Dale Winton’s Opel Monza
He’s perma tanned and fixated by walls, but Dale is one of us, a car nut. We met him in 2000 and found out that he really loved cars. Indeed he told me off the record that the programme he wanted to present the most was Top Gear. RIP Dale Winton. In his own words, this is what he told me about his worst car…

“I’m absolutely crazy about a cars. I love them so much my dream television presenting job would have to be Top Gear. My favourite kind of car has always been coupe’s and the bigger the better. The ones that have always done it for me are the American Caddies, Chevys and Lincolns to name just a few. They are all great and just hiring them if I’m over there on holiday gives me a huge buzz. Back in the late ‘70s though I owned a yellow Vauxhall Cavalier coupe’. I even fitted black vinyl to the rear half of the roof so that it would look a lot more American. I decided to trade up and went to a garage in Nottingham where I found two European models a Vauxhall Senator and Opel Monza which had the sort of proportions that I had the sort of proportions I was after.

“I drove the Senator which was a comfortable four door saloon, but I couldn’t help being drawn towards the Opel Monza, purely because it was a great big coupe’. For some reason the salesman kept directing me back to the Senator. I think he knew all to well what a pig of a car that Monza was. Well, he couldn’t have been a very good salesman, because I still went for what is so far and by a mile, my worst car.

“It looked OK. The colour was a dark metallic grey and the specification included electric everything because it was the top of the range 3.0 litre model. As I drove it away from the forecourt I realised that there was a lot wrong with this car. Looking I realised that there was a lot wrong with this car. Looking at the dashboard I could clearly see a huge two inch gap one side of the steering column. I realised that this Monza must have been stuck back together after a very big accident. My worst fears were confirmed every time I accelerated because there was a nasty grinding noise of metal on metal which must have been the limited slip differential self destructing. It went back to the garage dozens and dozens of times. The electrics were a nightmare, the dashboard was always flashing at me and it was always breaking down. In fact the roof had been damaged by the ‘For Sale’ sign, so it must have been on sale for ages until a sucker like me came along. After a few days I would have cheerfully set it alight. I suppose I was seduced by the beauty of the Monza.”