Sunday, January 01, 2006
Me and my motors: Joanna Lumley
By Jasper Gerard of The Sunday Times
They’ve bumped off my Ferrari
Joanna Lumley began her acting career as a Bond girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service before being cast as Purdey in The New Avengers in 1976. She is best known for her portrayal of the chainsmoking Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous.
“I had a Rolls-Royce,” she says dreamily. “She was a lovely old girl, built in 1949. I bought her for £550 long before the Avengers. I hadn’t any money but it was irresistible. I only had it for two years and it was hopeless, always breaking down. Things came off it but it was fantastic, just ravishing, to have that old girl. Whenever I stopped or it boiled over, always somebody came to help. People adored it.”
Lumley remained dangerously attracted to automotive exotica, once owning a Triumph Stag — notoriously unreliable — and until recently a Ferrari. This was ideal for bombing down the M2 to her cottage in the beautifully remote Kentish village of Goodnestone, but after she moved to London — fearing her old house was haunted — the red beast was denied the exercise it craved.
“They built so many speed bumps that I literally couldn’t drive around where I live. They are monsters. A Ferrari isn’t really a car for London, you’ve got to take it out on the road, and in bright red it was ridiculous.” And not quite the thing, one imagines, for pootling along to the environmental meetings that she vocally supports. Lumley laughs. “She kept the blanket on most of the time. I know, I do my bit, but that was very bad. The only good thing was I didn’t take her out often and sold her after two years.”
Finally there are signs Lumley is growing more conventional in her car tastes: “I’ve a Smart car for London and then we’ve got a Lexus for driving long distances.”
Read the full article here.