Over the years of ownership, the dreaded iron eating worm kept attacking the car and we fought back with sandpaper and fibre glass. The one fateful Saturday, my father was picking me up from a friends house in Gorseinon, we stopped to let a car come through a gap as cars were double parked and there wasn't enough room for two vehicles to go through, The car we so thoughtfully left through the gap drove right into the front of ours, apparently the other driver couldn't see a thing as the sun was in his eyes and the Cortina was no more.
It was a dark blue Puch 50cc beast with a huge looking engine that was mainly cooling fins, there was no battery so if you turned the engine off, the lights went out and it had a sort of a rev counter that got more accurate the faster you went. It had a top speed of about 40 MPH, downhill with a tail wind looking back was a bloody awful machine.
It went through a set of bearings and had to have an engine rebuild and then was part exchanged for a much nice and faster Kawasaki KH100.
I still had use of the Avenger when my father wasn't using it and when it was really cold but the bike was my favoured method of transport.
In those days, I used to attend Llanelli technical college one day a week, it was supposed to be one day and an evening but it was easier to stay there all day so we started at 09.00 and finished at about 20.00. One cold wet day, I attended college full of man flu, then the day was finished and I made my way home, it was raining heavily and as I rode up a hill the bike started to run out of fuel, I went to switch to reserve and realised I was already on it and so ran out of fuel completely. I pushed the bike up to the nearest petrol station and opened my top box to get my wallet out and realised that my wallet was back in the college with all my books. I asked the people in the garage if I could borrow some petrol and they agreed as I was a regular visitor and then made my way home. I borrowed money from my father to pay them and then feeling even worse started making my way back to the garage to clear my debt. At some point in the journey I fell asleep and woke up a short distance behind a stationary van which I narrowly avoided missing, I ended up skidding down the floor and was taken home by a stranger who I think I thanked. A hospital check up showed nothing broken and I was taken home, it was then that I realised I didn't have a clue where the bike was.
The only way to find it was to start walking towards the petrol station some 6 or 7 milese away, thankfully about a mile away in Hendy I saw a parked Ford Transit with a dent in the back that looked a similar shape to me, I knocked on a door and found my bike and rode it home.
Some time later I managed to invert the Avenger and a slide down the road on it's roof put an end to the life of this car.
Some time later during some maintenance on the car, myself and a friend decided that the car has sort of fins on the back, a bit like the Batmobile and so we finished off hand painting the car in black, sprayed red bats on the doors, on the sun visors and on the gear stick knob and then painted Gotham City Cruisers on the back, this caused great hilarity and some embaressment and it's a shame that I have no pictures of the car. One night during a drive round Llanelli, a friend of mine by the name of John Llewellyn was sitting in the passenger seat of the car wearing a Batman mask, he urged me to get round a one way system as quickly as possible as he had seen a police woman struggling with someone. We turned up as some of her colleagues arrived, wound the window down and asked if all was well. The look on the faces of the officers was quite amazing.
This was not a standard Avenger with the strip speedo and single rectangular headlights, this was an Avenger 1500GT with twin headlights, a round speedo, a rev counter and an oil pressure gauge, the twin carbs had been taken off and replaced with a standard single Stromberg and the car did well except for a broken fuel sender which meant I had to work out how far I could go on a tank of petrol. Of course I had to do some modifications to it and eventually fitted some 100w Cibies to the front, a yellow light to the roof and a roof mounted console that controlled various flashing lights. The roof lining was replaced with some fur as this was all the rage at the the time and to be honest I was really sorry when I sold the car, but I wanted a van.
A Bedford Beagle van with a 1256 cc engine was purchased so that I could get away occasionally and sleep in the back if required. This only happened once as far as I remember. The van itself was quite reliable and the handling was quite interesting due to it's antiquated suspension. The whole van as was usual for Vauxhalls of this era was prone to rust and eventually failed the MOT and was consigned to the great scrap yard in the sky. It was during the ownership of this van that I first got involved with CB radio and became one of the original members of the Sunday Club as we used to call it, This was basically an excuse for several people who knew each other on CB to get together for a drink, mainly at the Glamorgan Arms just outside of Pontardulais. Members include myself or Major Tom as I was known, Mobile 1 in his MG, The Smiler, The Red Dragon, The Green Machine and several others whose names or handles I cannot now remember.
