My First Car: Metro Bar Inn had a lotta bottle!

A young, 6ft 2in David Powles found getting in and out of his Austin Mini Metro challenging.

A young, 6ft 2in David Powles found getting in and out of his Austin Mini Metro challenging. - Credit: supplied

Owning an Austin Metro proved to a tall order for David Powles but that first car became a big part of his teenage years.

My first car was a horrid beige Austin Mini Metro.

I'm 6ft 2in tall so, even at 17, it was a challenge to get inside and would probably have suited me better had I removed the driver's seat and got into the back.

We used to call it the Metro Bar Inn because on nights to town, where I was on driving duties, I'd fill the glove compartment with bottles of beer for my passengers. Not for me of course.

It even had a no smoking sign which must have come from one of the locals at some point.


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Buoyed by youthful exuberance we would drive around my then home town of Bury St Edmunds, honking and waving at people. We used to call it 'spreading happiness'.

Despite the fact that, with a 1.0-litre engine, it was as slow as an old cart horse, could barely fit more than three people in and would regularly end up needing this or that fixed, I absolutely loved that car and it became a big part of my teenage years.

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Years later I always talk about how much of a bargain it was.

It cost £50 but the owner had left £90 tax on it. Effectively I was paid to drive it. Back of the net!

The Metro lasted at least two years before coming to the end of its life on some East Anglian country road – I bet there aren't many people out there who got better value for money from their first car.

And what an upgrade I got once it came to the end of its life – a nice purple Ford Fiesta.

Your first car is special so tell us your memories – email your story with a picture of the car to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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