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Life of Shite


eddyramrod
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I've been on this forum over a decade now, and have often alluded to cars I've known in the past.  The basic idea of this thread has been rattling around in my head for some time; in relatively recent times it's been gaining momentum, because I posted in the Family Snaps thread, and the Proud of Your Motoring History thread.  So here it is.  My life in cars.

I'm actually starting before I was born!  I posted in the Family Snaps thread...

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The Morris 8 in which, I was told, my mother learned to drive.  If I can find a suitable model it will join my collection.

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ZE 3192, the little Ford van my dad had in Ireland in about 1947.

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And a model of it!  This early in the story there is plenty of guesswork involved, but it's educated guesswork, because I spent years, decades even, devouring everything my parents could tell me about their old cars.  They've been gone a good few years now so there's nobody I can confirm things with.

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My dad with what I assume was a work van, late 40s or early 50s.  I keep chasing the Matchbox-Dinky casting of this on ebay, but they normally go over my budget, so if you know of a scrap one that would benefit from some Humbrol, you know where to come.

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RAF 563, their Austin A40 Devon van-conversion, which was their camping steed in the mid-50s.  A Matchbox-Dinky model of this van has very recently arrived and is in the queue for painting up.

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That's me there, in Daddy's arms, so this must be the summer of 1959.  I didn't know they'd had a Minor, but...

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...the Corgi Cameo version is perfectly good enough.

I'm going to take a little break here because I don't want the posts to get too large.  I'll break up the story into bite-size chunks.

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So, the new little family moved from a flat to a house, still within Southport.  There exists a photo of me in my pram, parked in the drive behind my dad's work van.  Unfortunately it isn't in this computer, but there is this:

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An old Lesney Bedford painted in the general style of the van in the pram pic.  Which definitely was a Bedford CA.

I'm not clear how much time elapsed between the above and below; a year?  Maybe.

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Again, no picture of the real thing, but this Vanguard will stand in.  Apparently they had a two-door A30/35, and decided to trade it in when (or possibly just before) my sister was born in 1961.  When my dad went to do the changeover, I'm told I wouldn't leave the Austin and eventually he had to drive me home in it, followed by someone from the garage in his new car (may not have been brand new).  I don't remember this car.

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My memory of this may be faulty, as I was only 2, but this is the car that signalled the arrival of my sister.  I remember it as blue, but it could have been grey.  I'm told it was RFY 510.  If I can lay hands on a cheap Vanguards Minx I'll retire this old Lesney.

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Now I do remember this.  XWM 234 was of course an Anglia van, aka 307E, and I think it was bought new, setting a pattern for the next few years.

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Yes, a 2-door Corsair!  GTE 324B was a 1500 in Goodwood Green, same as the van.  Edward senior (yes, I carry his name) hated this one as it suffered continual brake issues, so he only kept it a year.

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And in September 1965, he came home with the absolute highlight of the 60s for me: DWM 95C, his Zephyr 4.  I loved it unconditionally.  The Vanguards Zephyr (preferably a 4) is another one I keep fruitlessly chasing on ebay, so again, if you have one that I could paint...

During this time he started experimenting with keeping a van as a second car.  There may be further notes on this period as things come back to mind, but one I particularly remember was a Morris half-ton, the A60 van.  I'm surprised there's never been a model of these.

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After two years of carrying him up and down the country, towing our caravan, etc, the Zephyr was traded in and something lighter and more modern arrived: a mk2 Cortina 1500 Super.  The 1600 had recently been launched, so HWM 457F would come at a discount.  I never got attached to it like I did the Zephyr.  The model above is the old Matchbox one, converted to a 4-door.  If I could find a 4-door in 1/43 at a sensible price, I'd buy one, but all I can find is high-end white-metal and I cannot and will not pay those prices!

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The Morris van was traded soon after, for another Anglia van, DWM 242C.  BUT!  Then came the 1967-68 foot-and-mouth outbreak.  My dad was selling farm machinery freelance, which meant it was essential that he could visit farms in person, all over the country.  Of course he couldn't, and month after month of not being able to go anywhere took its toll.  He tried to rebuild his business and drove himself into the ground in the process.  He never worked properly again.

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So the new Cortina and not-very-old van (and the caravan) had to go, replaced by 6279 KB, a Ford 100E Popular.  I need to find a lighter blue, the Humbrol I've used on this Vanguard is too dark.

That takes us through the 60s, time for another break.

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Really interesting thread Eddy.  Morris Minor GFY 92 looks to be an early low headlight model, the shape of the rear wings is different to later models, and obv the tiny tail-lights and semaphores.  All were split-screens till (I think) 1955.

Turns out it was registered in Southport between Feb 1949 and Feb 1951.

Useful site for dating old pre-1972 / 73 reg numbers  -

https://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/registrations/reg-letters.htm

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So now we're in the 70s, and I've just moved up to the local Catholic secondary-modern, soon to be renamed a Comprehensive.  (I will never be able to hate anything or anyone as badly as I hated my schooltime).

