A classic car enthusiast who lovingly restored a Lada he bought from a scrapyard said he was flattered when Top Gear presenter James May offered to buy the vehicle from him.
Michael Dickens, 22, from Kettering, found the Lada Riva at a scrapyard in Bedford and originally intended to strip it for spare parts to use to restore another Lada he already owned.
However, Michael said the car was in better condition than he first thought, and he spent the next two years finding spare parts and slowly improving the vehicle.
He said: “I saw a message on a Facebook group I belong to for Lada enthusiasts and they were looking for a Lada to use at the Classic Car Show.
“Specifically, James May wanted to use it as part of an exhibition on cars which changed the world.
“I said I owned one and they asked if they could borrow it for the show.
“I did some research first because I was worried they might not be legitimate.”
In return for the loan of the car, Michael was invited to the London Classic Car Show, held at ExCeL at the Royal Victoria Dock between January 8 and 11, as a VIP guest.
While there, he chatted to James May about his beloved Lada and said the presenter made a serious offer to buy it from him.
Michael said: “I did think about the offer seriously, but I’ve spent too long working on the car and I decided to say no.
“Seeing the car used as part of the show was incredible.
“It’s the first time I have done anything like this and it made the hard work worthwhile.”
Michael works as a bus driver for Bedford Stagecoach and says he has been interested in cars from a young age.