RE: My First Car

Monday 30th June 2008

My First Car: Austin Metro

PHer 'Stockhatcher' (aka Wiliam Hornsey) realised he didn't need a Metro 6R4 when he had a 1.0-litre...



Let me take you back to 1991. Color Me Badd were riding high in the charts with ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’, Jesus Jones was ‘Right Here, Right Now’, Wilson Phillips were ‘Impulsive’, there were also ‘Things That Make You Go Hmmmm and I was a spotty A-level student with a penchant for pleated jeans, roll neck jumpers and desert boots.

I have always been into cars, and always wanted to be a rally driver, but my parent’s expectations for me tended to centre on academic attainment and not handbrake turns. Nevertheless, my first job stacking shelves in a supermarket allowed me to save up enough money (with a contribution from the Bank of Dad) to purchase my first car.

My dad being the sensible parent that he is, decided to take a trip to ‘that there Leeds’ where there were, he was sure, to be some bargains. So off he went… to the Ford main dealer. As it happens my brother also required a car to start his new job so my dad left the dealership having bought a Peugeot 205 XE for him and a ‘hearing aid beige’ Austin Metro City X one litre for me. 44 of Britain’s finest ponies lined up to be tickled into work by my right foot...

This car had it all, keep fit steering, four gears, rust, cold start problems and a stereo fitted by the men in black and orange. My boomtastic 60 watt speakers had been incorrectly fitted in the doors, so that the windows could not be wound down properly…..  But that didn’t matter because the only music I needed would be coming from the 1000cc nestled up front…

Whilst most of my contemporaries used their free time to study macro economic theory, differentiation around the origin, or peaty gleyed podzols (eh? – Ed), I spent my free time reading car magazines and taking driving lessons - all the time, any time. Before school, after school, in my lunch hour, during my free periods. Getting behind the wheel was all I wanted to do.

The joy your first car brings you is down to the new found independence you now have - no more school buses, so many more friends, I was so popular. But for me it was the chance to try and emulate my hero Tony Pond. whose biggest success came in a Metro after all. Having found a nice gravel car park which was only a slight detour from my route home from school, I was able to practice my handbrake turns with ease.

‘Second gear, 10 mph, lift off, turn the wheel, and tug the lever, power, power!’ Feel the car glide round on a six-pence - perfect, or so I thought. However my sister, whom I had to give a lift home to, was less than impressed. And now onto left foot braking. I’d seen videos of Timo Makinen changing gear ‘without clutch’, and it was the same A series engine/gearbox – right?

So off I went in pursuit of perfecting the technique, -  which ended on my first go, after spinning the car into someone’s front lawn, putting two big brown tyre tracks across the grass and stopping about a foot from the front door. Showing cool presence of mind, I calmly (it seemed) selected first gear and drove off in the opposite direction. I haven’t been back down that road since.

Of course during the year my friends gained their driving licences as well, and fellow PHer Soxboy was the first to challenge me to a race. His steed would be a 1.0-litre Talbot Samba LE, a fairly even match to my Metro, 45hp to my 44, and about the same weight. So one late afternoon after school we went out into the countryside and chose a quiet road to time ourselves against – rally style.

Soxboy went first, his interesting use of the brake would later be put down to old brake fluid, but unperturbed he did the ‘stage’ in 4m46s. A hefty challenge that I only just managed to eclipse - by a mere 55 seconds. I now race he doesn’t. Aaah to be 17 again!

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We are always looking for more amusing 'My First Car' stories - if you would like to submit your own then email us 600 words and a picture to stories@pistonheads.com

Author
Discussion

FishFace

Original Poster:

3,790 posts

148 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
I fail to see why insurance companies switched on that younger drivers are more of a risk laugh




jmelhuish

68 posts

204 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
This brings back fab memories. Mine was a champagne coloured with brown velor interior. Luverly. I went everywhere in it, all over the uk and europe on mad adventures you can do when you have the time but not the money. In the end I rolled it (Playing at rally drivers in the country lanes), then lost third gear and then the gear box . In the end it was part ex. when I got my first company car for a MG metro for my mum. Happy days. The reg was GHW821X.

