Me & My Motors – Christine Baker

We’re talking to Teessiders about what motors get their pulses racing.

Continuing the series is company boss Christine Baker, who paid £250 for her first car…

Christine Baker

From: Middlesbrough.

Job: Owner/director, Cleveland Security, Middlesbrough.

My current car: A white BMW 420D M Sport Convertible with red leather interior. It’s an absolute pleasure to drive.

Best feature: It has to be the hard top roof, because in the winter it’s a gorgeous car to drive and I love the luxury of having heated seats and steering wheel, maybe that’s because I’m going soft in my old age! But then in the hot weather there’s nothing better than driving home in the sunshine with the roof down.

Best drive-time music: I’m a massive music fan but Stereophonics would have to be at the top of my play list. Unfortunately, my family make fun of my varied taste in music as I love everything from Amy Winehouse to The Jam.

Best place to drive it: I have never driven it outside of the UK yet and would love to do a road trip around Europe one day in the future. I would have to say that my favourite local road is the A172 leading out of Stokesley as it’s just out of town enough to put your foot down and feel as if you’re heading into the country.

My favourite car when I was young: It was our first family car – a pale blue Austin A40 and I can even still remember the number plate ‘VPY 157’. I still have vivid memories of the journeys in it. Dad always kept a huge supply of black bullets in the glove compartment and to this day the smell of them makes me feel car sick!

My parents’ cars: They’re now in their 70’s and I know it is my Dad’s love of cars that sparked my interest, too. When I was a child I loved to visit all the car showrooms with him and sit in the new cars, I still remember the excitement of that new car smell and promised myself that one day I’d buy my own brand new car. Dad changes his car every few years and I can never keep up with him but I know he has just bought a Ford B-Max.

My first car: It was my beloved little maroon mini that I bought for £250 as soon as I passed my driving test aged 17. I was earning £40 a week at the time and only managed to buy a car after borrowing the money off my Grandma.

My worst car: Sadly, it also has to be the beloved maroon mini…. it had more rust than was probably legal, it was forever cutting out I’m sure that I spent more time getting my friends to push start me than I did driving it. Sadly, the first bit of snow that I encounter resulted in me skidding into a wall and the rust just crumbled.

My other cars: I’ve enjoyed driving many different cars over the years, from an Astra to a Rover 75, although my favourite was a Mitsubishi Shogun when my three children were small. I’ve also been very lucky over the years to have friends that have owned some beautiful cars, so I’ve enjoyed rides in a McLaren, a Ferrari, a Honda NSX, an Audi R8 and a classic Jensen Interceptor (lovingly restored). One of my favourites was a friends’ Triumph Roadster back in the ‘80s, I still have the photos (with scary ‘80s perm and white stilettos to match).

My last car: My previous two cars were both Lexus IS 250 convertibles. The oldest was in a gorgeous midnight blue with cream leather interior then my second Lexus convertible was a pearlescent white one with red leather interior.

My dream car: It has to be the McLaren 650S Spider. I was lucky enough to have a tour of the McLaren factory at Woking, back in 2014, it was an experience that I’ll never forget.

My worst crash: The only crash that I have been involved in was as a passenger when I was out with my boyfriend in my 20s. He was driving a Honda Aerodeck and we had been to The Fox Covert at Yarm. Driving home he clipped the curb as we approached the roundabout near Hemlington and the car flew up in the air and landed on top of the roundabout. Luckily it was late and there were no other cars around.

The maddest place I’ve driven a car: Although it is a beautiful place to visit, I have to say Ireland. I drove to Kilkenny to attend a wedding with my cousin and we took hours to find the country house that we’d booked, they do not use post codes so we had to rely on directions from the elderly lady that owned the house.

The car journey I’ll always remember: It has to be when my late husband came to pick me up from hospital with our eldest son. He had hired a white Rolls Royce complete with chauffeur to bring us both home, I was so overwhelmed and cried for most of the journey, but it is a lovely memory that I will cherish forever.