Over your life you get to have so many cars. Big ones, small ones, fast ones, slow ones. Then every so often you get THAT CAR. That car which is so bad that it becomes legendary. Mine was a white Fiat UNO. A bit like the one above, just a bit more rusty.
Let’s start with the name. When I bought it I was particularly attracted by the term FORMULA in its title. Visions of sports cars wizzing round race tracks. Sadly not. Not sure if Formula in Italian means “rust bucket” or “falls to bits” or “frankly this car is awful”.
What further attracted me to this particular bit of automotive history was the logo at the back of the car.
Unfortunately a couple of days after buying this beauty one of my so called friends scraped the top off the “a”. So I was stuck driving a car with
Emblazoned over the back of the car. I could tell by all the pointing fingers and laughter that the other drivers really admired this design and wished they had it on their inferior vehicles.
After a few months some nutter decided to pinch my car. Why?. When it was found by the police it was missing the driver door. Someone had taken it off…. So with a police escort I drove home with no door. Closest this car ever got to being a classic open top Italian stallion. The garage then informed me that the U.K. had no doors in stock so it had to be imported from Europe. If the repair and import costs had been £15 more then it would have been scrapped by the Insurance Company.
Then a bit later it was stolen again. It was this time found intact but parked on the beach. So the garage had a race against time before the tide came in.
I desperately wanted to see what the UNO’s top speed was. The specification mentioned over 100mph. Ha Ha. One of my friends had a relative who owned a local racetrack. So off we went. When the racetrack owner took one look at my car he told me that he would just in case follow me round with a couple of fire extinguishers. Unbelievably the car made it to 95mph. Given how much the car was vibrating and screaming I now know what it feels like to re-enter earths atmosphere in a space shuttle. Suddenly the sun roof collapsed into the car and the speed record attempt was abandoned.
Then we had the time a family of door mice moved into the cars glove compartment.
Then we had the time it broke down on the way into the city and it caused a massive tailback. The tailback made it onto the local traffic reports.
Then we had the time the brakes failed and I ended stuck in the middle of a grass roundabout.
The time it failed it’s annual MOT test because during the test the engine caught fire.
The time the driver window jammed fully open for two weeks during winter, so had to drive with a rain coat on with the hood up when it was raining.
The time the car broke down on the motorway and then the recovery truck broke down with my car in tow. So a bigger recovery truck had to the rescue both vehicles.
I could go on and on. So many stories about this car.
A car like this has to go out in a blaze of glory, and it did. One cold winter day I drove to work. During winter the cars battery tended to go into hibernation. That day I went out to the car to drive to the sandwich shop. But the car wouldn’t start and the battery seemed dead. So I walked to get a sandwich and arranged for the local garage to come after work to kick start it back into life – not the first time this Garage had been called out to do this. But 3 hours later it was gone. How? So I called the police.
“Are you sure you parked your car there Sir?”
“How can you be so sure. We get this sort of thing happening everyday and we end up finding the car parked 10 yards away”
“Because I was listening to Alice Cooper on the car stereo this morning. I found the cassette on the ground where the car had been parked – it was all that was left. The thief can’t be a rock fan!!”
“Leave the cassette on the floor so we can fingerprint it” –visions of police white painting round the prone body of my cassette came to mind.
“Unfortunately it’s in my pocket now”
The car was never found. How on earth did they start the car? Why would you pinch that car? As a side note a few months later Princess Di was killed in that awful car crash. Apparently the car clipped a white Fiat UNO. Not going there but I strongly suspect my car would have struggled to make it out of Yorkshire never mind get to Paris.
My hope is that in some land far far away a little white car with Chump tattooed to its rear is purring across the open roads. That would make me so happy because I really loved that car, good old Mr Chump.