Edited by jmelhuish on Saturday 5th July 08:40

MegatronUK

34 posts

156 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
Mine too was a Metro - a 1981 MG Metro Turbo with digital LED boost gauge to be exact! Of course, this was in 1996, so the car was hopelessly outdated by then... what a laugh though! :-D

chris_crossley

1,164 posts

223 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
old times..... smile Pug 205 with oil leak and cracked sump. Patched up with liquid metal. Naff distributor cap, causing miss fire. It had about 1/4 of the power it was supposed to have for a l ltr. Sold the car for more than i paid for the pile of *&^£ which was nice. Ran it for two year(How i don't know, it was dying when i bought it).

Frimley111R

9,467 posts

174 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
Hard to beleive that in '87 when I was at college a mate with a silver 1.0 was the rich kid with the smart new car. Most ouf us had 70's rust buckets. How did that car ever seem good?? Oh how times change!
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morgrp

4,124 posts

138 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
MegatronUK said:
Mine too was a Metro - a 1981 MG Metro Turbo with digital LED boost gauge to be exact! Of course, this was in 1996, so the car was hopelessly outdated by then... what a laugh though! :-D
MG Metro turbos were pretty good I thought - Mine was pretty reliable unless you filled it up with supermarket petrol resulting in crap running and a good old carb clean out - I eventually sold the little beast when rust took hold - think the geezer who bought it dropped the engine and shoved it in a mini - I always thought it was a tidier handler than my Renault 11 turbo though...

soxboy

2,957 posts

159 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
I guess it would have helped if my Samba had ever been serviced in order to get anywhere near 45 'chevals', plus you had the benefit of going to a rally school!!

Nevetheless, am grateful for all those lifts to the pub in that beige blob. Set me on the path towards the svelte figure I now possess.

shouldbworking

4,270 posts

152 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
Mine was a proper beige metro too, except mine was bought for £20 as itd been in a front end prang 3 years previously and never repaired since. The passenger footwell has very flintstones and the carpet was mouldy.

It saw me to and from university 250 miles away for a year but I dont think the poor thing appreciated 2 up, completely rammed full of stuff in the back 92 mph indicated (after youd got through the shake barrier at 80) motoring.

I moved on to greater things (a 309), and it went to a builder who promptly left it parked illegally in kensington. The last I heard of it was after a year of wrangling the DVLA had finally conceeded it was not mine.

corradoboy1983

100 posts

172 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
Mine was a City Special, in creamy-white (Special meant it had a sunroof, which leaked)... Was given it for free. Attempted to polish it, and ended up taking a patch on the bonnet down to the primer... Attempted to knock out the rust to rebuild the arches, but had to stop as I realised there was actually more rust than wheelarch!

What a wicked little car though! And I remember I used to give 4 mates a lift to school in it. We weren't small lads, and the car was about an inch off the ground with us all in there!

Another memory is in very heavy rain once. I was making a 10 mile trip to go and pick up my cousin, and hit some standing water at about 50mph... This standing water happened to be a foot deep, and caused a wave of water to pour over the bonnet and through the bonnet vents (which were a factory feature don't you know?!?). After that it was firing on 2 cylinders, and just about managed to limp the rest of the way there!

Brilliant times, and whilst the car was undeniably sh*t, it was the most amazing thing in the world to me at the time! :-)

Mike400

1,026 posts

171 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
I had a Rover Metro for a while, one of the "newer" shape ones with the 1.1 litre SOHC K series.

Bought it as I needed something cheap quickly. £200. Stuck a years test on it, ran it for a year in the end and sold it for £300!!

Fantastic wee car, handled like a roller skate and was a lot quicker than it should have been.

