I’m going to jump straight into this post as the title explains most of it but I have had 8 cars since 2012 so I’m going to run through them all and what I loved about them.
Ever since I can remember, I have been a massive car lover. I used to count down the years until I could learn to drive and had exactly what car I wanted to get in mind (a BMW 7 series E32).
For my 17th Birthday I was given a block of 10 driving lessons (the first being on my actual birthday) and then I would have to pay for the rest. When I learnt to drive back in 2010 it was £18 per hour for a driving lesson so I did various jobs to fund my lessons. I can’t remember how many exactly I had but probably enough to fund a second hand Porsche Boxster!
I wasn’t smug…oh er I mean lucky enough to pass my test the first time (it took me 4 times, don’t judge) so when I FINALLY did I couldn’t wait to get a car. As mentioned earlier I had to fund my own driving lessons so I knew I would also have to fund a car because I’m sadly not a spoilt brat with rich parents.
For my 18th Birthday I asked for money off anyone who wanted to get me something as I wanted to get a car ASAP but was still at sixth form, meaning I didn’t have the option to earn the mega bucks it requires for 17 year olds in the UK to fund a car.
I was 18 in the October but didn’t get a car until March the following year. I scrimped and saved to get a car but in the end it was the insurance that was proving the main issue (I will do a blog about insurance and good tips to get drive the price down in the future). I had been looking online for quotes and some insurance companies were quoting upwards of £6k a year! I was due to finish sixth form in a couple of months and had decided (as i didn’t know what I wanted to do) to get a full time job. If I had a car this would make it a lot easier and open up a lot more opportunities.
In March I began looking for a car. My mum and I went and test drove a 2003 1.3l Ford KA which I fell in love with. I think in hindsight it was just the thought of the car I fell in love with. I went home and went about getting an insurance quote…£5,500! The car was only £1,395. Needless to say, I didn’t take up that quote and didn’t get the car either. My dad had agreed to fund my insurance and that I would pay him back bit by bit.
I had a budget for the car, I had a budget for the insurance, all I needed to do now was get one. Sunday 18th March 2012: my dad had agreed to take me car shopping. I had been on the internet and had a few lined up. There were a couple of local garages and independent dealers near us we planned to visit before heading off further afield. The first dealer had a Citroen C2 in stock. I had a good look around it but wasn’t keen in the end so we moved on. Just as we were about to join the M60 we saw another car dealer we thought we’d have a look at.
As we pulled onto the ‘forecourt’ I saw a sparkling clean, black 2004 Renault Clio Dynamique. I knew at that moment I had found my first car.
It was 3 door, had 15 inch 5 spoke alloy wheels and bucket style seats. The seat belts were silver and it only had 65k on the clock. There was a small patch of unused land I was able to test drive the car on as I didn’t have insurance I couldn’t go on the roads. After 10 minutes of driving and checking the car and its documents over I put down a £100 deposit and organised to pay the remaining balance when I collected the car later the following week. The car would be given a fresh MOT all ready for me to drive it away. Sadly it didn’t come with any tax left on it (back in the day when you got a tax disc and it was non-refundable) but I would be able to do that as soon as I bought it.
The next 4 days felt like years, I just wanted to get my car! In the mean time I made several CDs with all my favourite songs on. I couldn’t alter the car’s stereo for insurance purposes as no modifications were allowed. I chose to go with Co-op Young Driver insurance and have a black box tracker fitted. This meant I couldn’t travel between the hours of 22.00-06.00 and it also monitored my speed, braking, cornering and several other driving parameters. It wasn’t ideal but it was the only way to get sub £5k insurance quotes.
The day arrived when I was to collect my car. My dad had to drive it home as I hadn’t got any insurance set up but as soon as I got it home I was insured, taxed and away. I remember going round to my friend’s house to show off my new pride and joy. I pulled up outside, phoned him and said “look out of your window” to which he replied “I’m out at the minute”. Great. I drove around, filled up with petrol and blasted the tunes. I couldn’t wait to drive to college the next day. I finally had a car. It might not have been the beamer I’d always dreamed of (I’m still working on getting one of those) but it was mine.
I had that car for just over 2 years. I bought it in 2012 and had it until 2014. Through that time I had so many adventures in it. She was the best first car I could’ve wanted. I called her Trudy (to myself only) and she saw me through some great adventures.
One of my best yet worst memories is when me and 3 of my friends decided to go to the Lake District. We had decided that we would take 2 cars so there was plenty of room for us all and mean we weren’t all squashed in one car. It would be the furthest I had driven and require a lot of motorway driving, not something I had much experience in. A couple of weeks before our trip I had noticed my sunroof had began leaking. A quick Google search later and I found out that it is a common fault on Clios and needed re-sealing. At this point in time I was in a full time job and had no clue about sealing a sunroof so I decided to dodge it and just cover it in cloth tape… which seemed to work.
So October 26th (I got the date off my Facebook memories) we set off to the Lake District on a typically British autumn day…pissing rain. My cloth tape didn’t last long on the roof and by the time we arrive in the Lakes the whole lot had been ripped off in the wind. Great. I didn’t let that spoil the fun (the weather did that) and many hours later, cold and wet we returned to our cars. In hindsight I don’t know why I said I would go climbing up hills because I hate all that. I prefer the outdoors to remain outdoors but at that moment in time most of it was on my shoes or in my car. I had fallen in a small river in my jeans and was absolutely soaked and then as I opened my car I could see a puddle in the passenger footwell. So as I drove home, cold, wet and barely able to see out of the steamed up windows I knew it was time to get a new car. Trudy had served me well but I needed an upgrade. I’d been working full time for 2 years and saving every penny I could and so the search began for my second car.