One dark and rain sodden evening I squandered the loot on the world's most evil XK150. Once again I was seduced by a shiny exterior that barely covered a rusting hulk. In the time I owned the vehicle it never started without massive coaxing and cajoling. I still have memories of stuffing petrol soaked rags into carburettors in order to restart at traffic lights and roundabouts where the monster had given up the ghost. The batteries were on their last legs, not helped by the constant drain of interminable attempts at starting. I was forever removing the front wheels in order to get at the wretched things for recharging.

Extracts from Petrolhead

I was christened Austin after the make of taxi that father was driving at the time. Not quite as up-market as my brother Bentley whom, my parents claimed, had been conceived in the back of a very smart eight litre that Dad drove when he worked for Lord Mulrooney. It has always been a cause of great sadness to me that in my case they couldn’t have held off until father got his job with Lord Withers. His Lordship had a decidedly sporty taste in cars and all things being equal, I could well have been called Alfie Romeo……

In the cold light of day I surveyed my latest acquisition. The engine smoked and threw out great globs of oil, the back axle whined, the electrics were a joke. The seat frames were broken, the interior a tip, the hood slashed and the boot full of water. The floors were rusted though, barely covered by sodden carpets and most of the body edges had been remade with plastic filler. All in all it was extremely nasty and it was mine…..

The Skoda had a wonderfully roarty exhaust note and went like the clappers. Its shortcomings included a rather tatty interior and no brakes. There weren’t any - none at all. There was a nice hard pedal but no actual friction at the wheels. Unfortunately, I discovered that it went like the clappers only moments before I found out about the brakes…..

The lorry, now travelling at speed, ploughed into the back of my car and then mounted it as though attempting some form of automotive coitus. Locked together, with sparks flying, they skidded a few feet further and then came to rest…..

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