Raleigh Safety Seven
I started as so many did on the motorbikes, eventually treating myself to a 3 wheeled Raleigh Safety Seven, cold, lethal and I loved her! I named her Suzie Safety Seven.
She passed away within three weeks, beyond saving she was. Sad!
I thought the idea of going out without having to put me helmet, gloves, boots and goggles on was so novel.
I seemed to have so much fun with Wilhelmina over the years, and do miss the old gal to bits.
I loved my last one to bits. It was only due to the call of a certain young lady for more room to manoeuvre in, that I eventually got a (four door) Skoda Estelle.
Getting a larger car without any spare cash left thanks to a certain young lady’s demands was not easy.
I had to ‘do a deal’ with an Arthur Daley type auto trader – a straight swap, so had to go for an Estelle that was considerably older than Safety Seven Suzie.
A multitude of failed parts, collapsed assembly’s, break-downs (I think the RAC were considering cancelling my membership), lousy brakes, lack of power and unreliability were rampant throughout the time I owned Wilhelmina as I christened her. (Sounds a bit like my body today…Hehehe!).
But, there were plenty of vehicle scrap yards to pick from to get cheap replacement parts that had deceased functioning or blew-up on me. Apart from the ‘usual’ Skoda parts that all seemed to suffer from – Starter/Alternator, Internal window wire assembly, heater/thermostat, Cooler pipe valve etc.
Still I was young, eager, had a life and foolishly thought my lime-green Skoda Estelle was the bees knees at the time! (I know…)
An older car again, but she looked in good nick.
Bench seats, column gears, and terrible vision – I loved it.
Heavy on the juice, but the smell of those leather seats was wonderful.
Although slow to get going, she would cruise easily at 70 mph – but stopping such a heavy car like ‘Vanessa’ proved difficult when going at any speed – as I proved when I ran into the back of a stationary British Army Bedford lorry…
Vanessa had to be put down, I got in trouble, my insurance went up and I lost me job in Wales ‘cause I couldn’t get there. Hey-ho!
This British Leyland made vehicle did not give me enough time to name her.
She had air conditioning in the boot. (A dirty great run of galloping rust had eaten away at the metal and I could just put my hand through the hole to get anything I needed from it.)
She was noisy, but a belter on the motorway, I had 100mph out of her with ease – mind you, she was too keen on stopping as I recall.
She had a personalised gear-change that often refused to respond to me needs to change into fourth gear.
Ford Consul Classic
Within a couple of weeks, the Austin Maxi was traded in part-exchange for a Ford Consul Classic.
4 door twin headlights, maroon and cream, leather bench front seats, boy did it get the birds going – it ran like a heap of junk, rusty, slow, bad column gear-change, leaking back window, but boy the dolly-birds always wanted a lift home in my American looking car – haha! (Oh dear I mustn’t get myself too excited)
I Christened her: Leaky Linda
Yet another car that didn’t last me for long.
Bedford CA van
A Bedford CA van, split windscreen.
Now as bad as it was to drive, it amazed me how good the fuel consumption was at first, until I realised the fuel gauge had been tampered with after I ran out of petrol between Matlock and Bakewell in the Derbyshire Dales.
The high mounted seats had no adjustments, making it work hard work with my little short legs.
But I did get some spare-time work in using it to deliver small bags of coal and firewood for the local ‘Aurthur Daley’ who worked from under the railway viaduct near to where I lived.
After buying this good looking car, my mate did a check on the engine, did something to the valves, bit of tuning, and returned the car to me, saying it was alright and safe!
I got in the car to go to the Cash and Carry and pulled away.
As I was passing a mates shop I decided to show off me new wheels like – as I pulled onto his forecourt, the engine dropped out to the floor amidst a cloud of mist, dust, rust, and sparks!
It cost me £35 (A lot of money in those days) to have it towed away and destroyed.
That has to be the shortest time I’ve ever owned a car.
Austin Allegro 1750 Equipe
I saw an advertisement for an Allegro 1750 Equipe that was going cheap, and I visited the owner.
Within two minutes of test driving her, I’d decided to buy her; she went like a bat out of hell!
She even had go faster stripes on her sides.
Unfortunately, the rust and fuel gauge went too fast for me too!
Austin Allegro Estate
I bought this Austin Allegro estate 1500 because I’d just started the shop up on Oakdale Road in Nottingham. I needed to transport stuff from the cash & carry etc daily.
And she did the job magnificently I can proudly say.
I moved a full size retail chest freezer on her once to Derby.
Admittedly I had to keep the tail gate door open, but she coped well with it.
A workhorse of the finest metal she was, never let me down at any time.
When I lost the shop I decided to downsize a bit and bought an:
Allegro mark3 HLS
Later I purchased a newer Allegro mark3, four door, twin headlights, new A-plus engine, and the usual rampant rust. She was faster than the Equipe! and was so good on fuel.
Of course, as you could and did in those days, I took her on the motorway to find out what her top speed was. I got 105mph out of her, and was well pleased.
