Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My favourite car...

Prompted only by the flimsiest of comments on a radio station this morning I nominate my favouritest car I have ever owned - the Austin 1300 Vanden Plas.

The fact that it was my first car probably sways the vote, the fact that it was the only car that I have ever taken an interest in, enough of an interest to lift the bonnet (hood, US translation) up probably sways the vote.

Our dad bought it for me for £300 a few months after I passed my driving test because I was threatening to buy a motorbike, and I was suddenly the owner of a car that was a bog-standard boring Austin 1100 with a bigger engine which unusually didn't make it go any faster because Austin had sent the model to the luxury coachbuilders Vanden Plas who added an extra ton of weight in chrome and other goodies in order to tart it up a bit to make it attractive to the old lady target market, and me.

Outside everything was chrome which was a bugger to keep clean being as by the time I got it most of the steel underneath the chrome was rotted to death but inside the car was the height of luxury, leather reclining seats with a little chrome winding handle to adjust them, walnut paneled dashboard, and as can be seen in the photo above, a switch control panel that would have had a Boeing 747 pilot scratching his head in dismay.

But the highlight of the interior, for my passengers at least, were the fold-down walnut trimmed cocktail tables in the back of the car, ideal for relaxing with a can of Tetleys Bitter whilst yoru driver (me - idiot) took you to the next pub, no wonder I was a popular youth in my day.

I wrecked the car by pulling out of a junction into the path of a youth of similar age who was driving a mini, my rust bucket didn't stand up to well even to the minor impact that a mini could make and it was several weeks before it was repaired (dodgy garage repair by a friend of our dads) and the car declared in joint ownership with Ned who had by then passed his driving test.

I saw the car for just a few short hours after it returned from my accident repair for on its first trip out in Neds stewardship he managed to drive it into the back of a long line of stationary traffic at a roundabout and wrote off three cars in the process, the Vanden Plas being the first to the scrap yard carried there in a large cardboard box, rust falling in its wake.

My first and bestest car.

By comparison I now have a huge Nissan Estate car nearing the end of its three year lease, and I have not yet lifted up the bonnet (hood), not even to put water in the windscreen washers, my cars have to be made tough these days.

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