Tony Hadley is the frontman with Spandau Ballet, one of the most successful bands of the ‘80s. He drives a Ford S-MAX Titanium 2.0 TDCi
WD: What’s it like to be back together as a band after a 19 year gap?
TH: It’s very exciting and I’m really pleased it has happened. To be honest, if we had left it any later, it would never have happened at all. It’s 30 years since the band started, and we’re all 49 and 50 now.
WD: A new album, a tour – it all takes a lot of energy. Can you keep up with it all?
TH: I’ve been singing all the time, doing just under 200 shows a year as a solo artist. I’m used to doing eight flights a week and living out of a suitcase, so being back in Spandau isn’t as tough a schedule as I’ve had in the years in between. I’ve always kept up my fitness, going to the gym, boxing, running and playing celebrity football for Arsenal, so energy shouldn’t be a problem.
WD: Is the S-MAX your only car?
TH: No, I’ve also got a Jaguar XF Diesel, and an XKR 5.0-litre V8, which is so fast it’s frightening.
WD: But this is the one you use most?
TH: Yes, it’s the one I’m using for the tour while we’re on the road, and it’s great for the family as well. I’ve got four kids aged 25, 23, 18 and 2½, so we go out with loads of stuff, scooters, prams, pushchairs, and it all fits into the S-MAX. The XF is handy for stuff like that as well.
WD: Have you had diesels before, or was this your first diesel car?
TH: No, that was a Jaguar X-Type I had a few years back when we had a baby. The car had lots of boot space, room for a pram, and good economy.
WD: So you’re only a relatively recent convert?
TH: Yes, but diesels aren’t like they used to be. My uncle had an Audi diesel years ago and it used to chug away like a good ’un. They always used to sound like London cabs, like the tappets were rattling, but now you’re hard pressed to tell the difference between petrols and oil burners.
WD: What particularly pleases you about the S-MAX?
TH: If you have stacks of luggage, it’s absolutely perfect. I enjoy driving it, and it’s economical and comfortable. I really like the big panoramic sunroof, too. It’s one of the few cars where I can sit in the driving seat and another tall adult can sit behind. The leather and sat nav are great, too.
WD: Any dislikes that irk you about it?
TH: I can’t think of any, really. I wouldn’t mind seeing a 2.5 or 3.0-litre engine in there, though.
WD: What are your priorities in choosing a car?
TH: It’s got to look good, you don’t want to drive around in an ugly car. Obviously performance matters, as you don’t want an old donkey that lags in between gears. I don’t like cars that are too plasticky and feel like they are going to fall apart. It’s got to have a bit of oomph to it. You want to feel safe in a car with plenty around you, and I like the interior to be full of leather. Sorry, cows.
WD: How handy are you with mechanical stuff?
TH: Pretty good, I used to do my own maintenance when I had my first cars. I started with a Vauxhall Viva that was going to the knacker’s yard when I bought it off my friend’s dad for £45. That was in 1977, and I’d just passed my test. It was a sky blue two-door. I painted a red stripe down the centre and stripped every bit of luxury out of it. One of the doors didn’t open, so you had to get in through the passenger door and slide across, or do a Starsky and Hutch through the window. When I see kids with souped-up cars these days I think ‘you plonker’, but that was me back then.
WD: What kind of driver would you call yourself?
TH: A fast one. I’ve always loved driving and I’ve done stock car racing. I’ve had a few points on my licence, but there are only three left now. In residential areas, I stick to or drive below the speed limit but on motorways, it’s different. I think the 70 limit on motorways is pants.
WD: No concerns about having an affect on the environment?
TH: Climate change is still open to debate, but we have to do what we can. We’re so inefficient about repairing roads and getting traffic moving, though. We’ve got to decide whether we want cars or not. Either do everything you can to accommodate the car, or ban it. If we’re keeping it, we must try and get the system flowing properly – improve traffic light phasing, get road works sorted faster. And I think we should be giving emerging nations as much technology as possible to clean up their act.
WD: You once thought about being a doctor, before the band started. Do you ever look back and think about how your different your life might have been?
TH: Yes, but it’s sliding doors, isn’t it? I struggled too much with maths to have been a doctor. I’ve had a great life doing what I do, and it’s good having Spandau back together.