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1108 ED was a little Ford van that needed some work (and never got it, setting another pattern...).  Ignore the Superfast wheels, this poor old Lesney lost its base many years ago and I bodged these in.  The van eventually left us to become a dog kennel, but I still have the original front number plate.

When the 100E saloon wore out it was replaced with an Austin A35 van-conversion.  By this time I was 14 and was getting too big to stuff into the back of so tiny a car.  I don't have a photo of it, as far as I know, but there is a Vanguard van on its way, which will be painted blue.

Which takes us to the summer of 1974.

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JEV 463C was a trade-in at McCain's.  That name should ring a bell.  McCain, in Southport, in the 70s?  Yes, we are talking about Ginger, the racehorse trainer who saw Red Rum to three Grand National wins, a feat no other horse has bettered.  The Cortina's boot had a lining of straw because the cheapest car on the lot (which formed the frontage of the racing stables) had been used for pacing the horses on the beach.  Dump a bale in the boot and leave it open, then just drive up the beach and watch the horses chase after their tasty snack.    This is the first car I ever drove, on Southport beach.  I struggled to get to grips with the column shift but I'm sure that would be much less of a problem now.  Unfortunately among the handful of issues this car had, the radiator was a Stanpart from a Triumph, possibly a 2000.  Anyway it didn't fit, and burst hoses for fun, so we tried to get hold of a Cortina radiator.  That summer they were like hen's teeth, naturally.685844139_DC021.thumb.jpg.f335b55524ac6bad76e7447c6dca1f72.jpg

Until I spotted a whole car advertised in the local paper for a tenner, for parts!  It was only round the corner too.  VGR 990 was only a 1200 (JEV was a 1500) but it was good enough.  The seller was apparently the brother of the actor Kenneth Cope, from Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).  We got it home and stripped out the rad, which was exactly what JEV needed, and subsequently my dad stripped out the rear axle and springs too, to build a trailer.  A trailer which lived on in at least three incarnations, including one with me.  He then sold the remains for what he had paid for the whole car, so that wasn't too bad!

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The Cortina wasn't quite good enough for camping and trailer-towing, though, so it was sold off and 213 FUY, an Austin A60, joined the fleet.  The one above is my owned-from-new Corgi driving-school car, somewhat modified.

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The sequence becomes slightly confused here, but I think the next addition was 573 DOU, a Mini van with a rear seat conversion (but not the windows).  It only went out a couple of times that I remember, I suspect it needed too much work (another pattern established!).

Next up was a Valencia Blue Triumph Herald 12/50 for a whole £11.  I'm trying to find a can of Valencia Blue, I have a Dinky Herald waiting for it.

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And look, another Herald, and even another 12/50 too!   This one was £13, horrendous expense!  350 DYG was going to be mine, because That Day was approaching, but it needed (all together now...) too much work.  The one above is a Vanguard, of course.

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Ooh, a Vauxhall PA, comfortably the prettiest car ever built this side of the Atlantic!  This little Lesney incorrectly represents the 1961 Velox I bought in 1977, before I passed my test (and never drove on the road).  A Vanguard would be a better representative, because the Lesney is the early model with the flat-topped grille and 3-piece rear screen.  In fact they do one in maroon and silver, which would be close enough, except the pattern is reversed compared to the car I owned!

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I passed my test in 78, and almost immediately nabbed another Mini van.  This was another one that needed work and never ran.

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Then I was given an old A40 that was in the way.  We had the shell of another in the back garden, so I claimed the driver's door and bootlid, which were better than mine; that's why they're black on this old Spot-On.  With a teenage lack of mechanical sympathy, I managed to kill it on a weekend trip to Leeds.

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I had developed a relationship with a local American-car collector, Eric English, and he was prepared to sell me his 1968 Oldsmobile Delmont, in which I had already had several lifts, on tick.  Unfortunately I failed to keep up the payments.  This model of it is made from a small-scale Dodge Monaco, maker unknown, with some filling and reshaping.  I believe YFR 942L is long gone now.

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While the above was going on, a lad at work (petrol station) offered me his mum's Mini.  My mum needed a car, so we grabbed it, and both used it.  Note the fibreglass flip front  You can tell this is the 70s, can't you?

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After the Mini came ETB 988E, my Anglia, which I loved.  It was a 1200 Super, which in reality meant little more than two-tone paint and a bit of extra chrome.  Not that the Anglia really needed it, because it already had ALL the style the subsequent Escort never did.  My car came with the roof and side flash in black, but upon being pulled over, I discovered Swansea had it listed as white and green.  So I painted the side flashes in Hillman Glen Green, which I happened to have handy.

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As you can see here on my owned-from-new Dinky.  The whitewalls on this and the Mini were accurate.  I know, because I painted them by hand on the tyres of the real cars using some rubberised road-line paint I happened to have.  It pays to be a magpie...

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My second attempt at an American car was a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere, which was far too much of a project for me to take on at the age of 20.  Nothing changes, eh!  The model started out as the Matchbox Ford Galaxie.