The Escort lasted for several years and made it to Hull and back once a month for nearly a year, during that time I had to replace the valves and clutch but the car still went well but eventually the engine gave up and lost compression and was sent on it's way.
Next car was a Vauxhall Viva 1800 HC automatic and was amazingly fast and comfortable, I can't really remember why we got rid of it but I think the need for an estate car arose and it was sold off to be replaced with
And so I got a Morris Marina, I should have known better really, it was big and roomy, handled like a molten blancmange perched on top of jelly and was just awful, they tried to revamp them in later years and called them an Ital but no matter how much you polish a turd, its will always be a turd.
A much better estate replaced it, a Mark 2 Hillman Avenger 1600 estate, I was back on familiar ground with this and the car did really well over the years eventually going away to be replaced by another Vauxhall.
This was the modern looking Chevette which probably started off the hatchback car, underneath it was still a Vauxhall Viva but the quality of the body was much better.
It wasn't long after this that I left Wales and moved to Cornwall, but my last car bought in Wales at that time was Japanese.
There followed a long period with company cars after this, for company cars I had such delights as a 980cc Ford Fiesta, a 1000cc Austin Metro, a Mark 1 Astra and a Ford Granada and then I went back to Vauxhall with a 1.3 Mark 2 Astra.
I assumed that this would be a better car than the Mark 1, but I was wrong. That's not to say it was awful, it was actually a really good car but lacked the character of it's predecessor.
Following this another period of company vehicles came my way and eventually I went back to owning my own car, this time it was a Ford.
A move down to Merseyside saw me driving round in a red Ford Sierra 2.3 diesel, the engine came from Peugeot and although noisy was quite powerful and economical to drive.
The next car also had French engine in it but this time was a Citroen.
I'd loved the styling of these cars when they first came out, this particular one was a 1.9 petrol engine with an auto box and it was a lovely drive, eventually a hydraulic failure caused it's demise and another French car replaced it.
The amazing Peugeot 405 1.9 diesel, the car was awesome, handling was superb, the engine had loads of power even without a turbo and it was comfortable. Apart from my Avengers and the later Jaguars, this is one car that I really do miss. A leak in the heater matrix which involved a complete removal of the dashboard to resolve meant that the car had to go.
The next car was bigger and faster.
The Jag was kept mainly for a weekend and holiday car, at the time it was used in conjunction with a smaller vehicle.
This was followed by another French car.
A Jaguar 3.2 litre sovereign, apparently taken care of and of course without the delightful lady opening the garage door.
It was in really good condition cosmetically but there were other problems that led in it being returned to it's original owner.
I took the plunge and went for another Jaguar.
to drive, there was a problem with a faulty accelerator pedal at one point but this was resolved and the car would still be round had some things not gone wrong.
The next car was another Jaguar.
A 3.2 litre Sovereign with cruise control, air cond, electric leather seats all in working order for about £800. It sailed through it's first MOT and was just an awesome car, financial problems led to me having to swap it for another French car.
We had decided that we wanted something bigger that could be used to sleep in for weekends away if we so desired, a people carrier seemed the ideal solution and the one that sprang to mind was.
This was to be my last French car.
Along came another Rover 420D, once more this car was awesome and had to be out to rest following a bit of vandalism, a Nissan Primera was the next purchase and being Japanese you would have thought it would have been a good car. There were suspension problems that were just too expensive to sort and the car was boring, there was nothing about it that made you like it or hate it. They should have called it the Nissam Mediocre.
It was replaced by a BMW 523I in October 2011, the car had a full service history and was my first German car, it went well, was comfortable to sit in and had loads of toys but the ride was hard and the old XJ6 in my opinion was a much better car. The clutch failed and along with other repairs was going to cost quite a lot to repair. A visit to a car selling place ended up with trading in the BMW for a Chevrolet Aveo 1.2.
The Chevy used to be called Daewoo was probably not the car I was thinking of getting but it's a really good fun little car to drive and has taken us all over Ireland and back and forth from Rotherham with just some petrol, oil and a service, there's no cam belt and I really like this car, it's so under rated. Hopefully it will last another 3.5 years with very little needing doing to it.