Petrol Heads.

Cover-Image-car

Charlotte: I like cars. A lot.

And I was pretty gutted that due to the nature of my wedding ceremony and reception being held at the same venue, an automobile was surplus to requirements.

The other day Lolly received an e-newsletter from a well known car group (I am tempted to mention names here but have refrained in the pursuit of professionalism and all that)… aimed directly at women. The newsletter suggested that if you were in your teens or early twenties then you would obviously be in the market for a very small car, probably in yellow. You would not really care about anything else to do with said car… apart from the confirmation that there are few added “extras” thrown in such as a cup holder and heated seats* and the very important consideration that there is sufficient boot space for shopping bags.

If you are in your mid-twenties plus then the only vehicle of interest would of course be a people carrier. This is because by now you will have 2.4 kids and a dog.

They also offer those in yellow.

This example of a narrow-minded (also see utter bollocks) marketing campaign was the catalyst for some interesting discussion at RMW HQ. Mainly our first cars, our favourite cars and what car we would have if we could have ANY CAR in the whole wide world. And we thought we would share this insight with you gorgeous lot in the vain hope that in return, you would share your car geek tendencies with us.

My first car was a Peugeot 106 Graduate. It was white, had 4 gears and no power steering. The upholstery was similar to the interior of Birmingham airport circa 1987 but I loved it. Because it was MINE. And it signified freedom and adventure and spontaneity.

My second car I bought from new, I was 21 and longed for a Renault Clio in glittering metallic black. Only a 1.2 litre engine but compared to the 106 it went like the clappers. And yes after all I’ve said so far in this article the Clio purchase may have been because I had a small girl crush on Nicole (aka Nicole! Papa!) from the adverts.

At the grand old age of 23 I was offered my first company car which had to ordered from the manufacturer (Ford Focus – pleasant enough but can’t remember a fat lot about it which I guess says everything)… and as a result was on a 10 week wait. In the meantime my employer agreed to send me an alternative so that on my first day of work I would be able to actually drive there – having by now sold my beloved Clio to my sister.

They delivered (to my Nan’s – I wasn’t going to be in for some reason or another) a Seat Leon Cupra …..in bright um… yellow (!). It had blacked out windows, a 1.8 turbo engine with 220 bhp, a bose sound system and the biggest alloys you’ve ever seen.

It was ACE. It was the epitome of boy-racer chic…..and I quite possibly drove it too fast.

The loveliest car I ever had the pleasure of driving was an Alfa Romeo GT. And if they were not so darn unreliable I’d have one again in a heartbeat.

The funniest car I ever had was a Fiat Multipla – the old model that resembled some strange alien greenhouse on wheels. I had landed a job as an Account Manager for Fiat and Alfa (hence my first hand experience of the fact the latter are beautiful but always headed for breakdown) and again had to have an alternative mode of transport whilst my permanent vehicle was on order.

Out of the vast array of pool cars available I decided to choose the Multipla purely for my own amusement, I thought driving up to our brand new apartment to meet my now husband (then boyfriend) in such a spectacular vision of burgundy when he was expecting something decidedly more flash would be hilarious.

It was.

I managed to keep up the pretence for a whole hour until I caved and admitted that yes, I had in fact ordered something altogether sportier and age-appropriate. But can I just say – it was a pleasure to drive, I actually missed it when I had to hand it back.

The last couple of company cars I’ve had were BMW 1 series (1.8 Diesel) which were pretty comfortable (and quick) so long as you were willing to shell out a fortune for any of these “extras” – I actually made a joke about the fact I’m surprised BMW don’t try and charge for a gear stick. Or pedals. And as they are rear wheel drive they are also crap in the snow.

When I became a full time Blog Queen Mr O’Shea kindly gave me his car whilst I decided on what to buy for myself. This is a novelty. I’m not sure where to begin….having spent the last decade with a certain limited choice it’s almost as if I can’t decide….and jeez everything is so ruddy expensive.

If money was no object I would love an Evoque. I know I know……gas gussling….not very environmentally friendly etc etc etc….. But they are just so sexy and beefy. And if I could purchase a vehicle just to look at daily because it is so aesthetically perfect and to drive around the countryside on lazy summer days then it would be the Mercedes SL circa 1962…..hmmm, I wonder if there would be enough boot space for my shopping bags?

