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Prelude, Integra DB9
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Discussion Starter #1
Members of the ATR and Prelude forums I'm part of have suffered from a similar thread already, so it's DSO's turn ...

I'd like to post my vehicle history. The photos are all in black & white because I've had to lift many of them from the net (I can't always find the actuals).

Not all of them were actually mine. Some were shared; some belonged to the company I was working for at the time; some belonged to friends or family. But in nearly all cases, I was either the principal driver or I used them and looked after them enough for them to feel like they were mine. I've also included a couple that stick in the memory for other reasons.

Here’s how it all started.

Not what I wanted, but it did represent a kind of freedom.



The very first car I tried to drive belonged to my uncle in Germany.



The scooter wasn't all that reliable, so I ran a mate's spare bike when I needed it.



My 17th birthday. Dad picked me up from school with my learner's licence in his pocket. I learned to drive in one of these.



The licence was a godsend. I enjoyed being sent out of the office to deliver contracts. This was the company's pool car.



The first car I actually owned! 82 cu in side valve and rubbish, really, but mine! Bought off a pal for £10 (£2 down and the rest over 4 months), it lasted 100 miles before the half-shaft broke.



The Minx being broken, I pushed it into a churchyard and left a note saying it was a present. Time to go back to a bike for a while.



At last, a reliable car. It cost me 3 weeks' wages but often did hundreds of miles a week.



[to be continued ...]
 

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Prelude, Integra DB9
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Discussion Starter #3
I was working for a motorcycle dealer at the time. It wasn't unusual back then for places like that to also deal in 3-wheelers.

One unsaleable beast we had was a Bond 875. It had over 65bhp by the time I ran it as a commuter: or about 160bhp/tonne. No one else would drive it. Honestly, you could get the front wheel off the ground! We ended up having to fit a coal yard weight next to the front axle.




The Standard 8 ran a big-end bearing while on holiday and was scrapped. I saved up some pennies and bought a tidy ‘sports saloon’. I’d like another one.




The Bond was falling apart, so my boss let me use a car out of his garage until it was sold. Luckily, he wanted too much for it and it took a while to find a buyer. I liked it nearly as much as the MG and used it at least as often.

 

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Prelude, Integra DB9
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Discussion Starter #4
My girlfriend and her younger brother wanted to learn to drive, but I couldn't insure them on the Magnette. The MG was sold and we bought this between us for pennies. We thought it would last just long enough. It did better than that and we ended up sharing it, 3 months at a time.




I used to run this when it wasn’t my turn with the Austin. It was my girlfriend’s Granny’s. We took it everywhere. It even climbed Dolomite passes in the days before many of them were fully paved.




‘Brother’ rolled the Cambridge into an East Anglian irrigation canal and I needed a cheap car of my own:-




Five adults to Germany? No trouble! This was my dad’s first brand new car. Why he’d let an idiot like me use it, I can’t say. He did though. A lot.

 

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Prelude, Integra DB9
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Discussion Starter #5
Barely out of our teens, three of us dabbled in car dealing. I used to buy them; mate #1 used to sell them; mate #2 was the tweaker and twiddler. Mate#1 had a bit of a run-in with the tax man and our little part-time business fizzled out before it could get going. But not before I got lucky. We’d run the cars we dealt in on a rota basis. On one of my turns I became the custodian of this for a short while – but nowhere near long enough.




I lived on the Norfolk marshes for a bit, so this replaced the Triumph.




Once I finished my stint in East Anglia, I found the next car I wanted. The dealer lent this to me while it was being prepared. For nearly 3 months …





… and this is what I waiting for:-



The AC's ohc six-cylinder engine eventually had a production run from 1919 to 1963. About a third are thought to still be running. Even after the ‘SU Auxiliary Starting Carburettor’ set light to the engine compartment, it would still start on the handle.
Mine was a 1950 model with larger carbs, a skimmed head with polished inlet tracts and uprated camshaft bearings. These added a few bhp and made it a bit quicker as well as slightly more economical.
It was a sporty saloon for its day, but that day was already past by the time I got it! I loved it, though.
This was motoring as she is writ!
 

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Prelude, Integra DB9
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Discussion Starter #7
Yes. I like a good Landie.

These days, cheap and cheerful is a (** insert boring box of your choice). Back then, it was a Moggy. They were what you bought when you needed a reliable and cheap stop-gap or a local runabout. And you could hang the tail out at 20mph if you wanted.
There were three Minor saloons over the years, 2 of them shared with a girlfriend. One of them had cut-up and epoxied credit cars hiding holes in the transmission tunnel (not my doing). On another, I fitted a load of hose clips to the prop shaft to balance out a vibration. It was supposed to have been a temporary measure, but it worked so well that I never got round to sorting it properly.




I was living in London at the time and even though we could drive everywhere back then, there was a case for a perfect town bike.
With one of these, you could go round corners at walking pace without touching the handlebars. Water-cooled, shaft-driven. Weird, but wonderful. Even the urban police had used them in earlier years.

 

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The marvellous old AC had to go eventually: I wasn’t up to maintaining the ash frame, let alone the alloy skin.

