A diary of one man's utter failure, depression, frustration, cock-ups, and poverty, starting in August 1947
Chapter 35 - Vehicular Venialia's
Having owned many different types of motorbikes for many years, I thought it a good idea to buy a three-wheeler car, that I could drive with legally, on my motorbike licence.
I eventually got a Reliant Robin (brown), W reg. Apart from still wanting to put on my gloves, boots and crash helmet before I drove it, I loved it, and named her Wilhelmina.
After a few years, I met an actual female Wilhelmina, and decided that it was time to move up to a larger vehicle to facilitate easier snogging and groping betwixt us.
The problem was a lack of funds to enable such a move - so I drove around looking for a cheap 4-door vehicle I could part exchange the Robin for.
There was nothing to be found, until I came across a small car sales in Basford, Nottingham. The owner not only acted like Arthur Daley, he looked a bit like him too. Anyway, we decided after he's looked at my three-wheeler, to do a straight swap for a Skoda Estelle!
Pleased as punch I was. He said he'd have a new battery fitted before I collected it.
A few days later, I was driving away in my 'new' car. The first thing I noticed was that it appeared to be running on petrol fumes as the fuel indicator showed empty! I found a petrol station and filled her up.
Eventually I Christened her 'Maybe', you know? "Maybe it'll start this time!"
It was the start of Skoda experience, and that, any used Skoda Estelle owner will tell you, included the many trips to the scrap-yard to get spare parts to repair it. Alternator/starter motor, door window wires, speedometer, U-bends, locks, valves, and other little things. At least then, the parts were cheap, with so many Estelle's being in the scrap yards.
The female Wilhelmina left me for a Ford Capri owning git.
I had to get many tows, over the time I had her, and joined the RAC. On one occasion, I'd parked in the multi-storey car park, and had to call the RAC as she would not start (again!). They said for me to meet the patrolman at the entrance, as he was in a high van. So I did that.
When the chap arrived, he first confirmed with me that it was a Skoda Estelle I had, and the problem - then he opened his van, took out a great big hammer, closed the door, and we proceeded to the car on the third floor.
I was a bit concerned at this stage.
He got me to sit in the drivers seat, and turn the key as he belted the alternator/starter motor with the hammer. It worked a treat. He told me to get a new alternator ASAP.
About 18 months later, I was cruising down the ring-road in Nottingham, glancing in the rear-view mirror at the exhaust smoke, and wondering what the new rattle might be caused by, and it suddenly dawned on me, I was driving the car illegally on my motorbike licence!