Jump to content

Learning to drive


Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, Asimo said:

On my 17th birthday I drove the 7 miles to school in Dad’s Riley 1.5. Handily, his commute went past my school gate. Getting to school nearly an hour early didn’t seem to matter. After a few weeks the Riley started pinking badly: it had run out of water, the head gasket failed. It was fixed* by finding out which cylinder had the leak (by looking at the sparking plugs) and removing the pushrods for that cylinder. This stopped cylinder pressure from blowing coolant out and learning continued on 3 cylinders.

This was the car I eventually took my test in. But before the test I had half a dozen lessons with “Dirty Dougie” in his decrepit blue/gray (what was that colour called?) Mk1 Escort1100. This foetid old geezer never stopped smoking, never stopped talking about his young female students and “ how they paid for their lessons” and just let me drive around without comment or advice.

My wife - long before we were married, was taking lessons from her then landlord.

He grabbed her tits and wanted to see them.  She smacked him in the teeth and refused to pay rent after that, threatened to tell his wife.

Learned in a Renault 8. 10 lessons over two weeks, 11th was the test, passed first time a fortnight after my 17th birthday, god knows how.

Wife never did learn to drive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Alusilber said:

Didn't you have to thrash a diesel 106 to get it to move at all?

The crafty old fucker tried selling it me, then it packed in the day before the test so I had to take the test in a new 206, which required the arms of an ape if you were to get in any way your legs comfortable. But it didn’t stink of bums so that made the test considerably easier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pre teen it was on a grey Fergie tractor which got clutch control and reversing with a trailer in hand. Progressed onto an Austin Somerset which we had been given to drive around the garden and fields. When my brother passed his test he used to let me have a go on farm lanes and an old airfield in the Mk1 Cortina and Mini Traveller. When I was finally 17 it was mainly in the Mini usually accompanied by my dad (at night as it was the only time he had free) as my brother used to shout at me a bit too much. Proper lessons were in a Mk1 and then Mk2 Escort which I took my test in. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

pre teen - hillman avenger. we used it as a field car on my uncles farm.  we then cut the roof off and used it to go rabbiting.  we learned a good lesson in structural integrity with that one.....

pre 17 - Y reg sierra 1600 base.  now coke cans.

17 - dads car - Rover 214 SLi J462SFL in two tone nordic blue and Grey.

instructors car - rover 100 (or that shaped metro, cant remember exactly).

 

im more 'shite' than i thought lol

Link to post
Share on other sites

First lessons were in my father’s 1.4l Renault 18. After its demise (he had a habit of culling cars in the snow) he bought a brand new 1989 Lada Riva 1300L. This car convinced my father he wasn’t really cut out out to be a driving instructor, so in 1990 I had a two week intensive course in a Pug 205 with this decrepit old chain smoker. 
 

But I passed and then had to manage the early 90s uncoolness of Ladas. Not a pulling car when you’re 20....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pre-school (yes) - Renault 25. My Dad would put me on his lap to steer and he'd do the pedals (obviously) when we were on my mom's family's farm in Ireland. Up along the stone track to the house, going through the gates.

Pre-school (again) - Dad's 20t excavator on site.

10 years old (ish) - Dad's Rover 820E automatic. First proper drive of a car that I controlled.

13 years old (ish) - Dad's Rover 820Si manual. First proper experience of a manual car.

Instructors car - Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 Diesel. Learnt to drive in two of these. One nearly got smashed up as someone didn't give way to the right on a roundabout. Nearly hit me (I wasn't at fault), the instructor was an ex-Rover man and was apocolyptic with rage at the idiot. 

20 years old - I only started learning when I was 20 and got sick of getting the train to see the then girlfriend/now wife. Had two outings with my Dad in my sister's 2002 Renault Clio 1.2. Didn't have more as we disagreed about how to drive. I was doing what the instructor said, my Dad was telling me how he drove.

I need a Renault 25 and Rover 820 in my life again I think. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I learnt in a K10 Micra as soon as I turned 17, must have been in 1995.  I had cycled on the road for years, fancied that I knew about cars, passed first time after only a few lessons - it's easy right?

