So, losing the Passat, and just starting a new job, I needed a new car and quickly. I took my first fateful trip to a car auction.
Much ummming and ahhhhing led to a rather rare and very old 1983 BMW 318i. My mate took one look at it, patted me sedately on the shoulder, and told me to buy it. And promptly disappeared. I bid £50, someone else bid £60 (a ghost in my opinion), and I won for £75. After commission, I'd paid a sultry £105. My mate was more surprised that I won, and told me I should have got a round of applause for winning it. I spent 5 months working hard on it, mainly learning to weld in substantial amounts. After replacing the whole of the floor pan on one side, and all of the areas around the chassis etc, I had the opportunity of another car.
In steps one of the more reliable cars I'd ever owned. Rather surprising for me, I got a Ford Fiesta. Those that know me will testify to me not driving a Fiesta. Primarily because I can barely fit in one. Also because of the way I drive. This was a nifty little runner though, and more interestingly was a very rare automatic. This meant that I could work on the BMW, and drive around legally in something seriously resembling a go-kart.
A year later and after picking John up from school one afternoon, a typical mother on her school run lost control on the main road past my village in seriously heavy rain. I realised that the car was out of control as well, so instead of trying to apply the brake to avoid her and skid completely out of control, I aimed the car for the now widening gap between her and the kerb. As I gently slid down the inside of her avoiding her neatly, the car on my right now snapped back, into the side of my car. It was now possible to turn a corner and have the wheels rub against the wheel arches. The front chassis had been bent, and realising the car was now not worth much at all, I sold it on ebay for a truly monumental £28.
The BMW was still not legal, and I needed a car so I took the plunge. I went to a car dealership and traded in the BMW. I came away with my best car yet, a 2 litre turbo Volvo 440si. It turned out it was a prototype T5 (the porsche engine) made for Yorkshire Police, but never becoming an actual bonefide police car, getting sold on as an overspend in the first place. This car had some serious power, 245 horsepower in fact, and had a terrible tendency to just sit there wheel spinning instead of pulling away. 2 weeks after I got the new car, rather worryingly, the drive shaft shattered whilst parking. It turned out that this probable failure lead to the car's actual downfall some 2 years later. Whilst driving home one morning from Neath, I noticed a shudder, and the front right hand side of the car droped just a couple of inches. I went to steer around a small roundabout, but missed. The car went straight on, ricochet'd off towards the outside of the roundabout, got airbourne for 8 feet and came to rest up against a wall and garden fence. Bits of the entire underside of the car were strewn across the road and pavement, including the sump guard, suspension struts, and exhaust. All four wheels were in bits on the floor, and one wheel was actually in the top of the wheel arch. The car was dead.
Final episode coming soon...
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