That February I’d been on the road with Rod Stewart and the Faces in Boston and Jersey City, writing a story for the Melody Maker. You can imagine it was pretty good fun, as long weekends go. Now here I was, three months later, listening to Rod waxing lyrical about David Ruffin as he put the final touches to his cover of the Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You”. Then came the wonderful experience of having “Mandolin Wind” and “Maggie May” played back through the studio speakers. Martin Quittenton was in the studio that night, having made a vital contribution to the album as guitarist, mandolinist and co-writer. “Mandolin Wind” remains my favourite of Rod’s recordings, by a distance.
On the way into the studio I’d admired the brand-new yellow Lamborghini Miura parked on the forecourt. There weren’t many of those in London in 1971. This was the first of Rod’s many exotic cars, including a whole string of Lamborghinis, and probably the prettiest of the lot. Who cared that the clutch was unbearably stiff or that it overheated constantly? He’s very funny about it in his droll autobiography, put together last year with the help of Giles Smith. “The Miura was a considerable investment: £6,500,” he recalls. “Bear in mind that the first house I had just bought, in Muswell Hill, had only cost me £5,000. So, for a while there, my car was worth more than my house. And there was no off-road parking, so I had to leave it on the street. Small wonder I couldn’t sleep at night.”
The car over which he lost sleep is now to be auctioned by Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival in September. The picture above is of the sale brochure, and the estimate for the car is between £750,000 and £850,000. A lot of money, but almost certainly a great deal less than the value of whichever of his houses its first owner will be sleeping in tonight.
I’ll save my story about seeing Rod for the first time in 1964, with one of my favourite bands ever, for another day.