Buying the first car is a memorable experience, even if the story doesn’t end well. I got my driving license on 7 March 1981, the same day I bought my first car. It took me around 2 years to get that license; the people responsible for organizing tests were on strike, so it was very difficult to get a date.
I applied for a cancellation and one week later I got the date, even though I had taken no driving lessons. I took my friend’s car, but failed, I kept on failing and it was a disaster.
The vehicle I got was Vauxhall Viva HB in SL90 spec. It has a 1.2-liter engine that didn’t have much horsepower. I don’t have many memories about the car, I don’t even remember for how long I kept it, but it’s certain that I kept it for less than a year. At that time I had a Norton Commando 850, I had passed the bike test when I was 16. The bike was my vehicle for going out, while I used the car just to take the muscle car owners.
Thirty-six years later, I sat in the Vauxhall Heritage collection’s Viva HB with my friend. Its condition was good and it was very similar to mine. So far, I have bought around 38 cars, a good number of them in my 19s. This is the only time that I revisited the old car. It’s usual for me now to drive an old and tired car, but it was new when I had it.
One of my colleagues had Citroen 2CV as his first car. It wasn’t his, entire, he owned this along with a school friend. Both of them didn’t know how to drive. His friend spotted it in a scrapyard. They were amused by his interest, so they sold it to him for £4, and delivered it to his aunt’s garage. We bought this in 1973 and sold it for £24. Another colleague of mine had Ford Focus as his first car. He didn’t own it, his mother did, but he considers it his first car, as he drove it for most of his teenage years.