And that takes us to Christmas 1979, another good spot for a break.

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well this is easy..

My Dad passed his test in 1990, after all of us 3 had passed...

so , erm .....there you go!!

His first car was a C reg Ford Orion 1.6L in black with a grey interior,,,,,,stolen from ASDA carpark, used in a ram raid ..didn't last long when it was repaired!!

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When 1980 dawned I was working at a petrol station (the one where I bought the Anglia), and for a little while it was a good source of used cars.

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This is what happens to old, battered Corgi Hillman Hunters when I've had them from new.  LTC 385F was a 1500 Minx and was the first purchase of the new decade for us. 

There was then a Triumph Toledo, which was fortunately a 4-door, so a Dinky 1300 will make a suitable base for the exhibit.

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Next up was another Minx, this time a 1725 auto.  HWM 916F was the first automatic I had driven regularly, and it converted me for life.  The red door was taken from the preceding car, as by then we had laid it up due to terminal rust.  The corresponding door on the other side was from a green one!  I fitted better seats and a nicer dash from a later model that a neighbour was breaking, then sold it on.

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Taking no notice of my dad's bad experience with a new one, I then bought a Corsair!  This was a different kettle of fish though, a 1969 2000E.  I never had any bother with the brakes, but rust, now that was another story.  Can you think of a model of the 4-door in 1/43?  I can't.  The one above is the old Matchbox, owned from new.

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We're in 1983 now, and here is BFY 903B, a Hillman Super Minx.

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And my owned-from-new Dinky Singer Vogue, dressed down many years ago to become the cheaper Hillman.  I'd love to find another Vogue or two, to paint.

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My first Marina was a 1.8 coupe and was great fun to drive.  The front chassis rails were slightly twisted, giving it a nose-down stance, and boy could it corner at speed!  Unfortunately the chassis meant it had to come off the road, but you can't tell from this Corgi example.  The painted panels on the bonnet were my idea, in Ford Bermuda Blue.

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So in need of something, anything, I went out and bought a 1972 Bedford CF with a 1600 petrol slant-4.  Slow, yes.  Noisy, yes.  Cheap crappy seats, yes.  But oh boy, what fun!  It would slog on and on (and did), and with the Velox's bench front seat in the back would comfortably carry passengers.  At various times I carried a boat, and a piano.  It didn't matter what I shoved in, it swallowed the lot.  When my sister injured her back at college, this is what she came home in, lying on the bench seat.  Versatile?  Oh boy yes.1767307141_BrownHA.thumb.jpg.7c4ad8049a41877e68aa6cc5b123231b.jpg

It's 1983 now, and my dad befriended a family of Irish travellers who were scrap-hunting.  We had a few cars from them over the next year or two, all of which had been given up for scrap.  Of course there was no COD in those days, so you could resurrect almost anything.  This HA van was the first of these.

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And thanks to Oxford Diecast, makes it into the collection!  I used to be much better at hand-lettering the number plates...

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Next up is another PX from McCain's, this time a 1969 Humber Sceptre.  This would be the last Rootes Arrow in the fleet, amazingly.  Lovely cream leather seats, overdrive, walnut dash... quite the luxury car.  And they'd been using it to pace the horses on the beach.  Yes, another boot lined with straw!

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And another HA, significantly better than the first.  This one saw quite a lot of use, including touring the town looking for my Humber after that was stolen from a pub car park.  The Humber was found more or less intact a couple of miles from home, but it was never the same.  I have a lot of affection for the HA van.  It's almost literally no more than a box on wheels with a bare minimum of engine, but that's all it needs to be.  All the big utilities loved them, in fact this had been a British Rail van from new.

There followed the first of several Ladas, of which I have only one model (to follow).  I'm still working on a partwork 1200 saloon to represent this one, the pioneer.  I need some estates!

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LTE 787K was a buttery-biscuit Viva HC from the Irishmen, and served my parents extremely well for a couple of years.  It never looked any better than "rubbish" but just kept on and on.

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And, er... Viva HC?  Go on then, you find me a model of one!  I sculpted this from the nearest thing I could find, a small-scale no-name BMW 3.0CSi.

Good place to put in another break, because we're only halfway through the 80s here!

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22 hours ago, chaseracer said:

When did your dad have 213FUY, Eddy?  

It's a Worcestershire number - I grew up in Malvern - and for some reason it's tickling the back of my brain...

Yes it is, research at the time suggested it was from Stourbridge.  We had it in 1975-6.

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1985 comes around, and with it a burst of temptation.

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Wasn't I slim then!  This is, of course, my first Granada, a 1976 3.0GL auto.  I was delighted with it at first.  At first!  I was able to forgive the cockpit design that meant I couldn't quite find a good seating position, and the weedy inadequate brakes... until it started eating head gaskets.  I mean three times, in a year?  Not on.  Then winter came around and I discovered Granada heaters... about as much use as a bucket of cold tea.

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Didn't stop me painting up a little Polistil though!  I would like to replace this with a Vanguards, but I would need two now.  We all know why, and that's coming up later!

