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My Car

Full speed ahead for Dan Aykroyd Add to ...

Dan Aykroyd

Profession: Comedian and actor

Age: 59

Hometown: Ottawa

Notable achievements

  • Original cast member of Saturday Night Live
  • 1977, Emmy for Outstanding Writing on Saturday Night Live
  • 1989, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Driving Miss Daisy
  • 2002, inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame
  • Member of the Order of Canada
  • Acting credits include Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Caddyshack II, Exit to Eden, 50 First Dates

Currently

  • Has a partnership with Niagara Cellars, which owns four Niagara wineries that sell wine under the Dan Aykroyd name
  • Has his own brand of Crystal Head Vodka

He launched his comedic career as one of the original cast members on Saturday Night Live, then gained fame for his roles in The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters. But Dan Aykroyd is also a car nut with a heavy foot.

He’s a speed demon who has a few tickets to his name – including his latest on Canadian soil. Aykroyd got busted for speeding while racing to the Honda Indy Toronto car race in early July where he was acting as the grand marshal last month.

Have you ever had any speeding tickets?

Yes. I’m fighting a ticket in California.

A California Highway patrolman stopped me doing 86 miles an hour. I hired a lawyer to fight it.

If that police officer shows up, he’s going to have to deal with my high-priced lawyer. It’s a horrible way to fight a ticket. I don’t want to waste the cop’s time, but that’s the way the game is played. I don’t want a point off my licence. That’s the last ticket I had a few months ago.

Well, I should mention I was stopped this morning coming off of Richmond. I had a great Toronto police woman. She pulled me over as I was racing to the race, off the Richmond ramp. She pulled me over for 20 over in a 50 and she was very professional about it and said, ‘Sir, I’m going to give you a warning. I know you have obligations today.’

She was most professional and she did cut me a break as some officers do. And I thank her for that.

And I’m going to slow down after the race. When you see these races, then you get in your vehicles and you drive home and you do it trying to imitate the drivers, but that won’t be me this afternoon.

Have you ever wanted to race an Indy car?

No – I’m a spectator. But I love motors, I love engines, I love engineering. I really admire the drivers, their skill.

I do like to put my foot into it occasionally when I’m driving on the public highways and byways.

I’m always conscious of safety. I’m going to leave the race track driving to the professionals. These drivers have to have extreme skills to handle these machines.

What makes it exciting racing in Toronto is the variation of the track, the variation of the pavement, the fact that there is a lot of bumps.

It’s an urban track used by civilian drivers everyday – that’s a challenge.

Do you follow any particular racers?

I’m really excited about our Canadian drivers – [Paul] Tracy, [Alex] Tagliani, and [James] Hinchcliffe.

I’m also excited by the female drivers. … As a father of three daughters I’m very interested in female empowerment. I’m hoping we’ll have a leader in the class of female or maybe even a winner today.

One can not look at a star like Danica Patrick without a double take. This is an extremely talented woman who also has a lot of glamour and star power in the industry. It’s good for the racing community.

So, what’s in your garage?

I have a Buick Super 8 special overhead valve 1940 convertible roadster. I’ve got a 1932 Pierce-Arrow V12 Limousine. I’ve got a 1949 Bentley Mark VI overhead valve six-cylinder Baby Rolls. I’ve got a 1955 Desoto Hemi, a 1967 Chrysler Hemi and my police Harley Davidson.

I’m cutting things down.

And my dad’s truck is a 1959 Ford Truck with a Thunderbird rocket 292 in it with four barrels.

What’s your favourite vehicle of the bunch?

I love the Pierce Arrow. It’s a V-12, it’s big, and it was made in Buffalo, New York.

It’s a beautiful, elegant automobile. It’s a beautiful drive. It does about 75 miles an hour even though it’s that old.

What prompted this obsession with vintage cars?

My dad got me into that years ago.

The first car he ever bought for me to go back and forth to Carleton University was a 1939 Dodge flathead 6. I loved it; it was great. It was great driving to school with it.

I’ve always loved old cars.

My dad got me into it and I keep a few of them around just to drive him around in the back seat.

Any mishaps or accidents with any of them?

I’ve had very few car accidents.

I’ve rolled a Jeep over in the winter once. Nothing too serious.

Other than that, I’m a safe driver.

Are you a gear head – can you fix any mechanical problems on your cars?

I love cars. I love engineering.

I can take apart just about anything you put in front of me. But putting it back together –I doubt I can handle that. I leave that for the professionals.

What do you want to add to the garage?

I would want a Honda Civic. It is a spectacular automobile.

After the interview, Aykroyd’s publicist said he would not allow pictures of his cars to be used.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @PetrinaGentile

 

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