I suppose the Milk Tray man was my earliest experience of 1970s man-of-mystery advertising. Even though the ads themselves were a bit inexplicable, why would anyone deliver chocolates by speedboat in the dead of night? Surely if you were going to those kind of romantic efforts you could have spent more on the gift? Anyway, based on programmes like Department S and the Professionals I ended up with a mental picture of the man I hoped to grow up to be. Tall, well dressed, probably wearing a significant moustache, and definitely sporting aviator shades and driving gloves. Career options were limited to assassin or playboy, but I imagined these were easily achievable. Cars of choice were big European GTs, unless you were a proper baddie, and drove a Mercedes.

Martin Buckley defined this character as ‘GT Man,’ and he can be found in a lot of 1970s motoring related advertising. My favourite is the ‘Dunlop Aquajet Man,’ mostly to be found in the company of dancing women, big game animals and slightly wallowy looking English sportscars – whilst holding a tyre…

I used him for an advert for the remanufactured Dunlop Aquajet tyre, in the background of an E-Type illustration as the ad was going into a Jaguar magazine. He just looks right with the car! Sadly I never became GT Man, which is a shame, even if he was fictional he seemed to be having fun. Clarkson et al obviously thought the same – and created their own version a while ago, see below.