During this period I also bought the first of three Fiat 500s, this one from the Irish.  I still haven't painted up a model of BED 380K.

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This should get one or two round here salivating!  Renault 30 V6 auto.  As you can see, the Granada really unleashed the latent love of luxury cars that I'd been denying for years.  This had electrical issues and I never drove it...

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I think this 1/43 is by Norev, from memory; it's metal on a plastic base.

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When the Granada went for head gaskets for the second time I bought "a cheap old shed" just to get to work.  A week of MoT, a month of tax.. but it was a 4-door 2.0GT, ex-Lancashire police, for £40.  Hell you can't buy the Vanguards model for that now!  I know; I'm trying.  I have an old Corgi 2-door that would be scrap if I hadn't picked it up thinking I would convert it to 4, but I don't know whether to keep on with it or just hope for a Vanguard at a decent price.

Early in 1986 I scrapped the Granada in a fit of pique, but not before buying a replacement at the local Tat Auction (Ormskirk).210699828_DC044.thumb.jpg.895a107738037850b6e73f20eca4ec5d.jpg

It might be hard to tell, but OBA 243M was a 1974 Vauxhall Victor 1800.  Bit of a letdown after the luxury and power of the Granada but it was a perfectly acceptable car really.  The model above is sculpted from a Corgi Juniors Mercury Cougar, because I've never ever seen a model of a Victor FE.

There was a 1974 Datsun Sunny, the barrel-sided one, at this point, but I don't have a pic of it on this computer.

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After that, a friend's neighbour was flogging this off.  2.0 manual, one owner, my first estate car!  I do like a big comfy estate and I reckon with a bit better marketing Toyota could have got Volvo worried.

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I traded the Sunny against this.  My one and only never to be repeated Austin Maxi.  I had to replace the tailgate almost immediately, because it was rotten, and it never fitted properly.  At first I thought it was down to my poor fitting skills, but later discovered half the car was maroon under the white.  I'd bought a cut-and-shut.  Needless to say, I flogged it on sharpish.  The model is an old Dinky Austin 1800 with a bit of reshaping.

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In the space of a couple of days I went and bought two small Fiats.  JTD 241F was a Nuova 500 in a retching fetching orange, and actually had MoT and tax!  So I used it, damn right I did!   This was the one with the dodgy starter cable, so I was often seen running down the road, pushing it, then jumping in, ramming it into second, and spluttering off to work.

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This is the other one.  KKD 177P was a first-generation 127 saloon (as opposed to hatchback) in matt black mostly covering the original white.  My dad stripped and hand-painted it for me in the back garden.  It was a right laugh to drive, and easy to see why Ford used these as the benchmark for the new Fiesta.

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Another one from the Irish: 1978 Fiat 131 Supermirafiori, 1600 twink.  PKC 100S was a facelift car with the bigger lights, but the model is a Polistil (I think) which had the early lights.  The hubcaps represented here were the dodgy white plastic ones that were on the Victor when I bought it.  As I took them off I found all the original shiny caps underneath, so hoarded the plastic set.  This Fiat had been sitting without wheels on, so the caps covered a hastily-assembled random selection of Fiat steels.  I think it was supposed to have the RoStyle-esque alloys.

At approximately this point there should be a red 4-door Marina.  I need the Vanguards Hidden Treasures model as it's already the right colour.

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Next up was my first Princess, of two.  VTX 481S was a 2200 auto with a dodgy gearbox.  I sold it to a lad who converted it to manual.  The model is the well-known Dinky.

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And finally in 1986, there's this, a Polski Fiat 125p estate.  These are significantly bigger than the equivalent Lada and if the quality and dynamics could have been improved, might have been a serious contender in the large-estate market.

Can you believe this post only covers two years?  I'm having another break...

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This is my favourite type of thread, can't beat a good reminisce, especially with pics.

My old man played a big part in my love of cars, I still remember every car he had from when I was born and I remember his stories of the ones he had before that. He also drove for a living for most of his working life, just like myself. 

Just wish I had a big picture and model collection like yours. Anyway, eagerly awaiting more instalments!

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I'm not 100% sure, but it's possible that after the joyous excess that was 1986, I might not have bought a car at all in 1987.  If I did, it was this one...

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EKC 198L was the third and last of my Fiat 500s.  I remember borrowing a trailer to go and get it from Aintree (the red Marina had a towbar), but as for when that actually was....  I'm pretty sure that most of the Marina was in the original red, which means it was no later than Easter 88, because over that weekend I hand-painted that car.  I love these little Fiats, they can always make me smile.

Here, I think, is where my first Chevette fits, a red estate, UWW 92R.  Not sure I have a photo of this at all, unusually.  I didn't keep it long.

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Another red Chevette here, this time a facelift hatch on a V plate.  The model is the Kidco (?)/Dinky casting.  Another one I didn't keep long.

Here there should be a Lada estate, SNE 647X.  This was another bargain from the Irish, so much so that I was eventually able to sell this on for cash, which you just couldn't do with Ladas back then.

