Me & My Motors – Paul Hill

Motor mad Paul Hill, owner of Tees firm Ocean Lighting, has a car collection worth more than £350,000…

My current car collection: My current daily car is a 2017 Audi SQ7 in sepang blue. I bought this direct from Audi Teesside for around £92,000, fully spec’d, as I have a passion for the Audi Sport range of cars and the SQ7 was ideal for what I need – including space for work and family life. Considering it is a fourlitre V8 triple turbo, I was astonished with the figures of 45-plus motorway mpg I was returning. It literally drives like a sports car including 0-60 in 4.7secs. You wouldn’t think you were in a big, heavy four-by-four vehicle. It’s mind-blowing.

My weekend supercar: A 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo, which is a bi-colour special edition with only 250 made in the world. Mine is metallic white with a black roof and full extended leather pack and upgrade Callisto alloys.

It does 0-60 in around three seconds and the performance from the V10 5.2-litre engine is fantastic. It corners like it’s glued to the road. My favourite thing about it is that as soon as you give it a rev it sounds like a screaming demon! It’s so unique and addictive. I have always had a passion for classic cars having owned a couple of VW Beetles, and some old Fords and anything hot hatch from my teenage years. My current classic collection consists of a few cars I grew up around back then but simply could not afford to run, let alone buy.

My current classic list includes: A 1990 Renault 5 GT Turbo Raider Edition, of which there are only around 30 left on UK roads; a 1990 Peugeot 205 GTi Convertible; a 1987 Ford Fiesta XR2 Mk2; a 1985 Ford Escort RS Turbo Series 1 Custom; a 1994 Ford Escort RS Cosworth, a two-litre car with big turbo; a 340 bhp and a 2011 Ford Focus RS500, which is a limited edition, with only 95 left in the UK. It’s value is also around 30% higher than its price at new and rising each year. And no man should be without a Transit van! Two years ago I purchased for Ocean Lighting a Ford Transit Custom Sport 2.2 with all the bells and whistles. I will never sell this thing. It’s a beauty and is lovely to drive.

My projects include: A 1983 Mk1 Fiesta XR2 with YB Cosworth 350bhp engine, which I’ve had restored and personally rebuilt in my spare time, while I’ve just purchased a 1993 Fiat Uno Turbo, which is going to be getting stripped and fully restored. There are only 13 of them left on the UK’s roads so it’s a rare future classic.

Best drive-time music: I do have a mixed playlist from funky, soulful house music right round to ‘60s and ‘70s and anything that makes me feel happy to drive. Whether it’s Bob Marley or Queen, I’ll listen to it.

Best place to drive: I’ve visited some race tracks and recently tested some Lamborghini Huracans at Oulton Park. I kind of scared myself, to be honest, because the speed that those cars can reach on the track is just crazy.

My favourite car when I was young: It has got to be the Lamborghini Countach. I had a framed picture of one on my wall from around the age of 12 and always dreamed of owning a Lamborghini. I’ve worked hard over the years and have been lucky enough to fulfil my dream of owning one.

My parents’ cars: My dad has always been into cars. He’s had some old-school classics including a Ford Capri, Escort XR3i and the big Granada.

My first car: That was a £50 Mini which I owned for the first year of driving back when I was 17. It never made it through its MOT so it was onwards and upwards to the Austin Metro MG.

My worst car: A company car, the Nissan Almera. It was an horrific car in all aspects – looks, drive and performance.

My dream car: I’ve set a few goals and one of them is a McLaren 720S but the McLaren P1 is such a beautiful machine.

My worst crash: I was hit by a drunk driver whilst driving a beautiful Audi RS4, pushing me into a car in front, causing a lot of damage to my pride and joy. He then tried to drive off but luckily he was caught and convicted.

The maddest place I’ve driven a car: I once drove a Peugeot 1007 hire car up into the hills of Nice in France and around the Monaco track just before the Formula One event was due to race.

The car journey I’ll always remember: Driving from the south of France to Middlesbrough in a company Vauxhall Astra van. It was a 17-hour journey at the peak of summer with no air-con, a leaking radiator, expired MOT and a dodgy alternator. I only stopped to fill up with fuel and water. I’ll never do that again!