You can divide life up into a series of firsts. The first time we ride a bike, the first time we get a job, the first time we...erm...pop our cherry, and the first time we drive a car. In this blog, I’ll - thankfully - be focusing on the latter.
For many people, the first car we drive will be whatever turns up outside our house on the birthday we turn the legal age to drive. For some however - myself included - the opportunity to pilot a car away from the public highways can arise before this.
The first time we drive a car can be defined in two different ways: there’s the first time we actually control the car all on our own, and there’s the first time we sit on somebody’s knee and steer.
For me, the first time I ever steered a car, I was just 3 years old. On a track surrounding a field, my Dad sat me on his knee, and let me steer his Leyland DAF 400 box van. While I remember the event, how much he had to help me is something I have no recollection of; although he’s adamant that he didn’t have to intervene too much.
Steering was something I was treated to every now and again - with the van growing to a 16 tonne truck! At the age of 7 however, and at the height of 5’1”, I was finally tall enough to reach the pedals. Now it was time to take command.
We’d just moved house to somewhere that had a large private driveway, and it was ideal for learning how to operate the car. After finding something I’d never heard of before called the “biting point”, the car - a 1.6L MK3 Astra estate - was moving under my control.
After becoming more practiced in the art of driving forwards, reversing, and turning around, I was promoted to official car-mover. If ever we needed to do something which required the car to be moved, I was entrusted with the job.
Funnily, we’d omitted to tell my grandparents that I was capable of driving. Then one hot summer’s day, after parking the car up the drive where the shade was, they came to visit only to be blocked by our car. In order to save their old bones from the discomfort of having to walk down, I ran up to the driver’s door with the keys in hand, and instructed them to pull their car down. At this, they screamed “NOOOO!!” with an urgency you could only replicate if you saw a 7 year old about to try and drive a car unaccompanied. Those were the days.
Now however, it’s time for me to put the question back to you guys: what was the first car that YOU drove, and how old were you? Let me know in the comments.
For more content like this, including the latest performance car news and topical blogs posted DAILY, be sure to join my tribe Speed Machines.