Justin Timberlake is 40 today. In the last two decades, he’s gone from boy-band adulation to become one of the 21st century’s most successful crossover stars, achieving accolades across musical genres, packing out stadia and becoming a leading man on the silver screen. He’s sold 88 million records, won ten Grammy Awards and lent his voice to two Trolls movies. Yet, his daily driver is a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. “I’m Lovin’ It”, he’ll tell you if you enquire after its signature blue and red instrument lighting and retractable cup holders, probably.
Timberlake is bringing “SexyBack” with this handsome and forthright 1967 muscle car. He first drove a classic Pontiac GTO on the set of 2012’s Trouble With The Curve, in which he starred alongside Clint Eastwood and the pair bonded over Michigan-made machinery. While Clint’s movie whip was a Mustang, the Pontiac belonged to Justin’s character, who’s a scout for the Boston Red Sox. He mightn’t have been inspired to spot baseball talent for a living, but he was inspired to go out and buy his very own 365bhp, 6.6-litre, V8-powered GTO convertible, in black. “I kept driving that car around and around and finally I just said, ‘Yeaaaaahh'”, the performer told USA Today. “I found a ’67 GTO in Texas. This guy had only put, like, nine hours [driving on it] since he fully restored it. I called him up and said, ‘I’ll take it off your hands’. I got lucky”.
Justin Randall Timberlake was born on 31st January 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee. His dad was a Baptist church choir director and the youngster grew up on a diet of gospel, country music and 1970s rhythm and blues. Aged eleven, he appeared on TV’s Star Search — a forerunner to The X Factor — and in 1993 joined the cast of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club variety show as a Mouseketeer, where his classmates included future girlfriend Britney Spears, future tour-mate Christina Aguilera, future bandmate JC Chasez and future movie star Ryan Gosling. More importantly, to aficionados of Japanese luxury saloons, it was the year that Timberlake’s Acura Legend came off the assembly line at Honda’s Saitama plant. Timberlake had to wait a few more years before he got his driver’s licence, but in 1997 the 3.2-litre V6 became his. It clearly means a lot to him because he still has it, as does his occasional collaborator Ludacris, who owns one of the same vintage.
NSYNC were formed in Orlando in 1995, with Justin and JC Chasez serving as its two lead singers. Their debut album hit the shops in 1998, selling eleven million copies. A tiny bit of that profit found its way to Mercedes-Benz when 17-year-old Timberlake threw down a wad of royalties in return for the new ML-series car, a mid-size SUV that was designed to replace the legendary G-Wagen but then didn’t. In fact, the W163 M-Class was originally meant to be codeveloped with Mitsubishi, but that was abandoned due to “technical problems” that sound a bit like Justin’s excuse for 144.5m people seeing Janet Jackson’s nipple. The ML was built in Alabama and the first one rolled off the production line in February 1997 after a six-year gestation. It was the first SUV to feature electronic stability control and achieved industry-leading crash test results, both of which are useful when escaping the paparazzi.
In 2002, Timberlake went solo and released the Neptunes and Timberland-produced album Justified, which received critical as well as commercial acclaim and spawned the hit singles “Rock Your Body” and “Cry Me A River”. When you’re one of the most famous people on the planet and have scores of teenage girls and their mothers chasing you down the street, it makes sense you may sometimes wish to go about your business incognito and surely there’s no other vehicle more easily overlooked than the VW Jetta. The Jetta is, essentially, a Golf without the hatchback. For some reason, Americans have never really got on with hatchbacks and prefer the perfectly formed Golf to have an ugly protrusion on its posterior. Europe did away with the Jetta in 1998 and launched the Bora, but the name continued in the US. Timberlake’s fourth-gen Mexican-built Jetta boasts a turbocharged 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, which has enough pep to navigate the hills of Hollywood. Justin has held onto the car all these years because he finds it perfect for running errands.
Ah, this is more like it. The Continental GT was the first car to be released under Volkswagen’s stewardship of Bentley. Stylistically, it was a significant evolution of the 1950s R-Type Continental and 1990s Continental R, which had been the ultimate two-door gentlemen’s expresses of their heyday — “suet puddings of power and opulence”, to quote Jeremy Clarkson. The GT, which is now on its third (and best looking) itineration, has proven so popular with pop stars and pools winners since 2003 that to date 80,000 of them have been sold. To put that into context, Bentley manufactured just 2,061 of its previous Contis. Other celebrity GT owners include Robert Downey Jr, Sylvester Stallone and Timberlake collaborator Jay-Z. Justin bought his £150,000 machine following the infamous wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XXXVIII and kicking off his movie career with Nick Cassavetes’ Alpha Dog.
In the early 1990s, AM General started building civilian versions of its High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee, which had made its mark in Operation Desert Storm. Arnold Schwarzenegger owned one, as did other gun and cigar enthusiasts. In fact, the rugged 4×4 practically became a symbol of the Republican Party. General Motors took over the brand and branched out into the suburbs. The H3 was the smallest and most affordable model in the Hummer line-up. It looked large on the outside, but inside was quite cramped and the five-cylinder 220bhp entry-level car was hopelessly underpowered. Zero to 60 takes about “4 Minutes”. Thank goodness for the 5.3-litre V8, which made the right noises even if it was still a bit sluggish and did a woeful 13mpg with a following wind.
In 2010, following his scene-stealing turn as Sean Parker in David Fincher’s The Social Network, Justin was hired by Audi to launch its new A1 with a Super Bowl ad. Subsequently, the brand ambassador has had Audis coming out of his ears and often chooses to be chauffeured in an A8 when he’s in “Suit & Tie”. But the Audi that really got him excited was the S5 Cabriolet. He first drove the red convertible on the set of romcom Friends With Benefits in 2011, alongside Mila Kunis. Having a chum with a premium and roofless German automobile is surely a benefit we could all do with. Once the movie was wrapped, the pop prince turned actor was allowed to keep it.
You can take the man out of the Deep South but you can’t take the Wrangler key off him. Like the Hummer, this off-roader shares DNA with military hardware. Derived from the light utility Willys Jeep that was used by the US Army in the Second World War (President Dwight D Eisenhower called it “one of the three most decisive weapons” when it came to beating the Nazis and General George Marshall cited it “America’s greatest contribution to modern warfare”), Trousersnake has owned several Wranglers and this JK-series truck has the biggest wheels of the lot. The Rubicon edition is the most kitted out for off-roading in the range and can tackle any terrain with its Rock-Trac four-wheel-drive system. Ideal for a Man Of The Woods.
JT has owned a number of big and pricey SUVs, including a Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade and Audi Q7, but the quickest is definitely his SRT8 Jeep, which he’s had blacked-out to look extra mean. The 470bhp, 6.4-litre Hemi V8 engine is utterly glorious and not as thirsty as you might think. Thanks to a massive fuel tank this car can do 500 miles between the pumps.
The Timberlake collection concludes with a car that isn’t actually his. It belongs to his wife of nine years, Jessica Biel, but we’re assuming he’s on the insurance. The family have two small children and only one supercar and, if you’re going to restrict yourself to one, a 730bhp V12 Lamborghini certainly fits the bill. Capable of 217mph, the Aventador is named after a fighting bull and its aggressive out-of-this-world rocket-ship styling is pure FutureSex.
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