In the fourth installment of #takethewheel, we talk with Mr. Sinuhe Xavier (pronounced, sin-way) - friend, customer, award-winning director and creative director for Overland Journal. When he's not traveling the globe directing films for some of the biggest names in the automotive industry, you can find him cruising Mulholland Drive in his restored 1962 Land Rover Series IIa.
Sit back and let Mr. Xavier dish on his favorite whiskey, the car he most regrets selling and his curious connection to Ernest Hemingway.
Tell us about the day job:
Sinuhe Xavier (SX): My mortgage gets paid by directing car commercials and shooting commercial photography. That’s just my job, directing a spot or shooting a campaign for Volkswagen affords me to live a life of travel. I’m infinitely curious about our world.
Word on the street is that you’re a car guy / general lover of things with motors. How about a rundown of your current stable?
SX: I’m thinning the herd. I’m down to my 1962 Land Rover Series IIa that is fully restored, 2003 VW Westfalia Eurovan, 2012 BMW R1200GS Rally Edition and a 1980 BMW r80gs, Serial #49.
Do you have a favorite?
SX: They are all special in their own way and serve different purposes. It’s like a set of kitchen knives, one for filleting fish and another for peeling an apple. With that said, the Land Rover is the one that makes me smile the most.
Is there anything you dislike about driving the rover?
SX: The problem with a 50 year old truck are the creature comforts - no A/C, no power steering, no adjustable seats, etc. But all that doesn’t matter when you’re behind the wheel. There is an intangible feeling to driving a 50 year old Land Rover in perfect working condition.
Have any other toys without motors we should know about?
SX: I have 4-5 bicycles, mountain bikes, cruiser bikes, CX bikes and a burrito slayer.
Car you most regret selling?
SX: My 1999 Discovery SD. I sold it because I just had my son, had 4 motorcycles and no room. It was the last of the great Land Rovers available in North America. As with all my cars and motorcycles I maintain a first right of refusal when it comes up for sale again.
Any toys on the wish list?
SX: I’m thinking of 2008 Porsche 997 Turbo these days.
You have one hour to escape your normal day, what do you do?
SX: I’ll usually jump on my motorcycle and whip across Mulholland to the beach and back to my studio in Hollywood or I head to a friend's studio or workspace and kill the time.
Now you’ve got 2 weeks.
SX: Latin America - mountains, jungles, deserts, beaches and still unspoiled for the most part.
The one hotel that you judge all others by and why.
SX: The Atlantis in Zurich. The second I stepped out of the car I was welcomed and treated like family in an unpretentious way. The architecture is unreal, a mid-century modern masterpiece that overlooks the city. Muhammed Ali used to stay here when he trained in Europe.
You can teleport to any bar in the world right now, where to?
SX: The Hemingway Bar at the Ritz in Paris. It is a small, intimate room filled with Hemingway’s memorabilia. My mother taught Spanish to Ernest’s grandson Edward and his mother in Montana, so my introduction to Hemingway wasn’t through his books.
What’s your drink?
SX: Hibiki 17 neat with a side of sparkling water. Japanese whisky is just the most fantastic brown liquor in the world.
What will we always find on your nightstand?
SX: 1st Edition of Wallace Stegner’s Beyond the 100th Meridian, Bill McMullen Sculpture and oddly enough a baseball signed by Derek Jeter from a commercial I did with him in 2010.
The one item you are never without?
SX: My iPhone. It’s basically my brain.
You travel a ton, do you have a travel hack for everybody out there?
SX: Whenever flying over multiple time zones, schedule your flight so that you land in the new time zone as early in the day as possible. Sleep on the plane as much as possible and stay up until at least 9 pm in the new zone.
Where’s your hometown?
SX: Bozeman, Montana.
Place we’re most likely to find you if we’re looking?
SX: Somewhere on the Colorado Plateau. It is the area of Southern Utah that, to me anyways, feels like the center of the universe.
Place we’d never find you?
SX: Never say never. I’m constantly surprised with the places I end up.
The road you drive to take your mind off things?
SX: Any road will do, but Highway 95 in Southern Utah does a pretty damn good job of clearing the cobwebs.
What’s on the wrist?
SX: Rolex 5513 (1973 Dateless Submariner)
Canon or Nikon or something else?
SX: I shoot with a mix of Canon, Sony, Leica and Mamiya for stills and Arri for motion. Lenses are all over the map from antique Leica’s to Panavision Ultra primes.
Diesel or Gas?
SX: Whatever the truck needs.
Rocks or neat?
SX: Neat, always.
Last Google search?
SX: Train Milan-Paris.
Biggest risk ever taken?
SX: Leaving school to become a professional skier and learning that I could clear my own path. It worked out well for me.
To see more of Sinuhe's amazing photography visit sinuhexavier.com. You can also keep up with him as he circles the globe by following his equally fantastic Instagram account.