25 May 2016 Last updated

My wheels

Russell Goulbourn's 1980 Daihatsu F20

By Imran Malik
Added 15:07 | May 30, 2013
  • Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM
  • Russell with his Daihatsu F20, which he affectionately calls Delilah 2.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM
  • Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM
  • He’s had the seat covers replaced a few timesand the exterior went from green to white.

    Source:Dennis B. Mallari/ANM

Russell Goulbourn loves the Daihatsu F20 so much that he bought the same one — twice! He explains why to Imran Malik.

You became interested in cars thanks to none other than Sir Roger Moore, right?
I did. When I was four or five years old, I remember watching him in the TV series The Saint. He drove a Volvo P1800 and then I saw him in another show called The Persuaders where he drove an Aston Martin DBS. In fact, every time I saw him on the telly he was driving a cool car and that’s how my passion for cars began. Thanks Roger!

Your first car, a 1979 Honda Accord hatchback, was quite memorable wasn’t it?
That was such a great car. I once beat a Datsun 280ZX in a race with it — but I wore out the clutch completely and had to call road recovery.

Oh dear. What other interesting cars have you owned?
My mum Brenda bought me a Datsun 120Y and I also had an Audi A4 but I guess my favourite would be my 2007 Ford Trac LTD Edition, which I called The Black Sabbath. But it wasn’t a patch on my Daihatsu F20.

There’s quite an emotional story behind this cute little thing isn’t there…
There sure is. In 1994, my mum had a very bad car crash that left her unable to walk for quite a while. I soon realised that she had also lost her will to even try anymore. I remembered that she had always wanted a Daihatsu F20 ever since moving to
Dubai in 1980.


Name Russell Goulbourn
Job Catering
From Wales
Wheels 1980 Daihatsu F20
In the UAE 33 years

As luck would have it, I found one for sale on Jumeirah Beach Road so I purchased it, installed a new stereo and took it home. When I got home, I told my mum that the police were outside and needed to talk to her. So a friend and I helped her outside but there were no officers there and she wasn’t amused.

Then she heard her favourite singer, Freddie Mercury, singing Barcelona and wanted to move closer to where the sound was coming from. With our help, she walked around the corner to find the Daihatsu F20 singing to her. She walked — on her own — towards the car and was over the moon, as were we.

That’s incredible. No wonder you like these cars so much.
They are special. She got well very soon after that and drove her car for over a year until she retired and moved back to Wales. She named the car Delilah after the Welsh singer Tom Jones’ song. I then bought Delilah from her and fell in love with it myself. I should love Delilah seeing as I had bought it twice.
But then in 1998, you parted ways with it…
I had to because my daughter was born and I reluctantly sold it to a friend of mine, Simon Peirce, as I needed the money.

But then, my three-year-old son saw an advert in a shop window for another F20 and I called the gentleman but he told me he had changed his mind as he was afraid that the new owner might ruin the car by pimping it up or kill it by thrashing it around in the desert. I asked if we could at least meet as I had something to show him. I borrowed my original Daihatsu from Simon and drove around to his house. He saw Delilah and the condition it was in and agreed to sell me the other Daihatsu. Simon still owns Delilah to this day while I named my newly purchased F20 Delilah 2. It was born on March 27, 1980, and has had loving owners for the past 33 years.

So you’ve had Delilah 2 since 1998. Have you had any work done to it in all that time?
Just a new paint job. It used to be green before and apart from changing the seat covers a few times over the years, the rest of it is all original.

It looks like a lot of fun to drive
It really is. Being 33 years old, it is a little rough around the edges but has as smooth a ride as any car of its age. Also, with the open cab, you feel very alive while driving it. It has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and copes fantastically well in the desert. However, due to its age, I don’t like to go mad with it. It needs — and has earned — a healthy level of respect.

It’s a bit of a show stopper, isn’t it?
It has lots of appeal — I’m stopped on average three times per week and have notes left on the windscreen wiper every other day from people wanting to buy it. People stop and stare just as if I were driving an Aston Martin. I drive it every day, have gone camping with it, use it for work and to pose up and downJumeirah Beach Road  and in the extreme summer months, I only drive it at night. I go home for most of the summer so it  takes a well-earned rest at my friend Nick Harvey’s house.

Is this one for keeps?
I’m sure I will have to sell it one day but it would have to be to an enthusiast. Ideally, I’d love to take it home to Wales but I think it would spend 350 days a year shivering  in a garage so I guess the UK is out of the question.

What is your dream car?
It has to be the Aston Martin DB9. Everyone should own one once in their life if they can afford to.