Ewan McGregor talks cars and reveals what he drives

The Scottish actor and VW ambassador talks TG through his two- and four-wheeled motoring history

McGregor told us: I’m not sure where my interest in cars and bikes came from. My dad’s dad had a garage outside his house and he had two old British cars in there and a couple of old bikes. We were never allowed to go in there so I don’t think I ever saw them. He liked to go in and tinker, though. I might have got the bug from him. I don’t know whether it skipped a generation because my dad liked to trade in his cars every two years for something new.

When I was a kid we had Volkswagen Beetles as family cars. It was always bikes for me at an early age, though. I started out with a 1978 Moto Guzzi T3. After that I bought a Ducati, and then I was able to get a lock-up and I ended up with some old Spanish Ossa dirt bikes.

I bought my first ‘proper’ car when I was in Australia doing Moulin Rouge. A member of the crew had a 1972 Ford Mustang fastback and he always parked it outside my dressing room because he wanted me to buy it. Anyway, for some reason I found out about another Mustang that was being sold in Sydney at the time – a 1965 convertible. It was the colour of vanilla ice cream with a light blue roof. I fell in love, bought it and shipped it back to Britain because it had been converted to right-hand drive. That was my only car for a long time because I was always on my bikes.

Then we moved to America in 2008 and that’s when I started sort of collecting cars. Actually, I’m not a collector. Collectors buy cars that will appreciate in value. The only car I ever made any money on was a 1969 Aston Martin DBS, which was really lovely. I sold that in order to buy a 1967 split-windshield VW Westfalia Camper, which was an odd trade.

The oldest car I’ve owned was a 1927 Buick Sedan. I moved house recently though and I’m up quite a steep hill now – I just couldn’t get it up it, so I sold it. It had a non-synchro gearbox and if you didn’t get from third to second straight away you were in trouble. It was humiliating. It was always overheating too and I felt like I wasn’t doing the car any favours.

A few years ago I did a film called Mortdecai and in it I had to drive Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow around in a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Again I fell in love with the car, so when I got back to the US I bought a 1960 Silver Cloud II. It’s a bit Dudley Moore, driving around LA in the Rolls, but that makes me laugh. And I take the kids to school in it – it’s a beautiful car.

I also own a Porsche 718 Cayman. That’s my first ever sports car and I just can’t get over how it drives. I’m too used to crap old cars. Having that made me look around for more Porsches, though, and I then had the opportunity to buy a 1972 Porsche 911T. It’s got 36,000 miles on it. I love driving that car.

Then I’ve got a couple of really stupid rat rods. One’s based on a 1920 Dodge frame and has a straight-six GMC truck engine in it, and the other is a ridiculously slammed 1927 Ford Tudor. That’s got an old Buick Nailhead V8 engine in it. It’s crazy.

Oh and then there’s my 1937 Wolseley. I made the Christopher Robin movie a few years ago and I bought the Robin’s family car after we finished filming. I love 1930s cars and it’s a beautiful British thing. Quite a rare sight in LA, too.

I love driving old stuff – that Buick you had to really think about. You took that car out for a drive. If you needed to be somewhere, you’d drive something else.

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If I want to get a new car I try to get rid of something else, just so it doesn’t get out of hand. When I get my Volkswagen ID Buzz in a couple of years I’ll definitely get rid of the rat rods. They’re just asking for trouble.

I’ve been aware of the Buzz for years. In the VW community we’ve been looking at it for a long time and desperately waiting for it to appear. I’m a Volkswagen nerd – and now an ambassador for the brand. I’ve had a few Beetles in the US and I recently had my oval-window converted to an EV. I’ve owned two VW Westfalia Campers too. I like the experience of driving them but they’re also just really useful family cars.

In fact vans are great. Ages ago I used to have a white Toyota Sienna. When I went to fancy restaurants with my ex-wife we’d come out after dinner and hand the ticket to the valet. There’d be all these celebrities standing around getting in their fancy cars, and then they would pull our Sienna round and it’d be so funny. That car was so useful, though. The ID Buzz will be like a more fun version of that and should be the perfect family car.

Ewan’s dream three-car garage

Volkswagen Beetle
I’d have to have a Beetle, maybe a 1967 that’s been beautifully restored but as close to stock as possible.

Jaguar XK140
I’d have an XK140 as my sports car. That would be my gentleman’s runaround.

Porsche 911 (992)
I might have to have a 911 in there. That would be my new car – a 992 Carrera.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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