Crashing time a very costly experience
My first car was a 1956 Standard 10 four-door saloon – not an exciting car for a 20-year-old – bought at the behest of the father of my girlfriend who didn't want her riding pillion on my motorbike.
I picked up the car one Friday night and headed for home as a car owner, with �100 to fund a weekend away with my girlfriend. I filled it up with petrol at the first station I came to, happily parting with �5.
I stopped at the first set of traffic lights, with a double-decker bus some 10 yards behind me. An Austin A40 drew up beside me, obviously intending to beat me away from the lights, I responded by putting my car into gear and holding the clutch down, pressed the throttle to the floor, and as the lights changed I immediately hit 20mph – unfortunately in reverse! The bus was unmarked, but I had a huge crease in my rear bumper. The driver said he would not report the incident, but I should pay �20 for his silence.
My mood lightened the following morning. I picked up my girlfriend and set off for a weekend away. At lunchtime I pulled into a pub for lunch, misjudged the parking place and hit a parked car and wound up with a crease on the front bumper, with a small amount of damage to the other car. As I got out of the car to view the damage, a man came over and said: 'That's my car you've hit mate.'
He said if I didn't go through insurance, he would accept �30 for the damage. After paying him, we found a table for lunch, but before I could order a meal, a chap appeared at my side and said 'You have just hit my car in the car park', to which I replied 'You can't be the owner, I've just paid him �30 outside.' He replied 'You've been conned, I'm the owner.'
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So I parted with yet another �30. I had had the car for less than 24 hours and had parted with �80 of my weekend funding.
I arrived at my aunt's cottage without further ado. There were three bedrooms in her cottage, with a bedroom either side of hers. She made it very clear to us she didn't want to see anyone walking past her bedroom.
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The following morning we set off for the coast. After half an hour or so I heard a slight whine, which got a lot louder. People were turning to see what vehicle the howl was coming from. I pulled into a small garage and after a short road test the mechanic said 'It's your clutch, mate. It's burnt out.'
I rang the chap I had bought the car from to be told he would replace the clutch but I had to pay him to collect the car at a charge of �25.
The following day I received a bad blow to my pride when my girlfriend informed me she had found a new boyfriend, to which I replied: 'But has he got a car?' She said, with what I thought was a derisory note in her voice, 'He has a car and it's a Ford Consul two-tone bench-seat and column change.'
Poor Standard 10 with damage to front and rear.
Several days later, a new girlfriend and a half-share of a Sunbeam Talbot 90, but that's another story.
Brian Johnson, Yarmouth Road, Blofield.
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