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Celebrity Drive: Rock Hall-of-Famer Bob Seger

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/19/2014 K.S. Wang
Celebrity Drive: Rock Hall-of-Famer Bob Seger

Quick Stats: Bob Seger
Daily Driver: 2013 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon (Bob's rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: See below
Favorite road trip: The American West
Car he learned to drive in: 1954 Ford
First car bought: 1954 Ford

For his new album, "Ride Out," Bob Seger did what he always does as part of the recording process: Listen to the tracks in his car as he drives back and forth between his home and the studio.

"I have a writing house 12 miles north of my regular house. I've got a studio here in the writing house, and we mix everything here, so when I drive home I listen to the mixes on the stereo," Seger tells Motor Trend. "I do that all the time in the car. I try to decide if I want to change anything."

Photo: Leni Sinclair© Provided by MotorTrend Photo: Leni Sinclair Although Seger owns a classic 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, he mostly listens to the songs in his black 2013 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon -- which he gives a perfect 10.

"I'd rate it a 10 because you can take the top off; you can take the doors off. It's like a little multi-tool. And what I love about the Rubicon is you can drive coast to coast without a road," Seger says. "It's kind of bouncy. It's a little rough riding if you take it for a long ride … But for daily trips, it's perfect, and you never get stuck. … The Rubicon Jeep is probably one of the best off-roaders you can have. "

He says he also likes the windshield on the Jeep. "That's what I love, that old military feel when you're looking out over the hood. I just dig it. It reminds me of being in an airplane or something," he says, with laugh.

Seger says he's a big Jeep fan. "It's got the real beefy four-wheel drive. It's not a phony four-wheel drive. It's the real deal, the low range and everything. There just isn't anywhere you can't go in the thing, and you won't get stuck. I'm a Jeep junkie," he says, laughing. "I've had them for years and this is my favorite iteration. … It's got a decent stereo, too."

Celebrity Drive Bob Seger© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Bob Seger

1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1


Rating: 5
Seger loves his 1971 Mustang, a 429 SCJ Super Cobra Jet. "I love listening to the big block," he says. "That's what I love about it. It's very comfortable. It's a hardtop, grabber green. It's totally unrestored; it's the way it was when it came out of the factory and it looks really good. I know the definitive Boss 9 or 429 is the '69-'70 but I prefer the '71. I can't remember the guy's name, but some Japanese designer designed it for Ford. And I just love the design. I think it's beautiful."

He gives it a 5 out of 10 because of the big rear end. "It's pretty loud if you get going over 70," he says, laughing. "It's all about straight-line speed with the big block. It doesn't corner real well or anything like that."

Photo: ABC Photographer Randy Holmes© Provided by MotorTrend Photo: ABC Photographer Randy Holmes

2011 Porsche Carrera S


Rating: 10
Seger's six-speed manual Carrera S was made the last year before Porsche switched from hydraulic-assist power steering to electric. "That's a killer. I love that car. I don't drive it nearly as much. That's usually in Florida in the winter, and when it's here (Michigan), I drive it here on a nice day and I can put the top down."

Seger has owned Porsches throughout the years, which includes one he had in the 1960s. "I remember I had a 356. I really liked that. It was an SC. That was a hardtop, and, again a stick," Seger says, adding that he really loves manual transmissions and "I really do love Porsches."

Celebrity Drive Bob Seger© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Bob Seger

Car he learned to drive in

Seger was born in Detroit, but moved to Ann Arbor when he was 5. "My first car was a 1954 Ford, a flat-head six, three on the tree. That's what I learned to drive in. And even in driver's ed they taught us on stick. How times have changed. They took us on hills and made us do the clutch, made sure we didn't roll back into somebody," he says, laughing.

Seger bought the car himself. "Even when I was 16, I worked. My dad left home when I was 10, so it was just my mother and my brother and I, and we all had to work," he says. "I learned to drive on a driver's ed car, but it was a stick, so the first car I bought was a stick and I just like driving stick. I still do today."

At the time Seger worked three jobs: He delivered pizzas, worked at a clothing store, and played at fraternity parties with his band. "I also went to school. I was on a co-op work program," he says. "So I took all my classes early, and then I worked at the clothing store, and then at night I delivered pizzas, and on the weekends I played with my first band."

The 1954 Ford lasted only three months and then Seger bought a 1954 Chevy, which endured just three weeks. "The rear end went out and I got rid of that," he says, laughing. "They just died on me. I bought it in '61 so it wasn't that old at the time. But I just bought a couple of bad cars. I didn't have a lot of money; we weren't doing that good after my dad left. I took it to the junkyard and got the money for it and went and bought the Chevy and that died even quicker. Same thing -- took it to the junkyard. And then I finally got a good car. The first good car I had was a '55 Ford and that one I drove a lot."

