I know nothing about cars. So long as they have four wheels and a steering wheel, and so long as they will get me from where I am to where I want to go without any unscheduled stops along the way, I am content to drive anything*. I currently drive a Mazda, because the nice man from the RAC told me that they are the cars that they get called out to least often, but my first car was a thing of beauty.
It was a Triumph, with a K registration. That’s a K suffix, which means that the car was registered in 1971 or 72 (I think). It had been my Nana’s and before that my grandfather’s, but when she decided to replace it, she gave it to me as a birthday present.
(Nana giving me second hand things as a birthday or Christmas gift wasn’t new. There was one year that she gave me an original pressing of The Beatles’ ‘Help’ album. Which would have been exceedingly generous of her if it hadn’t already belonged to Dad.)
At the time I couldn’t drive. I had had lessons, but was nowhere near taking my driving test. In fact, the only time I drove the car any distance was to take it for an MOT Test**. At which it was found to be suffering from terminal rust to the chassis, caused by several decades of living by the sea with my grandparents.
The fact that the outside of the car was riddled with rust holes, particularly around the doors and door cills, should have alerted me to a problem. But the inside of the car was wonderful, with a huge, clear, analogue dashboard, wooden trim and some strangely comfortable plastic-y upholstery. It would be wrong of me to deny that I have not had a certain fondness for all of the cars I have owned, but well, you always remember your first one.
And now all of the car geeks are going to ask me which model of Triumph it was and I’m going to have to admit that I can’t clearly remember. I think it was a 1500, but I am really not sure. I’m not sure what model of Mazda I drive, so I’m hardly likely to remember that kind of detail.
*except a Mazda MX-5. I’m not a hairdresser. Or a Renault Clio. I’m not a girl.
**I’ll apologise now to Marc and Anu, the friends who accompanied me on this trip as my supervising drivers and whose heart rates are probably only returning to normal around now