THE car looks a million dollars... and so does Paul Alford in his brothel creeper shoes and teddy boy gear.
The exotic Plymouth Belvedere is a familiar sight around Pitstone, where Paul lives and works, and a reminder of America’s golden age of extravagant motoring
It’s a 1960 model – the same year that Paul was born – and some might say an 18-ft, 1.5-ton car with a turning circle like an ocean-going liner is a brave choice for your first classic car.
Although it’s capable of 120mph, Paul, who features in a new book on classic cars, says: “When I drive it, I drive it like a vicar.” That’s because the Belvedere only manages between 16-18mpg around town – unsurprising given that it is powered by a 5.2-litre V8 engine.
Paul, of Windsor Road, Pitstone, who works as a warehouse loading driver for Chiltern Transport & Warehousing in the village, bought the luxury limo four years ago for £7,500 and has since spent another £6,000 refurbishing it.
He said: “I don’t worry too much about the petrol, as I don’t have to drive a car at all during the week, because I work locally. At weekend my wife Patsy and I are out at car shows – we have 69 of them booked for the year.
“We enjoy jive dancing and the 50s/60s rock’n’roll vibe, so the car fits in just nicely with our lifestyle.
“However, it can’t be said that the car fits anywhere else – I do try to be considerate when parking but inevitably take up two spaces.”
For more than 50 years, he managed to resist the temptation of a tattoo but now the car has wormed itself into his life in such a big way that an image of the Belvedere adorns his forearm permanently.
> Paul’s dream motor, which features a square aerodeck steering wheel and push-button transmission, features in a new book My Cool Classic Car: An Inspiration Guide To Classic Motors, which has just been published.
See next week’s Bucks Herald for a review and a special reader offer to buy the book at a reduced price.