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Learning to drive

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I learned to drive in 1994.  My instructor had a then new VW Polo and I also practiced in my Mum's 1988 Nordic Blue Vauxhall Nova 1.2 Merit three door E345ACA.

I remember the two cars being very different to drive, despite both being petrol superminis with only 6 years between them.  The Nova had manual choke, only 4 gears, no power steering and a much bigger steering wheel.  My Mum had that car from new until 2005 when sadly it was scrapped due to rust.


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It was 1980 and with BSM one had the choice between a 1.3 Dolomite or the brand new Metro - naturally 17 year old Squirrel2 chose the Dolly...

On passing my test I was ‘allowed’ to drive Mum Squirrel’s Renno 4, all of 845cc and the blistering performance that provided ?



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Ooh, I like this game..


My Dad's Lada Riva 1600SLX. 

It was F reg, beige / cream with brown seats and a spoiler. Fucked steering box so you were constantly adjusting the wheel to stay straight. 

I took my proper lessons in a 1.5D Corsa B

I then failed my test and started again


My Dad's Lada Riva 1500 estate - P reg. 

Proper lessons in another Corsa B, this time a 1.4 petrol. 

Passed my test in September 99. Have owned 108 cars since then. 7 of them have been Ladas. Only 3 Corsas though. 


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My friend's father owned a construction company, so I learned to drive in some rather unexpected vehicles: a second generation Isuzu KB (a Bedford KB in the UK?), a first generation Volkswagen LT Doppelkabine and an Isuzu Campo. I also practiced driving in my mother's 1982 rwd Corolla and my father's 1971 beetle. This was in 1994 or thereabouts. Good times.

The car I took driving lessons and took my test in was a Volvo 440 1.8 pez. This was in 1998.

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I did all my lessons in my instructor's 1999 Peugeot 106 1.1, between 2002 and 2003. I remember having to buy new trainers to drive in as my feet kept getting stuck under the pedals.

My first car was a 1989 spec MK2 Jetta 1.3 with a 4 speed box.

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As far as actual driving school car, 02 plate Fiesta turbo diesel 1.9?  Went like a bloody rocket.

Before that was a random assortment primarily of:

94 Fiat Panda.

76 Bedford YNT Duple Dominant II.

Several tractors and combine harvesters & a lime spreader (oh that noise...).

81(?) Toyota Land Cruiser LWB.

Plus probably a dozen cars I had over a few years blasting round the private roads attached to the farm we lived round the corner from prior to having my test.  First one I actually had which was roadworthy was a brown utterly clapped out D plate Metro.

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When I was 16 I went to empty car parks with my dad on Sunday evenings to start learning to drive. My parents had an N reg Hyundai Accent 1.3 (N726DUY). I carried on in that car after I became 17 and got my provisional license but driving on the road instead of car parks.

At the same time I booked some lessons with a proper instructor just so I didn’t drive how dad drove (bad habits!) and learn how to pass the test. The instructor had a P reg (I think?) Renault Clio 1.2. It was a gutless pile of shit and I hated driving it!

With the test passed I did the sensible thing and ignored everyone’s advice and bought 70’s and 80’s cars that I liked and lusted after and not looked back since!

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2 hours ago, adw1977 said:

....The Nova had manual choke, only 4 gears, no power steering and a much bigger steering wheel. ....

A spec common to the Mk.1 Jetta. How did we all cope with unassisted steering back then? We just took a bit longer to do the three-point-turn, or to reverse around a corner.

I haven't driven an unassisted car since at least 1996. Not sure how it would feel now.

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March 1965.

11 lessons with a driving instructor in a Renault 8.

Drove my workmate's Austin A 35 to work and back, sometimes to jobs if we were working together, otherwise the firm's Austin J somethingorother van like the one below only blue, or the boss's (new) Austin Westminster estate in autoshite brown/beige.

All done in two weeks :)

Test in a snowstorm, snow coming in the window and making the wheel slippy so I told the examiner it wasn't safe and I would used only the indicators, closed the window, no response.

