A self-confessed ‘petrolhead’ was today named Britain’s most prolific car buyer having owned over 400 budget family vehicles since he learned to drive.
Retired builder Paul Riddick, 67, has averaged over eight run-of-the mill vehicles every year since he passed his driving test in 1959.
He drives each car for a couple of months before part exchanging it for a newer model and has owned some of his least favourite vehicles for less than a week.
Incredibly, every car Paul has owned has been a mass-market vehicle and he has no interest in sports cars or luxury models.
He claims that he has ”never given a thought” to scrapping his expensive hobby, which has cost him ”£tens of thousands” over the years.
Paul, a retired grandfather-of-two from Shefford, Beds., today, revealed he has lost count of the total number of cars he has owned but believes the figure is over 400.
Ford Escort Cabriolet
He said: ”I was never a petrol head from an early age – I used to drive scooters but then my friends all got a car.
”I passed my driver’s licence in 1959 and bought an Austin A40, I was the first on the street to have a car and it just snowballed from there.
”I loved owning cars nobody else had. While I liked that new smell and the latest gadget, mainly I loved being ahead of the game.
”I sometimes had four cars in a matter of weeks. Whenever a car caught my eye, we got bored with the one we had or they introduced a new model I would trade.
”Once I was in Bournemouth in a brand new blue Cortina and they announced the latest Corsair so I immediately found a dealers and traded.
VW Golf Clipper
”The family had to move the luggage as I did the deal, then we got a tow bar fitted as we had the caravan with us.
”My wife doesn’t mind, it was just my hobby, I didn’t chase other women or drink – I just spent money on cars.”
Paul, who owned a building firm before retiring, bought his first car, a 1959 Austin A40, fresh off the production line after passing his driving test.
He met his wife, Glen, aged 18 and two years later they drove to their wedding in a new 1962 Ford Zephyr 4 before setting off on their honeymoon in the 1962 Ford Cortina.
Paul has always bought mass market cars rather than premium buys because he didn’t want his clients to think he was ”big-headed”.
His all time favourite car is the 1964 Ford Corsair 1.5 litre because ”it just floated”, and he loves the 1983 Ford Sierra 2.8i 4×4, which ”sat on the road like glue”.
He once bought a MkII Zodiac but immediately traded it in for a new 2.0 litre Corsair after finding it didn’t fit correctly in his garage.
Paul claims that his habit has not cost him too much and the biggest expense has been changing personal number plates.
He added: ”Every car has a story, they are a piece of history and when you look at the old pictures life at that time comes back to you.
”I have never given the expense a thought, I made friends with show rooms so I got great deals, but I must have spent £1,000s on changing personal plates.
Peugeot 107 and 208
”I have always liked mid-range cars, I once had a Daimler but felt out of place and I don’t want clients thinking I was big-headed.
”I even made a profit on the first Range Rover with power steering, it was in such short supply that I traded it for a profit.
”We had it for 18 months but they were in such short supply I made £1,000 on it – I had to pay capital gains tax.”
Paul and Glen have two children, Lisa, 44, and Ian, 42, and since retiring in 2008 he has curbed his hobby and now only buys around one car a year.
Over the last three years he has owned a Renault Scenic, Laguna and current drives a Peugeot 208 and 107.
However, Paul already has an eye on his next buy and is planning to part exchange for a Peugeot 508 in March this year.
He added: ”Cars back in the 60’s were just an engine and a body, none of the gizmos you have now. Cars have come so far over the years they’re like a different mode of transport.
”Back in the day Ford was my favourite car brand, not only were its models very well engineered, they looked great and were always one step ahead of the competition.”