Then we should be seeing a French Blue Triumph Dolomite 1850.  The timeline gets a bit confused, especially as there was some dealing back and forth between me and the old man, so some of these may be out of sequence.  I'm going to need a Vanguards Dolly.....

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I was looking, as so often, for "a car" and happened upon this, a 1981 Daihatsu Charade.  One litre, three pots, loads of MoT and I think even some tax.  What a jolly little toy that was!  This is what I was driving one Sunday in December 1989 when I watched a hit-and-run unfold in my mirrors on the East Lancs Road.  The cyclist died...

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Next purchase was my second and final Princess (final only because I can't afford one now).  HCK 333W was a 2.0HLS in triple black.  Oh what a nice motor!  The cambelt snapped, decimating the valves, but in those days it wasn't hard to get a head from the scrappy.  I swopped my Charade for the head, because the Charade had started leaving a big trail of blue smoke behind it everywhere.  One Friday morning in December a red Polo tried to turn across my path to get into his drive, and bang, write-off.  Meanwhile I had bought a green Marina 1.3 saloon which my dad had been using, so I reclaimed it.  After a while I wanted to  give him back his car so I bought a mk1 Escort estate (which I'm still trying to model from a Dinky saloon) but only had that a week because the cheque came through for the Princess.

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So I bought this, from a neighbour.  2.0GL auto, quite simply one of the best cars I ever had.  It was Modena Green from new, and had been hand-painted in the same green, but owing to rust the NSF door had been replaced with a beige one.  John, the neighbour, had a little workshop round the corner where he did cheap blowovers, and offered to do one for me for £15 if I bought the paint and did all the prep.  Guess what I was doing all summer?

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I chose Ford Peppermint Green, as you can see; still one of my favourite colours.  The model is of course the Matchbox mk4.  Mk5s are available in 1/43, but not at any price I can afford, whereas this one is commonplace enough that I have a "before" as well.

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My dad and I hatched a plan for (I think) my mother's 70th birthday, which was 1991.  We got word of this 1975 Mini going cheap, so we grabbed it and while we prepped it, I kept it at my place which was the other side of town.  The doors both had to be replaced, I remember, and then painted white.  She wasn't surprised by our car-buying habits and soon learned to love her little Mini, which was christened Minimum2 (the earlier grey one being the original Minimum).  Both Minis had their name painted on the back by me, between back window and bootlid, in as close as I could get to the correct Mini script.

There was at least one more Lada estate, possibly two, during this time; one brick red and one Adriatic Blue.  I have the back number plates off both of them on my wall: CFY 153X and RTB 52Y.  Before we had RTB, some time before in fact, my sister had RTB 56Y, an Adriatic Blue 1200 saloon.  I'm working on a model of that using a partwork police car...

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I think this is next in the order, our first Lada Riva.  I know I was using it quite a bit in 1993.  The model is courtesy of Felly Magic, who converted a partwork car to RHD and printed up the correct number plates for me.  1993 was a turbulent and unhappy time in my life.

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Next after the Riva was the first Polonez, of two.  E278 WKB was ostensibly my dad's car, but I probably drove more miles in it than he did.  It's only very recently that we've been able to get a Polonez model; a partwork that's very thin on the ground, and usually ridiculously expensive.  I therefore used the Matchbox Audi Quattro with a bit of sculpting and careful painting.

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You see what I mean!

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The Cortina failed the MoT quite badly, so I managed to swop it for this 1.3 Escort van.  I do like having a van around me but this was the wrong vehicle for the time.  I sold it on.  The model, of course, is the Corgi 1/36.

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Rather stupidly, I then bought a shed of a pre-facelift Chevette.  Note that all my Chevettes have been the same colour!  It was rubbish.  My only possible excuse is that I was going through a breakdown at the time.932661427_DC061.thumb.jpg.7c05ce02fe513fe56e1e87125b936dad.jpg

And then comes the next Polonez, C246 MFV (My Favourite Vehicle).  This was another saved from scrap and very much enjoyed while I had it.  Like the 131 before it, this had been sitting around without wheels, and a random collection of Lada rims got it back on the road.  I think this model would have had the white Wellers.

I like a Polonez.  They're heavy, old-fashioned and not very fast, but one thing they do have is supremely comfy seats, far better than a Lada and closing rapidly on Volvo.

And on that note, I need another break.  The early 90s was a tough time for me and I want to compose myself a bit.

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I kinda wish I'd owned a Polonez... I can remember walking past a used car lot close to where the school bus would drop me off, and ogling a suspiciously shiny white Polonez on Weller wheels with a sticker price of £50... I mean, come on, fifty quid!! This was cheap even by 1996 prices; it still had some MOT and everything.

I'm sure the cheap blowover paint job and aftermarket side stripes disguised a multitude of sins, but the parents refused to countenance such a car on the driveway, and a few weeks later it was gone...

Very unlikely to find one now, sadly - although, I hadn't considered the option of buying a Quattro and rebodying it as a Polonez...

