lets skip a few years forward and my experiences with the four wheeled variety.
There are still tales to be told about my motorcycling days however I've had just as much fun in a old tin box as I did on a battered bike.
Ive known Howard (better known as H) for over 30 years, we grew up together and he was one of the first in our gang who was privileged to have had a car licence long before the rest of us .
He had all sorts of classic cars but back then they were just cheap old shitters,
These classics would fetch mega money now but we never knew that in the 80s and stonked them around until they fell apart
Now Steady Eddy or bullet as he was also known due to his laid back attitude to driving gave me a few lessons in his Mk 2 2.8 Ford Granada, I had never driven a car on the road so we found an old empty trading estate and he let me loose behind the wheel.
This is where my love for a big V6 and V8 engine came from, The power, the speed and the comfort, You just cant beat that feeling of cruising around surrounded by wood and leather.
H had a selection of motors that we all used to pile into when it was pissing down and didn't want to ride our bikes,
There's nothing worse than rocking up to a pub on the scout for the fairer sex with water running out of the crack of your arse because it had decided to chuck it down on the way there.
We had a choice of an old mk2 Ford Escort, Triumph dolomite sprint or a £50 VW beetle.
This is what I loved, the old left hand drive VW bug, it was shite green, had a tuned 1640cc engine and fuck all brakes.
I had a full bike licence and a provisional car licence, H was in need of a few folding notes and offered me the Beetle... It was a deal...a steal...a sale of the bloody century...£60 for the old green mean machine with some sort of MOT.
Before I took ownership of this passion wagon I thought it would be wise for me to have a test drive,
Now H is so trusting he makes the pope look shifty and I was in no doubt that the car of Hitlers people was going to be worth every pound of my hard earned cash
With a new glossy pair of L plates now in pride of place we set off, If you have not driven a beetle before then you are in for a shock.
They a fucking horrible things, You stir the gearbox like a porridge pot, the accelerator peddle falls off the arm and gets stuck for no apparent reason and the steering is a kin to those old black and white films where the leading roll is moving his arms around like a loon just to stay in a straight line.
I fire the tank up, the flat four engine rumbles into life and then stalls, I try again and again...Nothing...Bollox....There are no lights on the dash and its dead.
We lift the rear seat to expose the battery to find it was hanging out the car onto the road below,
" Bloody passed the MOT did it H "
"corse it did, nothing wrong with that" .. H lifted the battery off the road and out of where the battery tray should have been, slid back a cut out section of a 101 bus stop sign over the hole and placed the battery back in place
"job done .. now come on lets go"
This time the tank fired up and stayed running,with H as my full time qualified driver and co pilot, three of our mates in the back and a fuel tank reading nearly empty we set off for a day at the coast.
I pulled away with a car full of bodies, these bugs have never been described as fast however when your 18 and the exhaust sounds like a 15th century cannon banging out shells every second you just know its going to be quick enough.
The coast was a good hours drive away, The route took us down Blue Bell hill, this was a well known stretch of road to us, approximately 3 miles down hill all the way and was a testing ground for our old Fizzy mopeds . You could if laying on the tank achieve needle bending speeds down here and this was where we were going to test the VW beetle.
Just as we reached the apex of the hill another Beetle over took us, This was spotless, mint, crisp white in colour and being driven by two young babes,
Being 18 year old lads the gauntlet was laid down, like a leopard on a hunt we gave chase, I stamped the throttle as hard as i could and we took off with the gravitational pull of earth tugging us downwards.
The girls were getting closer and at the very moment we would have pulled along side H shouted "PETROL"
I had completely forgotten about fuel, the gauge was hanging off the empty mark and a petrol staion was within yards of us.
I yanked the steering wheel over to the left and joined the slip way into the fuel station, Slammed on the brakes ..
Fuck all..I pumped the brakes again, Nothing..we were doing around 60mph and no sign of anything resembling a slowing motion was happening.
OH SHIT WE ARE GOING TO DIE
My knuckles were white and gripping onto that steering wheel like a tramp with a can of stella
The three mates in the back looked as scared as a good looking boy in a public school shower room
My life flashed before me but not as quick as that fucking shell petrol pump and kiosk.
The lady in the Kiosk waved at us as we left the station quicker than we had arrived and with my shitter now as tight as a camels arse in a sand storm we joined the main carriage way only a few yards behind the Beetle we were chasing.
I turned to H who by now had tears of laughter running down his face and asked him in no uncertain terms why in the name of Christ did he forget to inform me that the brakes didn't work
He couldn't speak for laughing and when he eventually drew breath he said that he had never been that fast before and they were ok this morning after he topped up the brake fluid AGAIN....Bloody hell that was certainly a ride to remember.
Needless to say I brought the car and we did actually make it to the beach for a few beers without any other issues.
I had that Bug for a few years, The old tank kept on letting me down and I never did take a driving test, It was years later that i felt the need for a full licence so follow this blog for more adventures of a grumpy old man