*heated seats ARE important. No-one wants a chilly backside when there are miles of motorway ahead.

charlotte-car

Adam: My first car was a beautiful beautiful 1989 citroen AX in red. It had a lowly but insurance friendly engine that wasn’t even a litre in size (954cc to be exact) and it served up a not-so-whopping 45 horses to the front wheels. Clarkson would be proud of this shizz.

Unfortunately I think the little AX had endured a hard life and at least a few of those horses had long since escaped from the stable by the time I took charge of the keys. Speed was never going to be it’s forte so I was going to have to get a bit creative if I was going to impress the ladies…

Out went the rubbish old woman grey interior and in went red and black stripey seats from an salvaged Citroen AX GT (The car I actually wanted but couldn’t afford). I felt like Dennis the Menace. Final touches included an AX GT spoiler, AX GT 14″ alloy wheels to replace my standard titchy 13″ steel ones. In went a home made MDF parcel shelf to house a set of speakers powered by the Kenwood CD player that had cost me significantly more than the actual car did to buy. Nearly done… Just one more accessory was needed – My parents had just re-decorated my bedroom and there was a considerable off cut of bright red carpet going begging.

Yep, after an A-team style afternoon of productivity in Mummy and Daddy Crohill’s garage my AX was sporting a very new and very snazzy deep-shag look. There was enough to trim out the whole car and I even apholstered the parcel shelf too. Could I have been any cooler? No, I couldn’t have been.

The go-faster cosmetic treatment was complete… But of course all of my modifications had actually added a shed load of weight for the little car to lug about making even the most feeble hills of the worcestershire countryside a worthy nemesis. Malvern was off limits entirely.

Since then I have had about a million cars and most notably when I was 27 I had a (somewhat early) mid-life crisis and sold my mini cooper for a Toyota MR2… Proper 2 seater mid engine rear wheel drive sportscar territory with drop-top and red leather seats… It was amazing fun to drive but I did get the p*ss properly taken out of me by my male work collegues… Something about how the car looked?.. And how I looked whilst driving it?.. Anyway, sticks and stones and all that. I could handle it, for a while anyway. The final straw was when my mates discovered that in France the word MR2 was pronounced M-R-Deux which is remakably similar in sound to the word “Merde” which is the French word for… Well – look it up!

So the clever french marketing bods decided to change the name of the car to avoid any driver embarrasement. They Decided to call it MR-S instead. Well done guys, you’ve called it the Mrs…

I sold it soon after that and went straight for a Volvo. (I know, WHAT is going on with this mid-life crisis thing??) I still have a Volvo now and I love it. I have developed a passion for all things Volvo which brings me neatly on to my current favourite car, just pipping the Citroen DS (which is a remarkably good looking car) to the number one spot is the Volvo P1800. Very rare, very sexy and not too expensive. One day my pretty, one day you will be mine…

adams-car

Lolly: For me there’s nothing quite so soothing as being behind the wheel of a car late at night accelerating along deserted roads. I also get an implicit thrill by being first off the line at a set of traffic lights – yes that’s me, the loon whizzing off for no other reason than because she wants to be the ‘winner’.

I blame the Milky Way advert.

Like Charlotte I also have a bit of a soft spot for cars. Perhaps being a motorhead is in my blood; my mum can talk at length about torque, break horsepower and traction control more knowledgeably than most men, my uncle builds kit cars and I’m married to a semi-professional motocross racer.

Despite all this I was fairly late to the driving game.

Actually let me correct that. Four years came and went between my first driving lesson aged 17 and me finally high fiving my slightly startled test examiner when she informed me that I’d successfully passed.

It wasn’t that I kept failing (I passed on my second attempt with only a single minor) but more that I couldn’t be arsed with the whole ‘learning to drive’ process. Besides I had several ‘chauffeurs’ at my disposal and I had absolutely no problem with hopping on a bus or using my own darn legs if I needed to be someplace.

I went through three driving instructors all of which complained that I drove too fast before the boy took me aside and suggested that I really needed to think about getting serious and actually pass my test.

So I did.

As a result I’ve only ever owned two cars – both Volkswagen Polos – one pre-owned grey beauty and one shimmery silver alloyed jewel, brand new this year complete with all the mod cons (ipod dock, glovebox fridge, heated seats). You wouldn’t be wrong if you accused me of being a tad predictable.

