I had passed my test in May 1989 and at the same time my brother’s friend’s parents were selling the vehicle. My Mum and Dad paid £250 for it.
It was a mighty big first car to have – especially as I had been learning in a Volkswagen Polo (the old new shape, which was squared off at the back!). Cosmetically, the Datsun was a complete mess. It was silver and looked like someone had gone over it with a hammer and chisel. If you could imagine the inside of a steel band drum, then it would be what the outside of this car looked like! But I loved her.
My brothers and sisters nicknamed her Bertha. This was because, at the time, we were all big fans of the tv show ‘Neighbours’ and Henry, played by Craig McLachlan, had a car which looked similar to mine, just more colourful and had the same name. I also used to give lifts to my sister, Harriette, and we used to pretend she was Greased Lightning!
Bertha had a few quirks. For example, the drivers door became stuck and wouldn’t open. As a result I used to have to climb out of the window ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ style. One night, I got stopped by the police. I climbed across and got out through the passenger door onto the pavement, as I didn’t think that they would appreciate my impression of Daisy Duke! They didn’t question the fact that I had got out of the passenger door though. The reason they stopped me was because apparently there had been a number of burgalries in the area and I had a big car so was a suspect and might be carrying a ladder!
I remember playing lots of my music at the time on the antiquated old cassette player, one of the albums I played constantly was the Batman Soundtrack by Prince which had just been released. The car still is my favourite place to listen to any new music.
The day that Bertha went to the big scrap heap in the sky, I cried.
I think everyone remembers their first car, like an old friend. The memories stay with you, even if the car doesn’t!
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