I'm not a 'petrol head' and these days I don't drool after flashy cars, much rather I tend to think modern cars are over-engineered, over-sized and mass-produced nonsense. And while I typically only drive somewhere once week these, I do enjoy driving; there is a sense of "freedom with ease", compared to my usual means of getting around, by bicycle.

As soon as I was old enough to drive (age 17 here in the UK), I'd bought my first car...

No, not the awesome pink bug, the 998cc red Austin Metro to the right. It cost me 290 to buy, and 800 for the necessary insurance. That Beetle, was on loan to my dad at the time and I loved it. I would like a Beetle but like with many such old cars now they're hard to find in good nick and at a reasonable price (as the years passed I always worried I'd missed my chance with such things).

That Metro lasted me a few years; I have some fond memories of it - such as it being broken into for the stereo and speakers I'd installed (neither of which got taken), vandalised (and a large green bear abducted from a passenger seat), the cold morning drives to college, doing its max speed of 92mph (not on a public road, of course...), driving home from my evening job with no brakes, and the fuel tank rotting to bits along with the fuel gauge no working.

My next car was a 1992 Vauxhall Nova 1.2i Luxe Plus. It was underpowered and would take a big hill and a favourable wind to get it up to 105mph (not on a public road, of course...) I blew the head gasket once, and learned you should always get a car's cam belt replaced when it's due. I had fun with it though, eventually fitting a sports exhaust, after-market airfilter, and I lowered the suspension. I wish I'd done those things sooner though, as the car wasn't long for this world, all the more so since I managed to write it off (partly due to the suspension not being ideal for the roads, let alone wet and muddy ones).

My next car, a Renault Megane Coupe was a nice car. As soon as I bought it I intended to get the cam belt changed due to the prior experience with such things... but it managed to fail before I got round to it! 000s out of pocket and all was well, although the engine was left with a slight rattle at certain revs.

Again I fitted a sports exhaust and fabricated an induction kit; the car sounded, and was, fun to drive; the 1.6L engine seemed to be happy to ping off the rev limiter.

After a cycling trip to Scotland I decided to part company with my car (I deemed it not long for this world by this point), and I went a few years without a car. That was until my sister was getting rid of hers due to it having a few issues - I saw some life still in it, so I took it on.

It already had a loud exhaust which made it amusing to drive given that it was only a 1.2. I had the Corsa for a few years before selling it on, by which point I'd bought my Audi A3.

I'd purchased it with a known fault, thinking it was a cheap and simple fix, but then the powered steering packed up and I wasn't certain if the two issues were related so I wasn't prepared to have the first issue fixed only to risk being left with the latter.

After looking on ebay each and every day to see what was newly listed I happened upon a car of my dreams that was up for auction and located not all that far away. I waited until the final minutes; for days I'd been willing the bids not to go beyond what I'd deemed to be the maximum I was prepared to spend on the car and in the final minutes of the auction I was still in with a chance. I put in my bid but I was immediately outbid. With the minutes counting down I put in another bid and for a minute or two I was the highest bidder. Realising I was close I frantically typed in a new amount, mistyping it at first, until finally the final few seconds flashed away... I was the winning bidder. Phew! It took me a while to calm down after that.


This is what A.I. thinks my car looks like.

[Click here for my project page for this car]

Besides these, there have been other memorable cars in my life; my parents owned a Ford Capri so I always wanted one of those... My step dad always had a Maxi.

We had an Austin Montego estate 7-seater that I used to get taken to school in (I liked sitting in back in the rear-facing seats, listening to my walkman' or on late-night trips with Jean-Michel Jarre playing on the stereo)

We also had a LWB Landrover with extra seats in the back (a 9-seater all together), it was slow but towed our caravan on holidays. There was also a red Ford Sierra that was quite smart.

 

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