With a combined age of 177 years, Hugh Martin-Leake and friend Rosemary Blakiston are living proof that you’re never too old to enjoy the open-air fun of a Daihatsu Copen.
Admittedly, 95-year-old Rosemary is now content to ride as passenger, having giving up driving two years ago following the fitment of a pacemaker.
But 82-year-old Hugh still enjoys nipping around the country lanes of Northamptonshire and cruising down to Cambridge to meet his old family friend.
“I especially like to hear the whistle of the turbo from the 660 cc engine but am told the newer 1.3 litre models have a little more poke,” said the retired engineer from Bozeat.
Hugh, who has owned Ferraris and E-Type Jaguars in the past, added: “My daughter bought a Copen first and when I went with her to collect it fell in love with the little car.
“I then searched the internet and found a good second-hand one from Simpsons of Swindon and have been enjoying the Copen ever since.”
Meanwhile, Rosemary, who now lives in Cambridge, said: “I was a little surprised when he told me he had bought a sports car. However, I suppose I shouldn’t have been because he still rides a big motorbike.”
In fact, Hugh, who started work for British motorcycle manufacturer Vincent HRD during World War Two, still rides 1,000 cc V-Twin Ducati and Aprilia bikes.
Commenting on Hugh’s enthusiasm, Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors, Managing Director, Paul Tunnicliffe, said: “I know from our dealers that we boast a sizeable number of older customers among our Copen buyers but this really reinforces the car’s appeal to this important sector of the market.
“I am pleased that Mr Martin-Leake can still enjoy life to the full by owning a sports car. Clearly a shift towards an anonymous life in a small, practical but dull family saloon is not for him. Long may it continue.”
Adored for its timeless curvy styling and effortless electric metal folding roof, the revised Copen costs £11,495 on-the-road.
Thanks to the introduction of a new 1.3 litre engine last year plus a £2,500 price cut, the cute and curvy Copen is enjoying an enthusiastic following with supplies still not keeping up with demand.
In addition, all Daihatsus now come with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty plus five years’ UK roadside recovery. The offer is not transferable and applies to all retail sales.Published 20 May 2008