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Thread: Cars

  1. #1
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    Cars

    Not necessarily a thread for petrolheads but watching The Cars that Made Britain Great on TV just now reminded me of the many cars I've owned or driven over the last 40-odd years.

    image010.jpg

    This was the first car I drove. It was, I think, an Austin A35 Countryman with a 'galvanealed' body, so wasn't supposed to rust and was as solid as a rock. I was eight or nine years old and would sit on my father's lap and steer while he worked the pedals and gears. All out on the main road. What a thrill that was.
    Last edited by Desert Orchid; 11th January 2018 at 10:12 PM.
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    This was the car I unofficially 'learned' to drive in.

    cortina.JPG

    My father had gone without a car for a few years due to financial pressures in the household but splashed out £65 for this car in response to an ad in the local newsagent's window. I think it was about 7 years old at the time (a 1965 C-Reg) but, if I remember correctly, had quite a low mileage. My father went through the basics with me and took me to the local disused tank testing ground (near Clydebank). It didn't take me long to get the hang of it. It wasn't long before my mate, who had passed his test, was accompanying me in his role as 'experienced driver' and I drove the car to uni daily. I liked that car.

    Edit - don't know how to delete the phot of the Escort, the car I sat my test in.
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    Last edited by Desert Orchid; 11th January 2018 at 10:31 PM.
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    I learned to drive in a Morris 1000 Traveller; we then spent several summers travelling round Europe in it. Still have the number plate 400DOX. Never forget how scared I was when travelling in anyone elses car after I'd passed my test as I couldn't understand why they braked about 10 seconds after I would have done; one had to plan ahead when driving a moggie. It took us up and over all the passes in the Alps, though, when other, more glamorous cars had fallen by the wayside. People in garages used to point to it saying 'baum'. Had my driving lessons on the Cornish moors on Davidstow airdrome; taught my daughter to drive there, too. Must watch that programme...
    Last edited by moehat; 12th January 2018 at 1:49 AM.

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    The programme wasn't that great, moehat, I just didn't fancy anything else on TV last night. and I think it was a repeat.

    It was so-called celebrities talking about their first car, pretty much from the mini through to the Escort Mk II. Some of the cars, eg the Hillman Imp, got a proper slagging.

    I hadn't realised the Linwood plant, such a big deal up here, was so short-lived.
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    Super Moderator Diamond Geezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moehat View Post
    Had my driving lessons on the Cornish moors on Davidstow airdrome; taught my daughter to drive there, too. Must watch that programme...
    Taught our daughters on there too, used to live about seven or eight miles away

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    Senior Member Drone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Orchid View Post
    Some of the cars, eg the Hillman Imp, got a proper slagging.
    I was once lent an Imp as a 'courtesy car' and can confirm that it was not a thrilling experience

    I was allowed the occasional stop-start pootle around in my father's Austin 1100

    1100_06.jpg

    Though he refused to don the L Plates and teach me on the Queen's highway, insisting I had official lessons: he paid. These were in a Vauxhall Viva and the first car I owned was a 1976 Opel Kadett. Its mileage went 'round the clock' and was finally scrapped for a few pennies, though I had the nous to sell the mildly-cherishable registration number EBT 36S to Elite Registrations shortly before it met its end for slightly more pennies

    d686a8d478f5e0924dadb824e12bad36.jpg

    Those aren't the actual cars but are approximately the same models, colours and in the Kadett's case, condition
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    My first car was a 1972 Mk1 Ford Escort Mexico identical to this one.


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    Fancy bastert!!

    I sat my two tests in an Escort Mk I, like the one in the earlier thumbnail image only light blue.

    On the morning of my first test the instructor told me he'd been up half the night replacing the clutch! The biting point was completely different. It wasn't that big a deal, I suppose. I'd only had four official lessons before my test. I had another four before the second test.

    I can't say the clutch was why I failed as the instructor had to tell me by the time I got into fourth gear that I was over the speed limit!

    I passed second time no bother.
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    When I taught DD to drive [her dad started to do so but they just argued] I remember us pretending we were Thelma and Louise at Davidstow. As I'm the worlds worse [and slowest] driver, I'm not sure that my tuition got her through her test, but we did have fun!! I used to work at the creamery at Davidstow when I was a youngster [didn't last long; I was sacked for corrupting one of my colleagues;it wasn't true; she was seeing the lad who lived in the flat next to me,who was in a band,but told everyone she was staying with me, and I got the blame; being in my teens I didn't have the maturity to know that I should have protested about it...anyway, it was an awful place to work....]....

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    What was the lad in the band's name ?

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    I can't remember; this was 50 years ago [heck; can't believe it's that long ago]. We used to travel round Cornwall in an old transit. His flatmate/friend/brother? had a lazy eye and had to do a runner when he stole the money from a Noddy [?] charity box in [I think] Boscastle; may have been Tintagel. I worked at SPD Bodmin, Terry Dangers fish and chip shop in Tintagel and Mrs Pipers café in Boscastle. Lived at Hengar Manor, St Tudy for a while. My friend and flatmate married and settled in Cornwall; I ended up in Manchester. Justin from the Moody Blues lived in Crackington Haven I believe....hoping to go back to Cornwall for a holiday this summer; haven't been for years. Used to drink in The Cobweb on a Saturday night and walk all the way home to St Tudy. 50 years....crikey...

