Cars often evoke happy memories in me. I started driving back in 1974 and like all of you, I was and am a great driver! (arf, arf.)
My brother was ten years older than me and he had a love/hate relationship with cars – he loved driving them and just hated crashing them all the time. You see, Michael was a very fast driver and a pretty heavy drinker too. One morning he gave me the thrill-seeker ride into school and, at one point, we had to stop at traffic lights. Facing us on the far side was a Jaguar XJ12, a growling steel beast straight from a young boy’s wet dreams. I was goggle-eyed.
Spotting this my brother said casually, “See the Jag?” and I mumbled awe-struck that I did. “See the guy in it?” and I shifted my gaze to the fat balding man in pinstripe peeping up from behind the steering wheel. I mumbled that I did. Then Michael delivered one of life’s great lessons to me. “He doesn’t see you.”
It says a lot that I understood perfectly what he meant when he said that at fifteen years of age. The great and the good just don’t see us and there is an inherent snobbery in car ownership.
I started with a Mini, moved to an Escort, onto a Renault 6 and from there to a Renault 16. A series of new vans came along courtesy of self-employment and a Rover 3500 was bought from the profits of same. Business closure saw me back in van in gainful employment and then the GTI showed up outside my door. There were Toyotas and Cortinas in the mix as well before a family sized Opel Omega Estate parked its brown bulk outside the new home. A new job then brought another Omega with it and then some big Saabs before the brutish 5-series BMW.
Going right back to the mini, each and every single motor has memories, mostly good. I had one crash when I was twenty-one and didn’t have another until well into my fifties and that was when I reversed into a parked car. For many years I was clocking up 1,000 – 1,200 miles a week so I reckon I did damned well to avoid the claim forms for so long. But those two accidents aside, all of the cherished memories are good. When I think of happy memories now going back over thirty years, some car took me there and got me back. Some of the happy memories even took place inside the car up dark country lanes at night too.
Over time I will write about some of these because many are hilarious and some even thought-provoking. For now though when I think back to those cars I owned I visualize the personalities of each one of them because to me, they all had a personality.
Did you ever have a car with a personality?