An interview with David Hunter
THIS ONE’S HERE TO STAY.
The love of classic cars has always been a primary driving force for David Hunter and he’s certainly driven a lot of them since the purchase of his first car back in 1978. His career in commercial finance has seen him working on both sides of the Atlantic, including seventeen years in San Francisco, before eventually starting his own accountancy firm in Oxford.
“I’m not technical. I know where the petrol goes and I sometimes get the oil right too! But I just love everything about classic cars. I’ve owned classic cars for thirty, maybe forty years now, but I only have one at a time. I’m not one of those people who build their own classic car museum and stuff it full of cars that they don’t drive. I’m a great believer in owning a car and using it as much as I can.”
The list of cars that David has owned over the years is indeed impressive. Owning just the one would, in many cases, be special enough for most people but David Hunter really does love the buzz of changing his car every couple of years for a new model, a new style, a new challenge.
“I’ve owned a 1952 Daimler DB18 Special Sports, which was the first car I ever bought. Then an MG MGA, an MGC GT, an MG TF, a Mercedes 280SL Pagoda, a 1947 Triumph Roadster soft-top – that’s the car that actor John Nettles drove in the Bergerac television series. And I’ve owned two Porsches: one was a 1959 356 that I had restored, and then a 1958 Porsche 356 Coupe. And many more, and I’ve used every one of these fantastic cars on a regular basis. I guess the best way to describe it, is that I get itchy feet. Time to move on!”
He admits that there’s no definable logic to the eclectic choices he’s made over the years and he’s happy to acknowledge that he gets great joy and satisfaction in watching a car being restored – a car that he’ll soon be driving home in. “I have no idea what they’re doing. I wouldn’t know a light bulb from a petrol cap but I just love watching the guys working on the cars.”
Having owned the two 356s, it was only matter of time before David considered a 911, and after some research and a visit to Rennsport, he shook hands with Paul Cockell and the restoration journey began again: this time on a slate-grey, 1989 3.2 Carrera, back-dated to the classic 1969 Steve McQueen look. But this time around, there’s one crucial difference. Habits of a lifetime are being broken.
“I got the car in October 2017 and, for the first time, I’m not going to sell this one. Obviously, owning classic cars means you sometimes have problems, sometimes they don’t start and suchlike but, with this Porsche I can honestly say I have never had a problem mechanically. Ever. I live in a small village in Oxfordshire and I’ve become something of a local celebrity…well, the cars have! People are used to seeing me in a different car, but this time they’ll have to be content with seeing me in the same one!”
Along with its herring-bone interior, G50 5-speed gearbox and sun-roof, David’s 3.2 is equipped with all mod cons, such as SatNav and hands-free phone set-up. He drives it every day, rain or shine, snow or hail (“I think it’s got fuel-injection, but I don’t really know!” he laughs).
There’s no doubt that this classic car journey (for want of a more apt description) has worked for him, both creatively and also financially. “I’ve found that over the last ten years I’d be selling a car for more than I had paid for it, which wasn’t what happened when I started buying them. In the beginning, they’d lose money. Classic cars are appreciating in value - remember, I’m an accountant – and you don’t pay Capital Gains Tax when you buy and sell an automobile.”
And here’s the rub: a Porsche from Rennsport has ticked all the boxes for David Hunter and, for the first time, this one’s a keeper.
“When I come here, I have a lot of fun. It’s not like visiting a new car showroom. I have a wonderful 3-litre car that looks good and drives brilliantly. Why would I want to get rid of it? I don’t have itchy feet any more.”
There’s nothing more to say.