Niall Julian is the man behind the classic car blog Take to the Road. I recently spoke to Niall to find out more about his love for classic cars and his blogging experience.
1. Where did your passion for classic cars begin?
It started when a friend asked me to find them a classic car for their wedding. Looking around for an old car for the wedding opened up a whole world of classics that I hadn’t really appreciated before. And that search lead me to buying a Daimler V8 250. Once I got it I was bitten by the classic car bug.
2. What led you to set up Take to the Road?
Cars have always been a passion and along side that I’ve always had an interest in filmmaking. Added to that I’ve been into photography for a long time. So I decided to combine all my passions into one and set up my own classic car website and YouTube channel.
3. What was your first car and what do you remember of it?
My first car was a 1993 VW Golf Mk3 1.9 diesel. It was the old family car which I inherited after university. 93 CW 1062 was its old Irish registration. I brought it over to England and drove it for a few years until the gearbox played up. It was a non turbo diesel Golf so it was very slow. And it had terrible drum brakes. But it was solid and was very economical. And it gave me my freedom to drive anywhere. So I had a lot of fun with it.
4. What cars do you currently own?
Too many that’s for sure! I have a 1995 Golf GTi 8v which I’ve had for 13 years. I traded my old diesel in for the GTi. I also have a 1990 Bertone x1/9 Gran Finale. Basically I bought that about a month after selling my Daimler V8 250. The Daimler was gone barely a week when I spotted the little Fiat. Of course I couldn’t resist and had to fill that void after the Daimler was gone. I’ve also got a 1988 Alfa Romeo Spider S3. It’s a bit of a project but it’s a very pretty convertible. So it’s two Italians versus one German at the moment.
5. Whose work do you admire?
I’m a big fan of director Wes Anderson. I just love his style of filmmaking. His work isn’t to everyone’s taste and he’s a bit quirky. But the detail he puts into his films is fantastic. I’d love to be able to reach his standards one day.
6. What tips would you have for anyone thinking about buying a classic car?
Do your research on the car before you go to look at it. Check its service history and if you can access its MOT/NCT records online do that first. If a classic has failed its MOT in the past or has got any future advisories, it will give you an idea of the car’s condition. Always try and bring a friend when you go to look at a car. A second opinion and another pair of eyes is always good. And trust your gut. If the car doesn’t feel right, just walk away. There will always be another classic.
7. What would be in your dream three car garage?
Oh that is a tough one as I have so many dream cars on the list. And it’s a very, very long list! But if I had to have just three they would be an Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, an ISO Grifo 7 Litre and an Aston Martin DB4 Zagato. They are beautiful and rare supercars. And of course very expensive as well. So I’d need a Euromillions win to afford them. But for me they each represent the pinnacle of car design in the 1960s, which was arguable the greatest period for classic car design.
8. Favourite driving song?