When I took her to me local garage for her MOT – I called in later to see how things were looking and the mechanic said “It might look better, but someone has crammed paper into the wing rust holes and the sills have been cleverly painted to mast the rust there mate!”
Oh dear I thought and asked him how much to get it sorted…
£200 or thereabouts he smiled at me!
But being so pleased with how it drove and liking the looks of it, I had it done.
I was in a well paid job in Carter’s pop factory, started fishing again, and decided to buy a 4×4 to replace the mark 3.
Needing a deposit, I stuck to my guns in asking for £800 to sell my Allegro to my boss at the time, he said; “If it really can do 100 mph, pick me up in the morning, and if it does, I’ll pay the £800 for it!”
So I picked him up, got on the motorway, proved she could, and he agreed to pay the £800 – just before the police Ford Granada caught up with us, and indicated for me to pull in!
When I got my licence back, I did buy a Panda Sisley 4×4.
A Brand New Panda Sisley 4×4
The sunroof leaked, the radio didn’t work, it was as slow as anything I’d driven before, the engine was noisy, the gears were crunchy, bits started to and kept on falling off of it, and the 4×4 engaging level stuck… but in 4 wheel drive, she was great off-road.
Back and forth to the garage JCP in Kegworth near where I was working several time, and got all the usual verbal garbage off of the desk man and the mechanic… you know, like:
Inchcock: “Are you going to replace the tail-gate badge, the Sisley motto and the inside door handle that have fell-off in the first three days?”
Reception Man: “The badges that dropped off will be replaced’ (It took them five weeks)
Mechanic: “Wot yer on abaght with the speed thing you bothered the salesman wiv then?”
Inchcock: “Well the hand book says the top speed is 85mph, the most I’ve got out of her is 70mph!”
Mechanic: “Well that’s the legal limit innit?
Inchcock: “ Yer, but you sell Alpha Romero’s that do 140mph, so are you breaking the law?”
Mechanic: No no no, it’ll soon improve, you’ve got to let the engine settle cause it’s new!”
Like a twit I believed him. In the years I had the car it never got above 72mph.
Inchcock: “Now the sunroof you fitted is leaking!”
Reception Man: “Bring it in week after next and we’ll ‘ave a look at it”
Inchcock: “I want it mending not being looked at!”
Meanwhile I got a puncture, and the wheel brace broke! So I took it in when he said and he told me they could not find the time to repair the leaking roof, but gave me a second had brace. They told me to come back in two days. So I did.
Mechanic: “We haven’t got a seal to fit, but we’ve got one on order mate. I’ll book you in for next Wednesday, would you like to bring it in am or pm?”
Inchcock: “AM… how long will it take?
Reception Man: “Two or three days”
Inchcock: “Will I get a courtesy car?”
Reception Man: “Of yes, no problem!”
So I took it in on theWednesday and…
Reception Man: “I’m afraid we do not have any cars available for you”
Reception Man: “You can bring it in again later Sir!”
After much verbal exchanges that grew louder on my part, the manager came out to see what was going on. I explained my position and the manager said: If we do not have a car available Sir, there is nothing we can do!”
Inchcock: “We there is something I can do – you can take the ∑℅¤$£)>Ψ◊ car back and give me a refund now!”
After the manager consulted with various other people he came back and gave me the keys to a Fiat Croma to use!
Never went there again I can tell yer.
The only advantage of that car was with me mate and the back seat down, the rod holdalls between the seat and the boxes and other tackle in the back, we managed easily when we went fishing.
When we went to Attenborough gravels, we often encounted two chaps en route in a Landrover and we would race each other as both parties wanted the same good fishing spot. And my little Panda was let behind on the road, but when we got into the muddy fields inside the complex I could usually catch him up and overtake them getting to the spot first. The driver got really mad about this, but his off road driving was pathetic. He just used to put his foot down without trying to stay in as high a gear as possible and slid all over as we passed him. A rare series of victory for Inchcock.
Subaru Justy 4×4
I part-exchanged the Sisley for a Subaru Justy 4×4 saloon.
The 4×4 change was sleek, a button on top of the gear level. You only had to be driving straight and up to 40mph and one press put her in 4×4 mode in seconds.
She was nippy for a 1300 engine too.
Put the Sisley to shame in that department.
And it was much more of a comfortable ride too.
And had more space in the back.
What a car, only let me down once, when the fuel filter got clogged. I regretted getting rid of her.
Hillman Humber Super Snipe Estate
What a car.
I bought her as a sort of second car really, because she was so big long and wide, everyday use in the narrow streets where I frequented would have caused problems.
The ride was soft and luxurious.
The seats also.
And the column gear change was the best I’ve ever used.
A heavy car naturally it was heavy on fuel – but hey… I was young and flamboyant in those days.
The lights on her was not up to scratch though, and talking about scratches, she had more than her fair share on her bodywork when I bought her.
Still I enoyed taking mates and their lassies around showing off yer know!
When the engine packed up, it would have been too expensive even for me get mended, so she had to go, sadly.