I found something special. At first, my head overruled my heart: I couldn’t afford it. But my heart wasn’t to be denied, so I went to the bank. Yes! Yes! Yes!

If you had a 300SL of your own, this was the car you’d give to your mistress. If this isn’t in the top 10 prettiest cars ever made, I want to know what’s ousted it from the list.

Would you drive your Honda at its top speed for an hour? This car had an indicated max of only just over 110, yet it once made 100 miles in an hour on public highways.

If I still had it, I’d either be sitting on $125,000 or so, or I’d be trying to do that speed run all over again ....



I regret very little of what I've done over the years, but of all the cars I've owned, this is the one that ...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Friends of ours were doing well in Milan. We were doing well in London. We’d visit as often as we could. This little darling was garaged over there for when we needed it.
Crash gearbox. Rev the nuts off it. Great fun.




As well as the Minor saloons, there were also a couple of Travellers. Frugal and surprisingly good at carrying things if you took the back seat out.




The first Traveller was sold to make room for something a bit more stately.




I probably shouldn’t include this one as I didn’t take responsibility for it as much as some of the other loan cars, but I did use it quite a bit. It’s in this list primarily because it’s the first Japanese example …
... and it was a great little car.



(I think this photo is of a US spec Corolla, reversed, but it's close enough!)
 

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The Rover was replaced by this typical 1950s offering from Vauxhall. It had so much ground clearance that you could do everything you need to drop the box without jacking the car up, but you still needed to lift the car to get the bell housing out.




My boss thought he was doing me a favour. “You’re doing a lot of company miles,” he said, “so I’ve got you a car.”



I hated it and told him it was grounds for a constructive dismissal suit. So we swapped it for his wife's 3 year old Citroen.




Meanwhile, I bought another bike: my first Honda!

 

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The 190SL could no longer be seen as a daily driver.

The practical solution was an ugly but hugely underrated car. Other Maxi drivers used to wear hats and stay on the inside lane on motorways. I didn’t. The car didn’t seem to mind how it was driven.

I’ve had two. You should have one as well. Both of mine were white. Instead, why not get one in BL’s newborn’s diarrhoea colour that matched what the critics thought of it at the time?

Then drive it to Patagonia. You’ll get there.




One of my brothers ran this for ages before selling it to the other bro. I bought it a couple of years after that. It broke down on the way home. Comfy once it was working again.




Some might argue that this was almost another Morris 1000. I saw it as a cheap stop-gap.

 

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The 400-4 had gone for a good price. Feeling the need for a bike again, I went for an affordable commuter.




The Wolseley was written off in an accident (no one hurt).
A car like this one came up locally. Torquey straight-six. Electric windows even! It felt like something out of American cop movies.
I couldn’t resist it. It couldn’t resist petrol stations.

 

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Probably the silliest thing I’ve ever done was to listen to her when she said: “We’re moving to a house that needs work; wouldn’t it be better to get rid of a car that needs work, too?”

I took this in part-exchange for the 190SL. Next time you see me, give me a (gentle) smack. I’ll know what I’ve done to deserve it. It wasn’t one of Daimler Benz’s finest.





The Merc saloon’s engine blew up. I got it going again but it was never the same. One of these was much better. (Mine was dark blue with Rostyle wheels; I think I've still got one somewhere)




Our last Morris Minor met its end when black ice sent it into an old, knotty hedge. My girlfriend and I got something quite different as a replacement. It was almost impossible to drive without a smile on your face.

 

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The Manta got written off by an inattentive eejit in a hurry. I’d had it less than a year. The temporary measure was to buy another Maxi, but only because it was sooo cheap.

Eventually, a car came up that I’d always wanted. Great mid-range overtaking acceleration; very comfortable - and that lovely V8 sound even vtec addicts secretly like ...

 

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I moved jobs. The Rover was rather thirsty and although it was fine for my 30 mile commute, I didn’t want to use it for business trips.

The next three cars were all lent to me by the company whenever I needed them. I started with a handy diesel Astra (a bit like this petrol one).




The firm wanted to give the Vauxhall to a service engineer. I didn’t have a car in my contract but needed something other than the Rover to shuttle backwards and forwards between two plants. They gave me the rustiest thing in the fleet – much more battered than the one in this picture. Was it a message of some sort?




Luckily, I didn’t have the Escort for long. I didn’t complain when this came up as a replacement for when I needed to whiz up to Yorkshire or over to France, which seemed even more appropriate.

 

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The Rover’s hood latch broke at 70mph (long story) and the resultant damage to it, the screen and surround put the thing off the road. Unfortunately, I had to go away for a few weeks. When I got home, unusually high winds had lifted the covering tarpaulin and the car was full of water.

I needed something quick.

This was an answer of sorts.
There were two downsides. Firstly, it was not a good car, however cheap. Secondly, it meant that the company didn’t feel too bad about taking the BX back off me.




Soon after, I broke my wrist in two places and driving became difficult, so I had to find an automatic.
I sold the Princess for its tyres and picked up possibly the worst spec Capri you could get, but it was an auto, cost pennies and did the job.

