“They could never have imagined it, those pioneers who invented the automobile... That it would possess us like this, our imaginations and our dreams... Men love women, but even more than that. Men. Love. Cars,” Christian McKay says in the 2013 film Rush which chronicles the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1970s.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the extract would hold true for John Abraham, who apart from being a Bollywood actor is also an avid car and bike enthusiast. But having an extensive collection of vehicles for an established actor is not unheard of. What is, however, is his bawa-esque obsession for car maintenance.
Abraham, who is only half-Parsi, tells us he will be taking delivery of the country’s first Nissan GT-R around September this year. “I’ll be completely prepping my garage for it. Will be installing two dehumidifiers and an air conditioning system…Will also have a host of shampoos,” he told Autocar India in a candid interview.
The actor’s love for cars and bikes is well known and his garage is a fine example of that. A clutch of vehicles he’s owned over the years include a Yamaha YZF-R1, Yamaha VMax, a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Maruti Gypsy. “I’ve always liked SUVs. My first car was a Tata Sierra. I even had a Prado and now have a Q7,” he says. “But I can ride a bike easier than I can walk. It comes naturally,” he admits.
Quite appropriately, the actor is keen on extending his passion for motorcycles to his films and had expressed plans some years ago to make a film on the Isle of Man Senior Tourist Trophy race. In fact, a big fan of Isle of Man heavyweights John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop, Abraham even attended the race in June and plans to make the film sometime next year.
“I went with a particular studio from India for a reconnaissance to the Isle of Man TT on June 9 when the senior TT races were being held. It’s a film I will do next year. It’s a passion project. I’m still looking for a director and for a perfect script. In India, few people understand this space. But I want to make the Isle of Man a household name,” he says.
Known to be a bike fanatic off screen, John Abraham established his image as a bike enthusiast on screen as well with the hugely popular movie Dhoom, which released in 2006. With a busy work schedule, the actor (who also has his own production house) likes to take his machines out on the roads in Mumbai at 2am and even nurtures a dream of competing in the Raid De Himalaya with his Gypsy.
“I would love to professionally ride and even compete in the Raid de Himalaya. I need to revamp my Gypsy completely. But at the end of the day I have to wake up, smell the coffee. I am actor first. I need to do my films,” he signs off.
Smitten by the Bull