My little getaway — 15 Comments

    • So we all started off with just about the smallest cars available?  Makes sense.

      Hang on – Fiat 600?  How tall are you?

      • My first car was the Renault 4 – good on fuel consumption but it was light and vulnerable to strong cross winds on open roads. The Mini was a great starter car for people in the 1960s and 70s. I see the VW Beetle has made a comeback, but it is pricey and not an affordable starter car for young uns. The old Morris Minor was a fine low cost car in its day, with a sensible body design.

  1. Tha' was lucky, my first car was an Austin Metro, to call it a Friday afternoon job would be to insult the skill and craftsmanship of those who have had a few pints at dinner time and are doing no more than counting down the minutes until five o'clock 

    • I passed my test in a Metro. Great for hill starts. Got into 2nd gear before letting off the handbrake.

  2. Sell you a hose eh?  Was it a wee fucking thing about 3″ long that

    engaged under the thermostat housing, and was a cat’s anus to


    • Ah, the notorious by-pass hose! I didn’t have a mini in the early days, but in the 80s when I was making a bit of money, I bought  1972 (I think) Austin Cooper ‘S’. A mean machine if ever there was one. It had been bored out to 1400 cc and had uprated carbs, race balanced crankshaft (whatever that meant) and went like shit off a stick. But it still had that little by-pass hose. Fortunately, by the time I inevitably had to change it, they had started producing by-pass hoses which could concertina a bit. It was still a bugger to replace, but better than the straight hoses, which really necessitated removing the head to fit.

      •  A 'race' balanced crankshaft means the crankshaft assembly was balanced to have minimum vibration at maximum engine revs. Good for a track car but not really what you want in a 5 mile traffic jam.


  3. I passed my test in a Morris 1100, and my first car was an Austin A35 pick-up which I bought off some gypsies for (if memory serves) fifteen quid. It didn’t look nearly as smart as the one in the link above, though! I couldn’t understand why at 70mph the steering would shake like it had delirium tremens, until I realised it had different size wheels and tyres on the front axle. Once I picked up a matching wheel / tyre from a scrapyard and fitted it, the shaking stopped. My first foray into car mechanics!

  4. FUCK!!  Just discovered I can’t post comments properly.  Damned upgrade to WordPress last night!

  5. My first car was a Triumph Herald. Replaced the clutch in a muddy car park, back of Hatfield Polly. Eventually rusted away 🙁
    Then an Austin 1100. Less said the better.
    Then a whole succession of Citroen Dyannes – wonderful machines! We could do with a return to simple, well designed tools like them, rather than all these over complicated, over regulated, “environmentally friendly”, computer controlled pieces of sh*te on offer today.

    BTW: I cut up a Fiat 500 and a number of Dyannes with tinsnips and hacksaw once the pile of wrecks got too big. This is now of course “Strengverboten” by our EU overlords as it does not comply with the necessary paperwork.

  6. The auld floor starter button, that brings back memories. I used one for years as an anti-theft kill switch under the carpet. I'd hit the switch getting out when someone else wanted to drive, great craic!

  7. Sounds like you and James Herriot had the same Austin–especially the lack of brakes.

    And now, a short poem:

    I knew a man from Boston,

    who bought himself an Austin.

    He had room for his ass…

    …and a gallon of gas…

    …but his nuts hung out and he lost 'em.


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