Wheels of fortune

Jul/Aug 06 issue

You’ve worked your fingers to the bone to build up your business, so why not give yourself a well-earned treat – a convertible Aston Martin DB9 Volante, for example! Adam Wayland asks six successful entrepreneurs about the car they drive and whether they think it’s an important status symbol...

Name: Laurie Beevers, CEO, WH Ireland
Profile: Commenced his stockbroking career in 1972 with Orme & Eykyn in London. Joined WH Ireland as chief executive in May 1995
Current car: Convertible BMW 330i Cabriolet (in blue)
Approx price: £30,000
Performance: 0-62mph in 6.3 secs
Max speed: 155mph

‘I used to have the 325i convertible and this one has a bigger engine, which is a great improvement in performance. BMW have also added one or two bits and bobs that make it more comfortable to drive.
I bought it because it really is a superb piece of equipment. When I was at university driving my Morris Minor – one of three that I’ve owned – I used to joke about having a convertible. I remember I was working for a knitwear company back when I started out and I wore a cream rollneck sweater. I would say to my wife that it was to go with my soft-top, though at that stage I didn’t have it. She had to wait another 30 years for me to get one!
Soft-top cars weren’t very efficient back then. In fact, they were a nightmare and nothing was automatic. Thankfully, the technology has now sufficiently progressed for me to happily buy one.’

Name: Michael Murphy, CEO, Friends Reunited
Profile: Took the helm at Friends Reunited in February 2003 following a successful management buy-in. Prior to joining the company, he had a 20-year career with Pearson Plc, including roles at FT.com, FT Business and the Financial Times.
Current car: Aston Martin DB9 Volante convertible (in black)
Approx price: £120,000
Performance: 0-62mph in 4.9 secs
Max speed: 186mph

‘I actually have a model of the car that I drive on my desk at work. It was always my dream to own one and now I do! It’s a black Aston Martin DB9 Volante. If you ask any young chap on the street which car he’d like to have, I think that’s the one most people would choose.
I bought it after we sold the business because, quite frankly, it’s the best-looking car on the road.
I’m not convinced it’s important to have a car that reflects your success, I just love nice cars and always have done. My first was a Ford Cortina Mark 4, but I passed my test in a Mini, so when I started driving the Cortina it felt so big I hit everything, and I mean everything – lampposts, gateposts, you name it! In the end I had to sell it and buy a Ford Fiesta.’
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