Friday, 15 April 2011

The first car I ever loved.

The first time I ever drove a car was when I was about 3 years old. It was a 1937 Austin 12 Ascot.

This was the first car I ever loved. In fact, it might well be the only car I've ever loved. I'm fond of a few cars... for example I like our MGB very much. I also have a great fondness for The Bluemobile (a bright blue Y-reg Volvo V40 which not only got me through my driving test but also managed to survive the mentalness of Belgium). But I'm not properly properly emotionally attached to them. If we sold them, I'd get over it.

We sold the Austin about 8 years ago. I'm still not over it. I know it was the best thing to do, and I don't blame my dad for doing it, but it still kind of hurts. When we drive past the old classic car garage that we sold it to, I still look out for it even though I know it's long gone.

Anyways, it was a LOVELY car. You had to wind it up at the front to make it go. And of course it had the choke that you had to pull out and there always seemed to be so many things to pull and push to make it start. It had green leather seats that were so, so old but smelt amazing. On the inside of the roof there was a string newspaper rack that we always kept an ancient newspaper in. It always felt so special when we got to go in it.

It only went at a few mph, so it wasn't in any way practical for real roads. But at my house we had a little lane that went down the side of it, so we could tootle down there without getting in anyone's way. My big brothers would stand on the ledge outside of the car door and cling on through the open windows and we'd pretend it was our getaway car in some sort of black and white gangster (or perhaps Charlie Chaplin!) film.

Anyway, in the end Dad had to sell it because it hadn't worked for several years and needed a full restoration, which we just weren't able to put the time, effort or money into. So he sold it and got the MGB so that we had a  nice old car that we can actually use and have fun with. Which is fine, I can respect that decision and I know it's not one he made lightly. And we certainly couldn't have done track days in the old Austin! But I still miss it. I like to think maybe one day I can get it back. Well, a girl can dream...

Dad with our car back in the old days. He appears to be wearing purple flares.

/sentimental claptrap. :-)

PS - when I say I "drove" it when I was 3 years old. I mean Dad sat me on the drivers seat, got the car to tick along at about 3mph and then walked alongside it while I freaked out that he was trying to kill me by leaving me in a fast moving vehicle. We were in the middle of a giant stubble field, going slower than time and he was a foot away from me at all times, so there was no danger. I'm not sure it honed my early driving skills though. ;-) Incidentally, it's one of the earliest memories I have that I know isn't artificially enhanced by photos or home videos or family tales.

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