Sam Thaiday's cars tell the story of his career
THE CARS Sam Thaiday has driven over the years reflect the trajectory of his career with the Brisbane Broncos.
From the modest but trusty old Mitsubishi he bought as an 18-year-old rookie, to the flash Audi he wowed the city of Brisbane with as captain to his current, black, grunt-filled Subaru Levorg - Thaiday's drive to make it to top gear has never waned.
"My first car was a dark blue 1996 Mitsubishi Magna that I bought from a servo in Townsville, which had a bit of skin cancer," he grins.
"I was 18 and I'd been down here in Brisbane for pre-season when I went home one Christmas, bought it and drove it back.
"I'd just got my first proper packet and I saved up for three months. I was proud as punch. You find a sense of freedom when you get a car.
"It served me well... a lot of good memories.
"I blew my speakers in it playing my music loud and I was filthy because they cost me nearly as much as the car.
"The speakers cost me $2000 and the car $3000.
"The air con would pick and choose when it worked... but I drove that car until it died."
After the "death" of the tried and true Mitsubishi he bought a Jeep Wrangler, his first new car, and one he learned a lot about the power of the Queensland sun in.
"I was pretty pumped about that," he grins.
"I remember driving to the Sunshine Coast with the boys once. I'd taken the hard top off and was thinking we were pretty mad.
"We all had our shirts off and there was a big accident and we got stuck in traffic. We had board shorts and towels but that was it, but by the time we got up there everyone was burnt to a crisp.
"So we put our towels around our shoulders and drove back home without even going for a swim."
As Thaiday rose through the representative ranks so did the standard of his cars.
"I was lucky enough to get a sponsored car after that," he says.
"I was driving around in a Toyota Camry for a while and had a Rav4 as well, through one of the third party sponsors.
"I was fortunate enough to get about eight different Audis when they became a club sponsor and I was driving around in an Audi when I was the club captain.
"I felt fairly flash and I'd wash it every week so it didn't look dirty. I'd check it all the time to make sure there were no dings in it and was scared about wrecking it.
"Because they were such a prestige car we'd have them for 5000km and swap them so they could sell them as ex-demos."
Thaiday is an ambassador for Llewellyn Motors in Ipswich, who have loaned him his Subaru Levorg - with the number plates BLAK BOX.
"Llewellyn's do a fair bit of community work out at Ipswich so throughout the year I will be doing some school visits with them and charity work," he says.
"So it is not just the opportunity to drive some great cars that I've linked with them but because of the opportunities to engage the people and kids out there in Ipswich who often miss out on visits from NRL teams.
"I've got my kids' seats in the back of my Levorg and sometimes a few flash cars will pull up beside me.
"The kids aren't often with me, but when they see the seats and think I won't have a go, I give them a bit of a go."
"It has got a fair bit of grunt about it and it is an automatic, so you've got to be careful."
Thaiday knows that third-party deals will end when he retires, when you might see him driving around in an old Combi.
"I have been very blessed to be able to drive some fantastic cars at the club, but it doesn't go on forever," he says.
"When I finish playing footy, depending how many kids I have, I might end up with a van at some point.
"But that doesn't worry me. I grew up in a Mitsubishi Starwagon and that is what I learned to drive in as a kid.
"Mum taught me, because she is an old farm girl and has driven every vehicle under the sun."