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Celebrity Drive: Actor Robert Patrick

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/13/2015 K.S. Wang

Quick Stats: Robert Patrick, actor
Daily Driver:2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (Robert's rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Favorite road trip: Mexico
Car he learned to drive in: 1972 Ford Mustang
First car bought: 1970s Mercury Capri

After "Scorpion" actor Robert Patrick played the memorable role of T-1000 in the Hollywood blockbuster "Terminator 2," he didn't go out and splurge on a car. But his new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat certainly befits the rugged actor, who was also recently a first-time racer in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity race. Patrick finished in seventh place, against competitors like fellow Celeb Drives Mekhi Phifer, Mark McGrath, and Nathan Kress.

While Patrick might not take his Hellcat to the track, he enjoys its powerful engine. "I like everything about it. It's one of the most well-thought-out and put-together cars I've ever owned," says Patrick, rating the automatic Hellcat a perfect 10. "I love it. I giggle all the time while I'm driving it. It's just a hoot. It's 707 horsepower —fastest production engine right now that you can get in a domestic car, fastest car you can get. Supercharged. It was just the ultimate machine. I loved the car. Dodge did an incredible job with it. I drive around in 707 horsepower daily and just love it. Love it."

Patrick has driven a lot of cars, and there's nothing he dislikes about the Hellcat. "It's a perfect car," he says. "I had a Dodge Challenger SRT8 which was a 392 and I loved it, and as soon as I heard about the specs on the new engine and what they were doing, I immediately had a car broker get me on a list and I paid over sticker for it."

Photo Credit: Jack Fleming© Provided by MotorTrend Photo Credit: Jack Fleming So far Patrick has logged about 3,000 miles on the Hellcat. "I just got delivery in January. I take it to work. It's just great. They put everything in it. It's got everything you want. You've got Bluetooth, you've got navigation. It's just a fantastic car," he says. "I'm 56 years old, I've had hot rods my whole life, and I finally have the ultimate Detroit muscle car."

Almost all of his cars have been American, except for a BMW 740IL. "It was a really well-engineered car. It was 2000, the last year of the square body type," he says. "I loved that car, but while I had that car as my daily, I would always have a Camaro. I had a '67 Camaro that was a 540 Merlin, big block engine that was built by Sammy Maloof out of Maloof Racing in San Gabriel, California."

Before that, Patrick had a 1968 Pontiac GTO, a 1964 Ford falcon, and a 1953 Chevy Bel Air with a straight-six engine. "So I've always had muscle cars and usually a daily driver, but this is the first time I wrapped it all up into one, where my daily driver has 707 horsepower," he says. "And it's dependable. I don't have to worry about it. That's the only thing with old cars. This one's solid."

Patrick bought his daughter a Toyota Prius he occasionally drives. "She loves that car," he says. "My wife just drives a Ford Edge. I'm not sure how much longer she's going to drive that. She wants me to get her a Porsche."

Photo Credit: Jack Fleming© Provided by MotorTrend Photo Credit: Jack Fleming Photo Credit: Jack Fleming© Provided by MotorTrend Photo Credit: Jack Fleming

Car he learned to drive in

Patrick learned to drive on his dad's car while in high school when they lived in Detroit. "I'm from Atlanta. I lived in Atlanta, Boston, went to high school in Detroit, Michigan, so I was around the car companies in the Motor City," he says.

"The car I learned to drive on was a '72 Mustang with a 302 V-8 and that's the car I raced. And we did a lot of racing," he says of his dad's automatic Mustang. "That's the car I started riding around in and horsing around in. I drove around Michigan, and you had to learn to drive in the snow. You'd go downtown, drive around. That was fun to drive downtown."

The family moved to Detroit because Patrick's dad worked for the Bank of the Commonwealth in the 1970s. "It's big in the car industry and on the board of directors was Barry Gordy," Patrick says. "So everybody's connected to the car companies there. One of my first jobs in high school, I filed burrs off bellhouses for transmissions for Jeeps that were aluminum die-cast. I'd go in at 3 o'clock in the morning, drive to work in that factory."

