When I saw James McAvoy on Top Gear last weekend, I totally identified with him. Jeremy Clarkson was ribbing him relentlessly about his Nissan Micra ownership, whilst James tried to defend himself saying that they went incredibly quickly. I couldn't have agreed more.
I've been meaning to do a car blog for sometime. I've always been somewhat of a petrol head, and yes, this coming from someone who owned a series of Nissan Micras. I've loved cars since before I passed my driving test, and even then used to plan what I'd get when I could afford it. Somehow though, I never did get that MR2 I had a picture of on my wall. Crazy as it sounds now, I used to choose having a new car over having a place of my own. Anyway, let's go for it, here are the cars I've owned, loved and lost.
My first Nissan Micra. This was my parents' car and both my brother and I learned to drive in it. When I got my first full time job, it was given to me. I loved this car, even when I drove it into a boulder within a week of passing my test and burst a tyre. Living in the middle of nowhere it gave me the freedom to get out and about without my parents needing to drive me. He may have only had a one litre engine, but he had plenty of soul. Much as I loved him, the toll of two learner drivers meant that when I got the first large repair bill for him, it was time to move on.
However, I stayed loyal to the mighty Micra. This time, he was sparkly blue and even had blue seats. I used to drive this around the country lanes like a go kart, and yes, James McAvoy, it did go really quickly! As I was a cash strapped trainee accountant, I bought him on a personal contract plan, which meant after three years I traded him in for the current model.
Still not willing to give up on a good thing, this was my third Micra. I have to admit I can't really remember much about this car, which I think is the problem with having three Micras in a row. I only kept him for a couple of years before deciding it was time for something new, with a few more gadgets.
Now this was exciting, a 1.4 litre car, and it was a bright blue colour. It gave me a bit more room than the Micra(s) and was perfect for driving around with work. Unfortunately he was also the only car I've done significant damage to.
Driving home on a wet day, I came over the brow of a hill, about three miles from the nearest town and didn't have time to stop before hitting the car in front of me. There'd been a flood at the bottom of the hill and the fire brigade pumping the water out had caused a tail back. I managed to pull him into a layby and walked the three miles home feeling very sorry for myself. I got him fixed, but he was never the same again, always overheating when he was in stationery traffic.
This was my only convertible (to date!) He was a bit of a Friday afternoon production line car, with a series of faults and, as a result, seemed to spent more time in the garage than with me. Whilst I loved having a convertible and he was great fun when he worked, I don't think I'd buy another Peugeot, which is a shame. I was a real petrol head at this stage, I gave myself sunburn fitting those chrome hoops on a scorching hot day, and even used to polish his tailpipe!
As I said, I was a real petrol head by this stage and I made my next car purchasing decision whilst watching the Top Gear review below.
Literally, I saw this car on the track and decided I had to have it. I was single at the time and needed something to make me smile. That said, I met my now husband before the car was delivered, and he was a little incredulous that I'd ordered such an expensive car. I have to admit I was blown away on the test drive and got it up to a speed that I wouldn't do nowadays on the motorway. I loved everything about this car, his unique engine which meant you'd recognise another one on the road by its sound, his suicide doors, his handling and the fact he came with a free track day, taking him on the skid pan was a blast. He was prone to flooding, but I only had an issue once when I forgot, and turned the engine off too quickly after moving him. However, I changed jobs and knew I'd have to park him on narrow streets every day and I was struggling to justify the sub 20 miles to the gallon he was doing. He had to go, but I still miss him.
The Mini seemed the perfect solution for parallel parking on tight streets. He was fab, really nippy and easy to park and with enough gadgets to keep the petrol head in me entertained. Again, he was a bit of a Friday afternoon production car and spent a fair amount of time in the garage, but they managed to get him fixed eventually. The only reason I changed him was because he started to get expensive when he got out of warranty and much as I loved his firm handling on country roads, I really could feel every bump and pot hole on long journeys. It was time to admit I needed more of a sofa car.
My BMW is really comfortable and gets great fuel economy, it's not however 'my' car exactly as it's a company car. I'd had so many warranty issues with cars before, that I wanted it to be someone else's problem this time!
Looking back, I've had some great cars and smiled a lot watching that RX8 review on Top Gear. I remember why I bought the car, even though it's not the best financial decision I've ever made.
I think next time though, maybe not a red or blue car??