last 458 Speciale.
So, it's good to know that even in buying a very fast car, James May still moves incredibly slowly. It would have been horrible if he tried and the limited edition car had gone out of production by then. I mean, if they made more, it would not have been the first time, but I don't know if they would do that just for James May.
9 1991 Citroen AX GT
"I suggested to them that the best car I've ever driven, all things considered, was the Citroën AX GT of 1991. Nobody argued..."
I don't know what it is about James May, but he's got this interesting ability to call almost every other car he owns his favourite or the best he's ever driven. I don't quite understand that. And I especially don't understand it with this car, of all cars. I mean, it's a pretty ugly car.
And on top of that, May says this of it: "I admit the AX GT is not terribly promising. Constructed from old biscuit tins, powered by a rudimentary 1.4-litre engine and not exactly eye-catching, it would probably kill you in a crash. It was built in France, so was presumably the work of communists." Not a strong endorsement...
8 Datsun 120 Y
“This was the little Japanese car that showed our dads you didn’t need a Flaky Austin 1100 that broke down all the time.” And in typical James May fashion, he went out and bought this "dad's car", perhaps proving, yet again, that he's a bit older than he lets on. Or at least he is in his head.
Either way, this car was featured on Top Gear about ten years ago, and this apparently drove May to buy one of his own. The Datsun 120 Y is the first Japanese car to have sold in large numbers in the U.K., so I guess May figured since it was such a pivotal car in the automotive industry between Japan and the U.K. that he just had to have one. And I guess Clarkson and Hammond have bought cars for far less logical reasons. So good for you James.
7 Fiat Panda
James May very often talked about how much he loved the Fiat Panda. He talked about it so much on Top Gear that Hammond and Clarkson basically started a running joke on the show about May and the Panda. But it's true, May did have Panda and it served him as his regular ride for quite some time.
It's not a car you'll find in his garage any longer though, in spite of how much he loved the car. Eventually, he drove the car into the ground. So, naturally, he went out of his way to buy a BMW i3. I have to say, while I think both cars are pretty ugly, I would have to side with the Beamer over the Fiat when it comes to looks and handling and class, and pretty much anything else. Cards on the table though, I'm not really a fan of Fiat to begin with.
6 Ferrari Enzo
The Ferrari Enzo is not exactly one of the cars you'd expect James May to have or to speak overly highly about. Why? Because it goes super fast. Of course, May also has a Ferrari 458, so he's just full of surprises...and Ferraris apparently.
Either way, he apparently wouldn't recommend the car to anyone. Which is not all that surprising. Apparently, he "was surprised how much [he] liked it. But is it really the best? Not if you're on a budget, wearing a short skirt or wanting to buy some timber from B & Q. Then it's pretty much the worst." So, he's basically telling the world that the Ferrari Enzo is a pointless and useless car. At least in terms of anything to do with practicality. But that doesn't stop him from having one anyway.
5 Saab 9-5 Aero
The Saab Aero was all sorts of weird and quirky...well, any Saab is kind of weird and quirky. If you recall the Top Gear episode regarding Saab, they used to be fiery, fun and way out there sorts of cars, then suddenly they learned to start making terrible cars for the everyday, normal person.
They used to be referred to as the "thinking man's" choice in car but that changed really quick. And Saab has had a history of changing up the formula in terms of what sorts of things they make! They used to make pepper mills, munitions, jets and a list of other items. Now that they're done with cars and I guess James felt like it was good to pay tribute to the strange company by getting one of its quirky "thinking man's" cars...or maybe he just wanted to look like a thinking man.
4 Rolls Royce Phantom
If I were to have a Rolls Royce (which I'll never be able to afford) it would have to either be the Wraith or the Phantom. It's just such a giant luxury machine for a car and it looks so slick.
That being said, and considering that you can drive it very slow, James May hardly drives his Phantom at all! Which I find absolutely crazy. He probably drives one of his hot hatches all over the place. Admittedly, he only really still drives the Phantom around when he's picking up friends from the airport. It's like he only keeps the car because he knows how much it will brighten up someone else's day. I can't imagine finding myself being bored of this machine, but it appears that James May is over it.
3 Vauxhall Cavalier MK1
Don't get this confused with a Chevy Cavalier. They don't have Vauxhall in America (unless you ship them in) and this car is much prettier than the Chevy car of the same name. Now, while it might be prettier than a Chevy car, that doesn't mean it is an awesome car. No, I think the only reason why this car sits in James May's collection at all is because it is his very first car ever! Which is kind of adorable.
He even said of it: “It was like going into space - it nearly killed me with excitement.” Not sure how he'd know much about going into space, but you get the idea. I was very happy when I got my first (and only) vehicle too. But I also very quickly sold mine because of how old and broken it was. His car came with "pre-stolen hubcaps" which is pretty remarkable for that sort of car, I suppose.
2 Triumph 2000
The above Triumph 2000 is not actually the one that James May owns. And it might be important to mention that the only reason he owns one of these cars is because he originally bought it for a significant other of his. Apparently, because he appreciates “a proper girl in a terrible old car." Which sounds pretty awful to say, but that's ok because his significant other didn't really appreciate the car and its brown paint job.
"To nobody’s surprise except mine,” he wrote in an article, “there is now a brown 1971 Triumph 2000 MkII registered to a Mr. J D May.” I can't say I'm shocked that the woman he was with didn't appreciate being given a "terrible old car", but hey...she was still given a car. That's more than I've ever been given. She should have appreciated it a little bit.
1 Rolls Royce Corniche
There have been a lot of stars who have bought one of these models of Rolls. Paul McCartney, Liberace, David Bowie, Elton John, David Attenborough and Engelbert Humperdinck are among the brightest of those stars. Over the course of 10 years, May had only done a total of 10,000 miles with this car. Which is pretty crazy.
I mean, I know he drives slowly, but I still figured he went places. Well, it turns out that he was apparently allergic to the leather seats. I'm not sure what they stuff them with or what sort of leather was used, but it seemed to really bother him. I can't see him making that up just to stay out of the car. It's beautiful after all. It seems that he just has no time to spend driving either of his Rolls Royce cars.