Interview with LAZY BOY GARAGE motoring expert JONNY SMITH. He talks about a 1971 Toyota Carina, buying vehicles online and his cars at home.
Following three best friends, Lazy Boy Garage (airing on Dave from 13 February) aims to hunt down valuable vehicles from across the world – mending classic car wrecks and then eventually sell them on to their international buyers.
Jonny is a part of a trio, known as lazy boys – because they don’t ever leave their garage. He’s a motoring journalist and television presenter, who has been seen on Fifth Gear, Full Charged and Mud, Sweat & Gears. He has also worked for magazine publisher EMAP (now known as Ascential).
“The show came from conversations about how we tend to buy cars these days. People are time poor and cash rich, so they want to secure a purchase quickly over the internet using tablets and phones. It made sense to celebrate how technology allows us to buy cars, do all our searching and enjoy this hobby online. We are not lazy, just efficient with recourses and time!
Though who are the duo in the garage with him? “I have known Wookie (Tom Ford) for almost 18 years, we both started as motoring journalists in a magazine. I parked my lowrider Ford Granada in his parking space – he stormed into the office demanding to know who had parked a slammed pimpmobile in his spot! We have been friends ever since – working on TV together since 2006.”
“I met Tim (Glover) as we live in the same town, and I’d noticed he drove some sweet classic Volkswagens. We share interest in certain cars and he is astonishing at paintwork and mental fabrication. He’s working on many of my cars over the past 15 years including my patinated Dodge Charger.”
Lazy Boy Garage aims to be different by not going on the road. “We don’t go anywhere – the people, parts and cars come to us. We are friends and car enthusiasts sniffing out certain unusual cars to tick a box of desire.”
“It’s the thrill of buying and saving an old car which I love. We do not restore cars on this show, we repair and recommission. All of the cars are brought from foreign countries – I like to think we encourage people to buy further afield with confidence.”
Jonny says he really enjoyed working on the 1971 Toyota Carina, “It was such a rare survivor car. There was no rot anywhere – just pure sunburn. The car hadn’t ever been bastardised or modified. It had simply sat in a Spanish scrapyard since it was 8 years old, waiting patiently for us to save it. Fitting it with Lotus Eclat wheels was awesome because they are one of my favourite rims.”
“My favourite car was the finished Escort estate treatment. The rate 2-door Jetta was an excuse to buy a car off my bucket list and the Range Rover was probably my top car in terms of a rough diamond. The way we brought that paint back from the dead and tidied up the interior was really satisfying – and made me want to buy a 2-door Range Rover for the first time in my life!”
Meanwhile, if you are looking for a car to buy – we asked Smith for a top tip. “Shiny paint doesn’t signal a nice car. Better to buy something honestly dirty rather than a tarted up mess. Always ask the vendor what is the worst aspect of the car in their opinion – it’s a great ice breaker.”
Jonny himself says buying cars is not only a business, but a hobby too. “I think I have 13 at the moment. I still have my first car, a 1967 Beetle which I brought in 1995. I have a Dodge Charger with bullet holes in the boot and a 1964 Chevrolet Impala lowrider that’s been rinsing my wallet since 2004 - it still isn’t finished or even running.”
“My wife likes Japanese quirky machinery, so she had the UK’s first Suzuki Jimny and a Nissan Figaro. My daily drives are electric – a Volkswagen eGolf and a Chevrolet Volt. I have an exceptionally rare 1967 Honda S600 coupe, Austin Allegro and two Volvo 262C Bertone’s.”
Away the upcoming series, the journalist says he’s very busy – “I am regularly contributing on a YouTube channel called Fully Charged with Robert Llewellyn. I also make a YouTube episode called Smith and Sniff - with the script editor from Grand Tour (ex Top Gear) Richard Porter. We drive around and try to review a car but nearly always get side-tracked.”
Telly Binge spoke to Jonny Smith in February 2019. Follow him on Twitter for updates.