Everyone remembers their first car… That old banger that you scraped together the cash for and sacrificed your holiday abroad to pay the insurance. Very rarely they are the cars that we wanted to buy, but no matter what comes next they will always be your first car. When it comes time to say goodbye you know that deep down, no matter how bad it was, you’ll miss it to some degree. I no longer have my first car, but it’s not gone because I sold it.
Lots of people loose their perspective when they first buy a car. To them it is the greatest thing in world as their minds have yet to be “calibrated” in the grand scheme of the motor car. I’m in the fortunate position of test a wide variety cars from small city runabouts, to big hairy supercars and so I perceive myself to be well “calibrated.” My first car was a 1.2 litre Vauxhall Corsa SXI from 1999. I originally wanted an Alfa 147 but funding the insurance would have resulted in me robbing several leading banks. Back in its day it was a well received hot hatchback and so even by todays standards the car was good fun to chuck into corners. However, my real admiration for this car came from what was hidden beneath the bonnet. You see this Corsa B was one of the last 1000 ever produced and to avoid having too many “old” engines in the factory when the Corsa C arrived, the brand new EcoTec C engine was fitted to this car. This meant that a motor designed with more power, and to hall more weight found its way into a car that only weighed 870KG. The power to weight ratio was fantastic and the end result was a car that in 2012 could still keep pace with some new hatchbacks. The gearbox was still from the Corsa B and so it screamed like a bat out of hell when you gave it the beans, but this just added to its character. I always intended to sell it because I hated being the youngster in a hatchback with everyone around me jumping on stereotypes. I would miss it but I knew that the next car I would own should be something I would want to keep for years. Just weeks from placing an advert on the internet, I got a call from my mother saying that I had to get back home immediately.
As I rounded the final corner heading back home my heart sank. From my partially obscured line of sight I could see the back end of my car resting up on the pavement. I knew I hadn’t parked it like that. As I got closer the damage got worse with every step. I could see that the axel had bent and the alloy had buckled against the curb from some sort of impact, but when I saw the Earth engulfing hole in the side of my car… I turned away. It may just be a little Vauxhall Corsa but when I left my car that morning it was in the well maintained condition I had kept it in. Now I return to find that someone has ploughed their car into the side of it. It was an absolute wreck and as I continued to survey the damage a pit of absolute sorrow began to swell inside of me. Maybe it was due to it being my first car, or because I enjoyed driving it more than I should have, but I felt so sorry for the machine that had done no wrong.
It started first time every time. It ferried me and my mates up and down the country. It didn’t pretend to be anything other than a mode of transport for a young lad, but when it was on form, when you really wanted to surprise yourself with just how enjoyable it was to drive, it was fantastic.
Yes I’m angry, sad, and all the other emotional bits that come with being a victim. But what I felt most was disappointment. I am disappointed that some other young buck wont get to experience the excitement of buying a car that he thought would be below par, and finding out that it is a little star.