First car, first love: the top 10

Ben Cooper
Written by: Ben Cooper
Posted on: 15 April 2016

With our First car, first love competition now closed, we’ve got a tough job deciding who’s going to be reunited with their first car.

Sifting through all of your entries has unearthed some great stories, and we’ve selected some of our favourite submissions to share with you.

In no particular order here are ten cars that grabbed our attention, either because the car was pretty cool or it had an interesting story.

Betty 2

Betty 2

Betty 2

The car: Triumph Herald 13/60

What it fixed: Betty 2 helped Betony get to college.

Betony received Betty 2 when she was 18, as a gift from her dad. "It was tax exempt, so perfect for a first car," she explains. "Her number plate was YBT which stood for ’You Beautiful Triumph’. The footwell and roof leaked, and she had a house speaker plugged into a Walkman for a stereo!"

But despite it all Betony wouldn’t have had her first car any other way. Sadly Betty 2 met an untimely end when an uncoupled farm trailer wrote her off.

Climber

Climber

Climber https://goo.gl/897N8I

The car: VW-Porsche 914

What it fixed: Climber let Vanessa stay in touch with mates, get to college and go on road trips.

Vanessa’s first car was a rare, and incredibly desirable, VW-Porsche 914.

According to Vanessa: "Climber was one of only seven converted by Crayford to right-hand drive."

Crayford Auto Developments were famed for their range of conversions, so it’s no wonder Vanessa has such fond memories of Climber. "Plus it was a soft top and red!" she adds.

Winston

Rover Mini

Rover Mini

The car: Rover Mini

What it fixed: Winston helped Sarah stay in touch with friends and get to work on time.

They say pets are like their owners, but what about cars? Winston and Sarah certainly shared at least one characteristic: "He was the coolest Mini ever. He was tiny like me, he had a Union Jack roof, and a Dixie horn!"

Minis have been a firm favourite throughout the competition, perhaps because these loveable icons distill driving down to its essence, although Winston wasn’t a speedmobile, as Sarah reveals. "He couldn't go over 50mph, struggled with speed bumps, and would only start via a choke knob. But he was the greatest car I've ever had and I would do anything for him to be back in my life! #findwinston."

The Custard Demon

The Custard Demon

The Custard Demon

The car: Datsun Cherry

What it fixed: This cheerful Datsun allowed Victoria to get to work, go on road trips and maintain friendships.

Unlike most of our entrants Victoria knows where The Custard Demon currently resides: "It's been parked up for a decade unused, unloved (with another yellow Datsun)."

Like a lot of first cars that have been put forward, The Custard Demon had its fair share of faults. "It stayed parked up for six months until I'd passed my test. Lots of work later, Custard was out tearing up the North West roads and endlessly breaking down," Victoria remembers, but some of Custard’s problems weren’t its fault. "I never forgave myself for reversing it into a bollard and denting the chrome."

Speedy

Speedy

Speedy https://goo.gl/oOyoeP

The car: Vauxhall Corsa

What it fixed: Speedy did the whole shebang: got Cora to college, work, took her on road trips and helped her hang out with her mates.

Cora’s Corsa will always be special to her, simply by virtue of being her first car. But as she recalls, she had a bit of a love-hate relationship with it: "I feared driving it - but other than that, it was fantastic!"

Hazel’s Escort

Hazel's Escort

Hazel's Escort https://goo.gl/TZg6r2

The car: Ford Escort 1.3L

What it fixed: This baby blue Escort let Hazel meet up with her friends, and someone even more important.

Once you get your first car, you wonder how you ever managed without it. As Hazel recalls, owning her Escort meant she could "finally go to the seaside without taking two buses and a train to get there, and the same back."

But her Escort played a much bigger part in her life than day trips with friends. "Most importantly, I’d never have met my husband without it. We met on a target rifle range and I couldn't take my rifle on the bus! We've been happily married for over 30 years now."

Herman the German

Herman the German

Herman the German https://goo.gl/UZyfMl

The car: VW Beetle

What it fixed: Thanks to Herman, Steve could get to his job and enjoyed road trips.

"Herman was my first love. He was noisy and brash and had a steering wheel the size of a bus, but I loved him," Steve recalls.

Like so many first cars, there was something about the tangible aspects of Herman that Steve looks back on fondly: "I can still hear the jugga-jugga-jugga noise of his engine and the heady whiff of petrol in the cabin (he was leaking somewhere). We said auf wiedersehen when I was 20, and I like to think he misses me, as much as I miss him."

Winston (another one)

Winston (another one)

Winston (another one)

The car: Land Rover Defender 110

What it fixed: Everything. Winston did it all.

First cars tend not to be pretty, but Andy’s Land Rover Defender looked like it had been in the wars, because it had. "Having just been spat out of the Ministry of Defence, my Land Rover lay up in a field lusting to be called up to the front line again for a new driver. Inevitably, it was love at first sight."

Named after Winston Churchill, this hulking behemoth was Andy’s reliable companion for years: "Camping, off-roading, my first date, hospital trips, job interview transport, wedding car, rowing boat transporter, snow plough, photography mule, support vehicle. He conquered and did it all!"

Madge

Madge

Madge https://goo.gl/6MZpKr

The car: Mini Cooper

What it fixed: This pint-sized powerhouse saw Craig through college and into the big wide world of work.

A common theme among many of our entries is the unreliable and often un-drivability of first cars. They tend to be shop-worn survivors on their last legs, but Craig has fond memories of his Mini: "It was an original Mini, and she was just so much fun to drive. Plus, when it snowed, it was the only car that moved on the road because all the other cars were rear-wheel drive in those days."

Gladys

Gladys

Gladys https://goo.gl/eBPDEQ

The car: Morris Mini

What it fixed: Gladys kept Claire in touch with friends and got her to college in style.

If first cars do anything it’s this: they open up a new world of freedom. No more public transport, or getting lifts off mum and dad or an older sibling. Once you have your first car the world runs on your schedule. And so it was for Claire: "Gladys gave me so much independence. I could go to places I hadn't been before."

Let the love story continue…

We’ve highlighted a few of the cars that really stood out for us, but each entry had a unique story to tell – which is why our first cars are so special.

The winner of the competition will be revealed soon. Check back to see if you’re the lucky owner who’s going to be reunited with your first car.

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