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Stars and their cars tend to be quite a spectacle; a noteworthy celebrity emerging from a Ford GT or Ferrari 458 will always draw attention. However, many celebrities had modest cars before they hit their big break. Sure, a “ridiculous” first car might illicit images of scissor doors and howling V12s. However, ridiculous in the context of world-famous stars could be unorthodox or downright modest first rides, like Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, and some less-than-epic cars. 

Some stars had exceedingly modest first cars

Young celebrities who achieve stardom early in their careers tend to splurge on cars. They buy spectacular supercars and bougie luxury vehicles. However, some stars, celebrities, and even presidents started in modest cars, like Tom Cruise and his 1976 Dodge Colt.

CelebrityFirst Car
Paul WalkerFord Ranger
Tom CruiseDodge Colt
Daniel CraigNissan Cherry
Rowan AtkinsonMorris Minor
Barack ObamaFord Granada

What was Paul Walker’s first car?

Until his untimely death in 2013, Paul Walker was one of the stars of the popular “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. Beyond his on-screen portrayals, Walker was a star with an eye for cars. However, the car franchise star’s first ride wasn’t even a car; it was a truck. That’s right, Paul Walker’s first car was a 1986 Ford Ranger, a small, utilitarian pickup truck.

Of course, later in life, Walker kept a car enthusiast’s collection, including a Ford Mustang Boss 302, an E30 BMW M3, and an R34 Nissan Skyline. Tragically, the petrolhead’s life ended in a Porsche Carrera GT after losing control of the vehicle in Santa Clarita, California.  

Tom Cruise’s first car isn’t what you would expect from an A-list star

Tom Cruise, a world-renowned movie star, is a serious car and motorcycle collector. What’s more, Cruise’s affinity for adrenaline-inducing vehicles took him beyond cars and bikes; the star owns a P-51 Mustang fighter airplane. However, Tom Cruise first hit the road in a more modest machine: a 1976 Dodge Colt.

The Colt, a Malaise Era bit of classic American steel, lacked much of the flare that Cruise enjoys in his current collection. In fact, the little Colt derived its modest power output from a 1.6L or 2.0L four-cylinder engine. 

What kind of car does Daniel Craig drive?

Daniel Craig, the most recent celebrity to bring Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” to life, drove some spectacular cars in his 15-year tenure as 007. However, Craig’s first car was far from the Aston Martins that the superspy drove on-screen; the British celebrity had a Nissan Cherry before he achieved global acclaim.

The Cherry, a subcompact predecessor for the Nissan Pulsar, isn’t exactly a segment-mate for the Aston Martin DBS. 

What first car did Rowan Atkinson drive?

A blue Morris Minor economy car, like Rowan Atkinson's, is far from a celebrity car, but looks at home next to an old building.
A Morris Minor | Beata Zawrzel, NurPhoto via Getty Images

You wouldn’t expect the star behind “Johnny English” and “Mr. Bean” to be a racecar-driving, supercar-collecting ultra enthusiast. However, Atkinson has owned a McLaren F1, a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead, and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, to name a few. Still, the star car fan’s first ride was much more subtle: a Morris Minor. 

The Morris Minor, an economy car from a now-discontinued brand name, is far from posh. However, the Minor is a poetic beginning for the star and hopefully a reminder of humble beginnings. 

Barack Obama’s first car is the perfect example of a modest first car

Barack Obama, a celebrity and former president, talks to car factory workers.
Former President Barack Obama speaks to auto workers | Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

As with all living presidents, Barack Obama is entitled to U.S. Secret Service protection for life. However, long before motorcades and Marine One took him where he needed to go, President Obama had a 1970s-era Ford Granada, a $900 acquisition from his grandfather.

It’s an apropos summation of the former president’s early years. In fact, President Obama told AAA the car wasn’t exactly glamorous, per ABC News. “The Ford Granada was not the peak of Detroit engineering,” he told AAA in an interview. “But you know what? It moved, and so I have fond memories of the fact that it got me to where I needed to go.”

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