Saturday, September 6, 2014

My First Car

Car or Motorbike?

At eighteen years of age, the last car I would expect to, 'quietly' fall in love with would be a VW Beetle. Not exactly a cool motor to drive amongst my piers, especially an orange box standard 1200cc.

My old man had bought a VW Beetle, dismantled it down to the chassis and refurbished it. He put a flash kit car body on it called an Eagle SS, with gullwing doors and body lines as sleek as a Lamborghini. Give him a Haynes Manuel and a few tools and he was on his way. This was one of many hobbies, his philosophy, if it can be learned then he was going to do it.

My father said that if I didn't get a motorbike, be patient, and wait until I had past my driving test, the kit car would be mine.

Patient, I was a teenager!

Trading Standards After going against my father’s wishes and buying a motor bike to get to college, I past my driving test and was ready for a car. The thousand pounds I received for the sale of the bike in hand, I went to see a car locally.

A gleaming Fiat X19 sports car, advertised for 800 pounds, leaving some cash to pay for the insurance. It looked great, drove fine and I did the deal for 720 pounds, which was just as well, as the cheapest insurance quote was 450 pounds for six months.

The car lasted four months before the clutch went, and I had to call the AA from the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway.

My old man freed up the clutch, and insisted that we drive it down to the nearest car sales to do a deal with a more sensible car that he had seen, if there were any problems he could fix it without any costly garage bills.

When we pulled up at the garage, I knew straight away which car he had his eyes on and no amount of begging was going to work. Tough love I think they call it.

The salesman couldn’t get in the Fiat fast enough, and drove it around the block. He climbed out, declared his wife would like it, and we did a straight swap deal. The bright orange VW was on at 900 pounds so away we went.

After a verbal battering on the way home from my father, at how bad my driving was, something he would still suggest to this day. I got the hang of driving the antiquated controls, loose gear stick, the noisy windscreen wipers and the screen wash working off the air pressure from the spare tyre in the front boot. At that moment it didn’t seem quaint, cute or funny, even my mother struggled to hide her smirk from me when first seeing it.

Two weeks’ later, a man from the trading standards knocked at the door to get a statement off of me. Apparently, the car salesman sold the Fiat to a couple that had spent their life savings on the car and it had broken down a day later. On further inspection, there were 36 un-roadworthy things wrong with it, and you would be hard pressed to stick a magnet to most of the body work. All that because I didn’t listen to the old man – talk about the butterfly effect.

My mother plied the official with tea and digestives and made sure I was blameless. The couple sued the car sales, which closed down, and I drove the beetle through four seasons without a problem.

I eventually sold it for twelve hundred pounds, and put the cash to another awesome vehicle, a Toyota Hilux Pick up truck.

I missed the Beetle and over there years bought four. I think only people who have owned one and refurbished them can understand where I’m coming from, as I write this I’m adding a Beetle to my amazon wish list that’s the 1302 s, preferably not in Orange.

My father did give me his kit car to drive, and it was awesome, people looking at you, being so young I lapped it up on a weekend away to Lancashire. One the way back, I got a lift from the AA and I’m sure it was the same place on the motorway as a year before. The oil pump went but my father suggested I didn’t put any oil in the car. He was fuming and sold it–yet another one of those things to add to his list of disappointments. My mother took his mind off of it, she had her eye on a hotel that needed refurbishing, and there were plenty of books out there on that subject to get his teeth into.



36 in. x 24 in.
Buy This at

Fiat X19

VW Beetle Pick Up

Toyota Hi Lux

Dog Waiting on Back of Ute
Dog Waiting on…
Andrew Bain
24 in. x 18 in.
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