So a nice video about finding your dad’s old car.
Thinking of the cars I remember sitting in the back of when I was kid the three I remember the most are a grey Austin Mini Seven, which was actually my brothers (who had changed the badge on the back so it read ‘Austin Mini Cooper’ and put a very loud exhaust on it, and painted the whole interior including the seats matt black) but my dad drove it as well and I could lie down on the back seat, no seat belts then; a chocolate brown Austin Devon A30, 1948 which my dad bought for £10, after finding it in a field of stinging nettles on the A39 at Ashcott behind a garage there, when I was about six. We went out on picnics on the Quantocks in it, down small little lanes, and across the tracks, it had fabulous leather seats and I can still remember that smell. And thirdly the car which he picked me up from school when I was older which was a Ford Poplar two tone (claret bottom half, grey top half) registration 228 MME, with only a three speed gear box.
I did see the chocolate brown A30 in Taunton a few years back so it was still around then, and I did see the two tone Poplar about ten years ago, again in Taunton, but I’d be surprised if they were still around now. And also would my dad really want to see them now? He is 90 next March and as he hasn’t driven for the last twelve years – since he met my step mother who is 14 years younger than him. Though we’d probably have a laugh about it if I did as there will be some irony there.
For me if my son or someone wanted to surprise me they could get my first means of transport – a yellow Puch Moped MZ 50 which I got new in 1976 registration R 915 SYA to get to school on, which my parents thought would save them money on bus costs, it didn’t as they had to pay the finance for the moped even in the holidays. Or my red Suzuki GT 500 motorbike which I bought from Pat Hosburgh, two days before passing my car driving test, or my Suzuki GS 750 which I stormed up the A38 from Taunton to Bristol on and sold because of the huge cost of the insurance.
Or cars: my first car – a blue Mini Clubman which crabbed (I don’t think so), or my MG Midget (better though the person I sold it too wrote it off two weeks after I sold it to him, luckily he or his passenger was killed as it ended up on its roof), or best of all my MGB GT – registration I can’t recall right now but started with a K and ended YAW, unusually it’s a Cobra fronted MGB GT Mark II which had the later MK III grill fitted after I had it repaired after the front was smashed in completely when a labrador dog jumped from a hedge on the side of the road directly into my path when I was travelling at 60 mph on the A378 one Summer evening, going home to Taunton from Curry Rivel, just next to Fivehead Service Station. I can remember breaking violently with the dog stuck under the front of the car for a long time before the car stopped. I made the claim for the repair through my own insurance after the dog’s owner refused to make any contribution saying to lose her dog was enough; which looking back I think she was right.
And of course there is my first oven cleaning van, my Ford Transit Connect which I bought brand new in 2004. Though really I wouldn’t want to see that again – two failed engines, one fixed under warranty, but the other one at 117,000 caused me to write it off and sell it to a garage for £500. We nearly went out of business at the time as my other Ford Transit’s engine failed at the same time. So we were faced with two engine replacements at a cost of £3000 for each van. We decided to keep the newer van and scrap the older van.
All that frustration and angst with Ford dealerships, poor service, scruffy service garages, queues at the service desk ; I’d never go near a Ford again. It is probably still out there but I don’t want it back!