Memories always flood back about that first car we all have, whether it’s fairly recent or etched in history. We have an emotional pull to our first car, sometimes bad but often with a sense of nostalgia.
My first car was technically a hand-down from my father. An aging grey Ford Consul (pictured) that took colossal strength to turn the steering wheel. And being subjected to the UK weather it didn’t take too kindly to the icy winters. Oh the fun of starting it from cold on those icy winter days!
My first true car I bought myself was a metallic blue Morris Marina that must have fallen off the factory production line at the end of the week. I was just a student at the time so I was on a budget. The foam padded seats and even radio were a luxury compared to the basics of my father’s car. But it gave me trouble with frequent oil, battery and suspension issues as I dashed between my student digs and my parent’s home over 50kms away.
But it was my very own car and gave me a great deal of independence and a sense of identity that enabled me – and my first serious girlfriend – to travel around and explore further afield than our immediate vicinity.
Everyone’s stories are different. A friend told me of her first car as if it was a tragic tale of unrequited love and loss of innocence. It could be turned into a novel ‘Fifty Shades of Tangerine’ as it was a tangerine Morris Minor – not quite orange and not quite pink. She called it her Tangerine Dream (after a German electronic music group from 1967) and without even knowing their music felt the name suited the car with the psychedelic sound in the name.
She recounted “It was so cute and quirky and matched my personality… but it was continually dying on me. I would be driving home from some disco or other and the lights would dim letting me know the battery was slowly draining of life. I knew pure heartache at that time – I loved that car and yet hated it at the same time.”
The end of the love affair came when she was driving home and the bonnet blew up and snapped off, flying over the roof of the car and landing on the road behind. We can all imagine the shame she felt in stopping to pick up the bonnet and tie it to the roof for the journey home.
Alas it was goodbye Morris Minor after that incident as she refused to drive the car anymore and couldn’t wait for it to be gone. A Morris Minor enthusiast was the beneficiary who rewired it and it went like a dream, living up to its name after all.
There’s a lesson for us all in buying our first car, whether a hand-me-down or through a car loan. Cars should be functional and reliable as opposed to cute and quirky.
For myself I ended up buying a Datsun 120y – yellow in colour with no name and no emotion.