Inspired by this post, which I completely missed, I was wondering what everyone's automotive history was. What you've owned and what's happened to them, from 1st car to last, whether it's been monogamy from day 1 or a veritable harem like me.
1st car: 2002 Vauxhall Corsa 1.2l (bear with me, it gets more interesting) - current status: still chugging away in my cousin's possession
Not the car itself as it wasn't nearly interesting enough to take pictures of, but it served me well. If people say something like 'it's only got 200bhp so it's not enough power to get into trouble' then they don't know what 'not enough power' means. This thing had 78bhp in a modern, strong and importantly relatively heavy shell. Really not enough power to get into trouble. Still, I did my best:
I got forced off the road once and hit a 2ft tall concrete drain. Threw the car into the air, bent a wishbone and an engine mount. Replaced them and it was right as rain. Right when I started driving I stupidly pulled out in front of a RAV-4 at low speeds. CUV: £150 worth of damage - Corsa: nil.
After about a year, my cousin started driving so we gave it to my cousin. So far, she's pulled out in front of a Fiat Punto in a car park (not her fault, Punto was hooning around the car park far faster than they should have done). Fiat: written off - damage to Vauxhall: nil.
Thing's a tank.
2nd car: 1999 Alfa 156 V6 - current status: on the road, but awaiting exhaust surgery before driving
Although it sounds generous to give a fully working car (that we bought for £1500) to my cousin for free, it was for entirely selfish purposes. My dad used to drive this Alfa, but it wasn't being driven after he bought his 156 2.4 JTD Sportwagon, so I sort of said 'hey, if my cousin wants to drive the Corsa, I can drive the Alfa'.
To my eternal thanks, the deal paid off :) this is the car that properly got me into cars. The engine is an utter masterpiece, and the chassis can certainly keep up. Very fun car to drive, and I daily-ed it as my sole car on the road for 3-4 years and it's been solid :)
Currently, it's approaching the age where suspension bushes start going, and the headers are leaking a bit so it's not in regular use until I've fixed those.
3rd car: 1989 Jaguar XJ40 3.6l - current status: flattened by a tree felled in a storm, awaiting breaking down into parts
I bought this magnificent beast from my uncle for the grand total of £60. It had been sitting in his field for 3 years before I rescued it. I towed it home, gave it a tank of gas, a new battery and cleaned up an earth on the injection and it fired straight up. British reliability problems my arse ;)
I then proceeded to work on it on and off whenever I was home from university. I changed the oil in the engine, gearbox and diff, fixed lights, broken doorhandles (a common problem on early cars), sagged headlining, the radio, perished bushes, heavily leaking power steering system and finally I got all the pieces put together to convert it to 5-speed manual from the old 3-speed auto.
I got about halfway through doing that when this happened:
Storm last christmas eve brought a honking great 200+ year old oak down on top of a number of our cars, including the Jag. If it was the only project I had at the time, or the damage was limited only to panels that were replaceable, I'd be fixing it. As it stands, it's got significant damage to passenger front door, boot, bonnet and roof, with dings on every wing.
That picture only goes some way to showing the scale of the damage. This one is after we were about halfway through taking the tree to pieces, and shows just how big it was:
Very sad, although I'll be stripping it for parts to keep its brethren alive.
4th car: 1974 Triumph Spitfire MkIV - current status: chassis propped up against the wall, body suspended from the ceiling, but the engine's rebuilt!
This was it when I first bought it. We tried for a while to get the 1.3l I4 working so it could be a bit of a rolling resto, but it needed a rebuild and I had much grander plans...
I've pulled it apart for a full resto (all done by yours truly), and swapping in an injected 2.5l straight 6 from a TR6, along with associated suspension and braking upgrades to handle the speed. I've also put a lot of work into getting it back to the original weight distribution (and close to the original kerb weight) of the Mk4 I4. Lots of weight relocation and lightweight parts.
This was it not too long ago when I was mocking it up for my custom gearbox mount (TR6/saloon 4sp+od, beefier than the dinky little GT6/Spitfire 'box):
5th car: 1994 BMW 325i - current status: crashed, but being fixed (again by yours truly).
My mate had this car for a couple of years, then when he let it slip into disrepair (he's a bit of a tightarse) and the MOT was looming he sold it to me. £275 mate's rates. I adjusted the handbrake, sorted the brake light switch and welded up a big rust hole in the battery tray/boot. Passed 1st time (although it probably shouldn't...).