Hydro-lastic suspension leaked like mad but was more comfortable than a lot of bigger cars.

I would buy one again if I needed a runabout, no hesitation. (pref the GTi though!)

PJR

2,616 posts

152 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
I never had one (thankfully). But I learned to drive in one, courtesy of BSM. It was the muscly 1.3 model too.. Mmm hehe

P,

furtive

4,448 posts

219 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
A City X? Luxury.

I had a bog standard B-reg Metro City. No rear window demister, no rear reverse light, no rear wash wipe, no radio!! Nearly killed myself in it on more than one occasion

ukvoyager.info

2,769 posts

162 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
I had a brown W reg "mini-metro" with very red seats. I once got 82 mph out of it, just the once mind.

It has 2 x 12" subs in the back that when you turned up the stereo, the lights went dim.

The best day was when it snowed, I ended up turning the local common land in to a rally track by accident! Very funny never the less.


DJC

23,563 posts

176 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
The first car I bought was a Mk1 1.6 Mx5.
Loved that car, sold it to my best friend.

BigBen

9,660 posts

170 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
Mine was a hearing aid beige 1.3L on a C-plate. Handled better and was quicker than my classmates mums chosen steed of 1.1 Fiestas. Rarely let me down, then was sold to a friend of my sister who did not lavish the love and attention on it it deserved, assume it is now scrap.

Ben

stockhatcher

2,128 posts

163 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
soxboy said:
I guess it would have helped if my Samba had ever been serviced in order to get anywhere near 45 'chevals', plus you had the benefit of going to a rally school!!

Nevetheless, am grateful for all those lifts to the pub in that beige blob. Set me on the path towards the svelte figure I now possess.
not sure the lack of a couple of bhp was what slowed you down..hehe

jonott

160 posts

142 months

Monday 30th June 2008
quotequote all
Mine was a posh Metrobowtie Got it from a classic car garage near Keighley in a straight swap for my MGB GT which was falling to bits. Thought I got a good deal as the Metro was pretty reliable and I have to admit I really enjoyed driving it. It was a 'Mayfair' special edition - metallic cream with velour seats, electric windows, sunroof...and a digital clockspin
It did have a habit of stopping for no apparent reason tho'. Then It would restart. Finally figured it out when it conked out on me in deepest Wales 200 miles from home on a day trip. Looked in the engine and there was a small electrical lead which had come loose. Popped it back on and it never let me down again.
Finally sold it to a man of the cloth in Halifax who phoned me the next day to say the clutch had gone. Felt so guilty I agreed to pay for half of the repair costbiggrin

Baked_bean

1,202 posts

132 months

Tuesday 1st July 2008
quotequote all
My first car was/is a metro, red 1994 with 38,000 on the clock (even has a digital clock and cd player with ipod dock. When it idles at traffic lights the lights dim and its lights get brighter the higher the revs! I know its a heap of poop but i love it, what with it being my first car and all that.
ps i almost forgot to say but good article i enjoyed reading it and it struck a cord with me.

griffter

3,255 posts

195 months

Tuesday 1st July 2008
quotequote all
I learnt to drive in an MG Metro and my first car was a Metro too:

1981 1.0 HLE (the high compression engine giving fractionally more horse power than the standard 1.0!)
'Vermillion' red (ie orange)
MG interior
Hella spotlight grille
KN alloys
K&N air filter
Mixture turned up a bit
Timing advanced to just shy of pinking (I'd been reading Dave Vizard's "Tuning BL's A series book"wink )
When I got it home I notice it had had a respray down both sides, but not on the roof. And the driver's seat was broken (hence I put the MG interior in). But I still loved it because it had a rev counter!

I've still got an unsuppressable urge to find a mint MG or a late 80's GTa.

sublimatica

2,812 posts

194 months

Tuesday 1st July 2008
quotequote all
Nice article - thanks!