TELEVISION is a very busy world for Simon Reeve. He is a sports and news presenter for Sunrise, hosts the kids quiz show It's Academic, warbled his way through celebrity singing contest It Takes Two and was a gymnastics commentator at the Beijing Olympics. As the host of the new police reality show The Force: Behind the Line, Reeve has heard plenty of crash horror stories.
But it is one of his own, during a road trip in Africa, that remains the most vivid. Still, Reeve is a car enthusiast who dreams about owning a 1955 Ford Thunderbird convertible.
What was your first car? An 1968 XT Falcon. Dad had always had Fords, going back to a gorgeous old Zephyr when I was a baby, then a couple of XPs. The XT was my pride and joy until a bloke ran fair into the back of me on the Kwinana Freeway in Perth. Alas, she was never the same again.
What do you drive now? A 2004 BMW 320i. Do you have a favourite drive and who would you take? Busselton to Esperance, around the southwest coast of WA. My company would be the family -- wife Linda and two kids -- and the kids would have to sign a no-whingeing clause.
How far would you drive in an average year? About 20,000km. Do you have a favourite motoring memory? Driving in Botswana on the edge of the Moremi National Park and getting horribly bogged in lion and hyena country. Linda and I had our two-year-old daughter with us and we'd run out of water. A half-hour slog of digging and panic between Linda and I finally got our old LandCruiser clear as a blistering October sun went down. I think we'd convinced ourselves it might be our last sunset. A great relationship moment.
What would you buy if money were no object? Nothing too extravagant, just a 1955 T-Bird convertible. I think it's shape and somehow its sense of optimism and fun make it the perfect car of any era. I know I'd look like a right wanker driving one around now, but I'd blissfully take the barbs. What music is playing in your car? There are two tracks that get high rotation: Mio Amore by The Flamingos and Easy to be Hard by Three Dog Night. Go figure.
How much is too much for a new car? The way it's headed, I think the Flintstones got it right.
What should be done to make driving safer? A heavy emphasis on driver education as an integral part of the school curriculum, visits by road-accident victims, and a comprehensive approach to this area of education from age 15. So many episodes of The Force feature booze, speed and young blokes who, like young blokes everywhere, think they are 10 feet tall and bulletproof.
Are you sponsored by a car company? No, but I'm cheap, easy and shameless. All offers welcome.
The Force: Behind the Line, Channel 7 Mondays at 8pm.