My First Car: Stripes, spots, stereo – the Escort ‘boy racer’ touches

This Mark II Ford Escort, pictured with his future wife Tessa, was the first car Stuart Miles owned.

This Mark II Ford Escort, pictured with his future wife Tessa, was the first car Stuart Miles owned. - Credit: supplied

Stuart Miles learned to drive in his first car, a Mark II Ford Escort, which he acquired from his father and then gave it the 'boy racer' treatment.

My first car was a Nordic blue 1980 Mark II Ford Escort 1.3 Popular Plus which had originally been my father's old ex-company car which I acquired from him in 1989 – a year before I passed my test – as he had just bought a practically-new Ford Sierra.

I loved this car. It sat out the front of my mum and dad's house all the time I was taking driving lessons, which gave me ample time to get it 'boy racer' ready!

By the time I passed my test in June 1990 the car had the regulation boy racer touches – rear window louvres which were the must-have Escort accessory as were stripes, spotlights and that all-important stereo. By the time I'd finished you would have thought I'd driven through a well-known car accessory store and out the other side. I though I was 'king of the world'.

I had a good wage, no responsibilities and a cracking, loving girlfriend – who is now my wife – and, above all freedom. Yes, no more bikes or buses for me – I had a car.

If my time wasn't spent going over to Kessingland, to see my girlfriend Tessa, then it was trips to Great Yarmouth, annoying the 'locals' up the seafront or time spent with my better half in the town itself.

Friday and Saturday nights, if not out clubbing, consisted of driving to Lowestoft and meeting up with the gang on either Rishton House car park or the train station car park.

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That car only let me down twice, once when a radiator popped and another time when the ignition coil fell off at 2am outside my girlfriend's mum's house.

Sunday mornings were spent 'tinkering' or 'improving' or, failing that, bolting back on bits that had fell off.

Most of the lads had Escorts and some Sundays were spent scouring the scrapyards looking for the odd bits and pieces.

I had lots of fun in that car, until the dreaded tinworm practically ate both front chassis rails and the bulkhead. It finally became rotten around the front suspension turrets and that's when the decision was reluctantly made to part company.

She made way for a more conservative four-year-old 1.6-litre Vauxhall Cavalier... another great car and another story.

I cringe now when I see how much these Mark II Ford Escorts are fetching when they come up for sale... and to think what I put mine through.

Tell us about your first car and the adventures and scrapes you had – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to or post it to Andy Russell, motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE