Two sides story as Toyota Corolla was bit of a wreck
When Alan Hall bought his first car on stormy night it coloured his judgment and also left him feeling blue!
It was October 1978 when, as a student at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, America, I bought my first car.
A friend took me out one stormy night to see a 1972 Toyota Corolla that was for sale.
The car was my favourite colour blue so, basically, I just kicked the tyres and handed over $600 which was a lot of money back then.
Next morning there was a loud knock at my apartment door. It was my landlady. “Did you buy a new car?” she asked.
“Yep,” I answered glibly.
“Boy, did it get banged up last night,” she said with a face like a wet weekend.
I went outside to see what had happened to my very first car. The car hadn’t been hit during the night. I’d actually bought half a car as the left side of the vehicle was all buckled.
I stuck with it though and sprayed up the bad side.
To reassure my parents that I was ‘doing okay’, I sent them a photograph of me and my new car. Mind you, they never knew that the other side of the car was a total wreck.
There were dramas.
The car ran well but in cold weather the speedo would suddenly shift over to 100mph – even though it was doing only 30mph.
One hot summer’s day I recall going into a discount store to get some engine oil. I left the Toyota in the parking lot. When I returned it was on fire. Petrol had leaked out of the carburettor on to the hot engine.
After that I traded it in for a swanky five-litre Chevrolet Camaro which was sold to me by a car salesman named Troy McClure. The Chevy Camaro was much better in every way. It had a jet-fast take-off and was whisper quiet.
I drove it down to Florida and then right up to Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes in Canada – not in the same day!
In the end I had to sell the Camaro when I returned to England to take up a research post at Cambridge University in 1980.