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Driving V8s give Foley a real Hi

Hi-5 star Nathan Foley loves his cars.

AS ONE-FIFTH of the upbeat phenomenon Hi-5, Nathan Foley is known around the world. He has sung and danced his way to worldwide acclaim with the multiple Logie and ARIA Award-winning group and children's show. The 28-year-old has been part of the successful Nine Network show, which is aired in 83 countries worldwide, for eight years. And, along with the other four members of Hi-5, he has become a cult star for under-10s. Foley, who has recently written and produced his solo album, Discovery, loves V8 engines, riding motorcycles and karting.

What was your first car?
I bought a 1983 Mazda RX-7 when I was 16. I started performing when I was 10, so I saved to buy a car when I got my Ls. I bought it secondhand and I still have it. It's bronze-over-brown - sounds disgusting, but it's really funky. I'm trying to sell it.

What do you drive now?
My main car is a 2003 Ford Explorer. I also have a 2003 Triumph motorcycle, and I've just sold a 1969 Mach 1 Mustang. In 1998 I won a Proton Satria in a singing competition and traded it in for the Mustang. I sold it because I want to renovate my house.

Do you have a favourite drive, and who would you take along?
I love driving down the south coast of NSW to Coolangatta with my girlfriend Melissa (not Coolangatta in Queensland). It's about a two-hour drive from Sydney.

How far would you drive in an average year?
Oh boy. We tour a lot and I drive both and in New Zealand. I live on the NSW central coast so I do a lot of driving back and forth to Sydney. I'd average three to four hours a day. What's that over a year? A lot of kilometres.

Do you have a favourite motoring memory?
I used to visit my dad on weekends at his farm in the central coast area. He bought me a $200 paddock-basher - I think it was a Corona. It was a five-speed manual, so I learned to drive a manual at a young age. I was 10 years old and had my own Dukes of Hazzard course. My mates would come over and we'd go around the paddock-bashing course.

What would you buy if money were no object?
I'm not a huge fan of new cars - they all look the same to me. But if I had millions of dollars to spend I would buy 50 to 100 classic cars. Get all the muscle cars from the late 1960s and early '70s.

What music is playing in your car?
I'm a huge Stevie Wonder fan but at the moment I'm really getting into Ben Harper -- Both Sides of the Gun. I always travel with my iPod. I have this huge transmitter that's really strong, so if I'm travelling in convoy with friends in three cars they can all pick up the frequency.

How much is too much for a new car?
I think car prices are going up ridiculously, especially if it's just to get you from A to B. The only way I would buy an expensive car is if it would hold its value like an investment. That's why I got the Mustang. If you spend $80,000 to $100,000 on a new car - which I haven't, that's way too much money -- in a few years they're down to $40,000. I think $450,000 is too much to pay for a car. If big businessmen have the cash to do it, then do it, but I think it's ridiculous.

What should be done to make driving safer?
People need to be more aware on the road. I find when I'm on my bike, people just don't look where they're driving. They don't indicate. I think everyone should do a road-rules test and be taken on a course once a year. If they're not up to scratch they should lose their licence. I really believe that. My pet peeve is people going slow in the right-hand lane on the freeway. It bugs the crap out of me.

Are you sponsored by a car company?
No, but I'm looking.

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