Sunday, May 29, 2005

My first car

I bought my first car in mid 1972, about 6 months before I was even eligible to hold a drivers license. It was a 1953 Morris Minor[^]. Fortunately we had a large block of land; the olds, for some reason, had bought the block of land behind ours, torn down the back fence and combined the two blocks into one larger one. It was still pretty small but it did give me somewhere to drive, in circles, on those occasions when one or the other of the olds were unwilling to be my licensed driver.

Learning to drive back then was pretty unstructured. No such thing as a learners permit, you just slung a couple of L plates on the car and took off with a licensed driver. Lots of kangaroo hopping as I learned to control the clutch. I had my first lessons in Misery's 1960 FB Holden[^] which was a fun car to drive although, without power steering, it was a dog to do a three point turn in. It didn't have power brakes either which meant more than one white knuckle experience for Misery as I tried to bring it to a halt after misjudging speed and distance.

After a couple of months of driving my Morrie around the backyard it began to resemble a bush racetrack. I think I took out every tree they'd ever planted. I got really good at changing from first up to second but got no practice beyond that; the track was too small! On the other hand, I did learn how to double-clutch; the gearbox had no synchromesh so it was very difficult to shift down into first unless the car was stationary!

Alas, the car had met it's match with me. At 19 years old it was a year older than I was, but I managed to be the one that brought it to its end. A minor oil leak that I ignored until too late. The engine gave up the ghost and repairs would have run to more than I paid for the entire car. I reckon, even today, I'd instantly recognise the sound of an engine with shot big-ends. So we towed it to the local tip and just rolled it over the edge. A pity in some ways. It had the most comfortable seats I've ever had in a car and it was, after all, my first car.

1 comment:

Erwin Calverley said...

Wow, your Morris went through quite the adventure in your hands! I’m sorry that it eventually gave up, but hey, you’ll always have the great memories with you. You always remember your firsts, after all, and the Morris was your first big car purchase. That’s a whole new responsibility to take on, which makes a person feel grown up.