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So, we rejoin the story in 1995, when my Polonez has been retired with terminal rust.  I have a new job and need my own wheels to get there, so begin a series of trip to Chorley Auction, since Ormskirk has closed.  On one such trip, I missed out on a 1984 Alpine for £25.  You really have to be on the ball at a car auction!

Subsequently I visited again, decided nothing looked interesting enough, and had a wander down the street outside, where some people had gathered with cheap shite they didn't want to pay fees on.

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And found a little orange Estelle, which I bought for £90 with a load of ticket attached.  C856 BBU was a 5-speed 1.2, nominally.  In practice third was very hard to get into, so I soon learned to go 1-2-4-5.  The model is obviously the Matchbox rally car.  I know about the 1/43 Estelles by Abrex, but we're up against the usual cost issue.

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My first Capri!  At the age of 37 too.   DJA 936Y was a Cabaret II with a 1.6 Pinto.  It didn't want to go, then didn't want to stop, then didn't want to steer... "The Car I Always Promised Myself" turned out to be a load of trouble.  I took the Skoda to the scrappy while I had this, and the Skoda comfortably outpaced the Capri on the way there.  I swopped the Crapi for my first Volvo.

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PLV 28T was a 1978 244 auto and absolutely converted me to the virtues of an old Volvo.  This is what I was driving when I met MrsR-to-be.  I then bought another...

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A Corgi Junior stands here for HFV 66W, a manual 245 that I bought as a stripper and sold for what I paid for it after taking off what I wanted, including the propshaft.

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Between taking on the Volvo and meeting my beloved, my parents picked up their first of two Sierras.  D85 OVS was a 2.0GL that had been owned from new by Kodak.  It wasn't in bad shape, but sadly that shape was the shape of a Ford Sierra, which I find badly claustrophobic.  The model, of course, is the Corgi 1/36.

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MrsR had a Vauxhall Nova when we met, but one day dragged me round to the local garage (where I worked 20 years earlier when they sold petrol) and showed me this Suzuki.   She had fallen in love, what could I do?  So of course we did a trade-in, and took the Suzuki to Stratford on honeymoon.  I think it's a Maisto model, Matchbox size.

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I laid the Volvo up, because it was showing signs of getting ready for major work, and bought a Rover SD1 to drive while it was going to be off the road.  C130 PWM was a 2600 VdP auto.  It needed some odd jobs doing before it was ready for use, but once pressed into service it became very needy indeed, spending more time out of action than in and swallowing all the money I had put aside to spend on the Volvo.  The last straw was the engine seizing up.  I went out and did something I had deliberately been avoiding; in fact had promised myself I wouldn't do.  (The model above is the Dinky.)

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I bought a one-litre Metro, exactly what I didn't want.  And you know what?  It was a bloody good little car!  The model is the Corgi Junior, of course.

Here should be a photo of what happened in February 99.  Discomfort and an incipient oil leak thrust us to Carcraft in Rochdale, from where we returned with a 1996 Proton MPi saloon.  However, see below.

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Come the summer of that year, and I bought my first Cadillac!  Ambition achieved!  I always wanted a Cadillac, all the way back to my teens, and having lifts in them with Eric (as mentioned earlier) only reinforced that longing.  In a particularly poignant moment, I was able to give Eric a lift in this car when I spotted him at a bus stop one day.  He had, by this stage, had to give up driving.  It's wearing wedding ribbons in the pic above because I supplied it for my sister-in-law's wedding.  It also did duty for my stepdaughter, entailing a trip to Aldershot.

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I don't believe I've ever seen a model of a 1979 Cadillac, especially a four-door, so the little ERTL Pontiac Bonneville stands a little sculpting.  It's close enough in shape to take it.

Right, that clears the 20th century.  There is more to come but I think I've done my bit for tonight.

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What a story!

You might have me going through my dad's photos. He's had a few! He always talks about some of them, an Austin, can't remember if it's a 7 or an 11. He says he could reach out of the passenger window with his left hand to indicate.

I remember a photo of a very young me and our family Fiat 124 saloon in vomit colour.

I think there was a yellow Vauxhall Victor.

A red Maxi, I remember that getting smashed glass in holiday, possibly due to a stone chip, though the details are hazy.

There was a blue Ford Cortina 1.6 GL. Or was it just an L?

There was a lovely dark blue Nissan Bluebird estate, I remember riding in the boot sometimes. That was a massive 2.0 and the biggest engine in the world, to me.

A Renault 11 and a Nissan Sunny both in red.

I might have missed a few but by the time I learned to drive it was in a Rover R8 214SLi. I crashed it and wrote it off in short order.

A black Seat Málaga, which became my steed, another R8 this time 216GSi auto. Then a mark 5 Escort which I also interited.

I've gone through all mine since then. Anyway I might get my dad to find some pictures, when lockdown ends.

Interesting that not only would the cars be valuable so would the number plate these days!

