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Column: Celebrity Wheels

Hitman falls for 'Cat' car



By MARYANNA LEWYCKYJ -- Toronto Sun

When Bret "Hitman" Hart was growing up, his father Stu said it was important to know about three things: wrestling, Cadillacs and cats.

The early feline influence may explain how Bret Hart ended up with a Jaguar in his driveway.

He was originally looking for a replacement pickup truck last year, but when he saw the used Jaguar, he thought it was a purrfect choice.

"It's a really nice car," notes Hart.

Hart grew up surrounded by Cadillacs, with his father owning as many as 20 at a time, as well as 10 vans.

"Some people take in stray cats, my dad took in stray cars," recalls Hart. "Everyone in the neighbourhood knew if you had an old, beat-up car you didn't want any more, you could just drop it off at Stu's."

Despite his success, Hart has never got caught up in owning cars as a status symbol.

"I'm not very affected by celebrity," says Hart. "I once had a contract that specified I could be driven in a limo and I didn't use it. I don't like being driven around."

The Calgary native had little choice, however, during a recent visit to Toronto to promote his new book The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be.

No matter what he owns, Hart doesn't get a chance to drive much, since he's on the road about 150 days a year.

He tends to keep cars for a long time, and is reluctant to get rid of a familiar and functional car simply for the sake of change. His daughter is currently driving a hand-me-down 1986 Lincoln.

"I have a thing about loyalty," says Hart. "To me cars are like dogs. You don't get rid of them just because they're old."

FIRST CAR: 1966 Cadillac Brougham. It was a hand-me-down and it wasn't in very good condition after my father and my brothers got through with it.

WORST AUTO EXPERIENCE: When I was wrestling at the Calgary Stampede, I was lucky if I could go a week without a car breaking down. Those were my down-and-out days.

CAR YOU CURRENTLY OWN: 1995 Jaguar Vanden Plas.

WHY YOU LIKE IT: I like the styling and the hood ornament. It's also a very comfortable car when I'm in it, although it's a bit tight for me to get into.

WORDS THAT FIT YOU AND YOUR CAR: Sleek, powerful and just a bit dodgy.

PET MOTORING PEEVE: People who drive too slow.

FAVOURITE DRIVING MUSIC: Van Morrison.

DREAM CAR: 1957 Cadillac Biarritz Eldorado. My dad used to have one when I was growing up.

DREAM CHAUFFEUR: Sharon Stone

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