Tuesday, January 08, 2008

First car fiascos!

When William Hillman founded his car manufacturing empire in 1880, I doubt he envisaged his great great grandson setting fire to a Hillman Husky 75 years later!

As a result of my article on my first car recently, several readers left comments about their early experiences on the road in some detail! I thought it would be fun to paste them together into a small article of their own! If the wording is not exactly as it was in the original comment this is due to editorial interference!

Pyrotechnics also played a part in the life of Gimme’s first car although hers managed to survive the ordeal! She told me –
Keith, you're in fine company. My first car caught fire on me also. It was under the hood, the gas line leaked down on to the manifold. I was on a gravel road and a couple old farmers came with their shovels and chucked dirt up on it after opening the hood. It scared me so bad that I forgot how to open the seatbelt and I was trapped. My dear old Ford Falcon convertible. I learned how to strip an engine down to its basic parts, all the while leaving the block in the car. That car is still on the road occasionally. It is part of an auto museum now, in PEI.

I had quite a few sporty cars. My favourite was a Triumph TR4a.

Renee also had a nice little number! This is what she said -

My first car that I paid for was a 1953 Kharmen Ghia Convertible. And it was really convertible. The only part left of the rag top (which was basically rags) only covered the people in the front seat. The floor on the passenger’s side was almost nonexistent it was so full of rust caverns not holes. If you went through a puddle (which in Louisiana is a way of life) the passenger would get soaked. You could also pull the steering wheel almost completely out. That was fun with first timers in the car. Whoops... No steering wheel. We finally pulled the passenger seat out... laid half a wooden door on the floor and plopped the seat back in. Now the passenger would only flip backwards if you took off to fast but remained dry while doing so. Volkswagens being Volkswagens the brakes finally gave out... But my best friend Lynette and I had one great summer tooling around the Gulf Coast up and down the beaches in Schultzie... The day we sailed right through a red light with no brakes we figured it was time to let Schultzie go on to the next life.

We moved the engine into a 1961 VW Bug and drove that all through school the next year.

In the UK our cars tend to be smaller than those in the states. My absolute favourite fun car – and I had 5 of them in total – has to be the wacky Citroen 2CV.

Pauls car was quite a bit bigger! This is what he told me -

My first was a 75 Plymouth Valiant with a slant six engine that would have run forever but I bought it used in 79, and five years of New Hampshire driving later, the body was mostly bondo and I had to give up on her. It would never really be the same for me again...

Morgetron told me -
My first car was a 1981 Chevy Citation. It ended up totalled at the hands of some slippery leaves, my inexperience as a driver, and a tree!

I’ve had company cars for much of my life. The first was the trusty Morris Minor. Having a brand new car at the age of 18 was really something!

Jeques was also a firms car driver. He said -
I never had a car until I was 26, that's when I also learned to drive. My first car was given by the company I worked before in the pharmaceutical industry back home in the Philippines. And now, it's been a year that I'm back as a commuter since I moved here in Chicago. My work is just 3 minutes walk from my apartment so car is not really a necessity for now. I'm giving myself another year.
Tumblewords first car also caught fire after a few miles -

My first car was a Ford Fairlane which had probably been a taxi in Chicago. It hardly made it beyond 100 miles before it went up in smoke...Later in life, I bought a 55 T-Bird and had it restored. What fun - guys waved at me! The first piece of early retirement was financed by that car but none of the guys. LOL Full circle?

Jadeys first car provided her with no problems at all! It was Chevrolet Monte Carlo in a fetching shade of brown! I assume it was the paint that was brown not the rust!

My favourite form of transport was my BMW 528. It was a special order from the factory – modified suspension, special alloys, no model badges – you know the kind of thing. And it had to be red! Heaven on wheels!

That’s it for now! If there are any more first car adventures out there let me know – maybe I’ll do part 2!


  1. Great collection of first cars, Keith!
    Fun post!

  2. this post makes me wonder how people survived the ol' car days! lol

  3. Keith lol I love this post. I can truthfully say that it indeed was my paint job that was brown paint and not the rust. The rust didn't come until the very end of the cars life. The car was finally no longer safe due to the rust on the undercarriage so I ended up moving to a pontiac somerset. Nice car. Digital dash and it was white with red interior. That got turned in 5years later for a 1991 Red Geo Storm that was very sporty and was an awesome little car.

  4. Mine was a 'sit-up-and-beg' Ford Popular. It had a 3-speed gearbox. 1st gear went up to about 5 mph, then 2nd went from 5 mph up to about 20. 3rd gear went from about 20-ish upwards. Well, I lived at the very top of a steep hill, about1.5 miles long, and I 'lost' 2nd gear! So the car either travelled at up to 5 mph, or a very, very shuddering 5 mph upwards, except that......on the hill, the bloody thing wouldn't take 3rd gear! So, I had to go the entire length of the hill at 5 mph, much to the absolute horror of following cars! I bought some earplugs! Seemed to do the trick.

  5. I loved the car stories!! you have to make a special section so you can have it ongoing...


  6. Wow, these are really neat, Keith. I never ever owned a car in my life...the one I drive at the moment, an old VW is my husband's. Though I have plenty of crash stories, now you know why I dont own them ;)



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