Expediency? Poor taste? Stubborn contrariness? Something must explain why auto gods chose wheels like these. We look at the most curious, leftfield cars owned by the captains of the auto industry - from rare one-offs to downright unusual choices.
1) Count Rossi’s road-going 917
Okay, so Rossi, of Martini-Rossi fame, wasn’t a car boss, but his ludicrous road-going Porsche 917 is worth a mention. Even with something resembling silencers fitted to the flat-12, the only place in the world where he could get the thing registered was Alabama, which said ‘fine, as long as you never drive it here, boy,’ (and then spat on the ground, probably).
2) Henry Ford II’s RS2000
Nice comfy limo? Cushy 3.0-litre Granny? Nah, for Ford Jnr’s UK visit, Dagenham laid on an Escort RS2000 painted in metallic brown and hobbled by a three-speed auto. Rumoured footage of him powersliding around old factory yards wearing a bubble-perm wig has yet to materialise…
3) David Brown’s DB5 shooting brake
Talk about a First-World problem. Aston’s boss just couldn’t fit his bally polo and shooting gear in the back of his DB5, the Range Rover hadn’t been invented yet, and Aston’s factory didn’t have the capacity to build Brown’s dream wagon. Seem’s MI6’s Q branch didn’t either, because London coach builder Radford got the job.
4 Ferry Porsche’s 906
Porsche built a stack of specials for founder’s son Ferry, including a yucky 993 Speedster Tiptronic with wood trim. Coolest though, even cooler than the road-going 904 racer, was the humble 914 sports car, stuffed full of flat-eight motorsport engine.
5) John Cooper’s twini-mini
Cooper nearly came a cropper when his idea to stick a second Cooper S engine in the boot of his Mini and create a Quattro-beater 20 years before the fact, unravelled. A massive crash on the Kingston bypass left Cooper in hospital and the ‘twini-Mini’ project in the morgue.
6) Enzo Ferrari’s Peugeot 404
Romantic as it is to think of Enzo popping to the shops in a 250LM, for years the old man’s daily drivers were Peugeots. It’s like discovering the founder of Rolex swore by a £5 Casio.
7) Lee Iacocca’s 1982 K-car woody convertible
What does the man behind the original Mustang and Viper keep in his garage? I mean besides the ghosts of fireball Pinto victims. How about the tragicomic K-car woody cabrio from his time at Chrysler, which he told CNBC was his ninth favourite car. Of all time.
8) Ferruccio Lamborghini’s Jarama
His time at Lambo is remembered for Countach and Miura (he had the only SV with the Miura’s eyelashes), but his favourite was the little-loved Jarama, a chopped Espada with the delicate touch of an elephant in iron shoes.
9) Carroll Shelby’s 427 Supersnake
Forced to quit racing due to a heart condition, ol’ Shel’ never was that kind to his ticker. Witness his 1966 twin-supercharged 800bhp Cobra Supersnake. Two were made: one for Carroll (just sold for $5.5m), another for Bill Cosby, who found it so terrifying he built an entire routine around it.
10) Gianni Agnelli’s Integrale cabrio
As grandson of Fiat’s founder, Gianni Agnelli was able to commission some incredible one-offs, from the sublime (Ferrari 360 Speedster), to the ridiculous (Fiat Multipla Spider). Our favourite: a Lancia Delta Spider Integrale. We shudder to think of the shudders.