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Two cars appear in the story now for which I don't have photos on this computer.  First up is another Lada Riva, which replaced the silver Sierra.  I still need the navy blue one from the Bond partwork to replicate this.  There was also a green Montego saloon which in the spring of 2002 suffered a massive MoT fail.

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My parents replaced the Riva with what would be their last car, a post-facelift Sierra.  G529 SND was another 2.0GL, this time with the DOHC engine.

I then had the Riva for a while until I replaced it with the Montego.  The Montego, in turn, suffered a massive MoT fail, but fortunately, I had recently done a deal on the Cadillac which netted me two E-reg 1987 cars: a Targa Red Mini Mayfair and a gold BMW 525e, E28.

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It's well known here that I'm no fan of a Beemer, but actually I do like the shape of the E28, it is quite a handsome car.  On paper it should have suited me down to the ground: 2.7 litre straight six, RWD, automatic, 4 doors, even a towbar!  In practice it was like wearing your shoes.  I could never make it fit me somehow, it was just the wrong car.  I only had it a month.

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During which, I was offered a total bargain, a 1978 Daimler Sovereign S2 LWB 4.2.  For a whole £100.  Come on, who wouldn't?  When I went to see it I had to jump it off the BMW but the moment I drove it I knew which of the two I was keeping.  I sent it to a local Jag specialist I knew for some  work.  Meanwhile I sold the BMW to my mate Steve, for towing his speedboat.  He part-exed me a set of 12" alloys to fit my Mini, because his Mini had 10" wheels and these wouldn't fit.

The Mini was pressed into service as my daily.  Commuting six miles down country lanes was a hoot, I felt like Paddy Hopkirk every morning.  This was the summer of 2002, when Tobey Maguire's first Spiderman film came out.  Spidey's suit is almost exactly Targa Red, so I had a jolly summer decorating the little car up with a striping-tape web on the roof, complete with tape spider.  I called it The Amazing Spider-Min and took it to a show along with Steve and his brown one.  At the show I bought a lovely new black carpet set and a good black interior from either a Red Hot or a Jet Black, I forget now.  Somewhere I have a pic of the car with both interiors laid out on the drive beside it.

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This is the old Corgi Juniors/Husky casting, and unfortunately is a S1.  What I really need is the S2 by Matchbox King Size.  A couple would be nice!

So the Jag came home.  At this time I was editor of Rumble And Roar! (named by me) which was and still is the club mag of the American Auto Club North West.  A member I'd been recently talking to phoned me to advertise his tyres in the mag.  Certainly, says I, give me the details?  He had replaced all four on his Lincoln, and the Cooper whitewalls were only half worn.  215/75/15, pick up from Manchester, £60.  Well they never made it to print, I was right round there and had them fitted to the Daimler in place of the ropey old Pirellis it had been wearing.  Good move!  My commute was a right laugh, I could fling that two-ton limo about like a rally car, and believe me I did!

At the end of the summer I sold the Mini for cash, and just on buying-and-selling prices I broke even: the Cadillac had cost me £1125 three years earlier and the two cars I had accepted against it had brought in exactly that between them.  And I still had a lovely Daimler.

Our first grandchild, Connor, was born in November 2002!  On the same day someone turned into my wife's path, writing off her lovely Proton that she'd had nearly four years.  We fought Direct Line tooth and nail to get a decent valuation of them for it, and finally they came up with a nearly-acceptable offer, which we took.  And went out and bought a Hyundai Lantra estate, which was a jolly nice substitute.

2003 was memorable for all the wrong reasons.  The Daimler developed running issues, which sidelined it early-on; I bought an emergency replacement, a H-plate Ford Orion 1.6.  Then I was injured at work when the high wind blew my wagon sheet out of my hand (fortunately it was still attached at the other side) and as I fell into the mud, broke a bone in my left hand.    Once I was back at work, the AACNW chairman offered me his car cheap, which I jumped at.

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The 1980 Buick Century Limited would have been a direct competitor for the Daimler on the US market.  They were more-or-less the same size and had roughly equivalent power, the Buick having a 3.8V6.  It was stickered-up to promote the club, but over time I removed them all, leaving it plain black. 

In June I was rear-ended on my way to work one morning, by a neighbour in a Clio.  Had I been in the Buick I wouldn't have noticed, but I was in the Orion.  It was a write-off, and so was most of the rest of the year for me.  My whiplash injury meant I couldn't climb into the cab of my truck at work; it would be December when I returned, still in pain.

I got paid out for the Orion quite quickly and while I still had the rental Corsa, found an old Maestro by the side of the road with a For Sale board up against one wheel.  A cursory inspection showed it to be a 2.0 MG with a mere 28000 miles on it.

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Well obviously, I bought it.  I'm glad I did, it was a bloody lovely little car.  Shortly after, the Buick's fuel pump failed and the car had to come home on a transporter.  And there it sat, because I wasn't fit to do anything with it.  It sat for a year.  Now what was I saying earlier, about establishing patterns?

