Blogs are supposed to say something about the Blogger. So I will tell about some cars I have owned. Some would say that by writing about cars I have owned I will give clues about who and what I am. Perhaps.
For many, the car is the ultimate gadget. But I have come to be puzzled about the way cars play with people’s minds.
Imagine one driver revving his car at the lights waiting to shoot off. His car is expensive and flash. He looks at the car beside him and thinks something like the following, “My car is more expensive than yours therefore I earn more money than you, therefore I am a more valuable human being than you. I can go faster than you therefore I am a higher class of human.”
The driver next to him may be thinking something like this, “My car cost less than yours but I know that is because I choose to spend my money on more important things. You seem to have different priorities than me. My car will not go as fast as yours and, listening to your revving engine, I expect you will shoot off ahead of me. But I do not believe that my value and a human being is defined by the speed that you drive your car.”
Cars have never been high on my “must have” list. I would rather be without a car than be without a bicycle. I have always preferred cars that were interesting to fashion cars. I have lost count of how many I have owned. Thinking back and counting just how many is something that can wait until I am desperately bored, like the next time I am stranded at an airport.
Aside from the boring ordinary ones not worth mentioning, I have owned:
Two Morris Minors.
The first one was the first car I ever drove. It did not last long before ending in the scrap yard.
The second I bought in the 1990s. Low mileage, made in 1960, Dove Grey with original red leather seats and red door linings. The car always seemed to smell of the leather. I had it re-sprayed so it looked new. I took the engine apart and rebuilt it with new bearings, replacing any worn parts. I did the same with the gearbox. I replaced the front hub break wheel systems with a more modern disk brake set off an MG sports car. It went like a dream.
Finally it became too small for our family with our girls becoming teenagers. The painful decision was made to sell it. We put a “For Sale” sign in the window. And a few days later someone stole it! Fortunately I had taken insurance photographs of the outside, interior, engine-housing, etc. So after offering me a ridiculously low amount, the insurance company then settled for the sale price.
Two VW Beetles (real ones, not modern ones).
Fun, but overrated. Underpowered and with poor road-holding. The heating systems were not up to much and quite unable to keep the windscreens clear from condensation on a chilly morning or when it rained.
The second one was bought it 1984 when living in Scotland. Sky blue. Had it only a short while before moving to Guernsey. Changed it for a Ford Cortina for the journey there from Glasgow. Once there, I sold the Ford and signed up for a hire agreement on one of the small tourist cars. Cheap motoring, every time the car got dirty I got a new one. Not just another one, but a new, unused one. That is what I call motoring.
My first Beetle was before I was married and before becoming a Christian. I had just turned 20. It cost £50 and I bought it by “going halves” with my friend Barry in 1974. It was grey with a light covering of rust over the roof. We wire-brushed it and painted it with canary yellow Brolac house gloss. We spread it on rather than brushing it on. Running out of paint halfway through the job we changed colours and painted the wings lime green. The battery did not charge properly so we used to have to take the battery out regularly to re-charge it. We avoided driving at night as using the headlights drained the battery too quickly.
To brighten it up further we wrote lyrics of current songs along the side and back in black paint. We had “The ‘In Crowd'”, on the back. Along one side we had “Blue skies and grey lagoons, silver star-fish and honeymoons”. As young men, we were very surprised, though not disappointed, at how popular our car was with pretty young ladies who prefered ours to the flash things their boy-friends were driving!
It lasted about six months before someone drove into the back of it when it was parked.
One VW Camper Van
Bought in the winter of 1984. Worse heating system than a Beetle and even more underpowered!
It came with a free spare engine which I kept on a stand in the corner of my office. The previous owner had planned to use the engine in a motor trike and had painted it black, red and silver. When couples visited my office, the men were drawn admiringly to it, female visitors tended to ask why it was there.
The van was a disappointment, being under-powered and with a tendency to over-heat. I kept it for only about three months and was glad to find a buyer.
Black London Taxi
Used without the meter as a private car. Wonderful!
While living in Bradford, in about 1982, I discovered that after ten years use the London taxi companies sold them off cheaply. So I got a bus to London and bought one, driving it back triumphantly.
As an assistant pastor (my first pastorate) and youth worker, it proved ideal. With an extra seat in the front luggage space it seated seven adults. A full-size bicycle could stand up from side to side, so also would a pram.
We took it with us when we moved to Coatbridge, Scotland.
Sometimes people thought I was for hire would try and flag me down, even hopping aboard at traffic lights on occasions.
I discovered that other drivers treated Black Taxis with great respect. I especially noticed it when driving in London.
I eventually painted it with denim blue coloured Hammerite paint. I sold it to one of the garage mechanics who used to maintain it.
My Current Car
I am very pleased with my current car which I call the “pocket car” and my wife calls the “toy car”. It is a Kia Picanto in a lovely shade of blue. It uses very little fuel and is so quiet, the fan makes more noise than the engine. Great! Not as loved as my bicycles though.