In the driving seat: Andrew Jarrett

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Andrew Jarrett, Foreshore’s sales and marketing director, found himself in the frame recently when he bumped into the BBC’s celebrity motoring team.

When did you pass your test and how many times did you take it?

Just after my 17th birthday. I had been driving in private car parks since I was 16. My father only had to replace the clutch once during that year.

Your first car?

An Austin Ambassador 1.7L, ex sales rep’s car with tens of thousands of miles on the clock. It was dark blue and had gas suspension, which either needed repair or constant topping up to maintain balance, neither of which were within my means at the time and, as a result, I spent most of my time driving lopsided.

It was a tank of a car, but safe given its size, weight and glacial speed, apart from its propensity to slip out of second gear for no reason other that it was an awkward moment. I made £200 when I sold it.

Your favourite car?

Several, for different reasons, and all company cars. My first was aFord XR2 Turbo, which was a loan car until my first company car was delivered, a rather dull Vauxhall 1.6L Cavalier.

It was madness to give me that Turbo. I stayed away from work on business trips for four weeks to delay the pain of handing the XR2 back. When I did, it was 9,000 miles worse off and the indicator on the speedo had reached the second letter ‘S’ on Smiths. I’m not saying any more than that, except that I was about 22 at the time and driving it felt like sitting in a rocket. In hindsight, it was a good idea it was taken off me.

The next was a Cavalier SRI. Why? well it was the best car I’d had at that time and I loved it, but not long after I received it Vauxhall brought out the Calibra, which somehow found its way on to the company car list.

Fortunately, after about 12 months I had the good fortune to leave the Cavalier in a loading bay, whereupon an articulated lorry reversed over it, interestingly enough giving it that Calibra shape I longed for and simultaneously writing it off.

When I returned to see it squashed, the guys in the loading bay and the lorry driver could not understand why I was so relaxed! Within an hour I was picking the colour of my replacement, a Calibra, and praying to the insurance gods to write the thing off, which they did!

As company cars go, and having a Vauxhall only car policy, the Calibra was really nice and, in its day, I venture it would have got on to the correct side of the Top Gear cool wall.

Your worst car?

This would be a VW Scirocco Mk1, in beige, which I bought for £350 and sold for £70. I used the money to buy a Samsonite briefcase and I still have the briefcase, whereas the Scirocco will no doubt be long gone.

It had a Dukes of Hazzard horn, sad but true, and unfortunately only two of the five horns worked, so the melody was, let’s just say different.

Unfortunately, the horn was the best thing about the car, other than the fact that if you stood far enough away and squinted it looked great.

Your current car?

A lapis blue Porsche 996 Targa. I love it, though I would swap it for a 997 turbo – any offers?

Your dream car?

Hmm, it changes with most episodes of Top Gear. Currently a Ferrari California, although I do like the idea of a DBS as it has a Bang & Olufsen stereo that even Q could not improve upon: 13 speakers and an aluminum grille, it sounds almost as good as the engine.

The Rolls Royce Phantom has a fibre optic roof, how cool is that, especially if you are Sir Patrick Moore, and of course there is the Bugatti Veyron.

I think for a dream car it has to be the Veyron: 0-60 in 2.4 seconds; 224 mph. At £1 million plus, it reminds me of the difference between a pigeon and a banker in these credit crunch days.

Obvious really, the pigeon can still leave a deposit on a Veyron. Still, I saw two in the VIP parking area at the Mall of the Emirates a couple of weeks ago, parked with a pair of SLR McLaren roadsters. The shopping was so-so, the car park was far more interesting.

Your favourite drives?

In Jersey, I’m not telling. I used to do a great deal of motorway driving, mainly in the UK. I enjoyed parts of the A54(M)) on runs up to Glasgow and many of the A roads in Wales.

In both cases, the scenery was stunning and these were the days before speed cameras had been invented. I’d love to drive through the Alps and, in particular, through the Mont Blanc tunnel.

Your motorsport hero?

It has to be Sterling Moss and, in a way, Barry Sheene for similar reasons. I would pick Sterling for his personality, antics, playing hard and then getting up the next day to deliver the goods on the track.

I consider him to be one of the last true champions; motorsport is all rather too serious now. I met Sterling a few years ago. It was a real treat. Unlike many people, he lived up to the image I had of him.

Your driving ambitions?

I would love to do the Gumball Rally, it looks like so much fun.

Do you think you are a good driver?

Stupid question – the best! A couple of the guys at work consistently beat me at karting, which I put down to luck on their part and would remind them that it’s appraisal time soon and certain things can be career limiting.

What do you always carry with you on long journeys?

I seldom do very long journeys by car any more, but in order of priority, my phone, ipod, sat nav – saves arguments and reading maps upside down – and a camera.

Who would be your preferred passenger on a long journey?

My Dad, if he was still with us, as we still have so much to discuss. Cameron Diaz (in my dreams, but I’d make do with Cheryl Cole) and Sterling Moss obviously. Until today I would have said Jeremy Clarkson, but believe it or not I met him very recently when I was in the BA lounge at Gatwick.

He was with Richard Hammond and James May and, on the grounds that I had just been invited to do this, I asked him for a photo. He has a bigger head than most people, I mean physically huge, and he was, shall we say, a little grumpy; so Clarkson is off the list.

Hammond and May, conversely, were both very cheerful, although I discovered that May can’t take photographs. He tried twice, but Hammond stepped in and the results were much better.

What makes you angry when you are driving?

To be fair, Jersey has the most polite drivers of any place I’ve ever driven – have you ever driven in Paris? – so I’m seldom angry behind the wheel, but people with no consideration for other road users, or people throwing litter out of their car, are probably my pet hates.

Have you ever been involved in a crash?

Several, but only ever as a passenger, so I always wear a seatbelt in taxis now, regardless of the length of the journey, much to the bemusement of my colleagues. I know from experience that crashes hurt and my advice to anyone is buckle up.

What do you listen to when you are driving?

It depends on the time of day. In the morning it is Chris Moyles (sorry Peter Mac) interspersed with the Today programme on Radio 4. On the way home, I might dip into 103 or the more recent additions to my ipod

How could Jersey’s roads be improved?

I think in the main we are well served with the road network. Congestion at peaks time is an issue, but I don’t know anywhere that’s cracked that one. Perhaps more thought could be given to routing traffic around the schools, but at least we don’t have to drive on the pavement like they do in Guernsey.

Do you clean your car and how often?

It’s not a religious ritual, I’m pleased to say. I think a car cleaned to perfection once a week is a sign of a very boring life and I can think of a lot of other things to do at the weekend! I try to keep it looking presentable. The last time was 2008, so it’s overdue! Of course I remove anything our feathered friends distribute very quickly, for obvious reasons.

• Picture: Andrew Jarrett pictured with a ‘grumpy’ Jeremy Clarkson, courtesy of Richard Hammond

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