It’s not something I’ve spoken about much on here before but I’m a bit of a petrol head. Always have been, always will be. It’s something that has been with me for as long as I can remember and so many of my childhood memories involve cars in some form or another.
Many a sunny (and rainy) day was spent walking around classic car shows, my Mum making a bee-line for the E-Type Jags and me running wildly towards any Cadillac I saw (a pink 1959 Eldorado Biarritz was my absolute fave).
When we drove through tunnels, the windows would be wound down if there was a decent car near us so that we could hear the engine and, if there was a nice set of wheels ahead of us on the motorway, my Mum would suddenly morph into Damon Hill, put the pedal to the metal as get us close enough to it so that we could all crane our necks and look at the window at it.
Another car-based memory – and one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life – was when I got to speed round the Top Gear track in a Bentley Continental GT with The Stig! Honestly, it only lasted around 2 minutes maximum but it was one of the best things I have ever done and I’m desperate to do it again some day!
As I write this now, I’m sat at my desk with my constant work companion – my little model Bugatti Veyron. It’s my absolute dream car (I nearly cried the first time I saw one) it sits there as a reminder to work hard and have a dream.
(I’m aware there is little no chance of me ever owning one but a little bit of harmless dreaming never hurt anybody, right?)
When it comes to my own car history, I’ve not had the most glossy of wheels, but each and every one I’ve loved regardless.
My First Car
My first car was a white Ford Escort that had belonged to my Dad, but he passed on to me. It seemed huge compared to the Corsa I had been learning in and it didn’t have power-steering so every single journey acted as an upper-body workout, but I loved it nonetheless. (I also drove it into a wall in a multi-storey car park once when I first got it as I couldn’t turn the wheel fast enough!)
My First OWN Car
My second car was actually the first car of my own, that I chose and bought myself, a little yellow Ford KA. I actually paid over the odds for it but I was stubborn (stupid?) and didn’t care, throwing my money at the dealer then driving home with the biggest smile on my face. This car ended up being the bane of my life after a few years, it had constant problems and one of them recurred so much that in the end my garage stopped charging me to fix it as they felt it was unfair! I also realised once I hit my 20’s that a bright yellow car wasn’t really for me, so off he went. (Yes, “he”, all my cars have names – he was Norbie).
My Power Wagon
My third car was another family hand-me-down, purchase from my sister for market value. A 2.5 litre V6 engine under the bonnet meant this was a massive adjustment after my 1.3 litre KA, but I absolutely loved it. I had some interesting times with this car – a learner driver crashing in to me at approx. 1mph, the back of it catching fire as I drove down the motorway (I didn’t notice and wondered why people were flashing me) and me, on my own, late at night, laying on the bonnet in the middle of the countryside watching a meteor shower overhead. I adored this car (he was called Monty) and was very sad when he had to go, but he was falling to bits and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find any spare parts for him.
My Leaky Bucket
Next on the list was a nippy little Renault Clio which I named Bobby. I saw him parked at the side of the road one day with a sign in his window and it was love at first sight. After the bulky Mondeo, driving this felt like zipping around town in a go-kart, but come the colder months I found out why he had been such a bargain – there were leaks everywhere. The passenger footwell would fill with water and nobody could work out where it was coming from. Eventually, having started working in London, I realised I was never using the car enough so I sold it on to a mechanic friend of mine who could fix the problem then sell it on himself.
My Current Wheels
Currently I’m the co-driver/(owner?) of Ben’s car. It’s over a decade old but it’s a classic and honestly, I absolutely love it. It’s good looking, it’s got a beautiful growl to its engine and when the sun is shining, the roof comes down and all seems well in the world! It’s got its faults, due to its age, but I love it nonetheless. It doesn’t have a name though because Ben thinks it’s weird…
I’ve got cars from a variety of places over the years – family members, private sellers and car dealers – but one thing I have learnt is that research and staying clued-up is key.
If you’re buying from a private seller you can arrange for the AA or RAC to visit and take a look at the car for you; they’ll check it over and make sure there’s nothing wrong with it so you can put your mind at rest regarding it’s condition and your own safety.
When it comes to buying from a professional do your homework and be sure to use a reputable local dealer like KAP Brighton who can supply all the relevant documents, will disclose the cars complete history and have fully trained staff to help you with any queries you have to help with your decision making.
My other top tip is to always double check you’re buying for the right price by using a website (my favourite is Parkers) to gauge the true market value. When you fall in love with a car it can be easy to let the heart rule the head, but it’s a huge investment so you need to be 100% sure you’re doing the right thing.
I don’t envisage we’ll be getting a new car for a good few years yet (unless that lotto win comes in *crosses fingers*) but if I had a few bob right now and the option to buy anything I liked, I think it would definitely be a white Audi TT… or the Bugatti Veyron… a girl can dream!
What’s your car history like?