Remember your first car?
5 MIN READ
Loud, liberating, expensive, exciting, unreliable, fun.
Everyone remembers their first car.
We give them affectionate pet names then call them all the names under the sun when they break down.
They bring us freedom. They bring us strange noises whose source is never quite discovered. They often cost more in repairs than we paid for them. And they are part of some of the happiest memories of our lives.
Here are just some stories of first cars shared by their owners.
Ella’s Citroen Dyane
My first car was called Weed because it had a soft top and there were weeds growing on the roof.
I bought it from my brother’s ex-girlfriend for £250 in 1994.
When I took it out for the first time the exhaust fell off and I discovered that it was only held on with a shoelace which had burned through it. That was really just the beginning.
At one stage it lost first and second gear and would only go into third.
Then it wouldn’t go into reverse which meant I was only able to park in places where no cars could park in front of me so I could get out again. Corners were the best place to park.
I was working in an area where cars were always being broken into. For some reason Weed was targeted. Maybe it was because it looked so bad that people went for it.
The wipers were snapped off by gougers numerous times.
They kept breaking the windows to get into the car so I stopped locking the doors but they kept breaking the windows anyway.
Once someone tried and failed to steal it – God knows why – and pulled all the wires out from under the dash.
When the roadside rescue man came and saw the damage I told him I couldn’t afford to spend any more money on the car.
He said to me, ‘you must never tell anyone what I’m about to tell you’ and then he showed me how to hotwire my own car!
But I was too scared to do it because I’m frightened of electricity so instead my friend Richie installed a three-pin socket in the car where the ignition had been. An actual socket you’d find in your house!
For months afterwards, in order to start Weed, I had to put in a plug that I carried everywhere in my pocket and flick a switch. And it worked!
Jon’s Ford Fiesta 1.1L
My first car was a red Ford Fiesta 1.1L.
I was the first of my friends to pass my test in 1994 so I’d have 3 of my mates in the car most Friday nights going back and forth.
The reason I bought the car was not only because it was only £500 but because it had a cassette tape deck in it and two speakers installed in the rear parcel shelf.
I remember that Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ was the second song on side 1 of the cassette tape I had of their album ‘Pablo Honey’.
Every time we went out in the car the guys would be singing ‘Creep’ as we drove along the roads in Suffolk.
When we were rewinding the tape, we knew exactly to the split second, when to stop rewinding to play ‘Creep’ again from the beginning.
It would just be on continuous loop when we were going off to Norwich or wherever we were going out that evening.
Those were great times.
Shabbir’s Vauxhall Corsa
The first car I got was in 2004.
I got it from a friend and it cost me about €1,000.
I banged it a few times against trees and poles, stuff like that, but that’s how you learn. I remember that I reversed into a pole at a gas station once.
A few months after I bought the car, my son was born and sometimes he didn’t sleep at night. So when he woke up we would put him in the back of the car in his car seat and drive to Blessington and back.
By the time we got home, he would be asleep and we would put him into bed trying not to wake him.
The car was already 12 years old when I bought it and one day the timing belt broke.
I tried to sell it but nobody wanted to buy a 14-year-old Vauxhall Corsa with a broken timing belt. So I put it up on a website where you can advertise stuff you are giving away for free.
After a week, a Polish guy and his father showed up on a cold winter evening and opened the bonnet. After an hour working in the freezing cold he had changed the belt and he drove away in the car.
That was the last I saw of it. It was a good car.
Sarah’s Hyundai Getz
I’m taking my test soon in my first car. I’m still learning.
It drives fine but the ‘Check Engine’ light keeps coming back on even after getting it fixed in the garage four times now.
The first time I brought my Mum out in it she was a nervous wreck.
She was holding onto the passenger door handle all the way.
I stalled at a junction and she was like ‘quick, there’s someone behind us we can’t keep them waiting, Sarah’ .
Of course, that just made me stall it again and again.
She didn’t want to come with me in the car after that. She said she was too nervous.
Anna’s Peugeot 106s
I had two Peugeot 106s. A K-Reg and an N-reg in the early 2000s.
They were as light as a feather and went like a rocket and I loved them.
My second one got me through university (read Louise Cooney’s account of getting her Masters in Marketing)
I remember driving home from college with all my worldly goods in the back after getting the results of my finals and (while clearly overloaded) I drove very gently into the back of a car about 100m from home.
No damage on the other car but it meant a new bonnet for me.
I remember getting home, opening the door and yelling, “Mum I got a first and I crashed the car!”
Meghan’s Honda Accord
I named my first car – a 1997 White Honda Accord – Stanley.
Coincidentally, my first accident occurred on Stanley Street.
Stanley was about 10 years old when I received him as a gift from my parents. He was a bit worn, but I loved the colour, the leather seats, and the CD player.
It felt exciting to have my own freedom to go to the beach, the store, work, school, and so forth.
I had quite a few laughs in that car and rode him to his eventual death in 2015.
He was a reliable car that often fitted more than his 5 allotted passengers in.
You are missed!
Joe’s Ford Fiesta
I called it ‘The Yellow Submarine’. Bought for roughly £1,000, the insurance cost roughly £2,000!
The brakes failed a week after I bought it. I managed to drive into Wilton Shopping Centre using only the gears and stopped it up against a mound of earth.
I travelled the highways and byways of Ireland with my trad music friends in that car.
I remember being woken up after sleeping on the edge of a field of barley one year, three of us in the car had the bejaysus scared out of us when a big artic truck roared by.
Tom’s Nissan Micra
For a first car it wasn’t bad.
It was a 1.1 litre engine not a 1.0 litre engine. That 0.1 litre difference was a big thing at the time!
I bought the car because I was sick and tired of getting the bus to work. At the time, I had to get two buses to get from Drimnagh to Cabinteely each day.
I remember getting the car and driving it to work the first day. I was coming down the dual carriage and got to this open stretch of ground either side of the road and cross-winds hit me.
The car started to shake violently left and right.
I don’t know why but it happened on this particular stretch of road every time, always the same spot.
Never got it fixed. I got used to it eventually but it was really unnerving.
Vanessa’s Peugeot 205
My boyfriend at the time was a car mechanic so I got the 205 as a birthday present!
I’m not sure where he found it. It was great to have but the main problem was to start it.
I used to have to have my foot pressed way down on the accelerator pedal when I turned the key in the ignition and even then it didn’t always work.
It was losing a lot of oil as well.
When the engine did start it made a lot of noise and there was a lot of smoke!
Once, the gearbox stopped working when I was on a national road in France so I just kind of drifted to the side of the road and called my boyfriend!
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The views expressed in the article are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of Bank of Ireland.