That said, during my four year stint as a provisional driver I did get to ‘test drive’ a plethora of automobiles from Ford Focuses, KAs and Cougars, a Seat Leon (I liked this; it was fast and aggressive), Evo’s, Audi’s both the TT and the A3 models (handles the road like a dream), a Vauxhall Corsa (horrendous brakes) and a battered Mini that probably wasn’t roadworthy.

As a result I found myself despairing of English engineering and being drawn instead towards cars with a German heritage so when I popped along to Leicester to test drive the first Polo (thank you Autotrader) it was like slipping into butter and I bought it on the spot.

My dream car is a Scirocco – specifically a white version with pimped up alloys and tinted windows. It’s like a grown-up boy racer’s fantasy and frankly I would look immense in it. Despite my wheedlings and fluttering eyelashes at both the boy and the salesman when we visited the VW dealership earlier this year we didn’t end up with a Scirocco but a Polo Match.

Hell if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Lastly if I’m ever in a position where I’m able to have not one but two dream cars then I’ll be popping along to the vintage car shop and picking myself up a Jaguar E-Type in the softest cream.

All I need then is to tie my matching Hermes headscarf around my freshly blow-dried mane and cruise along some countryside lanes. Well, a girl can dream can’t she?

lauren-car

So come on folks tell us all about your first car?

Are they fond memories or more akin to a nightmare?

Will you be splashing out on super special wedding transport on your big day?

We want to hear all about it.

Team RMW.

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

32 thoughts on “Petrol Heads.

  1. There’s a saying among my friends: The way to a girls heart is through a Mercedes.

    It’s true. I love my SLK and my future hubby almost equally (joke ;-)). I will love him a little bit more when we upgrade it to the newest model. There was a brand new SLK 350 AMG in the car park this morning and I had to stop and admire it. One day…

  2. My beloved 340 bhp of joy is currently still off the road due to an argument with a pothole on Christmas Eve. So I’m feeling very bah humbug on the whole subject. (Unhelpful)

  3. @Philippa What happened?!

    @Phil I should probably point out that the first of the cars in my section isn’t actually mine – in fact it’s a darn sight cleaner and shinier than my car ever was!

  4. So my first cars are pretty standard…I had an old clapped out maroon Fiesta, then I had a yellow Yaris which I named Valeries (?) and now I have a shiny new green Fiesta!

    We’ve hired a car for the wedding that we get to keep for a week and my Dad will be driving me to the ceremony and Chris will drive us away to reception. We really wanted an old classic, Chris and my Dad were hoping for a Aston Martin but alas budgets and the fact that Chris has not yet turned 30 meant it was a no-goer. So instead we’ve found an 80’s car that was made to look retro…a Nissan Figaro. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and although I’m not sure it’s the ultra cool car they were hoping for…I think it’ll look pretty good! Although I am told it’s what all the hipsters are driving these days, so naturally I have one (HA!) Xxx

  5. Aww guys, talk about Chronic Nostalgia! My first car was an F Reg 1.1 Vauxhall Nova… it even had a choke! LOVED it.

    I’m not a massive petrol head, so have spent the last ten years driving round in a crappy heap of an Astra, which died recently so last week I picked up my spanking new 13 plate ride. It’s a Kia. I’m THAT unfashionable. It’s a Kia Venga to be exact, mini MPV, great for the newlyweds, room for a set of golf clubs and a baby seat an all da! I love it though, I love it because every time I sit in my Venga I start singing “we like to party! we like, we like to party!”

    That’ll never get stale right? xx

  6. @Charlotte I’m with you on the Peugeot 106, mine was my first car. I loved it, sure it didn’t have many “extras” (or any?!) but it was reliable, got me to university and back no problem (and not necessarily at a sensible speed) and it was mine! Unfortunately I sold it when I moved to London and haven’t had a car since, but I still fondly remember it. Starting to think about getting a car again soon, but we haven’t thought about what to buy yet (still probably a year or so away before we splash some cash). And my mother has pretty much ALWAYS had a yellow car, not helpful when the boys at school played the yellow car game, but they are fun (and so easy to pick out in the car park!). In fact the only cars she has hated have been those of a more subdued colour. Sadly I too have no reason for a car at my wedding, with the hotel being a 5 minute walk from the venue (and not car friendly) but we are going on a driving honeymoon (complete with convertible) on the west coast of the US, so we are making up for it!

