Sunday 20 October 2019

Behind the wheel with Will Unwin

Will Unwin chats to SoGlos about his love of classic cars and his pride and joy, a signal red, 1970s Mercedes 280sl, in the first of SoGlos’s new 'behind the wheel' series.

Oozing sophistication and class, it’s no surprise that car enthusiast Will Unwin takes great pride in his iconic 1970s Mercedes 280sl, strikingly bold with its signal red colour and flawless paintwork.

In this interview, Cheltenham-based Will talks to SoGlos about his favourite places to take the classic car for a spin in the stunning Cotswolds and reveals how his car even took pride of place at his wedding.


What car do you have?

A 1970 Mercedes 280sl in signal red. Also known as ‘The Pagoda’ due to the unusual and now iconic shape of the hard top roof.

What is it about your car that made you choose it?

Truth be told, I didn’t choose it. It’s a car I own with my mother and she was the brains behind the choice. I guess it was a bit of a pin-up car when she was a young girl and when the opportunity came to finally buy one, we jumped on it.

When did you first become interested in cars?

I was brought up dismantling lawnmowers and building off-road karts and then thrashing them round the garden so, I’ve always been around vehicles in one sense or another.

I remember when I must have been about 12, my dad bought me a car from a scrapyard and gave me the keys for Christmas. It was a mud brown Rover 216. I used to sit on a cushion and drive around my granny’s field. I was hooked!

From then on I’ve always bought cars that I’ve always longed for as opposed to just settling for something to get from A to B. That said, in hindsight they don’t seem so great now compared with when I wanted them!

What car do you drive on a normal day?

My everyday car is a 2006 Audi RS4 saloon. I also tend to drive my van, a Vauxhall combo, a lot. It’s a heap, but it’s good on diesel!

Where is your favourite place to drive around in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds?

When I proposed to my wife we took the car out and drove the ambling roads around Guiting Power. I proposed to her in a field just between Winchcombe and Guiting itself, so that area always has a soft spot in our hearts.

In the summer it’s incredible. Slow winding lanes, hideously poor quality music coming through the speakers and the throaty roar of a well-worn engine.

Where is your favourite pit stop for drives around Gloucestershire?

It’s the other end of Gloucestershire but well worth a trip. It’s called The Butchers Arms in Eldersfield.

It’s a very small pub with low ceilings, wooden tables and Michelin star food. You can either pull up a stool at the bar and chat to the farmer who’s drinking local cloudy cider and has traipsed cow muck through the bar, or sit down and enjoy Michelin dishes.

The owners Liz and James are the nicest people in the world too. On my wedding day I took the car to the pub and my ushers and I enjoyed one ‘last’ pint before the ceremony.

Where would your dream road trip be?

My dream road trip would be a long one. The Pan American highway stretches from Canada all the way down through the USA, Central America and then finishes at the most southern tip of Argentina. For that trip I think you’d just need a car that was comfortable and could cope with the 20,000 miles. A Rolls Royce ought to do it…

What’s your driving soundtrack?

On my phone I have a saved playlist of all the ‘5 star’ songs which I started when I was about 16. There is some dreadful stuff on there by my own admission, but it’s worth the gamble for that one time that an absolute gem comes on and takes you back to a really special moment in your teens or early 20’s. A bit of Dire Straits always gets things going.

What is your must-have essential for car journeys?

In the Mercedes, probably AA break down cover. In my day to day car I would have to say my wallet. My car gets a miserable 18 miles-per-gallon and I find myself frequenting petrol stations more than I would like.


If you would like to take part in SoGlos’s brand new motoring feature, please email sophieb@sopublishing.com for more details.


By Sophie Bird

© SoGlos
Wednesday 15 March 2017

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