ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 4 - Fall

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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FOR LOVE AND LEGACY Television host Emily Rooney restores her father's favorite car to its former glory. Emily Rooney wasn't particularly into cars until she embarked on the restoration of the green 1966 Sunbeam Tiger owned by her famous father, Andy Rooney. It had been garaged for 20 years in upstate New York with the top down. "It became an animal nesting ground," she says. "So I decided to rescue it. I didn't intend to get involved to the extent I did. I wanted it in working order, but it came back a showpiece." For someone who claims not to be a connoisseur, Rooney sure sounds like one. "The 289 V-8 engine is its special feature," she says. "It's considered a hybrid. It has a British body but an American engine. This tiny little racing car brand bought Ford engines to put into the Tigers, and that's why it's so cool." Her father once took it to 140 mph, she says, but she's hesitant to push it too far. "I zipped it up to about 90 on back roads, but it's an old car." Her father kept every repair bill and logged every detail about the car—hundreds of pages about it. He paid $3,600 for it originally, and it's now worth "a lot" says Rooney. "Only about 7,000 of them were made, and it's one of the top 20 collectible cars on the rise." Her first car was a used Volkswagen Beetle sans heat, and she remembers a series of cars her father bought—a yellow Mustang and a blue 1967 Camaro, which was stolen from their driveway in Rowayton, Connecticut. "Dad's rule was you had to leave the key in the ignition. One night I heard someone peeling out of our driveway, and when I looked the car was gone." The police found it 45 minutes later, riddled with bullet holes. Rooney has turned a corner since restoring her father's Tiger. "I didn't realize how many people in New England house these old cars. We have this love affair for antique cars, and I've enjoyed getting to know collectors." She's also learned she has a new appreciation for speed and has bought herself a zippy Audi TT RS, one of only 500 made this year, to drive to WGBH. "It's so rare, it's not going to depreciate." But her newest acquisition is a speedboat, a 1988 Donzi, "which is crazy," she says. "It's been souped up. It was originally 179 horsepower and was taken up to 400. It was too dangerous for me, so I had to modify it. But I've always wanted one. It's beautiful and sleek, like a mini-cigarette boat." BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 120-127_BC_F_Cars_Fall13.indd 125 125 8/2/13 6:09 PM

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