Flaws of a Morris floor

On taking a corner too sharply and burying myself in a hedge when riding a Capri scooter, I thought four wheels would be safer. So I bought a child's Ladybird book called How the Motor Works and, to my surprise, passed the test in 10 lessons at a cost of 22 shillings each.

On taking a corner too sharply and burying myself in a hedge when riding a Capri scooter, I thought four wheels would be safer. So I bought a child's Ladybird book called How the Motor Works and, to my surprise, passed the test in 10 lessons at a cost of 22 shillings each.

My first vehicle was a blue Morris 1000 van, XRT 632. It was ex-water board - I knew this as the words were still slightly raised under the added blue coat. This was about 47 years ago, at a cost of about �80 - I was earning �8 at the time.

The first thing my father did was make me learn to change a wheel, clean and set plugs and points and understand all that was in an Army ammo box - various spares and items of all shapes and sizes - it almost looked like another engine. This, I was told, I must carry at all times, for any emergency!

'Oh, how boring,' I thought, as I was trying to show interest. I wanted to get on with the real job in hand, speeding off on my first run.


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On this run I found what today is called 'air-conditioning' coming in around my feet. Returning home and lifting the layers of floor-covering, many parts of the floor were missing, due, I found out, to acid that the water board carried on floor wells.

Not letting this thwart my enthusiasm, I re-covered the floor, repainted the inside and sealed gaps in door frames. I did not need a car alarm like today, as I had a poodle called Mandy whom I took most places. She was very protective of the van once in 'her' front seat, so much so that I had to explain myself to her before I could get in.

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I had several years of trouble-free motoring, apart from chilblains in winter - it was year-round air-con.

Later, with a three-year-old daughter, I found an old car seat and bolted it to the framework behind the driver's seat and 'borrowed' my well-built father's trouser belt and strapped her in for safety - I was very forward-thinking. Although I had 'air-con', there was no heater and a hot water bottle for her to cuddle on journeys did the job well.

I did long to improve my style of travel and coveted a dear friend's large, red-topped Zephyr, but it was not to be, as funds did not allow for such luxury, and the law was such there was no MOT in the early stage and no seat belts, hence father lost his belt.

I once got stuck in mud on our grass drive and called Mum to give a push - all 4ft 10in of her. She did and I shot off, very chuffed at her effort. On returning home I was informed 'never again' as, unbeknown to me, the back wheels spun round at speed, showering her from head to toe in mud. Ah, bless her, but it still makes me smile.

At a later date, my loyal, hard-working friend with a strong, flawless constitution had to go for sale. I got �25, which was used for a slower mode of transport. But it was new, very posh and shiny, with lots of chrome - a padded floor based Silver Cross pram!

I must thank a loyal and clever family friend, Ivando, who under all conditions kept Morris and me together for many happy adventures.

A lovely, happy memory.

Wendy Auger (nee Brock), Peterborough.

We want to share your memories of your first car. Send memories, with a picture of your first car, to andy.russell@archant.co.uk or Andy Russell, EDPFeatures, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE. Please include your address and telephone number so photographs can be returned.

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