Welcome to this month’s edition of Ask a Gearhead, our Q&A series with enthusiasts and influencers in the automotive space. Last month we spoke with Purist Group founder Sean Lee, and this month we are pleased to feature Alex Roy!
Alex is a journalist, speaker, and Editor-at-Large for The Drive. He holds multiple endurance race records, including in the transcontinental Cannonball Run Rally. In 2006, Alex drove a 2000 BMW M5 from New York to the Santa Monica Pier in 31 hours and four minutes, a record that stood for seven years. He chronicled this feat in his book “The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World.” You can check out Alex’s website or his pages on Instagram and Twitter.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAMILY CAR GROWING UP?
We had a 1977 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. It was silver with a black vinyl top.
WORST THING YOU’VE EVER DRIVEN?
I don’t know… maybe I’ve lucked out. I think a Renault 21. Terrible car, I think it was sold in the US as the Eagle Medallion. A friend had one and I was just curious. I’ve always loved French cars, but that generation of French cars was absolutely terrible.
IF YOU COULD OWN JUST ONE CAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Easy. Morgan 3 Wheeler. Of course.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP? (DESTINATION, JOURNEY, OR ROAD TO DRIVE)
Key West to Seattle non-stop is the best way to see America. It really is. You should do it with no less than two friends, so you get three people in a car, and you will get to know people like you would not believe. We did it in about 45 hours, and we saw three seasons, a hurricane, and a snowstorm. I recommend everyone do that once before they die. We had a Volvo S90, and we decided to make a video of what was the longest cannonball record in America, and that was it. 3,500 miles, let’s go.
SAY YOU’RE DIRECTING FAST & FURIOUS 9, WHAT’S THE HERO CAR?
I’d like to see a performance hybrid, something bonkers. A Fisker Karma with an LS1 motor swap. Absolutely. It’s got everything you want. I can’t imagine what’s cooler than that.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST ANIMAL TO RIDE IF IT WERE SCALED UP TO THE SIZE OF A HORSE?
The cheetah, because it’s the fastest land animal. They can do 70 mph, so scale that up to a horse, and you’re talking real speed. An animal that can do more than 100 mph, are you kidding me? What’s the zero to 60 for a cheetah? …it’s three seconds. So yeah, that’s amazing.
IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO WEAR FLIP FLOPS WHILE DRIVING? WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED DRIVING FOOTWEAR?
No. What’s the second half of the question? I generally wear Piloti or Huntziker driving shoes. Huntziker does cool stuff, I have two pairs and I love’em. I should also say that if you’re in a Morgan, you should wear fake-fur lined rain boots. For the water, for the temperature, it’s terrible.
WHAT DO YOU KEEP IN YOUR CAR AT ALL TIMES?
I carry a Valentine V1 radar detector and an Escort Max 360. A professional phone mount with a spare phone running the Chffr app. It’s like a dashcam that’s hooked up to the comma.ai cloud to help develop self-driving ai.
WHAT’S YOUR MARIO KART CHARACTER?
I do not have one, because I’ve gone cold turkey on video games. When I played driving games, I played mostly Forza and Pole Position.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN THE BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE? AND WHAT IS IT CALLED?
The French guy from the Artist. Jean Dujardin. He’s got my sense of humor and he’s great with all the disguises and accents.
IF YOU HAD AN ICE CREAM TRUCK, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU PLAY FROM THE SPEAKER?
WHAT’S THE SINGLE LAST CAR YOU RENTED, ON ANY PLATFORM?
I think it was a Fiat 500e on Turo. I loved it. I wish it had more range, very convenient for driving in LA.