I learnt to drive in my early twenties (10 years ago this year as it turns out) and it was out of desperation more than anything. I was regularly travelling back and forth from Liverpool, and all the train travel was getting me down, so I chose an instructor with a bright orange Mini and passed first time.
I anthropomorphise pretty much everything I own, so of course I gave my first car a name. He was called Doyle*, and I was more in love with him than anything else (don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a weird story about how I married my car).
He was only a 1.2 litre Vauxhall Corsa and was old by the time I got him, but he was nippy. He weighed nothing as I’m sure he was made of plastic, so when I put my foot down, he really moved. Speeding away at green lights was one of my favourite things to do, even though everyone else caught up and overtook within seconds. My very first journey up the M6 to Liverpool was terrifying – it was snowing so heavily that I had to stop at the services and call my Dad for moral support but the fact that Doyle didn’t come spinning off the road helped me trust in his abilities as a car.
I had my first accident 4 years later, all my fault, and I completely crushed the bonnet. As I limped him home, I couldn’t stop crying – I wasn’t hurt but I was convinced I had written him off. He wasn’t going to be worth fixing and Husband and I started planning a replacement (the betrayal!). To everyone’s surprise, the garage actually fixed him and he lived on for a few months more before…
Along came Albie**. I saw him in a TV advert, completely awestruck by this beautiful pinky-purple car and couldn’t stop thinking about how pretty it was. When it came to thinking about a new car, I didn’t want to look at anything other than a Ford Fiesta in Hot Magenta. Husband would be driving it as well – we were going to sell his Mercedes A-Class which only sat on the drive all day. It was a great car, notwithstanding the fact that the bumper was held on by duct tape, the rear passenger doors didn’t lock, and an animal had got in it at some point and pooped everywhere, but I didn’t like driving it as much as he did, so we agreed to share the Fiesta and spent weeks debating the colour. Clearly, I wanted the EXACT car from the advert. Husband wanted something a little less in your face. I won.
Albie took months to arrive, and we regularly were frustrated by the lack of information from Ford on his delivery date but eventually, we visited the garage to pick him up. I was very sad to be leaving Doyle behind but incredibly excited to have this brand new car that no one else had driven before. We’d specced it out with all the fancy gadgets you could want – keyless entry and push button start, bluetooth (fancy for back then), auto wipers and lights. He had sexy alloys and tinted windows in the back. Goodness, he was perfection.
We’ve done just under 65,000 miles in the past five-and-a-half years, and he has only failed us a handful of times. He once leaked oil onto the driveway of a house we rented in Wales (sorry Rob!), and he went through a period of not wanting to switch on. Things are getting expensive though – I’ve had more replacement tyres than I can even count, and so many wheels have buckled – it’s like they’re made of cheese (that’s irritated me more than anything). He’s quite noisy, and the window seals have popped out causing the whole car to rattle regularly.
He was fantastic for that time of our lives and although we wouldn’t get a Fiesta again, I have loved driving him. Which brings us to today…
Meet Kasper***, an Audi A1 1.4 TFSI Sport in Scuba Blue with a silver contrast line (I know all the terms). We picked him up first thing this morning and it has already been such a different experience. Our “Sales Executive” has been amazing and kept in regular contact with us. He didn’t rip us off, didn’t pressure us into adding any extras we didn’t want, and came across as a really trustworthy and honest guy. After all the paperwork was signed, he spent a good 20 minutes going through all of the buttons in the car with us to make sure we knew what we were doing. Everything is luxury, everything is refined. We got given a litre of oil which comes in it’s own leather bag. A BAG FOR OIL!
I am so insanely excited to have him to myself on Monday and start playing with all the different display options. The stop-start system will be so suited to the constant traffic I sit in and I FINALLY have DAB radio – farewell irritating adverts on XFM! It’s quite weird to look out the front door and see a Scuba Blue car on the drive instead of my beloved Hot Magenta and it will take me a couple of weeks to stop missing my Alberto, but I’m sure speeding around in my Audi will soften the blow. We took him over to Windsor today and the extra 3 seconds in going 0-60 was so fun! I am going to enjoy owning this car.
*Named after Allen Francis Doyle from Angel
**Named after Albert Grant from Big Love
***Named after Kasper Juul from Borgen. Are you sensing a theme?