Then I smashed my Dad's Carlton to bits in a high speed lift off oversteer situation.  Very lucky to not be hurt and that slowed me down a bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My instructor had a P-reg Peugeot 106 1.5D which he actively encouraged me to thrash at every opportunity, just as well really given that it could barely get out of its own way.  It'd only have been about 5 years old at the time but was completely shagged, the drivers door wouldn't shut properly, the driver's seat was wedged in with a chunk of wood and all the buttons had fallen out of the stereo.  It also had a fault where the wipers would randomly stop halfway up the screen and you had to waggle the stalk to wake them back up - turned out that my friends who learned with the same guy all knew about this issue but I didn't; the first time it happened to me was on my test.  Still passed first time though.

I also learned with my Dad in his company Rover 416si -lovely British racing green model on a T-plate and significantly faster than the Peugeot, I drove that car more than he did in the first year after passing my test and somehow never crashed it despite getting a bit carried away on a couple of occasions - it was a decent car to thrash around and would do 60mph in 2nd gear...apparently,

Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to figure out what I probably did the most learning in.

First thing I actually drove under full control was a LWB 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser.  Awesome thing, four litre straight six diesel with enough torque to pull small planets out of their orbit.  It also would get air over a hump back bridge by where we used to live.

In terms of basic vehicle control... probably a Mish mash of farm vehicles as we lived 1/4 a mile from two farms so I used to help out now and then.  Anything from a quad to combine harvester to the frankly lethal buggy me and a couple of friends built out of scraps from the boneyard out back.  That thing was mental...half rotten SWB Land Rover chassis, Jeep Cherokee 4.0 engine, and whatever else we cobbled together to connect that to the wheels.  First time we took it out into a field we unanimously agreed to add a roll cage as we reckoned it spent more time in the air than on the ground.  How it never killed anyone I've no idea.  It could easily out drag any car we had access to by a country mile - but had hardly any brakes and would light the rear wheels up in 4th gear even on dry tarmac if you booted it.  Was probably the first thing I drove which you really needed to treat with utter respect at all times, and learn that all of the controls are analogue devices.  You couldn't just stamp on the throttle - you did that and you'd vanish backwards into the scenery in a cloud of tyre smoke faster than you could blink.  Which I saw more than one person do.  Of course it was *never* driven on the actual road.  Being honest, it had way too much power for what it was...but it was an absolute blast, and learning to drift at about age 12 I'm sure will be useful for something one day...

On the road, probably would have been a 50/50 split between the Ford Sierra and subsequent Fiat Panda. This however was some time earlier than I really should have been behind the wheel.  Having moved into a house in the middle of nowhere however necessitated picking up that ability quite rapidly as a method of self preservation.  You see my father had a serious drink problem.  This wasn't a major issue until we moved house, meaning the only way back from the pub was by car - I made the executive decision that my driving was far less of a hazard to our (or anyone else's) lives than letting him drive.

Someone did report it to the police (unsurprisingly!), their response did highlight what a different world rural areas in Scotland were back then to urban areas, especially now.  Their words were "Yes, of course I've seen them.  He knows what he's doing.  It's fine.  If his dad was driving then I'd be worried."

To be fair, in general you'd usually see maybe one or two cars en route, and possibly the odd stray sheep on the road.  Pedestrian traffic was non existent, especially as I deliberately skirted around the one tiny village.  So risk to others was always low to my mind.

Despite my best efforts, I never did manage to knock any sense into him, though by some absolute miracle he never had a drink related accident.  How, I have *absolutely* no idea.  Especially in his latter years after a second stroke when his coordination even when sober went out the window and where his eyesight was so bad he was basically blind after dark. 

From the day I moved out in 2006 I was always expecting to get the call to say he'd ended up upside down in a field or had killed someone by getting the pedals mixed up at the traffic lights.  I did try on at least three separate occasions to get his license pulled completely without success.  He was still declared medically fit to drive right up till the day he passed away in 2016.  Despite being so confused at that point some days that he would get lost walking from the living room to the kitchen.

