Memories of cars I have owned came back to me this morning on my way to work as Radio Solent had listeners calling in if they had ever given names to their cars, or indeed other modes of transport.
This immediately set me thinking about the closest I have come to owning a classic car, my 1961 Singer Vogue (similar to the one pictured above). This was a lovely car to drive, and I bought it in about 1982 when I lived in London. I called the car “Pearl”, because according to the song by Elkie Brooks “Pearl’s A Singer!” I owned the car for a couple of years, but ended up trading it in for aFrench built Matra Simca Rancho.
Now the best way to describe the Rancho is “Pope Mobile”, since it was for it’s time an SUV in the days before SUV’s had really been invented. Well, I say this, but the Range Rovers were probably the first SUV’s, and this was definitely a poor man’s SUV in many ways.
Although the Rancho had large windows and therefore good visibility, had a lot of luggage space both inside and on the roof, and looked flashy with it’s twin rotateable spotlights on the front, in reality it had poor road holding, was terrible to drive, and those spotlights only worked when the engine was off, which made them pretty useless.
It also kept going out of tune very easily, and one time after I had taken it to the Matra Simca dealership to be serviced, within a mile of driving it away it was barely moving and was constantly back-firing. Can you believe it!
I kept this a couple of years, but then had enough money to buy myself a brand new car, a Vauxhall Cavalier, which was a lovely car, with electric door mirrors, a remove boot release, and things like that which I hadn’t had on a car before.
Unfortunately, only a week after I bought it, a BMW drove into the back of me, crushed the boot, and when it was repaired the replacement didn’t have the correct mechanism for the remote boot release. I was too naive to complain at the time, so for the next 4 years I complained to myself every time I had to get out of the car to open the boot for someone.
While the Mini was in many ways a great car, mine did have some flaws, some of which were exploited by my “friends” at college. For example, the door locks were practically useless, and one student found that he could unlock it using the end of a tail comb. Hmmm! One time a group of them found that the car was so light that they carried it and dumped it in the middle of a flower bed.
The worst problem by far with my Morris Mini though was the windows. This model didn’t have wind down windows, it had sliding windows, and if you parked the car close to a puddle, any car driving through that puddle which splashed water onto the car would result in much of that water literally pouring into the car. In fact it was almost pointless closing the windows, just as much water would have come in I reckon if the windows had been open!
So what happened at university when I went to my car after it had been raining heavily was that I found 2-3 inches of water on the floor, a veritable paddling pool, and the carpets were of course sodden, and had to be taken in to dry. I actually kept an old plastic scoop in the car so that I could use it like you would a bailer on a boat, and could scoop the water out.
I have to admit the mini was a fun car to drive though, and I was saddened to let it go when I left university and moved to London, where there was nowhere to park a car, or if there was it was too costly for me, and in Central London you really don’t need a car.
Well those are some stories about some of the cars that I have owned. Do you have any about cars that you have owned, or indeed about cars the same as the ones that I have written about? If you do, please leave a comment for our other readers.