Patrick worked on the factory line during the summers in high school. He also street raced. "Yeah, stupid racing that you shouldn't be doing. That I don't endorse. I would not advocate anybody doing that, but I did," he says.

Photo Credit: Jack Fleming© Provided by MotorTrend Photo Credit: Jack Fleming Patrick has fond memories of learning how to drive with his dad when he was living in Georgia. He had friends there who owned on farms and there were go-karts around, so many kids started driving an early age.

"When I lived in Georgia, my dad used to have either an old Oldsmobile or Buick. It was his jalopy and he would put me on his lap and let me steer and we'd go on dirt roads of Georgia, and I'd race around," he says. "He'd work the accelerator. That was the first time I ever steered. He also had a Volkswagen at one time and I remember sitting on his lap and driving that. It was back before you had all these lap belts, it was back in the cool days, the '60s."

Patrick's parents let him take the Mustang on his first road trip when he was just 16. "My parents let me drive from Detroit down to Dayton, Ohio, to see a friend. So that was pretty cool, my old man let me do that," he says, recalling the conversation. "'You got your license?' 'Yeah.' 'Alright, take the car.' That was the car I drove to school. My old man got another car and he'd let me use that."

First car bought

Patrick's dad got rid of the Mustang so Patrick had to buy a car: a late 1970s Mercury Capri. "I had to buy this Mercury Capri. It was kind of a sexy car," Patrick says. "It was a pretty cool-looking — they looked like the Mustangs at the time. All I remember was it was mine, it was black, and it had lime green pinstriping on it and it was a manual. I think it was a five-speed."

Patrick bought the Capri after he quit college and worked various jobs. "I was working at a bank in Cleveland, doing whatever — paint houses and stuff like that, dreaming of becoming an actor and trying to figure out how I was going to make my plan," Patrick says.

Photo Credit: Jack Fleming© Provided by MotorTrend Photo Credit: Jack Fleming

Favorite road trip

Part of Patrick's plan to become an actor was to make a one-way road trip to try to realize his dreams. "It ended up being the greatest road trip, taking my Mercury Capri, throwing in my American flag and a sleeping bag and answering machine and all the clothes I had that I could take. I drove from Cleveland out to Hollywood. Lived in my car and told everybody I was an actor," he says.

A lady rented Patrick a furnished apartment and he got a job waiting tables. "Got an audition for a play. Got that play. Somebody saw me in that play and got me an audition for a Roger Corman movie," he says. "I got that movie and the next thing you know I did six, seven movies for Roger Corman. Finally got an agent, got in the union, and once I did that, my first job was 'Die Hard 2.' Then after that I did another play and I got 'Terminator 2' and the rest is history. But my Mercury Capri took me to Hollywood and was my home, where I hung my hat."

He talks about that road trip with fondness for the anticipation of what it might bring. "I left Cleveland September 15, 1984. I remember it vividly. It was one of the only times I ever saw my dad tear up," he says.

After Patrick got to Los Angeles, the Capri's engine died. "I had to have a new engine put in it and I eventually sold it and bought a brand-new Ford Ranger pickup truck," he says. He kept driving the Ranger after "Terminator 2."

Celebrity Drive: Actor Robert Patrick

Patrick does a cross-country road trip every year and really enjoys such road trips on a motorcycle. "It's hard to say what's my favorite road trip. I do a run to the Vietnam wall," he says. "I like riding — I'm an avid Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiast. But my favorite road trip is probably a road trip I took down in Mexico, before Mexico got really dangerous to travel in. Me and a buddy went camping around in my Ford Ranger pickup truck."

He had a camper on the back. "It was a pretty good time. This was 1985," he says. "I'll tell you another great road trip. Ford Ranger, right after the L.A. Riots, me and my wife went camping in that pickup truck to the Grand Canyon. It rained the whole time. It was awesome."

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Photo Credit: Jack Fleming© Provided by MotorTrend Photo Credit: Jack Fleming

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