The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : Gene Hunt: what would he have driven in the 1990s The 2019 Insurance Classic Motor Show : Gene Hunt: what would he have driven in the 1990s
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Gene Hunt: what would he have driven in the 1990s

Gene Hunt is the larger-than-life TV cop starring in the BBC hit series Ashes To Ashes and whose catchphrase “Fire up the Quattro!” introduced millions of viewers to the delights of an original Audi Quattro.

It was a 1980s classic - a brutal road car borne out of Audi’s rally programme and fitted Hunt’s character role perfectly. The red 1983 coupe was sold on eBay in 2014 for £15,100.

But what would happen if Hunt, played by actor Philip Glenister, was playing bad-boy detective in the 1990s? He drove a Ford Cortina in prequel Life On Mars, set in the 1970s. Which got us thinking…

Mitsubishi Evo

Mitsubishi Evo 1000
What better progression from Quattro to the iconic rally-bred nutter that dominated the cheap performance scene of the 1990s? Based on the humble Lancer saloon, successive generations of Evo gradually turned up the turbocharged wick, creating a supercar-slaying machine at surprisingly democratic prices. Perfect for sliding into shot in a prime time BBC cop show.

Ford Escort Cosworth

Food Escort Cosworth 1000
Is the Cossie’s wing big enough for Hunt’s ego? We think so. Distinguished by its gigantic whale-tail spoiler, the Escort Cosworth was built by Ford from 1992-1996, replicating the Essex performance vibe pioneered by its Sierra cousin. With a 2.0-litre turbo, four-wheel drive and a suspension overhaul, it could top 150mph - enough to keep up with even the most fleet-footed of baddies.

Lancia Delta Integrale
Can you spot a theme here? Most of our choices for Hunt’s 1990s wheels were bred on the rally track - and the Integrale was no different. Another all-wheel drive turbocharged racer for the road, the Delta became one of the decade’s defining all-weather heroes. Ironically, it came to dominate the rally scene, just as the Quattro was gently put out to pasture.

Lotus Carlton

Vauxhall Calton 1000
Daily Mail readers were shocked when humble old Vauxhall teamed up with the rather racier Lotus to create this super saloon in the early 1990s. The Vauxhall Carlton was normally seen ploughing up and down the M1, driven by a rep; the Hethel connection replaced the regular four- and six-cylinder engines with a twin-turbo 3.6-litre V8 capable of 177mph. Tabloid shock ensued - just what Hunt would have wanted…


BMW M3 1000
It’s hard not to see Hunt enjoying the original, E30 M3. Although launched in 1986, it survived unmolested into the early 90s - and would have continued the Germanic muscle theme so beloved of the big-impact detective. Rear-wheel drive would have allowed plenty of skids and the 2.3-litre four-pot was a revaholic. Just the thing for making a quiet getaway.

Which was your favourite? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.

Fancy winning tickets to the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show at the NEC next March? Well click here to enter into our competition and you could be there (T&Cs apply):!/



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