Passed first time anyway







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My driving lessons were in a then-almost-new (1996) Peugeot 205 diesel.  The driving school I used stuck with them after pretty much everywhere else had moved on to more modern stuff.  I had previously learned to drive in the Under 17 Car Club in my mum's car, also a Peugeot 205 diesel.  (E827UNF, now sadly deceased after my uncle crashed it.)

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My driving instructor had a Clio then a Corsa then a DS3, I only passed this month 3rd attempt. First car I drove myself was my 2001 Seat Ibiza passed down from my Auntie, that lasted less than a week before an oil covered roundabout in the wet got the better of me and my chinese ditchfinders!! 

Just bought a 2003 Volvo S40 1.8 to replace it, needs some work but is surprisingly cheap to insure and has a working radio and air con, which the Seat didn't!

Quite an eventful first two weeks of driving then....

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Started to learn to drive in December 1994 in a Nissan Sunny 'Spray' special edition:


Did most of my lessons in it, before it was replaced on August 1st 1995 with a Sunny 'Sequel', in which I passed my test in late September of that year:


That had a separate single-DIN CD player, which I imagine was part of the special edition package. Music Box by Mariah Carey sounded really good played on it :)

I passed my HGV test in November 2017 in a 2010 DAF CF rigid box van, which I suspect was a former Hovis truck, on account of its body style and its bright yellow paintwork ^^

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One thing I remember from my driving test was the old guy testing me, I was shitting myself about it as I’d told myself anything short of a first try pass was unacceptable! Talk about putting pressure on yourself! I did the reverse park in the test centre parking area and we drove off up the road. After a few mins he started talking to me and asked if I had a car yet. I told him I had a Capri and was into old stuff and we spent most of the remainder of the test chatting about old cars! He was a really nice bloke actually and he told me about when he was younger him and his mate bought a Ford Consul and drove it to Afghanistan!

And I did pass first time! Only two minors too.  

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My first driving lesson was in High Wycombe and I choose a Mini, I was disappointed after the lesson the slot I needed to fit in with my collage timetable was not available and I would have to change to another car/instructor.

This meant my further lessons and test were taken with Mr Churchill in a L reg Triumph Toledo 4 door in white.

I never took a photo, but this is a very similar car.

At the same time I did my driving practice with my father in his L reg Citroen 1220 Club, new to driving I struggled with the differences between the cars especially the GS could not pull away from walking pace without dipping the clutch or kangaroo jolts followed and the Toledo pulled cleanly from no revs and I got into trouble with my instructor for dipped the clutch!

The GS is the actual one.

Triumph toledo v2.jpg


Citroen GS 1220 Club green b.jpg

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On 10/16/2019 at 8:50 AM, Mally said:

My first car on the road was an aluminium bodied Reliant, on a bike licence.

I also had a go on the road in a Vicars Morris minor, still with a bike licence, but he didn't care.

Driving School car was HA Viva. I told you I was old!

Only had 6 lessons, because having had a Reliant I could drive a Viva easy.

Slightly similar story here. 1967 (I is old), passed my test first time in Germany (BFG test) on a 50cc Peugeot moped. Annoyingly, this was not valid when we returned to the UK in 1969. Graduated to a CZ175 in 1971 and passed the bloody test again first time. Got married and bought a knackered Reliant 3-25 saloon in 1973 and self-taught myself to drive. It caught fire on the way to work in 1975 and I ordered a brand new 2CV6 with the aid of the insurance and man maths. Delivery was six weeks. Snag: I had not passed my car test. Had 5 lessons to unlearn any* bad habits in a driving school Triumph Toledo. Passed test 1st time in the Toledo (cramped driver's footwell is my only memory of the car) and picked up the 2CV6 a week later. The Toledo did not prepare me for the weird gear change and, not being a sailor, the lean angles of the 2CV6 were disconcerting for a few miles.

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Driving school car was a 2001 Saxo 1.1 desire. It was fine but j seem to recall it had a problem where it would surge on tickover . I believe he kept sending it back to Citroen but they couldn't solve the issue.

I had driven various minis prior to that on private land etc and my first car was a Citroen AX 11TRE 5dr.

I quickly got fed up of smool hatchbacks and grew put of the boy racer thing quickly so moved up to big saloon cars by the age of 19 and ended up in mercs etc

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