Tiff Needell's Current Car Collection Includes 18-Year-Old Vauxhall Corsa

Tiff Needell and his Vauxhall Corsa 5 photos
Photo: DriveTribe on YouTube
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Needell is not your average TV presenter and motoring journalist. We may know Tiff from Top Gear and Fifth Gear, but as opposed to many other people who write about all things automotive – myself included – Timothy Needell has proper driving skills and a racing record to boot.
The Brit entered two Formula 1 events in 1980, retiring in Belgium and failing to qualify in Monaco because of the substandard Ensing-Ford fielded by the Unipart Racing Team. Tiff has also competed at Le Mans and the British Touring Car Championship, but have you ever wondered what the man drives on a daily basis? Well, one of his dailies is a 2002 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXi.

“Wait, so you’re telling me that the one and only Tiff Needell dailies an 18-year-old econobox?” Well, not exactly. The car has been shared by his sons – Harry and George – in the past six years, and Tiff bought it used for 1,000 pounds sterling. A couple of years after acquiring the Corsa 1.2 SXi, one of the valves had to be replaced with a salvaged valve from a junkyard for £500.

Tiff does mention that he took one of Harry’s friends “to the south of France” last year, so yeah; you can definitely expect to see this fellow driving a cheap ol’ beater car from time to time. “It’s so much fun I borrow it occasionally just to get out on the roads to drive a little, light, front-wheel-drive hot hatchback with a lovely manual gearbox to play with,” said a smiling Needell.

The family car is a second-gen BMW X5 with 140,000 miles on the clock that features a straight-six gasoline engine instead of a diesel. Back in the 1990s, Tiff and his wife were driving a Jeep Cherokee that was traded in for a Mercedes M-Class in the 2000s. The X5, as you may expect from a Bavarian utility vehicle this old, is beginning to develop a small thirst for oil.

Tiff had a Triumph TR7 back when he became a professional racing driver, after which he switched to Saabs, Porsches, Nissans, and “all sorts of cars” and “a lot of BMWs.” The guy’s actual daily driver is a… wait for it… Jaguar XF Sportbrake family wagon. That’s right, an unassuming longroof!

If you were wondering why Tiff didn’t deck out his garage with more expensive automobiles, well, don’t forget how many press cars the man drives every week. Also worthy of note, the cutesy but old Corsa, X5, or the XF Sportbrake are way better for taking the kids to school or nipping down to the shop than a Ferrari F8 Tributo, Honda NSX, or a McLaren Speedtail.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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