“It’s red!! Like a Ferrari!”

car2_0001_4b7ee105448bf-lightboxOne previous owner, kept garaged and hardly any miles, the smooth talking sales man explained as he pushed a folder over to my parents.

I was 16 years and 10 months old, I had just competed at the county athletics and not embarrassed myself and this was my parents’ idea, to stop at a local showroom. It utterly embarrassed the crap out of me – what 16 year old gets a car bought for them? I wanted to escape and tell my parents what a ridiculous idea it was.

Ohh its red – I like red the mother says pretending to know everything about cars. At which point I think I nearly cried.

Doing what most males do best , the old man shouts “So how much then?” – £3500. THREE AND A HALF THOUSAND QUID. I had never really heard about so much money being splashed on a 16 yr old. Now I really wanted the ground to absorb every ounce of my hormone riddled corpse.

How would I explain this to my mates? Honestly it’s all I could think about – how would I keep this secret till I was at least 17-1/2? The scary lads in the year above would eat me alive if they found this out…

Alloys, Sports bucket seats, Fogs, body coloured trim, sports edition styling, sunroof, 1.4litres…

1.4 litres was at least 0.4 more than I had ever expected, and 0.4 more than I knew any older lads had…. hmmmm

I did settle down eventually, I was still incredibly embarrassed, but I knew I was a petrol head, I knew I was god’s gift to go-karting, and I knew this was the car for me – “RED, LIKE A FERRARI!” my mother shouts for the 4th time…

So the deal was done – I have a photo of some happy parents and a gangly chap wearing a white t-shirt and shorts with athletics spikes – I still cannot believe that day. I promised to look after it like humanity’s survival depended on it…

6 years – 25k miles, and at least three notable off-road excursions – later, made this car the most memorable comrade I suspect I’ll ever own.

If you ever wondered what a hump-back bridge – two idiots in a Clio, 50mph and a white van look like mixed together, more to come…

Oh and some basic car ownership info…

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James Nt