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    I think DG is wondering if it was him?

    Anyway, this is the [kind of] car I first owned. A Mk II Cortina.

    cortina mk II.jpg

    It was an F-reg in 'sea-foam blue', ie a blue so pale it was basically a blue-isih tint of white. I bought it from my brother, probably one of the worst decisions of my motoring history. I knew my brother loved the car but he'd moved to London and left it in the care of his brother-in-law. I'd been working in France and saved enough to pay my brother £200 in cash for it. It took me a few months to realise the brother-in-law had run the guts out of it. Repair after repair meant I was throwing good money after bad for long enough. Eventually my mate, who liked the car, asked if I'd sell it. I warned him about it and advised him against it. He insisted he liked it and offered me what I'd paid. Nowadays you'd bite of someone's hand for offering that kind of money but I told him I only wanted what I'd spent on it, £120 if I remember correctly.

    He bit my hand off, got it a respray and cleaned it up but it soon let him down too. Thankfully he never bore any resentment towards me as he accepted I'd given him ample opportunity not to buy it.
    Last edited by Desert Orchid; 12th January 2018 at 11:29 PM.
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    My next car was a dark blue VW Beetle, bought from a neighbour of my then wife-to-be, like this one. I think it was maybe an L-reg? I remember the first three letters of the reg plate but not much else.

    Beetle.jpg

    My fiancee of a few weeks and I bought it some time between October 1980 (I started work that month and remember using public transport for a while) and April 1981 (when we were married but we'd had the car for a while at that point and will always recall that we used the car to ferry stuff to the new house we'd got the keys for in the March of 1981). In the summer of 1982 I took it along for its MOT. A few hours later when i went to collect it the guy told me, "Your motor's scrap, son. I'll give you £35 for it for its scrap value." I politely declined but it needed masses of work to pass. I advertised it in the local paper 'for spares or repair' and asked for £100. The phone didn't stop ringing for days but I'd accepted the first caller's ton. I think I paid £180 for it but had spent a bit in the short time I'd had it. I had to tactfully explain to my new wife that no matter how much she admired a neighbour's car, she could perhaps let me decide whether it was worth buying in future...
    Last edited by Desert Orchid; 13th January 2018 at 12:41 AM.
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    Our next car was a British Racing Green Morris Marina, like this one:

    Marina.jpg


    I think it was an S-reg. I'd decided around this time I needed to be able to do minor servicing myself so I went to evening classes in car maintenance. I changed the water pump and alternator on this car in the time I had it. The one thing I do remember about it was that it was a bit of a workhorse. I remember taking a steep hill in fourth gear with four adults in the car at 30mph without the slightest complaint from the engine. That, believe it or not, impressed me!

    Also, having had so many different cars by now and having attended maintenance classes, I could recognise by sound pretty much every engine out there. One weekend, we stayed in my sister's caravan near Oban and to pass the time (in between love-making sessions) I bet Mrs O (my wife, not my mother!) that I could identify any passing engine just by the sound of it. I got every one right that night! I think she was more impressed by that...
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    My ex kept our Morris 1000 going by constantly welding it [the MOT garage even offered him a job, they were so impressed]. It was a sad day when he [the car] got a red certificate and got sold for spares.

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    ...love the Beetle. Did everyone flash/wave to you in those days? Had a friend with one and everywhere we went fellow Beetle owners would wave/toot/flash [I'd forgotten that...]...

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    No. They were still ten-a-penny back then.

    I do recall the day I first drove it into work (a school). At interval one of the school's more notorious young pupils, with whom I got on really well, sidled up to me and asked very surreptitiously if that was my blue Beetle in the bottom car park (I was trying to hide it!). Working hard to disguise my sense of foreboding that I might need to fix a slashed tyre before going home, I admitted it was.

    "Well, Sur," he whispered, "any time ye'r needin' any sperrs, gie's a shout. 'Errs hunners a Beetles in oor scheme!"

    I thanked him politely.
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    The next car after the Marina was our first ever brand new car. An Austin Metro. I think it was something like a 1.0LSE (top of the range other than the Vanden Plas) with a 3+E gearbox, meant to be extra-frugal but in reality it was a regular 4-speed. I think the colour was officially something like champagne green metallic.

    Austin_Metro_(2).jpg

    I did like the car to start with but it wasn't without its issues and soon the reality dawned on me that maybe it wasn't that great. I'd taken the view that maybe we were just unlucky with this car. Still, we kept it for two or three years then bought another brand new one in pale blue metallic. It didn't take long to realise it really was just a heap of junk. It was never out of the garage having work carried out under the terms of the warranty. I vowed then never again to buy a British car and have only gone back on that vow once since I traded it in in 1985 (? - the year of the new E-reg).
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    I learned to drive in a Metro.
    "Beat the price and lose. It's what we do".

    SlimChance, March 2018

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    First car was a Mazda -wrote it off the day after Beef or Salmon beat Best Mate at Leopardstown.

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