My father's been a case and point when it comes to the fact that the older you are, the slower you drive. There are some things I feel that should never be told about his driving, so here they are.
When I was very young, we had cars that were lucky to go fast. We had a dark blue Triumph 2000, and whilst I was very young, the one thing I remember was a hole in the floor in the centre that meant you could see the road passing underneath. He also had a penchant for Renault 16s, cars that looked odd and presumeably drove just as oddly so I'm guessing he either stayed under the speed limit because he wanted to, or because that's all he could do. The biggest car crime he committed was owning not one, but two Simcas. These were hideously ugly French carbuncles, and whilst one was an estate with an interesting wind down back window, the other was a wolf in sheep's clothing. It had been bored out by it's previous owner, and was now a "Stick you to your seat" car away from lights. I presume it was at this point my father moved over to the virtue of the dark side (aka speeding). His first company car was the late, great Toyota Cressida. A very American looking car this was the first time I can remember travelling at 100mph on the M23 to Brighton.
Things went downhill from there, and his next company car was a Vauxhall Astra GTE. This car was described as 'Polar White' and for this reason it became known as the fox (Polar - mints - foxes). It would have been more sensible to call it the fuckingfastwhitestreakofpiss, because this thing flew. A few weeks after first seeing it, my father took me to Slough, and on the M25 (then called the Orbital) he decided he'd open it up. I remember the digital display showing 135mph, and the funny smell in the car. Thundering along on the outside lane, a large Scuffer's Range Rover honed into view on the hard shoulder. Slowing down to legal speeds, and alongside pulls a tatty old brown Cortina. The filth had shoehorned some large engine into this rusting piece of crap, and I'm guessing my father hadn't even noticed it, because I certainly hadn't. He was done for driving 'in excess of 100mph,' but the crafty git moved to Sweden before they could convict him.
Sweden was where he got his first Volvo. Now the problem with Sweden and speed is it doesn't. The roads are too slow, too icy, too many traffic lights, too many broken Volvo Amazons cluttering up the road. This must have welled up inside him, because whenever he came back to the UK, he'd drive like Colin McRae (before his death) and would take on anything and everything in his Volvo 760 estate. This included on one occasion a Lamborghini on Park Lane in London.
Eventually he moved stateside, and it was at this point I think he realised he was driving too fast. In the land where you can drink a lot and as long as you look sober you get away with it, speeding is frowned upon. I, meanwhile, had passed my driving test. I'd started well, getting convicted of speeding less then 3 months after I'd got my licence. 77mph on the motorway in Port Talbot where it's a 50 is a very common offence around here. The following summer I really pushed the envelope for speeding though.
I had, at the time, got me a Rover 827 Sterling. This was the only Rover worth having, and with it's 180bhp, you could accelerate away from a standing start and make the world go backwards. I'd spent a week in Essex, and had left to return home with plenty of time for a gig that evening. The problem was, it was a national rugby game in Wembley and the whole of West London had ground to a halt. I finally got to the Hammersmith roundabout at 4:30pm, and I had to be in Neath at 6. I put my foot down.
An hour later, and I was in Cardiff. The mathematicians amongst you (constipated or otherwise) will work out this is an average speed of 150mph. Just outside Cardiff, the car blew up in spectacular style. I didn't have many cars after that that would go that fast, until my purchase of a Volvo T5.
This was a Police set up Volvo, lowered, extra turbo that would suck in wild birds, wide wheels that would grip the road like shit on a blanket. A real family car then*, I took it to 140mph and had a lot of power left but I bottled it. Another time I drove from Southampton at 120mph all the way home, and getting into my drive I remember the exhaust was actually glowing red.
I picked up my father from the airport once in the beast. I was driving at 80mph, along with all the other traffic on the road, and he was complaining I was going too fast. I replied "Payback time..."
I now drive at 75mph on the motorway. I (mostly) slow down where speed limits are. In fact, I think I'm turning into my father.
Oh how things have come full circle.
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