What was the first car you ever owned? You can probably remember it like it was yesterday, but could you write about it?
To help give readers a chance to show off their writing (and to help you pass the time while the UK is on lockdown) we're running a 'My First Car' competition.
Whether your first motor was a Bentley or, more likely, a two-decade-old hatchback that smelt vaguely of mothballs, we want to hear about it. The rules are simple: tell us about said car in just 300 words alongside some pictures of the machine and hopefully yourself. You can only enter once. The competition will close on 28 April at 2359.
Please email your entries to email@example.com. The best will be published on the Autocar website.
For some inspiration, we asked editor-in-chief Steve Cropley to spill the beans on his first motor:
For half a century I’ve wanted to write about buying and owning my first car. Routine enough, you may think; why not just do it? The fact is that it has always seemed a bit too obvious and cheesy; a bit too self indulgent. Besides, there was always too much of today’s stuff around to take priority.
So what makes my self indulgence allowable now? Space, mainly. The car news flow continues at present but for obvious reasons it’s only a trickle. Editorially speaking, we’re enjoying producing the sort of varied, off-the-wall, group participation features and elements we usually dream up for Christmas (and we hope you’re enjoying them) but it also means there’s space available for other things. Even for the tale of my first car, a 1948 Ford “Beetleback” saloon powered by the famous Flathead V8 that powered millions of Blue Oval cars and trucks between 1932 and 1953.
In truth, I didn’t buy the Beetleback. Not all of it anyway. I paid £30 for a 60% interest and a similarly car-obsessed schoolmate called Pete forked over the other £20. We were 16, unlicensed, still at school, and the money was our lives’ savings. Buying that car was the kind of dopey thing you couldn’t do now — and we shouldn’t have done then — but when you lived in the outback Australian town of my childhood, with its mile-wide streets, haphazardly scattered houses, sleepy policemen, vacant allotments all over the place — and bushland stretching from our town for hundreds of miles in every direction — you could get away with it.
The car, a chalky-grey US-built sedan with suicide doors and six turns from lock to lock, was battered but reasonably fit when it began life with us. My grandfather had owned several, and I reckoned (without having anything to compare it with) that the Beetleback was close to being the world’s greatest car. Even when it was already 17years old and ravaged by many years of bush driving, with 165,000 miles on the clock.
We bought it via a small-ad in the local paper with a few months of registration left, never giving a thought to insurance. And we were immensely proud of it. Either Pete or I would drive it to school each day, leaving it on a vacant allotment just over the hill, away from the eyes of our teachers who would surely have hit the roof. As would our parents, from whom we managed to conceal its existence for the three months we owned it, our last three months at school.