We had a funny conversation walking the dog today, about cars we’ve both owned over the years. Hubby said he couldn’t remember much about his, apart from how reliable (or not) they were, and of course me insulting his Lada on our first meeting. Me on the other hand can remember all of mine, including most of the registration numbers.
I passed my test in 1978, and my first car was a 1965 Mini, hand painted royal blue, and bought from a neighbour for £100. Big mistake. The car lasted me less than a month before the engine died in the rush hour at traffic lights on the way home one day. The friendship died too.
My second car was a 1966 Anglia, which had had just one owner, who put it to bed in the garage at night with a blanket over the bonnet and a greenhouse heater under the engine, regardless of the weather. Lovely little car, lasted me 2 years but hated the wet as it simply would not start if there was any rain about, garaged or not (no blanket or electricity either).
Next to come into my life was a navy blue 1974 Renault 12. I called her LoJo because of her plate, and she was brilliant. I did my first 100mph in her and frightened myself to death. I did a lot of mileage in her too and she never let me down. I got custody of her in the divorce together with the bank loan that went with it.
Keeping in with the foreign makes, a white Datsun Violet took my fancy, and was one of the most comfortable rides I can remember. I had a bit of embarrassment in the beginning though as I couldn’t find the button to retract the aerial (the Renault’s was electric) so phoned the dealer to ask where it was. I couldn’t find it because it didn’t have one (blush). When I came to put my first lot of petrol in it, I couldn’t find the petrol cap, but I’d be damned first before phoning them up and asking! I eventually found it cunningly disguised in the black wing motif by the back passenger door. I also remember loading up three kids and two Nans in it and going to Compton Acres near Poole, having a picnic in the car because the skies opened and we all got drenched. That was also the day we had our photos taken at the Oceanarium on the quay with a 20 foot python called Monty. Another reliable vehicle, but her bodywork started to rust out way before she did.
I had another white car in a 1980 Talbot Horizon after that. I bought it because I wanted a cassette player and the Datsun only had a radio. Pretty expensive reason to change, eh? (Bit like changing the car because the ash tray was full. Old joke, sorry). Exmo lasted me several years until the gearbox gave up the ghost and I had to get a car in a hurry. Mum lent me £300 and I got an old Austin Maxi I called Thomas, as it was like driving a tank after my little Talbot. It was also my introduction to 5 gears. I only had it a few months as it was unlikely to pass the next MOT, but I got £1000 trade in for it when I bought a sweet little 1988 Yugo 55, complete with the go faster stripes, that I called Harriet. A few years later, Hubby also got a Yugo, but he had the baby 45, and we called that Harvey. We had so much fun in those little cars. We once organised a treasure hunt, and no-one could understand how we could get to different places en-route so quickly. It wasn’t until they saw us parked side by side that they realised we had 2 vehicles. Oh, I didn’t mention they were the same colour did I? Harvey also had a couple of aliases, as we brought home a pine double bed frame (in long boxes) on the roof rack, so he looked like an under training fire engine, and on another occasion a makeshift ‘camper van’ when we bought a dog kennel. It was the last one in the shop so had already been put together, so we just strapped it to the roof!
My next vehicle, Walter, was a mistake, but Harriet was starting to cost serious money to get through the MOT so it was time to change. The Skoda Favorit was a serious error of judgement. It failed it’s first ever MOT, had to have a new steering rack and exhaust within the first year of having it, and after getting it through its second MOT in1999, I put it in part exchange for my first brand new car, a Hyundai Atoz, called The PPV because it was red and looked like a Postman Pat van. Let me introduce you to not only 5 gears, but POWER STEERING. Wow. Overcook it and you’d spin on a sixpence. Nice to drive but a little bit cramped if you had 2 chubby people in the front (ie, me and hubby, or me and a Mum) so as I can’t drive very well with my arms squished to my sides, 2 years later the PPV got put in P/X against The Fonz, a new red Suzuki Wagon R. Much better. We could even get a washing machine in the back (another story).
I had that for 2 years too, but decided maybe it was a bit too big, so opted for a smaller Suzuki Alto. We both had good jobs and decided to get Hubby one too, so we had a matching pair. A neighbour down the road thought I worked for the company as we’d both had new cars again. Another mistake. Mine ran as sweet as a nut, his kept breaking down, so less than a year later, we put them BOTH in P/X against my current 2005 Peugeot 206. I LOVE this car, and not just because I got the sweetest of deals on it. Wanna know ?????
The garage had a promotion on diesel vehicles and were including things like air conditioning as standard. With the two 11 month old Altos going against it, it would cost me just over four grand (original price £12,300). I told him if he could make it a round four thousand, I’d write him a cheque there and then. You’ve never seen a guy do recalculations so fast, and sure enough he managed to lose those extra couple of hundred pounds. However, I wasn’t finished. I was already going to get a year’s fully comprehensive insurance, plus 3 years membership to the RAC as part of the package, but I asked for a full tank of fuel plus a year’s road tax rather than the offered 6 months. He agreed (obviously not wishing to lose the sale and his commission) so everyone was happy. As soon as we got home though, the phone was ringing and it was the garage. He said as I’d bought a diesel vehicle, I was also entitled to £400 cash back! It’s doubtful he made a lot of money on this one and I think I heard gentle sobbing in the background when we hung up.
This little gem is so cheap to run (road tax only £30 pa and insurance sub £200), economical on the gas and servicing, and in 8 years, I have finally clocked up 30,000 miles! Yes, honest.
Fond memories of vehicles past and present. Bit of a funny thing to talk about in the woods though!