Behind the scenes: First car
Just after I’d passed my test, my Dad (who gave me his love of cars) took me on a road trip. Turned out he’d bought me a Mini Cooper as a gift. Back in those days, Mini Coopers had just been released and it was one of only 5 in the country, so it was an awesome present.
Anyway, he took me down to Shropshire to collect it, handed me the keys and told me to drive myself home. No sat nav in those days so I had to find my way, and no experience of driving on my own.
It was pretty terrifying but it was a good lesson in independence. That’s the thing about learning to drive, you’re never in the car alone and then suddenly when you pass your test you get all this freedom and independence, and a lot of kids just aren’t prepared for it.
I watched the License to Kill on BBC3 last night and the Safe Drive Stay Alice lectures they had on the show looked like a great idea. I definitely think more parents and carers should educate young people about the damage they can do – both to themselves and to others. Cars can be fun in controlled situations but on the streets there’s so much that can happen.
When I was that age I didn’t have any clue either. My Mini Cooper was my pride and joy. I spent an absolute fortune customising it. There weren’t any kits for it so I had to do it myself, and it certainly got a lot of attention! I ended up with a real one of a kind Mini Cooper and it even got photographed and appeared in car magazines.
I’m doing it up so that it’s up to date and personal for him, but you can see in the photos what it looked like when I owned it the first time.Eventually I sold it, but recently my little brother turned 17, and around the same time my mate and I were reminiscing about my Mini Cooper. We had a look on the internet and hey presto, there it was on Gumtree! I tracked down the seller but he’d already sold it. Luckily though we were able to trace the new owner and 8 years after I originally got it, I bought it back as a present for my little brother.
I’m amazed and so excited that I managed to get my first car back to give to my brother, but I’m definitely more aware now, and will make sure he understand how important it is to drive safely and what a responsibility it is!