I love cars, although living in London England, I no longer own one.
I chose and drove several for my mother, a Austin Mini Metro – my mother accidentily drove into the back of a tractor in the low sun one evening at 50 mph, we where both lucky to walk away, although I broke my femur (biggest bone in the body) which meant 2 months in bed / traction before I walked again.
The next car I helped my mother choose was a Ford Fiesta GLS 1.3 Mk2, Blue Metallic, my brother let the hand brake off and it hit a telegraph pole, but was fixed up and lasted until my mother was shunted from behind. Here things worked out well although she lost her memory for a day, which scared us all, she eventually got £5,000 compensation.
The next car we chose came from a farm, a true farm car complete with a rich odour and orange velour seats. It was a Volkwagen Golf, Mk 1 Automatic, 1.6 ltr but well used. It was well built but eventually the gear box gave out, after some expensive repairs by the local garage it failed immediately and we fell out with the garage, and travelled to Exeter the nearest city and bought a Peuogot 205 Junior Auto – Automatic as we’d found since switching from ‘stick shift’ as you say in the states, or ‘manual’ as we prefer that my mother had be major accident free, just the odd dent once in a while.
The Peuogot lasted a long time, and was eventually replaced thanks to help from my Grand mother with a nearly new 106 yellow Automatic that still going now.
It was around the time of the Peuogot that I came into some money from my Godfather who passed away, and together with savings from the territorial army while I was at University meant I had enough to buy my own car.
I researched carefully, and decided to buy a ‘classic’ ie an older car, with the theory that it would keep it’s value, and I could eventually sell on for a similar price.
However using our local car mag Auto Trader I found a low cost classic – a Morris Minor Traveller, a bit too low cost, in Cornwall owned by a mid-wife. I bought it for £500, it went, but I soon found it needed work to keep it going.
The beauty of the Minor is it’s simplicity, a big advocate is Charles Ware http://www.charleswaresmorrisminorcentre.co.uk/ – reading up convinced me it was worth the effort and I set on not only keeping the car running but restoring it.
I soon found that my £500 bargain was a hybrid, the engine was from an Austin Ital, 1.3 ltr instead of the 1000 cc original, good news to a 19 year old. The brakes too had been switched on the front from drum to disc.
The peak of the car’s journey with me was a trip from Devon south west England up to Fort William in Scotland in the winter. We made it and got back, but I’ll never forget the slide as we drove down the mountain, and the satisfaction of a swift over steer to recover.
I finished University and got a student working Visa to Canada, pumping gas then working on the ski hill in Banff. Meanwhile my twin brother took on the Morris (no money was exchanged), which gave him the bug for classics.
Sadley when I returned the next year, the Morris needed lots of work, my brother had moved onto more sexy classics in an MG, and after travelling I didn’t have the finance to fund yet more work, after already spending around £2000 on top of the purchase price.
Rather than see it rot, I posted the car on eBay. A Texan won the auction for around £100, but we couldn’t agree on shipping, so it was collected by a local, and I’d love to find out where it went next, perhaps Texas after all?