My earliest motoring memory comes from the very unlikely family station wagon we had has a kid.
A turquoise blue whale of a Wartburg Estate.
The colour was always an odd one as it was identical to the colour of our front door at number 24. As a kid I always presumed that either the front door had been painted with left over paint from the car, or maybe the other way round. I had no idea at the time with what was involved with painting a car so as my dad was always decorating something or DIY’ing around the house I just thought that skill was universal. The chances are it was sheer coincidence but maybe at the age of 42 it’s high time I got an answer, I must remember to ask dad next time I see him.
Anyway, one of the things that stood out to me, even at an early age was the uniqueness of the car, no one else had one! I don’t recall ever seeing another one out and about and don’t think to this day I’ve ever seen one in real life since.
This was a time before foreign package holidays, it was the whole family in the car, luggage on the roof rack and off to a chalet in Goodrington for a rainy week. And when I say the whole family, that included Nan and Gramps, Auntie Sue and my cousin. The estate car had the rear bench borrowed from another car, it was red vinyl for some reason I suspect it was a Crotina, anyway. It was just plonked on the boot and that’s where me, my bother and cousin sat. Riding backwards staring out the back of the car waving at the cars we pass and playing, games like spotting certain colours or pretending the number plates are acronyms and trying to form a sentence from the 3 letters we’re provided with.
So did my dad invent the original seven seater?
I’m not sure what happened to that car, but obviously there came a time when it was time to move on. I remember trawling round show rooms of gleaming green, beige, and brown motors. Opening doors, bouncing on seats, flipping switches and fiddling with controls.
I was less than ten so obviously my opinion had no weight. I would obviously have been swayed by cool looking sporty models in bright colours. So when dad eventually came home in the new car it was a metallic brown Talbot Alpine. It had a sunroof! And tinted windows with a golden brown huge.
So how from this did I turn into a petrol head? I guess it must have had something to do with Phil, the next door neighbour's Triumph Stag!