Triumph Dolomite Sprint
A nice Triumph Dolomite Sprint next.
The air-conditioning through the holes in the floor-pan where unique.
The leaking roof, windows, sills and oil were original in their intensity.
The engine was dynamite though and not a lot of other traffic could beat it.
The rattles were ever changing, but ever present if you know what I mean.
I got another great performer here, and she was good on fuel.
So quiet on the road she was, nippy smooth and gave me a sense of confidence too, her brakes were first class.
The only thing that niggled me about her was when I wanted to put het into four wheel drive mode.
I had to get the tools out, get out of the jeep and adjust both front wheels manually – then of course do it again in reverse when I wanted to go back to two wheel drive.
What a headache that was.
She would drive on the motorway with the greatest of ease forever.
I’d have kept her longer but she got nicked and trashed by a gang of druggies.
Ford Escort van
I got a Ford Escort van, which fell to pieces literally.
When I was waiting to the insurance on the Daihatsu I got it as a stop- gap like – stop being the operative word… she liked to do that regularly as well as refusing to start.
One good thing though, if I was on me way to pick someone up they could hear me engine and wheel nuts half a mile away en route.
Eventually it was getting beyond trying to keep her going and I rang a scrap-yard or two to get the best price offered for her.
The place called the Ponderosa just outside Nottingham was prepared over the phone to offer me £25 if I could get her there on me own and not be collected.
Not bad I thought, I’ve got a week left on the MOT so I took off to deliver her there.
Going down Mapperley Hill en route, I think I said to myself ‘Flipping heck’ when the brakes failed.
Bob from the Ponderosa came and took away the crunched up Escort van for me after I phone him when the ambulance had gone deciding I didn’t need any attention…
And he charged me £50 for taking it.
A vehicle I have never felt sorry about losing!
Ford Fiesta Diesel
Then a Ford Fiesta diesel, that was so very noisy but good and reliable, another one I should have hung onto maybe.
I was working in Security then, the only job I could get after being made redundant by Carters pop people.
She had bigger wheels and that helped in the bad weather as I was sent all over the place.
Local mind, the furthest places I had to go was Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Mansfield and Skegness.
But Bluebell as I named her got me there and back every time.
Quite a cheap car to run as well, great on fuel and as I said, nothing ever went wrong with her… apart from the odd puncture like.
BMC J4 van (well I part owned it really, we used it for going fishing).
We kept sharing it between me and Mad Ken, because Bill Bates and Jock Kirkpatrick could or should not drive.
I really miss those lads now they’ve gone.
Mad Ken who was paranoid but so likeable. No idea if he is still going.
Bill Bates the Co-op butcher, brought up in a rough area of Nottingham but tuned his accent so that anyone would think he was a Conservative MP rather than a rough Nottingham Radford lad. Passed away through drink related problems.
Jock Kirkpatrick, Bomber rear gunner during the war, my neighbour, a true character and the finest maker of potatoe scones I’ve ever known. I feel that if there is a heaven, I’m going to me Jock there.
Sorry I waffled off the subject a bit didn’t I?
Ford Fiesta Mark4
A silver-grey Ford Fiesta which was not very old when I bought it and was another gem of a car.
Never gave me any concerns, I didn’t even ever have a puncture with her.
She never failed an MOT.
She never failed to start any morning.
As I a gem of a smooth running nippy little car.
Until she burst into flames on the A453.
I bought this Vauxhall Royale because it was so cheap and I could carry more folk in it, and by now I had suffered my second occasion of being made redundant – and one of the only ways I could make a bit extra was by lifting lads and lasses from the agency to and from work.
This Royale was the perfect tool for doing that I thought.
It could take 5 folk with ease and occasionally six at bit of a pinch, and helped me to get through financially in very trying times.
But the engine passed away rather quickly.
Yet another nice little motor.
Quiet, smoothish, reliable… ish.
I liked it.
But things started worry me a bit, mostly the odd noises.
But I needn’t have worried about the odd noised really…
Because a nurse on her way to work at the Queens medical Centre drove across and into me as I was driving straight through the traffic lights in her boyfriends Volkswagen Golf.
Now, if your going to get hit by a car, I recommend you not to chose a Volkswagen Golf.
She took the blame there and then bless her.
But the Fiests needed anew door, sill and sidebar.
It would take several weeks to repair, so I bought a cheapo car from one of the lads at work.
This car had its very own characteristics:
The petrol tank seeped.
The speedometer did its own thing.
The brakes were horrendously bad.
The driver’s door leaked in the rain.
The engine was very reluctant to start in a morning.
Sometimes the engine was even reluctant to stop, even with the ignition key taken out!
That thank heavens was stolen from the works car park, never to be seen again.
When I was made redundant for the fourth time, and failed to get an interview never mind job – then the ticker needed a replacement valve, the arthritis set in, the angina set in, the piles started, the prostate was investigated when they found the bowel cancer and lasered it, and quiet naturally they took away me driving licence.
The end of my driving – but they gave me a free pensioners bus-pass!