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Rod’s Miura

Rod's MiuraThe last time I saw this car, in May 1971, it was parked outside Morgan Studios in Willesden, North London. Its owner was inside the building, finishing off Every Picture Tells a Story.

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.

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Pidgeon #

    The same car spotted by me at a Faces rehearsal in 1972:
    ‘The Fishmonger’s Arms backed onto a school, and when Rod, the band’s lone non-smoker, stepped outside to suck in some fresh air, the windows across the playground filled with waving teenagers, and, come four o’clock, the alley beside the rehearsal room was thronged with girls who shrieked every time the door opened, until what emerged was a roadie, when they went back to drawing initialled hearts in the dirty paintwork of the singer’s yellow Lamborghini, and boys chanting ‘Rodne-e-e-e’ in a cadence favoured by QPR fans whenever their darling No 10 Rodney Marsh worked his magic.’

    August 1, 2013
  2. Wouldn’t be surprised if the house in Muswell Hill costs more now, too…

    Keep up the good work, Richard – always a pleasure to read.

    August 1, 2013
  3. Nice car, shame about the new album!

    August 1, 2013
  4. Phil Shaw #

    Shame Rod never really developed the talent that enabled him to write Mandolin Wind (I was always intrigued by the line where he described ‘the coldest winter in almost 14 years’, which seemed oddly specific, like 13 years, 10 and a half months!).

    I loved The Faces, especially live, but Rod’s solo albums, after a dazzling first three, went downhill sharply and I preferred the direction taken by the late, great Ronnie Lane. Having heard some of Rod’s new album, which is being touted as a return to the form of those early solo LPs (after all that lazy but lucrative middle-of-the-road stuff), it is clear how badly Lane’s songwriting skills are missed.

    Seeing Rod’s life and times chronicled on the Alan Yentob ‘Imagine’ programme the other week was a useful reminder of how good he could be (as well as containing cringe-making moments when Yentob asked him about his ‘shagging’ exploits). Richard – I look forward to your reminiscences on…would it be Steampacket, or maybe Shotgun Express?

    August 1, 2013
    • Before either of those, Phil…

      August 1, 2013
      • John Pidgeon #

        Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men.

        August 1, 2013
      • Phil Shaw #

        A friend of mine just said Rod was at his peak in Jimmy Powell & The Dimensions.

        So much car stuff on here, I feel like I’ve strayed on to Jeremy Clarkson’s blog.

        August 1, 2013
  5. How strange life is. Only a day ago I was discussing with my partner (following my brother-in-law’s recent ‘track-day’ experience) favourite cars. As a boy, I fell in love with the Miura, and had a Corgi model, in Yellow. It remains, by a country mile, my most favourite car in the world, and I wondered a) how much a decent one would be worth now, and b) if some kit-car manufacturer might have licence to replicate one, and bring it a little nearer my budget. What a work of art this automobile is. ‘Mandolin Wind?’….yes, indeed. This was Rod at his absolute peak.

    August 1, 2013
  6. John Pidgeon #

    By 1971 Rod was gone from Muswell Hill and Baldry, fallen on hard times, was living there.

    August 1, 2013
  7. Phil Shaw #

    Muswell Hill? Hard times? John – i hadn’t realised you had such standards….

    August 1, 2013
  8. John Pidgeon #

    What I meant, Phil, was that, having fallen on hard times, Baldry had nowhere to live, so Rod let him live rent-free in his old place.

    August 1, 2013
    • Phil Shaw #

      Sorry, John. You were always an aristocrat among musical wordsmiths, so I assumed you thought Muswell Hill was a hovel. Coincidentally, I moved into N10 that very summer, to a cockroach-infested place in Colney Hatch Lane in August 1971, but I never saw Long John or indeed Nick Drake, who apparently lived there at that time.

      August 2, 2013
  9. WKB #

    Here’s a fine example I came upon the other day:

    http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/chris-rock-kids-need-bullying

    August 1, 2013
  10. **I grew up in Dollis Hill-Willesden Green areas so remember a succession of rock stars, flash cars and what would now be termed various exotica – especially female – emerging from those studios in my teenage years (I was born 1957). Great times, and The Faces were brilliant back then. We all used to go to those Christmas week series of concerts at the Kilburn State often bunking in through the back cinema doors if we didn’t have tickets. Faces gigs back then were like football matches. Had Me A Real Good Time was our theme song as us working class London Irish boys used to head to Hampstead and Highgate in pursuit of “posh birds” at parties to which we were rarely invited. Would love to go back and do it all again……

    August 6, 2013
  11. Paul Tickell #

    My brother-in-law bought a car off Rod Stewart!

    August 14, 2013

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