    @Lolly I would love a Jaguar E type, so beautiful. Unlikely to ever be mine as such a car deserves a garage (and even a lottery win probably wouldn’t buy me a house with a garage in London!) but never mind! I also decided a few years ago I would like a Bugatti Veyron, which makes the Jaguar E type seem a much more likely purchase! So impractical but I want it. I have a toy version but it just isn’t the same…

  7. I’ve pretty much gone from banger to banger. I started off with an old Peaugeot 106 too Charlotte (called The Bollox, based on the letters in the number plate), then a Fiat Punto called Esther, a Nissan Almera that my Mum had handed down (I was carless and desperate), and finally, the ‘newest’ car I’ve ever had- a silver Ford Puma, fondly called the Uga Buga, and my favourite car so far. As you can tell, I’m not really in to automobiles.

    My other half on the other hand has a bright red Mitsubishi Evo which he spends his whole life cleaning, caressing and driving too fast. Xx

  8. 335d M Sport Touring – Space Grey, Dakota leather, 20″ rims, 2000W sub and a really rather frightening vibration that rocks the entire vehicle once you go over 20mph 🙁

    It was dark and there were no roadwork warning signs and we’ve since spent the best part of a K on new wheels and new bearings and realignment and it’s still dodderier than my Nan…..

    What we all need is a grinning Vengabus in our lives…. If practicality were no object, I’d have a Gti Rivage http://golfgtisportline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ClassicBlueClassicline.jpg

  9. @Pip, you know you and Phil would love the maniacal grin of the Vengabus!! Never mind your bhp nonsense, all you need is a happy grille and an ODOgometer

  10. She has excellent taste :D. it’s a true stealth mobile. No one has any idea how fast this seemingly sensible, unassuming estate car is going to disappear off into the horizon in front of them… and all the while It’s like sitting in the world’s most comfortable armchair with surround-sound. And enough room for the hound and all of her associated paraphernalia in the back. I miss my car * SOB *

    A far cry from the Renault 5 that I sold to my sister after 24 hours of ownership as I couldn’t get the hang of the choke back in ’97….

  11. Loving reading about everyones first motors. I couldn’t wait to get driving (from the age of about 10 I just wanted to fast forward 7 years to be able to drive).

    My brother and I spent most of our childhoods designing cars on scraps of paper. We would list all the features trim and spec too (geeks) and give them (ludicrous) names… One that springs to mind is one my brother came up with called “The Fee-fee”

    Any blokes out there want to drive around in a Fee-fee..? No..?

    Stick to the Toyota Mrs then….

    @karen I hope you have adorned your venga with those weird stick-on eyelash things to complete the personification process…

    @Sama Uga Buga might be the best nickname ever for anything.

    @Philippa Just one word for you… Volvo 😉

  12. I love how everyone seems to have a banger for the first car mine was a Renault Clio, but what happy memory’s I have of it as Charlotte said I think its the whole freedom thing, then I went to a punto named Percy, after that came a silver golf which I loved as wanted one for so long but then mummy dutie’s doubled and I now have a Vauxhall Meriva not very sporty at all but once the wedding is over it is changing to an Audi A4 another car I’ve always wanted so can’t wait for that. Dream car wise I don’t know how to start I love the Aston Martin a girl can dream right? I’m lucky enough that my dad owns a vintage Lotus Élan that he restored while I was growing up so I love these as they hold so many fond memory’s including a few with curses coming from the garage when my brother and I would be playing outside while growing up, he will also be driving me to the church on wedding day in this, which is one part of the day I can’t wait for 🙂 he’s thinking of changing the lotus to a vintage e-type jaguar after the wedding which I also really love not that he’d ever let me drive either…I think I need a lottery win 😉

  13. @Adam – have I sh*te. What do you take me for? I might drive an economical family vehicle, but I haven’t completely lost my edge just yet. Fee-fee sounds like you wanted to drive around in a vagina! 🙂

  14. I love motoring but sadly I don’t think the owner of the Jag E type that I’ve been eyeing up will be to happy with us scratching it up down the narrow Devon lanes. I’m going to stop traffic when I get to the church though, not in a vain way, the road is so narrow that I am actually going to block the road whilst getting out of the car! So I need to make sure that it looks like there is a damn good reason why I am doing so and that I’m not just some clueless tourist!

    And secondly as the formula 1 fan, rare meat eating half of my relationship I end up jumping up and down a lot when people assume that the Raikkonen cap or bloody steak is my fiances (he practically passes out every time this happens at a restaurant!)

