INTERVIEW: My Car: Unique and quirky, just like his car

My Car: Unique and quirky, just like his car
Story By: Petrina Gentile
Photos By: Jeff Vinnick/The Globe and Mail
Date: May 18, 2010
Source: The Globe and Mail


Canadian actor Aaron Douglas's Volvo 'likes the limelight'


Aaron Douglas plays Frank Leo, a cop battling corruption on and off the force in the CTV/CBS drama, The Bridge. But he’s probably best known for his role as Chief Tyrol in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. 

As chief mechanic he was tech savvy on set, but off set it’s a different story, especially when it comes to his car – a 2007 Volvo S80 3.2 sedan. 

“When it comes to real life I can sharpen a pencil and that’s about it,” says Douglas, one of Canada’s rising TV stars. “I do know it’s a 3.2 and its all-wheel drive. It’s got enough juice to get up and go. And it drives like a sports car, but it feels like a tank. If I smacked into anything, the other thing would lose out.” 


Aaron Douglas inside his Volvo S80


Douglas adores the gadgets in his S80 – although it took him a while to figure them out. 

“It’s got so many cool things. I love the [adaptive] cruise control. I didn’t even figure it out until I was driving on the highway and somebody cut me off and all of a sudden the car started to slow down. What happened? It was like, ‘Oh no, my car is broken’ and then that car got out of the way and it just started speeding up again. The car’s a genius,” he laughs. 

“You set the cruise control and you tell the car how many car lengths you want to stay behind the car in front of you. You let it go and it constantly sends out sensors front and back and if the car is set to 120 and you come up behind a car that’s doing 110 the car will automatically slow down. If it speeds up, it’ll speed up. You can literally drive for hours without touching the gas and brake.” 

His S80 also has a back-up camera, a built-in navigation system, Bluetooth, and a blind spot monitor system. 

“The only thing it doesn’t have which drives me crazy is an iPod dock and it doesn’t have satellite radio,” says Douglas who is working on a new TV pilot called Betwixt. His film credits include X-Men 2, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, White Noise, Catwoman, and I, Robot. 

“I like Volvos because not many people have them. I drive all over western Canada and western U.S. and it is very rare that you see the make and model of my car. So many people have BMWs and Mercedes. I like the fact that this is unique and that aren’t many like it, which is probably how I see myself. It’s quirky that’s for sure,” he says. “It likes to be clean. It likes the limelight. It likes when everybody goes, ‘Hey what is that?’ 

“The last car I had was the S40 T5 and I loved that car. I came back to get another car and I was looking at Volvo, Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti. I went to the Mercedes dealership and nobody would talk to me. I get frustrated when it’s poor service,” he says. “I went to Volvo and the guy was great. I wanted something a little bigger and a little sportier than the S40 because I’m dragging around hockey bags and golf clubs. I took the S80 for a spin and I loved it, so I went with that.” 

His first car was a 1978 Ford Fairmont. “My grandfather worked at the Oakville Ford plant for 35 years and so it was sacrilege to buy anything but a Ford. I remember when I was 11 or 12, my dad bought a Nissan Sentra and my grandfather didn’t speak to him for two weeks. ‘We didn’t fight those guys in the war for you to …’ He was so serious. I swore when I bought my first car it was going to be a Ford – I didn’t care what it was. So I got this Ford Fairmont for $1,200 and I drove that thing into the ground, literally.” 


The Bridge star Aaron Douglas and his Volvo S80


He had some close calls with it, too. “My most terrifying memory is falling asleep driving back from Calgary in my Fairmont and waking up upside down and a bunch of people, ambulance, and cops peeling me away from my car. That wasn’t good.” 

Later, he bought a 1981 Volkswagen Cabriolet. “I loaded four of my friends in, we put the top down and we drove from Kelowna to Vancouver to see a B.C. Lions game. It took us about six hours there and back. We laughed hysterically the entire time,” says the 38-year-old actor. 

He also owned a 1990 Ford Mustang, followed by a Ford Taurus. “You can’t compare the cars built in Europe with the cars built in North America. North American cars are big and they drive like boats. They don’t feel tight. My car is a big car, but it feels like a small car. It’s very tight, compact and handles very well. A lot of the components are probably made out of plastic but it doesn’t feel plastic. Whereas American cars are big, noisy, and cheap – that’s what I’Ve experienced in the past.” 

Douglas changes cars every two-three years, but he hasn’t thought about replacing his Volvo yet. 

“There’s nothing else out there that I see and go I want that. I still get in it and say, ‘Wow, that’s my car’.”