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(Denis Poroy/AP Photo)
(Denis Poroy/AP Photo)

My Car

Mega-fast Aston Martin a cop magnet Add to ...

Early in his career as a heavy metal singer and guitarist, Dave Mustaine had a reputation for living life in the fast lane.

Nowadays, the founder of Megadeth still has a fast-paced lifestyle - the 49-year-old has a new book out called Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, and Megadeth has released a new Rust in Peace Live CD and DVD and is doing a massive world tour.

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And, at home in California, he enjoys driving fast in his 2004 Aston Martin Vanquish S.

Putting the pedal to the metal

In Pictures: Dave Mustaine's Aston Martin

"When I saw it in James Bond, I thought, 'God, I like that car!'

"It's one of those cars where you actually love it or you hate it. I loved it. It was a sexy car. The motor is pretty fierce," he boasts.

He's not afraid to push the V-12 to its limits, either. "I do like speed. The top speed of this car is in the neighbourhood of 200 miles an hour. I've only gotten it up to 120 because there's a lot of traffic where I live.

"I had a sheriff with me at the time I did it. If anybody thinks it was reckless it was, but I had a cop with me," he laughs.

Other times he wasn't as lucky. Once he got a speeding ticket when picking up his daughter's Chihuahua puppy. "I was coming up a hill and there was a diesel truck, so I went to overtake him and started to go downhill. As I came up to the top of the rise, there was a cliff right there and the guy was hiding behind it. And I got tagged.

"In the area where we were in Arizona, when you go over 85, it's a felony so they take you to jail. I was over 85 and I told him, 'Man, it was a fluke. Look at my record, I have no tickets.' He looked back and there were no tickets so he let me off with a speeding ticket. I had to pay the fine and I had to go to school." That incident was in a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class he used to own.

"I've had a couple of fender benders, a couple of speeding tickets. ... I'm just as guilty as the next person of the California stop. But you know me, I could be in the middle of the Sahara desert, roll through a stop sign and someone will duck out from a sand dune to say I broke the law."

Mustaine also owns a Mercedes-Benz CLS with a high-performance B11 Brabus kit; his wife drives a Mercedes-Benz CL500 AMG. The family car is a tricked-out GMC Yukon. "We have the typical suburban assault vehicle - a lowered Yukon Denali with 22-inch wheels, back when those things were unheard of. It has a Vortech supercharger on it. So my wife was driving up to soccer practice with the blower on her car," he laughs.

He bought his first car at 16 - an old 1960 Renault, which cost $80. He got his first "real car" in the early days of Megadeth. "I got my first paycheque when I was with Megadeth and I went out and bought a Z28 with a blueprinted motor, six-speed, lowered convertible and went to downtown Los Angeles, conducted a drug buy and had two enormous guns stuck over the roof telling me to freeze because my friend that I took there to score decided to do it right in front of some undercover cops.

"I'm glad they didn't take my car away. So he went to jail and they made him come back and finger the guy that did it. He was sitting in the cell with the guy that he bought from and I'm thinking, 'Man, he must have gotten his ass beaten!' " says the 49-year-old California native.

When it comes to driving music, Mustaine doesn't tune into heavy metal. "When my kids are in the car and my wife is driving, we'll put on country music - it's young country, it's not old Hank Williams stuff. It's more modern stuff that sounds like rock music anyway.

"I don't listen to music on the radio. As soon as I get in, I listen to talk radio - the news.

"Sometimes I'll be clicking through the stations and I'll hear a song and it'll be in Spanish because we live by the Mexican border and I'll leave it on there. Then next thing you know there's a mariachi band and it's like, 'What was I thinking?' "

Even though the Vanquish is six years old, he still treats it like gold. "It's a beautiful little car. In the Vanquish there's no eating, but the other cars are just cars.

"The Vanquish is a very expensive vehicle. It's an exotic. Just out of respect for the gift God has given me I don't want to be a bad steward. I think it would be very ostentatious to let my dogs crap in the car.

"At some point, I'll want to sell it and give it to someone else who will appreciate it more than I will. Not everything is for a season. While I have it, I want to take good care of it."

In the meantime, he has his eyes set on another exotic: "A Continental GT - that's my next purchase," he says without hesitation.

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pgentile@globeandmail.com

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