Penny black saved from last post after nasty bump in Fiat Punto

Steve Firman had a bit of a bump in his Fiat Punto. Picture: Steve Firman

Steve Firman had a bit of a bump in his Fiat Punto. Picture: Steve Firman - Credit: Steve Firman

After being left feeling flat, then denting his pride along with Penny his Fiat Punto, Stephen Firman saved her from being written off and kept her on the road.

Two days after passing my driving test I completely drained my bank account to buy a 51-plate, black Fiat Punto – and paying for the insurance also drained my parents' bank account!

Working a variety of terrible shifts at McDonalds had paid off and I happily parted with £1,300 in hard-earned pennies in order to get my car, which I soon christened Penny.

A day later, I went to see my girlfriend at the time and we drove about wasting time, listening to music through the cassette player and going to the drive-through. After a few hours I went to drop her off but we sat outside the front of her house, still listening to music and I turned the engine off.

Before we knew it, a few more hours had passed, we said goodbye and, when I went to start the engine again, I was greeted with a flat battery. Absolutely livid, I spend the three-mile walk home thinking about how, after all the driving lessons, stress and saving up for a car, I'm still walking home at 2am – only now I have no car or money!

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A month later, after shelling out £80 for what turned out to be a knackered battery, I was driving to work and got distracted by how short the queue was at the local KFC drive-through. Unfortunately I didn't pay attention to the queue of traffic in front of me and, as I slammed down on the brakes, the combination of thick steel-toe cap boots and Punto pedals being close together resulted in me crashing into the back of the Vauxhall Astra in front of me, causing a huge amount of damage to the front of Penny... and the Astra.

I started panicking but, as luck would have it, my dad just so happened to be a street over so, when I called him, he appeared almost instantly and didn't even call me out for being the idiot that I was!

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After the insurance company wanted to write her off, I refused to let it happen and we managed to get the bodywork, radiator and bonnet replaced well within the insurance payout. Penny had a matt finish bonnet as a constant reminder me of how I nearly killed her and I had her for another 18 months before a combination of failing power steering, engine's electronic control unit (ECU) and various holes in her exhaust meant I had to sell her before I went to university.

I still managed to sell her for £400 which was hastily added to the beer fund. Thanks Penny!

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.

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