Top Gear's Paddy McGuinness says he was 12 when he first drove on public roads
Paddy McGuinness has revealed that his first motoring experience came aged just 12 when his father let him drive the family car on public roads.
The comedian, 45, said his father let him drive around near their home in his Hillman Avenger – a small rear-wheel family car.
The incoming Top Gear presenter, who is currently filming the 27th series of the long-running BBC motoring show, joked that he could not condone his own behaviour.
But the Take Me Out host said he thought it had been acceptable at the time because public roads “were kind of desolate back then”.
He told the Press Association: “Back when I was a young lad, I’m not condoning this, but there wasn’t as much traffic on the roads. My dad used to drive a Hillman Avenger, and he would take me on the road driving that.
“So I was driving when I was about 12, 13 on the public roads, which were kind of desolate back then. Now it’s just ridiculous.
“He gave me lessons in the old Hillman Avenger and that stuck with me.”
McGuinness, a long-standing fan of the motoring show, said his first car cost just £90 and was deemed a “death trap” by mechanics.
“The first car I bought was nearly £90. It was an Mk Two Escort, and I will tell you the state of that car.
“I went for an MOT and I’m sat in the waiting room, and the mechanic came out and he went: ‘Whose is the Escort?’ And I went, ‘Mine,’ and he went: ‘F****** death trap.’
“I thought to myself, ‘It hasn’t passed, has it?’ So that was my introduction to cars.”
McGuinness was speaking at BBC Studios’ Showcase event in Liverpool, the world’s largest international television market hosted by a single distributor.
In clips from the new series shown to the Press Association, McGuinness and fellow Top Gear presenters Freddie Flintoff and Chris Harris race electric cars around a track – with each crash sending an electric shock through the driver’s body.
In another McGuinness tries to convince his co-hosts that a funeral hearse could be used as an alternative to the family car, culminating in a race that sees one flip, spraying multi-coloured balls onto a track.