My First Car: Mangy Mazda’s beauty more than skin deep!

Ella Wilkinson’s Mazda 3 Sport’s paintwork looked like it had ‘psoriasis’. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Ella Wilkinson’s Mazda 3 Sport’s paintwork looked like it had ‘psoriasis’. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

With its peeling paintwork and clunky suspension, Ella Wilkinson's battered Mazda 3 was not a picture of health but she loved it all the more for that but had to resort to a hammer when she locked herself out!

Ella Wilkinson trying to break the side window with a piece of paving stone after locking the keys i

Ella Wilkinson trying to break the side window with a piece of paving stone after locking the keys inside. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

I was sitting at the bottom of our very steep driveway, waiting to pull out into the morning rush-hour traffic, when I heard the almighty crunch of metal imploding. My father had reversed directly into the driver's side passenger door.

My mother then gifted me the Mazda 3 Sport, due to its severe cosmetic damage, but I loved it all the more for it.

Prior to Bridgette – my car – coming into our family, the former owner had rolled and written her off. Everything, except the roof and bonnet, had to be replaced – and was evidently done on the cheap.

She was parked beneath a magnolia tree for all of my childhood and, as we grew up, the car began balding. First, paint began peeling from around the handles and bottom of the door but, slowly, her small case of 'eczema' developed into a more widespread case of 'psoriasis'.

Her 'vitiligo' was far from her only identifying feature though. One wing mirror was slightly lighter in colour, the left wheel arch was partially hanging off, there was an ash hole in the back seat upholstery and the rear suspension had taken some beating – leaving me with a constant clunking noise, and a fear of speed bumps.

However, I still took her everywhere, driving across the country at every opportunity.

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In March this year, during the Beast from the East, I moved my friend from London to Liverpool. Stuffing Brigette full to the brim and taking on the four-and-a-half-hour journey.

Before swinging by my friend's new house, we decided to get a quick shop. So I parked the very full car in the centre of Liverpool city centre, and squeezed the food shopping into the boot. On closing the boot, my mistake had dawned on me. I had locked my keys in the boot, leaving the perishables and life of my friend locked inside... and my friend, me and the snow on the other side.

Being in Liverpool, I initially asked around to see if someone could break into my car, and found a security guard with a criminal past. However, after several failed attempts because of Bridgette's fancy anti-theft devices, he broke the news to me that I would have to say goodbye to my back window. With that, I reluctantly launched a paving stone directly at it... it did nothing. It wasn't until the security guard gave me a hammer that I was able to smash through the severely-spidering glass.

Driving off, I felt a sense of betrayal to my beautiful baby, felt the cost of a £250 window repair and the stress of arguing a £90 parking fine.

My patchwork cardboard replacement didn't last more than five minutes on the move, dusting the motorway with flying cardboard and clumps of Gaffa Tape.

But the worst thing was the five-hour journey in sub-zero temperatures, seeing my breath as I drove along and switching my numb driving hand every 10 minutes with the hand crammed beneath my thighs for warmth.

I have not, and hopefully never will, repeated this mistake.

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