One of the most magical aspects of being a motoring enthusiast is adding to the ever-growing library of stories that are collected through each mile on the road, each apex at the track, and each litre of fuel that runs through the pump. From changing a car’s oil for the first time, to rolling off a ferry onto the soft roads of France, and traversing the winding roads of the Alps in a soft top sports car. Each story builds a deeper connection with the people you are with, the places you travel, and your car, and will stay with you forever. This is my latest story.
I’m still slightly shaking from the shock of it. Only five hours ago, time seemed to come to a halt as my beloved MX5 aquaplaned towards the side barrier. It had been raining where I was working for most of the morning, and I’d been flirting with the idea of driving back home towards the sunny skies and treating my hard water encrusted paintwork to a snow foam bath, a polish, and then a wax. The resulting damage however, would not come out with just a quick buff.
So the thing I thought could happen to everyone else but me, happened to me. I crashed. I’m a good driver, I can control a car and can counter oversteer with the flick of my wrist, and yes, I know I’m not being overly modest, but my point will soon become apparent. These skills, however practiced they are, became useless as my tyres skated across the puddles of the road. Any input became fruitless, and the car gave in to its own demons and committed the greatest act of treason. Now of course I don’t blame my car for this dreaded incident, it was simply a lack of traction between the rubber and the road surface, aided by the slick lubricity of newly laid rainwater.
Once I’d realised that trying to change the course of the car was futile, I relaxed back and braced myself for the eventual bruises and broken bones. On collision however, my expectancies were disproven. It didn’t hurt at all. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but it felt much like a crash at your local go-kart track. The only differences being that it wasn’t a wall of tyres I hit, it was an iron guardrail, and it wasn’t a go-kart I’d be giving back at the end of a race, it was the sports car I’d waited for through the whole of my adolescence. After scrambling to find my phone, which had shot off in a random direction with the impact, I pushed through the crumpled bodywork and managed to open the door enough for me to step out. I readied myself for the turn-around and the reveal of the true extent of the damage.
Insurance companies, once they find out how much the repairs to your car will cost, will write-off your car if the cost is more than 50% of the car’s overall value. Being an avid follower of MX5 parts and prices, I knew straight away that the car would adhere to this practice. After informing my family of the bad news, and the AA so they could pick me up and move my car off the centre of a dual carriageway, I informed my insurance company. This was possibly the most tense phone call of my life, getting to the point where it felt like I was being interrogated by the cast of NCIS. So many complicated questions, when all I wanted to do was sit quietly by the side of the road and mourn the loss of my once faithful car.
Three and a quarter hours later, yes it took that long, my car was on the back of an AA flatbed and was being transported back home where it could be pulled apart, dissected, and each bit sold off to be used on other cars which may have suffered a similar, yet less severe ordeal.
This story wasn’t one of flowing river-like roads or long journeys with friends, but was about the loss of an inanimate companion, a companion that persuaded me to start writing, it was in fact the subject of my first published article, and a companion that led the way to a group of new friends, new experiences, and new roads. My car will become an organ donor, giving other MX5s another chance to live, and their owners another chance to live with it and continue their own stories. For me and my MX5 however, after nearly two long years of writing it, this is where our story abruptly ends.