x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Top five: Cool car guys

These five men, from the world of motorsport, entertainment and business, not only share a passion for cars but also epitomise the definition of cool.

Steve McQueen may be the ultimate cool car guy, but he wasn't the only one to mix petrol and charisma so well. These five men, from the world of motorsport, entertainment and business, not only share a passion for cars but also epitomise the definition of cool: men want to be them, women want to be with them.

James Dean

The very epitome of living fast and dying young, James Dean's short career - apart from a few bit parts, he only starred in three movies - made him very famous very quickly as the moody, brooding rebel without a cause. He was also a keen motor racer but, sadly, he guaranteed his own place in pop culture legend by buying himself a Porsche 550 Spyder. While driving the car, just days after taking possession of it in 1955, he was involved in a head-on collision and died. He was just 24.

Bob Lutz

It's not often that a retired car company executive is classified as "cool", but in the case of Lutz, former Chrysler, Exide and Ford "suit" and General Motors CEO, it is appropriate. Not only was Lutz involved in some of the biggest decisions in US automotive history, but he is a collector of classic cars and motorbikes and he is an aviation enthusiast - he owns and flies an Aero L-39 Albatross, a Czech fighter jet. He also cemented his couldn't-care-less-attitude by describing global warming as "a total crock of ****".

Paul Newman

He was good-looking, an Oscar winner, a philanthropist and one of Hollywood's most sought-after actors. In 1969, he made the race film Winning and soon after climbed into the cockpit for real, even though it made studio bosses despair when they tried to get him insured. His first win was in 1972 in a Lotus Elan, he also drove at Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and was part owner of Newman/Haas Racing. He died in 2008 but was inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame in 2009.

James Garner

The US actor was possibly best known for starring as a hard-boiled detective in the TV series The Rockford Files. But in 1966, he starred in the film Grand Prix, a fictional account of the 1966 F1 season, and fell in love with racing. Between 1967 and 1969 he part-owned a race team and signed a sponsorship contract with American Motors, preparing 10 cars for the 1969 Baja 500. Garner drove the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 in 1975, 1977 and 1985. He was also a neighbour and close friend of Steve McQueen.

James Hunt

The British driver was one of the last true bad boys of motorsport. Three years after making his F1 debut, he won the world championship in 1976 in a wet, dangerous, season-ending GP in Japan. But Hunt was better known for his exploits off the track - married twice, a renowned womaniser who lived life to excess and famously would take his pet Alsatian to dinner at expensive restaurants. After retiring from racing he became a race commentator on the BBC. He died of a heart attack in 1993.