Chatting with Barnet Boy the other day we started talking about when we started driving and how I remember my first car with fondness. I am obviously on a nostalgia kick as my lost blog was about my first teddy bear!
I Remember My First Car With Fondness
Building Up To Buying A Car
On my 17th birthday my Mum announced she was paying for me to have a series of driving lessons. She knew that I would be getting a good job with a company car, she said. So it was important that I could drive when that time came.
I have to say she had a lot more faith in my future career than I did! But thanks to her I passed my driving test first time. And it was true that after a few years I got a job with a company car and ended having a succession of company cars over the years. But I remember my first car so well.
Datsun 120A Coupe
My first car was a Datsun 120A coupe, with a funky cigar shaped back end! Bought 42 years ago with all of my then savings (£100) the car was a bright mustard color. It was my pride and joy. I learned how to do my own servicing and could be found happily changing the oil and spark plugs. I was forever washing and polishing it. Using T-Cut to get rid of small scratches and chrome cleaner so the car would shine. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos!
The car had a nickname, ‘Dinky’. It got its name from an altercation with a laughing neighbor who had watched me park in about 20 moves and still not get it right. This was not long after I got the car you understand. “You need a lot of space to park that dinky toy” was his comment. Dinky Toys, of course, was a toy car manufacturer.
Dinky Had Some Interesting Foibles
Visibility was not great in the car – the cigar shaped back and small windows meant you needed extra care when reversing. I relied heavily on my wing mirrors to see behind me! So different from today’s modern cars with their parking assist.
Dinky had a slight smell of damp, even in the heat of summer. I never could find where the leak was, it was somewhere under the dashboard. The mats in the car were often wet. It didn’t matter because I didn’t notice the smell when I drove with the window down.
Most irritating was the fact that Dinky’s heater didn’t work properly. I would spend ages scraping ice off the outside of the car on a winter morning. But the ice on the inside of the car was more of a problem. I remember sitting at traffic lights scraping the ice off the inside of the windscreen…
I Once Got A Two-Seater Sofa In The Back
This particular car had a huge boot space. I once helped someone move and managed to get a two-seater sofa in the back. It was hard work but we did it. I seem to recall getting the sofa out was much harder than getting it in there somehow.
On another occasion I managed to get two bales of hay in the back for a friend who had a horse. I remember it was months before I managed to get all the bits of hay out of the car. Driving with the window open little bits would fly through the air!
Age Got The Better Of Dinky
Dinky ran really well for several years but then started to develop problems with various parts of the engine including the starter motor. By then I was living with someone and each morning had to go and drive half an hour to work each day.
It reached a point where it was hit and miss if the car would actually start. There would be a ‘whirr, whirr, whirr’ sound that, if I was lucky would then change to the sound of the engine running as the car burst into life. If I was unlucky, the ‘whirr, whirr, whirr’ would slow down to a stop. Usually if I waited a bit it would start.
My neighbors at the time, Sandra and Barry (she called him Baz) told me they were in bed one morning and they heard the ‘whirr, whirr, whirr’ and she said “It is not going to start today Baz”. It turns out that even my neighbors were willing the car to start!
Saying Goodbye To Dinky
I was getting more and more concerned that if the car stalled in rush hour traffic it might not start again! I was recharging the battery overnight to try and compensate. It was all a nightmare. Eventually I had to accept that Dinky needed more work than was justified. Clearly, I was better off putting the money towards a newer car, which is what I did.
I remember the day I emptied Dinky and left it at the side of the road for the people to come and collect it for scrap. I shed a few tears! But it was nice to settle into my new (to me) silver Nissan Cherry that started first time and had a heater that worked.
I have had many cars since Dinky but I always remember my first car with fondness. Barnet Boy’s first car was an Austin A40 which he bought for £10 50 years ago. What was yours?
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!