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Homepage. This page: More old cars, including a Skoda 120 series, and a Citroen GS with terminal rust issues...

A further selection of Don's motoring memoirs.

A good number of Don's motoring recollections now feature on oldclassiccar, starting out with his first motorcycle, a 250cc Red Panther, and tales on four wheels, such as when he learnt to drive in a 1930s Standard Big Nine. Things move to more recent times now, as he recalls some of the cars of the 70s and 80s that he endured, or enjoyed, depending on how well they were running...

The Citroen GS succumbs to the metal moth.

Citroen GS
"1979 was the year I moved from Ashford to Herne Bay; I’d bought a seven bedroom, three story Victorian pile—in need of renovation. I still had the company Cortina Estate and found it would hold a quarter yard of sand in the luggage area. It didn’t like it though. The memsahib still had her much-loved GS Citroen but, while going through a car wash a wing disintegrated: the metal under the paint had secretly escaped in the guise of ferric oxide. The pressure of the carwash brushes on the remaining shell of paint revealed the deception.

A Dyane and Skoda then join the household.

Citroen Dyane
The GS was replaced with a humble Citroen Dyane, perhaps a little too humble. My parents had joined us in order to fill up some of the empty rooms and father got rid of his Cortina and shared the Dyane with the memsahib. Never having had to suffer the inconvenience of a test, or even having to learn to drive, he struck terror into anyone else foolish enough to use the road at the same time. The Dyane had him fooled though, he couldn’t master getting out of second gear, so it had to go … it had an ominous chuffing from one of the suspension units as well.
A friend sold me a Skoda 120 with only 20k on the clock, father liked it, said it reminded him of his old Beetle but plastic bits did keep breaking off the dashboard. After less than a thousand miles all the small ends went, “just like that,” and I discovered the only endearing feature of the car: the engine was a joy to work on. I reassembled it, fitted it back in the car and test drove it in less than an afternoon. Pity the handbook didn’t give the correct torque settings for the head.
Meanwhile, the Cortina had given me three years of faithful service, 38k miles and the sills and door bottoms were rotten. My employer gave me the choice of a Datsun Bluebird or Renault 18. The Bluebird seemed to handle like a '50s Morris Oxford but the Renault comfort and handling were excellent. So the Renault it was.

Skoda meets a wall.

Meanwhile Father had given up driving (actually we had hidden his licence renewal form) and terror no longer stalked the streets of Herne Bay. But the respite was short; my youngest son started to drive the Skoda and within a month of passing his test buried its nose halfway up a wall. Our family are very talented.
Memsahib wasn’t best pleased and I had to buy her a Mk2 Escort - to save my son from maternal damnation.
The Renault proved a disappointment. Although supremely comfortable it had the performance of a slug, long journeys along German autobahns not being able to exceed 90mph started to get me down. It went into the garage three times for investigation, but I was stuck with it for the next three years. The memsahib’s 1300 Escort was faster. Around that time my seafaring adventures resumed for a while, with a 13ft Alicraft with a Johnson 25 outboard, we had some great times in it. But great changes were in store for us."
More of Don's motoring recollections, and other stories sent in by visitors to oldclassiccar, can be seen in the motoring memories section of the site. If you'd be willing to share tales of adventure with the motorcars of your youth, please send them over!

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