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.
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.
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…
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?
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.