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In the early spring of 2004 we had a holiday booked in Lanzarote.  A month or so before we went, I took a phone call for the mag, another member wanting to reduce the price of his car.  He'd had it advertised for months and had been steadily reducing it.  This time he was knocking off a big chunk, bringing it well down into three figures.  That's not going in the mag, says I, I'll be round tomorrow with the cash.  And I was.  He left the private plate on it too, YFR 716.  MrsR took it well when she saw what I'd bought.  The fact that I had another payday coming before the holiday probably helped!  The car was a 1990 Chrysler leBaron 3.0V6 convertible, in a rich maroon.  The model above is sculpted from the nearest thing I could find, a Mercedes SL.  I spent a lot of money on that leBaron, with things like new brakes all round, new tyres, belts (it was a Mitsubishi engine) but it was a car we both liked so it was worth doing.

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My stepdaughter, being a Forces wife, had bought a new Focus to take abroad for a posting, and when they came back, passed it on to us.  LF53 UVX was a 1.6 Ink, apparently a special edition of some sort.  It was an adequate replacement for the Hyundai but didn't feel special enough.

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One afternoon we were looking at car supermarkets for a little hatchback for my father-in-law, and came home with a lovely Inferno red PT Cruiser.  I know these get mixed reactions here but I'm firmly in the "Love" camp.  I think this little model is a Maisto.  It's a bit small, maybe I should see if I can find a 1/43...

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Here's the leBaron again, but what's that behind it?  My grief purchase, that's what.  It's 2005 and my dad died in March, 7 months after my mum.  I spotted this on ebay and bid... and, er, won.  ODO 836Y was a 1982 Plymouth Gran Fury, effectively the car Cagney and Lacey used to drive, but in full black-and-white livery.  With a bit of help from a local auto electrician, I got the 3.7 litre slant-six running, then sent it for MoT.  Which it failed.  Not badly; not even massively.  No... catastrophically!  It needed so much welding I ended up flogging it to a banger racer.  But at least I can say I had an actual American police car.  Models of this do exist, in 1/43 and 1/24, but they're almost impossible to find this side of the Big Pond.

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MrsR, who had been driving the PT for over a year, decided she wanted something smaller, so we started looking.  One of the things we considered was a Citroen Pluriel, but if she wanted brand new (which she did, having never had one before) then it was over budget. The new Fiat Panda was a contender, but in the end we went with Suzuki, in the shape of the five-door Ignis 1.3.  That was a splendid, heroic little car.  We kept it just over three years.  Remember that, it'll be significant.  The model is a 1/76 Mercedes ML.  You can get the correct shape Ignis in 1/43 but it's a Spark rally car and so goes for lots of money.

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The blue Volvo in these two pics is my 740 estate.  Now this really was my ideal spec: 2.3 injection, auto, 7 seats, sunroof, towbar, velour.  It literally doesn't get any better without being a Cadillac.  The other two cars belonged to my old mate Dave.  He bought the grey 940 having driven mine, but deserted it when the chance of a Scorpio estate came up.  The Scorp duly died, and Dave returned to Volvo with the white one.  All the time this was happening, I was driving the blue one and loving it.

Somewhere I have pics of the 1991 Chevy Lumina sedan that I found on ebay in 2007.  They'll turn up... I haven't seen a model of this one.

In 2008 I fell in love, yet again.  Most of what went before had gone; I think I still had the Chevy and the Volvo, and MrsR was loving her little Suzuki.  But then I saw this...

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Well it had to be done, didn't it?  All the way down off the bottom of the M6 was OFF 427, a Sage Metallic 1962 Cadillac Sedan deVille.  Fins, four doors, pillarless, gorgeous colour... what more could I ask?  Even if it wasn't already my policy I would have reversed it onto my drive just so I could look at that glorious back end every time I opened the front door.  This one got to do wedding duty too, for my nephew.

In April 2009 we emigrated to Cyprus.  We couldn't take the cars.  I'd already sold the Lumina; I held on to the Cadillac as long as I could but it left me early in the month.  I gave my blue Volvo to Dave.  We had a few days in Inverness with my stepdaughter and her family (now up to two sons) and left the Ignis there for her inlaws.  And so one chapter ends, and another begins.  I've been on this all morning!

 

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23 hours ago, HMC said:

Brilliant thread! How do you modify the die cast models? The sculpting? Never heard of that before, they look great.

Thank you :)

Sculpting the models isn't that difficult.  You start with something that, maybe through half-closed eyes, looks roughly the right shape.  You may need to build up contours using P38, and/or shave contours in where they didn't exist before, using various small files.  Some come out better than others, as you've seen!

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Brilliant thread.

My dad had mk 2 cortina and a corsair - with the 2000 V4. It was only five or six years old - moved on because of a noisy gearbox.

Rover SD1's are very needy - I know from experience. Mk 1 granada is on my bucket list but even shitty one's are £5k upwards.

This thread makes you realise how times have changed - I have had lots of cars which were coming to the end - my dad was the same. However with cheap credit nowadays everybody can have new - or nearly new.

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