Quick Stats: Titus Welliver, Actor, Bosch
Daily Driver: 2017 Audi S3 (Titus’ rating: 11 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: Los Angeles to Connecticut
Car he learned to drive in: 1968 VW Beetle
First car bought: 1972 Plymouth Road Runner
Titus Welliver, who plays the title character on the Amazon series Bosch, traded in his supercharged Mustang GT for a Prius after gas prices rose. But when the Prius got into a minor collision and he saw the damage it suffered, he switched to Audi and has been loyal to that brand ever since.
“I had a collision with my child in the car, doing no more than 5 miles an hour,” he says. “A Mini Cooper in front of me slammed on their brakes very suddenly, and I tapped them, didn’t hit them very hard, and it absolutely destroyed the Prius. The car was a complete loss for the insurance company, and it really scared the hell out of me. I had an Audi TT Roadster years ago. I’ve always liked Audi and have had good experiences with them, so I went and got the Allroad because it’s got the guts of the sports car, but it’s built like a tank.”
Welliver traded in his 2015 Audi Allroad for a 2017 Audi S3, which he said he rates an 11 or 20 on a scale of 1 to 10.
“I had initially gotten the Allroad because it was a station wagon, and I have lots of animals, lots of dogs, and three children,” he says. “So it was very practical, but then my wife got a Jeep. When my lease was coming up, I said, ‘I think I’m going to get a sedan,’ so of course I went back to Audi because I loved my Allroad. I drove the A4 and the 6, and I drove the 3. Then I drove an S3, and I went, ‘This is the car I want.’ I just love the car.”
Although it’s a smaller sedan, it’s still plenty comfortable for Welliver. “I have huge children; my sons are 6 feet, 6-foot-5, and my 11-year-old daughter is 5-foot-5, so I’ve got big kids,” he says. “They’re all comfortable sitting in the back, and it’s got plenty of legroom. It gets good gas mileage, but because it’s the S model, the Sport model, it’s very peppy. It’s a very, very fast car, so it’s really a sports car, but it also functions well when I have my family in it. It’s just a very, very comfortable car.”
There is nothing he dislikes about this Audi. “The stereo system is phenomenal—it’s a Bang & Olufsen system, great sound,” he says. “The gas mileage, surprisingly for a sports car, is very good because it has a Sport mode and just a plain drive mode. Really good gas mileage, and it’s lighter than some of the upper models, but it’s just a pleasure to drive.”
Welliver also reflected about what his father, the late American painter Neil Welliver, would say of being interviewed by Motor Trend.
“I have to laugh because Motor Trend, like National Geographic and Popular Mechanics, it’s cool to be talking to you just because that magazine has so been a part of my life. My entire life,” he says. “Everybody in my family, we are a very car-centric family. My dad had Alfa Romeos. He had so many vehicles it was ridiculous. He had old surplus military cars. He had vintage Dodge power wagons that looked like they were brand new.”
His dad just liked cars, Welliver says. “And he knew how to take them apart, but he was an artist. My dad was a fine artist. They call him the dean of American landscape painting. He was very famous, a globally renowned abstract expressionist. He probably would say, ‘Now there’s a worthwhile publication to do an interview for.’ Seriously, he would. He would take a dim view of me doing an interview with People magazine, but Motor Trend or Popular Mechanics? My father would be like, ‘Those are worthwhile publications.’ ”
2014 Toyota Tundra
Welliver, who also has three Harley-Davidson motorcycles, has a trusty 2014 Toyota Tundra. He loves it, and it stays at his Connecticut farmhouse. “Toyota trucks are fantastic,” he says. “I’ve had many over the years, and you can drive them for hundreds of thousands of miles, and they’re great.”
He gives it an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 because he says they’re extremely durable. He relies on it living on the East Coast during snow and inclement weather. “The vehicles that I’ve had since I’ve owned that farm have both been Toyotas. One was an FJ Cruiser, which I can’t say anything nice about. But I really like the Tundra.”
Welliver says the FJ Cruiser had sight lines that were awful, the rear windows didn’t go down, and he always felt like it was going to flip like a Suzuki Samurai. He got rid of it after a deer ran out in front of it. The deer wasn’t injured, but the FJ Cruiser wasn’t as lucky, and repairs ended up being expensive. “Also my kids hated to be in the back of it,” he says. “Passengers always complained that they felt nauseous. They got car sick when they were in it. So I was not sad to that one go, but I love my Tundra.”
Car he learned to drive in
“I spent my summers in Maine when I was kid, and my father had tractors. So the first things I really learned how to drive on were tractors, but my first actual car was a ’68 VW Beetle,” Welliver says. “My dad ostensibly taught me how to drive a tractor, and he said, ‘You know how to use a clutch, and you know how to change gears,’ but he didn’t really sit with me, so I think I drove the Beetle into the side of the barn four times before I finally got it into reverse, which was comical.”
Welliver practiced mostly on the mile-and-a-half-long dirt driveway outside his father’s summer home in Maine. “That’s where I learned how to drive because I would have no human contact there whatsoever,” he says. “The nearest person was two miles away, so I would just drive up and down the dirt road.”
The Beetle was a car his dad bought to get around in the spring. “In the springtime there, when we would have the great thaw, his dirt driveway would turn to soup,” Welliver says. “He welded a big steel skidplate on the bottom of it and then put big tires all the way around and cut the fenders off, so it was like a dune buggy. It was the only way to make passage from the end of his driveway into his home during the springtime, so that was kind of a beater car. So that’s why he said, ‘This is what you can learn to drive on.’”
