If you’ve seen classic movies such as The Pink Panther, Dr. Strangelove or Murder by Death then you’ll know Peter Sellers by more than reputation; his comedic talent set him apart as one of the great actors of his era, and he’s still revered as a master of the genre. What not everybody knows is that Sellers was also an unapologetic petrol head, filling his garage with beautiful motors which would often show up in his movies after he’d finished taking them for a spin.
By the time he was 39, Sellers is believed to have owned an incredible 83 cars, including some true, timeless classics: Aston Martins, Mini Coopers and Ferraris, as well as many, many others, were all known to grace the floor of his extravagant garage. He was also a huge fan of British motors, and looking back on his enviable car career, many people now believe that he considered the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys to have been the greatest cars that he was ever lucky enough to own.
Although he loved his cars with a passion, Sellers was also known to get bored of them quickly, keeping many of his vehicles for just a few days before he begun to covet a newer or more interesting model – so his garage had to withstand the constant flow of vehicles moving in and out. It’s not surprising that his good friend Spike Milligan referred to them as his ‘metal underwear, because he used to change them so often’.
At the same time, he was very precious over the cars that he did love; at one time, he gave Spike Milligan a 1930 Austin – ‘Old Min’ – only to take it back a week later after being horrified by seeing how Milligan had not only left it out in the rain, but also replaced the temperature gauge with… a coffee percolator! Sellers definitely saw how important it was to take good care of a vehicle by locking it up safely in a garage, where the outside world couldn’t cause rust, dents or other damage.
Cars weren’t the only vehicles to find a home in Sellers’ garage, as he also found it to be the perfect space for his model railway – using a substantial portion of his wages to fill an entire garage with an impressive 500 feet of track. The garage is an ideal place for people, like Sellers, who want to engage in a space-consuming hobby such as building up model railways, as it provides a dedicated space away from the house, where other people could quickly get annoyed by tripping over train sets on their way to the kitchen!
Sellers also enjoyed paying visits to other great garages, to take a look at the wares and perhaps even make one of his regular purchases. United Service Garage in Portsmouth, set up by Major Sharp in 1924 and quickly built up to attract celebrity buyers, was one such gem – and Major Sharp’s son, Douglas, fondly remembers the ‘wonderful days, days such as the one when Peter Sellers came in and bought a white Cresta while he was appearing on South Parade Pier’.
It’s always fascinating to see how superstars such as Sellers made use of their grand, capacious garages, and it’s inspiring to see how Sellers used his to fuel such a dedicated passion to gathering the best cars available. If you want to make space in your own garage, perhaps to indulge in a hobby like model trains, or if you’re missing out because your home just doesn’t have the room for a garage of your own, then you could benefit from one of our great garages to hire. With locations across the UK, we’re sure to have something available near you – to find out more, get in touch at 020 8882 8575.