My First Car: SAS Who Dares Wins star Mark 'Billy' Billingham on the Ford Cortina he bought from a fellow soldier
“It was a good car,” he said. “It had a black vinyl roof and alloy wheels and it looked good. I must have been 19 at the time.
“I remember once driving back from Brecon to Aldershot on the motorway and I accidentally switched from fourth gear to first. I was still a bit wet behind the ears when it came to driving.
“The car didn’t like it. It nearly blew up the engine. I can still remember it as clear as day.”
As well as being in the SAS and a television personality, he was also a bodyguard to Hollywood superstars.
He joined the Royal Marine cadets and Parachute Regiment, rising to the rank of sergeant major in the SAS and undertaking hundreds of classified and extremely dangerous missions.
He spent over 20 years serving in countless warzones, winning a commendation for bravery, and being awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II, before embracing the life of a bodyguard to celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sir Michael Caine, Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.
“We used to drive lots of big American 4x4s in the bodyguard business,” he said.
Now he drives a Range Rover Velar which he loves. “It’s off the road at the moment with a mechanical problem,” he said. “But it’s a lovely vehicle when it’s working.”
He also has a soft spot for the Audi Q7. “I do enjoy driving,” he said.