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IDRIS AND HIS CARS When did you first become aware of cars? “In my dad’s car. My dad and my uncle were big drivers. I used to love sitting in the back, behind the passenger seat, watching the steering wheel. That was my view. And I used to have coat hangers in the car, pretending they were my steering wheels. My uncle had a few Ford Cortinas; my dad had a Hillman Avenger – that is an old-school car! He had two of them actually” Your first experience of driving? “There was a car in my neighbourhood that had the keys in it. It was a Ford Granada and basically the kids used to just jump in it and drive around the block. I don’t know whose car it was, but I remember I got my first jolt doing it. Wow, I loved it” Do you remember seeing your first Jaguar? “The first Jaguar I ever saw wasn’t on the street, it was on The Sweeney, a police series in the 70s, with the leaping Jaguar on the bonnet, and I just thought: What a luxury car. I was so young, I didn’t even realise that it was a British classic. By the time I was fourteen, I knew better. Whenever a Jag came in for a tyre change, my boss would say: No way, son, you are not touching this one” Your first car? “I bought a red Mini Cooper. I paid 50 quid for it from Loot [a classified ads paper]. I drove it back – I could barely drive – and I used to go to school in it. I used to park it round the back and me and some of the lads would eat lunch in it. I was 14! I didn’t have a licence but I could drive and I loved it. I had a Saturday job in a tyre-fitters as well, and when you’re doing that you get in the cars and move them around. I drove so many different cars. It was hard, physical graft, but I was young. It was six in the morning until six at night. So I became an expert on size, grip, Pirelli versus Dunlop. I got into it” Your nightmare car? “I’ve had a few of those. Which one used to give me a lot of gyp? I think it was my American car. I had a Chevrolet Astro van. It was lovely. A big old teddy bear: a six-seater (continued on page 50) “The first Jaguar I ever saw WASN’T ON THE STREET, IT WAS ON THE SWEENEY, A TV POLICE SERIES IN THE 70S. I JUST THOUGHT: WHAT A LUXURY CAR” 48 j THE DYNAMIC ISSUE

ROAD TRIP HANNOVER ENGLAND BERLIN LONDON BELGIUM SPA DORTMUND GERMANY DOVER CALAIS ENGLISH CHANNEL FRANCE IDRIS ELBA Nationality: British Age: 42 Job: Actor, film producer, DJ Other interests: Music, mentoring and (driving) missions CHILLED Above left: Before his road trip fully gets going, Elba takes time out to visit his old college in London – The National Youth Music Theatre – to chat and pass on advice to its current students. Below: The XE in the Eurostar train on its way to France The cat in the hat is running his fingers over the hi-tech dashboard, murmuring his approval. His appreciative nod says it all: this in-car kit will do nicely. “It’s touch-friendly, but it’s practical. You can still plug stuff in,” notes the stylishly-attired, six-foot-four petrolhead, pointing to a USB socket concealed in the driver’s armrest. His personal music library is but a click away. “That’s what I like. I don’t want to do everything with my phone or the computer. I like to do it myself. So I’ll probably sync my iTunes and listen to the peaks and troughs, so to speak.” Idris Elba is on a mission. It will involve cars and beats, autobahns and autoroutes, acting up and drinking up, the spinning of tunes and of wheels, and pit-stops at an icy Formula 1 race track and a cool converted power station. This is a road trip with a difference. Four countries, 72 hours, 752 miles and some full-throttle detours. But Elba isn’t going to make a song and dance about the epic drive. For one thing, the actor is behind the wheel of arguably the most important Jaguar in the company’s 80-year history – the XE, a sports saloon car engineered with game-changing eco-efficiency in mind. For another, the singing will happen before he’s left London. And the dancing? That will very much be happening at the journey’s end, on a feverish Berlin dance floor. We meet Elba on a chilly Sunday morning in south west London. He’s back at his theatrical alma mater, the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT). These days the 42-year-old may be a star of big screens (he was brilliant playing Nelson Mandela in last year’s biopic), small screens (HBO’s classic American crime drama The Wire, the BBC’s classic UK crime drama Luther) and downright giant screens, the blockbusters Thor (2011), Prometheus (2012) and Pacific Rim (2013). Yet some 25 years ago, he was an east London teenager with a job lined up at Ford’s Dagenham car plant but a passion for the stage. And winning a scholarship to the NYMT set him on his path. Today, too, the venerable performance institution is sending Elba on his way. After a morning workshop with some of the NYMT’s current students, Elba and the XE will hit the road. His route map takes in Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel, France, the Grand Prix circuit at Spa in Belgium, the heart of Germany and, finally, a slot DJing at the XE’s European launch event in Berlin. THE DYNAMIC ISSUE j 49




Jaguar Magazine celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from beautiful design to cutting-edge technology.

In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.


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