First car bought
“I bought my older brother’s car, a 1972 limited edition Plymouth Road Runner. It had a 440, and the horn made the same sound as the Road Runner on the cartoon,” he says. “It was chartreuse with a white vinyl roof. My father called it the ‘punk mobile,’ but I loved that car, and I drove it for many years.”
Welliver got the Road Runner his senior year of high school and had it for a couple of years. He spent his summers in Maine, where he worked different jobs to save up to buy the car. “I worked on a lobster boat, and I’d rake blueberries, cut fire wood,” he says. “I bought the car from my brother for $1,200, which was a staggering amount of money. It took me forever to raise the money, but I worshipped that car. If I would drive it through a puddle, I would literally go to the nearest car wash and wash it.”
His aim was always to buy his brother’s car. “I totally coveted that car, and then he wanted a new car, so my buying his car, which he had taken good care of, enabled him to go and get a new car,” Welliver says. “I kept it for years.”
Welliver has had many TV and movie roles, including being in several Ben Affleck–directed movies. When he started making money as an actor, he treated himself to an Audi TT Roadster convertible with the limited edition baseball glove interior.
“I loved that car. I loved it,” he says. It was either a 1999 or 2000 model year. “It was a great drive, and I loved the body shape. It was reminiscent of the bathtub Porsches. I would drive to a corner store for a quart of milk just to have an excuse to get in the car.”
It was also a comfortable ride for the 6-foot-tall actor. “It was a really comfortable car to ride in,” he says. “It’s not great for rear passengers. Like any two-seater, the back seat’s really meant to hold a fishing rod and that’s about it, or a tool kit.”
Welliver ended up letting the Audi go and getting a more family-friendly Volvo. “My sons were little, and I wasn’t going to put a car seat in the back of a convertible TT Roadster, “ he says. “Being a parent, it had outlived its usefulness and its practicality, so I got a Volvo Cross Country station wagon.”
Favorite road trip
“I’ve made a lot of trips back and forth across the country because I never wanted to fly my golden retriever and put him in a crate,” Welliver says. “In the summertime when I would leave Los Angeles to go to the East Coast to my home in Connecticut, I would put the dog in the car and drive him. My two favorite parts going cross country are Utah and Colorado.”
He no longer needed to make those cross-country drives when his dog died. “It doesn’t stop me from driving,” he says. “I live in Los Angeles, and I keep my horses out in Malibu. So I still do a fair amount of driving, and when I’m back East, we drive all over New England, which is one of my favorite places really to drive.”
He gets to drive around New England when he and his family swap Los Angeles for the East Coast mountains in the summertime when he’s in Connecticut. “It’s nice because it’s isolated,” he says. “It’s in the mountains, and I don’t have to go to a grocery store. I can buy all my food from my neighbors who are organic farmers.”
Welliver also loves driving around Boston. “You can’t beat New England with a stick,” he says. “I love Boston. Boston is very provincial, and I’ve shot a couple of movies there. I shot Gone Baby Gone and The Town with Ben Affleck, so I have a great affection for Boston. If you go to Charlestown now, Charlestown has turned into this blooming metropolis. It’s no longer relegated to roughneck-townie-bank-robber breeding ground, which is a really wonderful part of the history in the insanity of it.”
Amazon’s Bosch Season 3 on April 21
In his show Bosch, Welliver drives what he calls the Bosch mobile. “It’s an old beater cop car; I think it’s a Crown Vic or something like that,” he says. “It’s seen way better days. Ironically, the car that we used as Bosch’s personal car in the pilot was this completely tricked-out Charger, a limited edition Charger with a Hurst stick shift. The producers and I all agreed that it was too much of a Batmobile. It was a black Charger with red pinstripes. It was a cool car. Titus Welliver wanted to drive that car, but it was not something that my character would drive.”
Welliver says Harry Bosch’s personal car is a Cherokee from the early 1980s. “It’s like a Smurf blue Cherokee, which has also seen better days, but it makes sense,” he says.
This the first time Welliver is playing the title character in a series. “It’s a dream job because it’s a very, very multilayered, interesting character to play,” he says.
Since being in this Amazon series, he does get more attention from fans and a lot of good feedback. “But it’s nice because I so deeply appreciate and really, really am filled with gratitude for the support from the fans for my body of work and now so with Bosch,” he says. “It is a global appeal because of the tremendous success of Michael Connelly’s novels that are out there. People just genuinely really like the show, and there’s a lot of really nice, good will toward the show. It’s a hell of a lot better to be on a show that people are thoroughly enjoying and come up and say how much they like it than somebody who says, ‘Oh, you’re on that show. I hate that show.’ ”
He notes that many viewers often stream through an entire season in two nights. “I think that speaks volumes about people’s attraction to the show,” he says.
After two seasons, Welliver said he hopes viewers now feel a sense of familiarity with Bosch in a way that the character feels like a comfortable sweater.
“The big scream is always, ‘Why do we have to wait so long in between seasons?’ But there’s a reason, just because we take our time, and we really shoot it well,” he says. “It’s well worth the wait. In that regard, I’m very excited for it to get out there.”
Of the new season, Welliver says there are a lot of wonderful guest stars, and the writing is always top notch. “It’s bigger and badder than ever, and the scope of the show this season is very, very broad,” he says. “There’s great conflict for the character, and we see him kind of go down the rabbit hole a little bit into a darker place than the audience is accustomed to. I’m excited for it to come out because I think they also chose the books that we used this season. They chose really, really well and intertwined those stories beautifully. I think the fan base for both the books and the show are going to be very, very happy.”
Season 3 of Bosch is available on Amazon April 21.