  15. This has definitely been a well timed post! Today is the day that my insurance is up on my beloved first car and I need to start using my new VW Golf!! (me and the other half bought a car together two years ago but I couldnt part from my little beast so he’s been the main driver!) I have been driving my little Peugout 106 for 4 years and it genuinely saddens me that I need to say goodbye to dear old Rupert! (i’m not the only lunatic to name my car right?!)

    My ideal car would be a Bentley continental GT sport… a girl can dream! *Sigh*

  16. My first car was a Fiat Cinquecento, complete with red seat-belts, a go-faster stripe and a racing clutch… it was surprisingly nippy and I am definitely guilty of driving it too fast on occasions… even scared the husband at one point…
    Now I own and love to drive a 1970 MGB Roadster and am very involved in the classic and vintage car world. My husband drove me away from the church in it, but only after a “discussion” as I thought I could drive it myself and he pointed out a) the practicalities of doing so in a wedding dress and heels and b) that he would feel slightly emasculated if I did that! We also joked that when saying our wedding vows the part about “with all my worldly goods I thee endow” would be swiftly followed by me muttering “except for the MG!”. My family and friends even called it out during our rehearsal, much to our amusement!
    It is sad though how many men assume that the car is his and that I wouldn’t know anything about it… more than happy to prove them wrong though!

  17. I also yearn after a vintage Merc. If I won the lottery (some day) I’d get a vintage Merc for posing and a Mini Cooper for popping to Tesco. Sadly my Saxo and Corsa don’t quite cut the retro mustard, but I still love(d) them. And as for ‘cars for girls’ – give me a boy car anyday! Don’t even get me started on those cars with eye lashes…

  18. Mouldering in my Aunts garage for the last 15 years has been the 1915 Humber , that my grandparents bashed around the country in for many years, visiting vintage car rallys. This is the car I will be arriving at my wedding in (providing my Dad and brother can get it going again), seeing as I no longer have any Grandparents, it is going to be a pretty special moment. One more excuse for me to burst into tears on my wedding day (I am a crier:). Incidently my first and only car was a bright red Ford KA, and I LOVED it. No need for one now, living in London Town.

  19. Oooh this is fun! and Lolly – I too am one of those first-off-the-light-change-just-to-be-the-winner kinda drivers!

    I have a weird car history CV… first was a beetle (the new kind, not the vintage retro kind), then a Mazda MX-5 (i was always the winner in this one!), then a sensible Golf (with clever computer telling you the MPG which turned me into a total fuel economy geek!) and now a Mini Cooper which I j’adore!

    On the wedding car front, it just gets weirder… my future hubby and my very own dad will be driving all the way from sunny Scotland to Paris next weekend in a car transporter to pick up a 1991 Porsche 944 in white. This, apparently, will be our wedding car. Not currently driveable, covered in a fine layer of dust and a little bit like a time warp inside but the boy is massively excited (as well as a very recently retired dad looking for a project) and assures me it will be fully functioning by the wedding… in 3 months time. Watch this space! I do like the idea of it being tracked down in Paris, and originally i was planning to be co-driver with the promise of wedding band/Christian Louboutin shopping whilst in the city of love, but i’ve been bumped for my dad who apparently has a better selection of “tools” for the job.

    Oh well!

  20. Love this topic!!! Fun to hear all the first cars and wish lists!…
    My first car was a Ford Fiesta which I inherited from my brother and then razzed around without caring if it got scratched or bumped – what first car bangers are made for hey!?
    After a gold Vauxhall Astra (very uncool but which I loved as it was my Nans), and a newer (& duller!) Ford Fiesta, I now have a grey Nissan Figaro which I love to bits. Nice to see it already mentioned on here! We are using the Fig for our wedding car in August too, and I can’t wait to pin some peachy ribbons on her! We also have a Morris Minor that will be part of the wedding car parade somehow!
    One day I hope to own (& restore) my dream car – a Ford Mustang. My husband to be hired me one for my last birthday. 🙂 We are both big car fans – new and classic. We go to alot of classic car shows (including very geeky anorakish ones!!) and balance this out with some Formula 1 – we went to the Grand Prix in Texas last year, which was amazing! Some of you lovely vintage ladies would love ‘Glorious Goodwood’ in September – an amazing mix of classic cars and vintage dress up! 😀

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