George & the Jaguar


Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars,” George Best

once said in explaining the disappearance of his rather large fortune. “The rest I just squandered.” The Belfast-born footballer shot to fame as a winger for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team, winning the 1968 European Cup and earning European Footballer of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year honors. Rather like James Hunt his extracurricular activities earned him as much notoriety as his professional ones, but he matched his exploits with unsurpassed skill on the field, and did it all with loads of style. These days he might be characterized as an “addictive personality”, and that may be true enough – he certainly had it bad for Jaguar E-Types.


What better car for a man of Best’s abilities and appetites? He owned three E-Types in all – a Series 1 Roadster, Series 1.5 Coupe and a Series 3 Coupe that recently came up for auction in the UK with surprisingly little fanfair. This particular dark blue E-Type was Best’s daily driver from 1972 until 1974, the year he unexpectedly quit Manchester United at the age of 27 following a dust-up with team manager Tommy Docherty at the Old Trafford ground – from which he drove away in the Jag. Just part of George’s wild ride, along which he married a couple models, told the BBC’s Terry Wogan “I like screwing” on air, and drank so much he needed a liver transplant, which killed him in the end. But not before Pelé called him “the greatest player in the world”.