Austin A40 Farina Mark I: First car was a money spinner

Austin A40 Farina Mk 1

Peter Bealings this weeks shares his memory of his first car.

“In 1975, at the tender age of 17 , and still at school, affordability was the main order of the day, although an Audi 80 Sport or Capri Ghia was the aspiration!

“I was therefore pretty pleased when my brother’s neighbour offered me his Austin A40 for £27, a whopping £3 below the asking price!

“The car also came with free advice to ensure longevity – ‘always fork out extra for a shot of Redex each time you fill up with petrol,’ said my brother.

“As I could never afford a full tank I compromised and took his advice sparingly.

“OPV243 (why can I not remember what I am doing in an hours time but remember the index details of all my cars?) not only turned out to be the only car on which I have ever made a profit – I sold it after two years for £50 – but it also gave me great service.

“Four days a week I travelled to and from Ipswich, where I started my first job as a trainee Quantity Surveyor, from my Stowmarket home. I also managed to ‘sell’ seats to two ex-school friends who contributed enough to more than cover my total fuel costs.

“On each Thursday my day/evening release studies necessitated going to college in Cambridge but here again I found someone from Stowmarket on the same course happy to travel with me and contribute to running costs. We were quicker than the train, other than the slow ride home on one occasion, in torrential rain, without any windscreen wipers.

“It was coming back from Cambridge one evening that I had my first brush with the law. I was pulled over, again in pouring rain, and the policemen (who in those days seemed old – never the case any-more!) advised that I had a tail light out.

“Well protected from the weather he insisted that I got absolutely soaked checking I was a bulb down but happily he concluded that this was sufficient punishment and allowed me to drive on.

“The only major problem with my first car was a need for a new clutch for which I was indebted to a young schoolteacher friend who helped me carry out the work over the pit of my former school – it took us absolutely ages but the only cost to me was a new clutch plate, my time and four pints of Abbot ale.

“Happy days!”

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