The 1955 Ford cost him $100 and it lasted a couple of years. "It was a much better car, and it had the 262 V-8, " he says. "The '55 was great; I loved that. That was really a nice car."

Photo: Robert Cook© Provided by MotorTrend Photo: Robert Cook

First splurge car

After the success of 1976's "Night Moves" and " 'Live' Bullet" albums, Seger bought a manual 1976 BMW 530i.

"What I liked about that car was the great visibility," Seger says. "The BMWs from back then just had great visibility, and I love, of course, driving a stick, so it was hard to get a four-door that was a stick. It was silver, and I held onto it for about five years. I really liked that car; it was really fun to drive."

Seger bought the BMW just after "Night Moves," and he used to leave it at Los Angeles airport for months at a time.

"Back then in the mid-'70s we were on the road almost all the time, and if we weren't on the road, we were in the studio. So I remember taking that car to California, and I recorded 'Old Time Rock and Roll' and 'Hollywood Nights' and all that stuff in California, and that was my car in California.

"I used to leave it at LAX and I'd come back three months later," Seger says, with a laugh. "There'd be all sorts of dust all over it, but the great thing was it would start right up."

Photo: William Rummel© Provided by MotorTrend Photo: William Rummel

Favorite road trip

About seven years ago, Seger took his family on a road trip through the West. "I drove my family from Mt. Rushmore, Rapid City, (South Dakota), all the way to Durango, Colorado; went through Monument Valley. I took them to the meteor crater in Arizona, and we went to Grand Canyon. I think I took that in a Chevy TrailBlazer. It's a pretty comfortable car … and I had a Chevy TrailBlazer for a long time."

What made it Seger's favorite road trip was the beautiful scenery. "The 100-mile views in Wyoming and Arizona, all this stuff that you see. I love the West," he says.

Last year Seger took another memorable road trip in New England with his daughter to see the autumn foliage. "We went to Vermont on a color tour, a leaf tour. We went to Ticonderoga, and it was really fun," he says. "My son was in college and my wife couldn't go, so I just took my daughter."

Their destination was Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. "It's really amazing; it's the highest wind speeds on Earth when we get up there, so it blows an average of 30 to 40 miles an hour. When we got up there, you just see forever. It rises up out of everything and you go up and you're above the clouds. It's a pretty treacherous drive up there," Seger says, with a laugh. "One of the scariest drives you can make. … We drove all the way up to the top, and they warned you if you're afraid of heights don't take this drive; there's no guardrail. You go up about 7,500 feet and it's pretty amazing when you get up there. We happen to hit a really good day. We saw moose; we saw bears. It was really cool."

Seger also enjoyed driving through the little country roads through Vermont and upstate New York. "We went to Albany, Fort Ticonderoga, which is on Lake Champlain. It's a beautiful area," he says.

Seger drove his Jeep from Michigan for that road trip. "We didn't know what it was going to be like going up Mt. Washington, so I wanted to have something that was real grippy. And the Rubicon is real grippy," he says, with a laugh.

They mostly talked and took photos "and I let her listen to her stuff, which is younger stuff. She loves young-people music, so we listened to a lot of Top 40," he says.

Celebrity Drive Bob Seger© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Bob Seger

"Ride Out"

Seger's latest album, " Ride Out," was released in October and " Detroit Made " is the first single, which was written by John Hiatt, previously featured in Celebrity Drives.

"It's a song I heard was written by John Hiatt and he's talking about a classic car. And his classic car is a Buick 225, a Deuce and a quarter Buick Electra 225. The part that got me, and that I love, was it's 'Detroit-made Deuce and a quarter, babe' and everybody in our band is from Detroit, so it works on a couple of levels," Seger says. "We're all from southern Michigan and proud of it, and I thought that would be a cool song for us to put out."

Since he's from Michigan, Seger does try to keep up with news about American automakers. "I think it's doing pretty damn good -- Ford and Chrysler and GM," he says. "I know GM has had some problems but I think they're trying real hard to overcome them. But from what I read in the business section, the sales are pretty good."

The title " Ride Out " comes from Seger's love of driving. "Michiganders, we love to drive, driving up north. I just love to drive," he says, with a laugh. "Ride out, see something new, get away from things that bother you and take a trip. That's basically what it's about."

Seger is on a North American tour in support of his new album. For more information about Seger and his tour stops, please visit bobseger.com.

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