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'Rose-tinted spectacles' – Car SOS star Fuzz Townshend recalls very first motor

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CAR SOS star Fuzz Townshend has opened up on the first motor he bought when he was 15 – for just £25.

The TV host, 59, has a huge private collection of cars – including a rare Jensen 541R – but his passion for all things with an engine came at a very young age.

Fuzz Townshend of Car SOS with co-host Tim Shaw

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Fuzz Townshend of Car SOS with co-host Tim Shaw
Fuzz's motoring journey began at an early age

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Fuzz’s motoring journey began at an early ageCredit: National Geographic

Fuzz has already explained in the past how his first car was a Ford Anglia that he picked up while still in his teens.

As much as he loved it, he sadly had to get rid of it before he’d even qualified to drive.

That left him using his mum’s Fiesta until he was able to buy a true classic for himself.

However, he told news24 that his love of cars can be traced back to the age of 8 – all thanks to a lawnmower.

He said: “I started operating the family lawnmower because it had a petrol engine.

“Anything that had a petrol engine was good for me.

“At about the age of eight, I was allowed to mow the lawn and just walk behind the cylinder lawnmower.

“That was brilliant – I felt like I was operating and in charge of an engine.”

The car nut soon moved onto bigger things, having purchased the aforementioned Anglia for a meagre sum of money – but not before trying out a set of two wheels.

He explained: “I got a Honda C50 [motorbike] step-through with a little centrifugal clutch and everything.

“Having a motor vehicle with gears was even better.

“When I was 15, I bought my first car for £25 which was a 1964 Anglia.

“In fact, I found the logbook for it the other day – I had rose-tinted spectacles and didn’t ask much about it.

“I thought I would just take it away, then I asked, ‘Does it run?’ And the guy selling it to me just said ‘no!’

“So, my first job was to get that thing running, which I did, but it didn’t run for very long because I learned the hard way just how bad an engine could get internally.

“That thing was absolutely blown to pieces!”

Inside Car SOS star Fuzz Townshend’s cool car collection including vintage Land Rover & very rare British sports car

What cars does Fuzz Townshend own?

The motoring icon, in a recent video with Landsail Tyres, showed off his personal collection of motors, including an Austin 12/4 Burnham, which he says has been “largely unrestored”.

The vintage set of wheels, which boasts a side-valved engine, is nearly 100 years old having likely been built sometime between 1929 and 1932.

Fuzz describes it as a “lovely old thing” that, despite its age, gets used regularly.

Fuzz also has a Riley 9 Monaco, produced between 1926 and 1929, that he says is a “piece of technological excellence” thanks to its early example of an engine with a twin camshaft – which can hit over 60 mph.

In stark contrast, sat next to the Riley is a Seat Mo scooter – which is fully electric and boasts the equivalent power of a 125cc motorbike.

The mini EV has an impressive range of 86 miles – as Fuzz proudly admits he “embraces electrical propulsion” with an electric-assisted bicycle and side-car sat closely alongside the scooter.

Kept away from the elements in a large main garage is Fuzz’s most recent addition to his collection of motors – a 1953 Minerva Land Rover which he says he “acquired by accident.”

Fuzz added: “It is possible to buy cars by accident – it was just too good, at too wonderful of a price and I just think it’s absolutely lovely.

“It’s a bit of a work in progress though.”

But perhaps best of all is his prized Jensen 541R – a car he says he “loves” and that he’s owned for “a number of years, but it has never been fully restored.”

He added: “I’ve just never got to the end of the restoration because I started using it and now it gets used loads.”

The 541R is a GT-class sports car built by Jensen Motors between 1957 and 1960, with a top speed of over 125 mph coming from its low-revving four-litre straight-six engine.

Fuzz recently revealed that car collectors looking for a classic convertible with the potential to soar in value should check out a retro British favourite of the 1970s and 1980s.

Elsewhere, there was bad news for Fuzz’s fellow motoring TV show star Mike Brewer, who updated fans with news on his stolen retro Ford Fiesta.

The Wheeler Dealers host has pleaded on social media for any information on the Fiesta Mk1, which was stolen in June 2023.

Fuzz Townshend on the best way to ‘avoid making mistakes’ when buying a classic motor

Car SOS Fuzz Townshend has given classic car owners – or petrolheads interested in one day owning a vintage motor – a valuable piece of advice.

“What I would say is join your local car club or the car club that’s appropriate for the type of car you’ve got.

“Go to the meetings, talk to people, they’ve always got a technical expert there.

“Rely on their expertise because you might buy something that’s 20 or 30 years old and someone will have been working with them for as long as these cars have existed.

“They will be all knowledge and you can go there and find out what’s going on.

“That’s what I would advise, get amongst it.

“Get amongst other people that have got them and find out what mistakes people have made before and then try and avoid them.”

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