As a conversation opener, saying you’re the man who taught Brad Pitt to drive is hard to beat. Kevin Sadler is that man, although, to be fair to this modest mechanic, he didn’t teach him from scratch; rather, he taught him how to drive a Citroën Traction Avant.
The Hollywood star had to drive it in Allied (2016), a wartime romance movie. Watch the trailer and you see him helming the old motor at a rate of knots through the narrow streets of Casablanca (the scenes were actually shot on Gran Canaria). Clearly Brad, as Kevin can now legitimately refer to him, was a good student. “I had to make sure he knew how to drive it but he picked it up very quickly,” says Kevin. “He was a good listener and could follow directions very well, but he’s used to doing that.”
Unfortunately, Brad’s Citröen isn’t on hand when I meet Kevin at his garage in Bedfordshire. No matter; there are 20 or so equally interesting cars from the worlds of film and TV to gawp at. They include a 1936 Buick Model 40 that appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011); a 1919 Model T truck from Suffragette (2015) and Mary Poppins Returns (2018); and a 1971 Rover P6 from The Sense of an Ending (2017) and The Conjuring 2 (2016).
However, easily the biggest star in Kevin’s yard (if we can persuade it to come out of its Winnebago trailer) is his little red 1966 Hillman Husky. Well, it would be had it not ended up on the cutting room floor of Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).
“It’s one of the few annoying things about this job,” says Kevin. “You wait for hours to shoot a few seconds’ worth of film and then it doesn’t make the final cut.”
It sounds like the red carpet has gone to Kevin’s head but, really, this Essex-born engineer has his feet firmly on the ground. He’s a former Ford-trained mechanic who, some years ago, left his main dealer employer to go it alone with a few tools and a garage, doing general car servicing. Along the way, he fell in with a business partner and together they branched out into supplying cars for film and TV under the name Rayment Lewis (raymentlewisweddingcars.co.uk – they do wedding car hire, too). Today they have around 30 vehicles.