Rob Dickinson: the Singer boss’s life in cars

I was born in Norwich, and grew up by the cliffs. I knew there was a big world out there, and I saw rock ’n’ roll as my way out. My cousin [Iron Maiden singer Bruce] had made the career choice semi-acceptable to the family.

My other passion from the age of five was cars, and the two things ran in parallel. I vividly remember chugging along in our VW Beetle the moment my father first pointed out a Porsche 911 to me as it overtook us. It was a pivotal moment, and the fascination for that car just never went away.

I studied car design in Coventry, and worked for Peter Stevens at Lotus, with Julian Thomson and Simon Cox – rock stars of contemporary car design. I had a good time, but I was hooked on the music, and the next 15 years was all about that. But I always had a total fascination with cars, and I think I might have lost that if I’d gone into car design. They always provided an escape valve.