 

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As soon as I could drive a manual again, I sold the Capri – but only on condition that the buyer also took away one of my garden sculptures (the M-B 250).

The V8 was still damp inside and I ended up with another Rover P6, a 2000 this time. This was a nice enough car, but grossly underpowered and I regretted buying it. I needed something more capable of long distances.

This was the answer. Especially when I met my new love. She lived in Germany and I lived in Hampshire. I’d drive over for the weekend every fortnight, piling on the miles. The Saab never missed a beat.



Customs officers at Dover were a trial, though. At different times the car was sniffed at by dogs, had endoscopes shoved down its panelling, had seats removed. They’d always weigh the spare wheel; they’d even risk shoving their mitts into my dirty laundry.
Eventually, I got grumpy about it when they were removing the boot lining.
“Why me? You’ve seen me come through here often enough, and usually at about this time on a Sunday night?”
“Oh, it’s not you, sir. It’s the car.”

I got interested; I’d bought the car from a friend. “Ah. Does it have a history, then?”
“Not specifically – the model in general. There are lots of hiding places and they carry extra weight well. We have a high return from them. Smugglers seem to like Saab 900s.”
“So they should. They’re effin’ good motors. Now can you put it back together again, please?”

I wasn’t stopped again after that. If I’d known, I might have considered a new career running contraband.

-----------

My (now) wife ran what effectively became Car 52. The little Peugeot crossed the channel almost as often as the Saab. Sometimes, we’d have the German registered car here and the UK-reg one over there. The 205 diesel was a brilliant little car.

 

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The lhd 205 was sold after a year to make way for something a bit more suitable for UK roads. We could tell that what we'd found had once been damaged, but the repair job was so good we took a chance. It turned out to be a good move.

This was one of the best all-rounders:-
Robust and reliable? Yep.
A touch of sportiness (twin carbs rather than fuel injection)? Yep.
Room for a kiddy-seat in the back? Yep.
Enough luggage space? Yep.




The Saab went too, after 3 good years.

Next came two Sierra Sapphires in quick succession. The first one was nearly new, in shining red, and arrived with a change of job. And I bought the second off a brother-in-law for 4 pints and two dinners. It was worth it as a local-run, motorised wheelbarrow.




Our financial director’s car had been specced up to the eyeballs with all the toys and gorgeous deep red pearlescent paint. I bought it off the leasing company for a good price.

The Mazda Xedos 6 was a grossly under-rated car. You could think of it as a 4-door MX6 with added quality – and far better and more dynamic than its bigger brother, the Xedos 9. It had a jewel of engine and could cruise all day at surprisingly high speeds. All the toys worked, the full leather was spotless, and there were never any rattles. It was superbly well put together - perhaps the best-built car I’ve ever owned.

(PS: ours didn’t have that silly boot spoiler you can just about see, and had what looked like exotic BBS wheels, much nicer than the ones in this pic.)

 

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It was time to replace the Manta, which was now beginning to get ragged around the edges.

This Sierra 2 litre hatch was so nicely presented that we couldn’t tell when we bought it that it had been a mini-cab. In the end, we estimated that it had done over 400,000 miles by the time we sold it – we ourselves put on at least 150,000 in nearly 8 years.




A bitchcow with a phone stuck to her ear and a three-year old on the front seat came screaming round a blind corner in her Golf.
The Mazda was written off.

So was Bitchcow’s marriage, as it turned out. She hadn’t been paying attention – she was in a hurry to drop off her boy at playgroup before going on to meet an estate agent for a shag on the side.

To succeed the Xedos, I was looking for a Legnum/VR4, but couldn’t find a decent one at a reasonable price, so got near-ish with our next purchase.

The 2.5V6 Galant was a fabulously comfortable mile-eater, let down by a well-performing but fragile automatic gearbox. £800 every 24,000 miles at an independent specialist or £1800+ at a main dealer? This was unacceptable in the extreme.





The Ford’s twin-cam engine had been strong to the end, but eventually we got tired of the annual tradition of “welding before the test”. We sold it at the same time as the Rover V8.

Meanwhile, our son bought a sporty-looking but actually pudding-engined Saxo. When that wasn’t good enough, he bought a Mini City E and sneakily lumbered us with a Citroen we didn’t really want.





When the lad wanted money to upgrade from the 998cc Mini runabout to a bonkers 1380cc minivan, we saw an opportunity to ditch the Saxo.

The van went like a rocket (between head gasket changes), the City E merely plodded along nicely (until recently). We’ve still got our BL/Rover baby. He got rid of his.

The Mini’s now been uprated with a 1275 Metro engine. On the one hand, it’s a car I know how to fix. It’s got a carburettor, a distributor you can turn to get the timing right by ear, and doesn’t need any tools I wouldn’t have picked up along the way when working on my old bangers. On the other hand, I’d really rather prefer to fart around on a car forum than to skin my knuckles in the cold and/or wet. You can’t have it all, can you?

 

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If only they had color cameras back in the nineties lol. I love this thread.
 
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