The actual driving lessons were in a 1.9 diesel Fiesta on an 02 plate, and were basically learning to pass the test rather than learning to drive.  Read: un-learning all the bad habits I'd picked up.  Got a pass on the first try and was complimented by the tester, which according to my instructor very rarely happened.  Hardest thing I remember was having to stop myself crossing my hands on the steering wheel!

Then I started to learn the joys of independent driving for the first time, that was in a 1981 Mini Metro HLE.  Which I still to this day absolutely berate myself for selling.  I even knew at the time it was an utterly stupid decision.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was learning back in '98 instructor had a brand new Kia Pride. He had it precisely for the reason it had no power steering or any of the electronic gizmos that were becoming increasingly common at that time. The first time my mum took me out in her M reg 214SLi I nearly threw it off the road at the first corner as the steering was so light!

He threw a curve ball by turning up at my test to say "I've just had a new clutch put in yesterday so it might be a bit different to what you've been used to!" Managed to get by though!

He was still running that Pride for years after as he couldn't get a suitably basic replacement. I see his private plate is now on a 2011 Jazz but I'd imagine he's well retired by now.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/01/2021 at 20:15, sierraman said:

In a 106 1.5 diesel by a man called Ken who smelled like he hadn’t wiped his bottom properly. I remember him bollocking me for thrashing it.

It's not actually possible to thrash a PSA 1.5 Normally Aspirated Diesel. 

They are gutless pieces of shit, which run out of steam above 4000 RPM and have a natural tendency to govern themselves.  The only way you'd over rev it would be changing from 5th to 2nd at 80 mph. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I started learning in 1996, with my instructor's N reg 'sad face' fiesta. It was a base model in flat red, with a strange blue interior. The NA Diesel engine made it nearly impossible to stall, that and PAS made it a good car for learners I suppose.

Slow doesn't even begin to cover it though - I don't think I have experienced a more sloth like vehicle since. I still remember my first trip out on the local dual carriageway, floor it he said, the engine groaned a bit but we'd run out of road before it could get to 70. The first trip out in my own Mini mayfair was like being given the keys to a Lamborghini in comparison 😀

Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, lisbon_road said:

MG Metro, from the driving school.  And my parents VX1800 estate (FE Victor with a different name) with my mum, which didn't go too well.  I did pass first time though. 

My mom is very fond of the Austin/MG Metro, as she very proudly tells me she learnt to drive in one with the BSM. And proud of the fact she failed 4 times and didn't bother her arse after that. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Car control was learned in a 1985 Talbot Horizon.  In the days before 24hr Tesco, when the local big one was closed, I went round and round its car park, learning to maneuver in and out of parking spaces, reverse round corners, navigate the stupid little roundabouts, etc.etc. until I was absolutely pig sick of the sight of a car park.  However, when I then took that Horizon out on the road, controlling the car was easy peasy, just had to learn to deal with traffic.

Did several thousand miles of general buggering about learning, so I was comfortable in most situations.  Then decided to use an instructor to check I was ready for test.  First one was a complete bellend, who just kept going on about how wonderful his (new)1993 Clio 1.9D was.  I wasn't so impressed.  I particularly wasn't impressed that the drivers head restraint wasn't fitted, and asked that it be put back, which he got the hump over.  I also managed to nearly steer into the centre of a roundabout as I wasn't used to PAS.  Sacked him off very quickly.

Then found an old boy locally who did lessons in his 1983 Micra 1.0, complete with giffer trinkets all over the place, a 5-speed gearbox shoved in it where it should have had a 4, meaning it was spectacularly useless in top gear and with the ignition timing too far advanced, meaning it pinked like hell at anything more than about 1/4 throttle.  He was very skeptical of me to begin with, but after 3 lessons booked me in for test, which I thought was very good of him (didn't try to book me a block of 10, as many other examiners wanted to).  4 lessons, passed 1st time, one minor.  Job jobbed.

I've subsequently taught a number of people to drive, and have put them in for test without "professional" lessons.  100% pass rate so far, one with no minors at all, and one with the local head examiner (which I didn't know until after the event).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...