Drove it around for 3 months, great car, until I overcooked it trying to kick the tail out on a wet roundabout:
I got the car back home, and assessed the damage. Whole front clip bent beyond repair, bonnet knackered, n/s wing bent, headlights smashed, fan smashed and radiator bent. After scouring scrapyards for replacement parts, I've finally got everything together (except I want a better quality front clip). Should be put together again soon, then I'll drive it for a little while again and then sell it :) this is it at the moment:
6th car: 1996 Lada Niva - current status: blown front diff, but otherwise working. We've got the parts, we just need to fix it.
Me and my dad decided we needed something with proper offroad utility to move stuff around the field at our new house. After looking at £4000 Defenders, and driving my uncle's Ford Ranger 1 (utterly, utterly horrendous ride when unloaded), we found this little low-mileage Niva for £1000 with potential diff damage. Went, bought it and found that the diffs were fine, it was something caught in the rear drum. Mileage was definitely wrong as this thing is a bit knackered, but it's an utter workhorse. Real plucky little car :)
Then the diff did break.
Bought a new diff, and it's entered the long list of things I need to do :)
7th car: 1989 Fiat X1/9 - current status: same state as the Jag, flattened and awaiting parting
This car I didn't mean to buy. I'd already got lots of projects, and I could do without another. However, it caught my eye and I put a lowball bid in to satisfy my curiosity.
It stuck, and I was the proud owner of a £330 Fiat X1/9 :)
Got it back, worked on it enough to get it started and running and get a bit enamoured with it. Enough to work out that it probably had a head gasket issue. Started debumpering it and then the same tree that flattened the Jag also landed on the Fiat, except the poor little Italian took even more of a battering :(
I'm going to part it out and try to make enough money to get another one. Very cool little cars, although I'm growing more and more fond of the Uno Turbo-swapped ones...
8th car: 1992 Jaguar XJ40 4.0l 5sp - current status: daily driver
Right, final one on the list :) since my first Jag got crushed, I've been idly searching through eBay for a replacement. I've never really had the money to go and buy one, but then this one popped up and it was very, very nearly perfect for what I wanted. It's a later 4.0l car, so more powerful, torquier and with a lot of the bugs ironed out compared to the early cars. It's a factory 5sp manual car so no faffing about with trans swaps, and it's a gorgeous colour (one of the 3 I like on these cars). The only thing that's not perfect is it's a sunroof model (in my opinion useless weight high up in the chassis and another place for rust to take hold).
Up for £1500, drove 74 miles to go and look at it. Paid £1440 for it and drove it back home. I then proceeded to drive it 266 miles in two days, during which it didn't skip a beat. Since then, I've driven it nearly 4000 miles in two months and the only slight hiccup has been a leaking clutch slave forcing me to drive home without a clutch once (and promptly fixed that night).
This is the only car to date that I've bought with my own money that has been on the road and driving when I bought it, and I'm worried I'm getting used to it ;)
It's still got a bit of work to do. The boot leaks and I can't find out where from, the petrol gauge doesn't work and it's got a little bit of rust on the front wings next to the cills, but nothing that isn't eminently fixable :)
Next on the list:
I've got a bit of a list of cars I want to own before I die, and the more of them I can buy while they're still cheap and available for sale the better.
I'll be selling the BMW, and the Fiat and Jag will be parted and the shells scrapped, so I'll have some space.
I'm thinking a nice Alfa 75 3.0l would be good, or a GTV6 if I'm more flushed with cash. Other options would be a Rover SD1 2600 (which I would swap a Rover V8 into and use the 2.6l SOHC I6 for a future TR6 project), or a Rover P6 3500S.
I also really want a V12 XJS which I would strip of extraneous weight (but keep the interior mostly stock), tune a little and turn into an E46 M3-fighter. And a Beta HPE with a turbo Fiat Twincam.
On the smaller, nippier end of the market, I'd really like to replace my poor little Fiat. Preferably a turbo swapped one, although I'd be open to doing that myself. I also really want an MGB GT V8, and something with a Triumph Dolomite Sprint engine swapped in (either a 2-door Toledo or a GT6 Mk2 with a knackered engine).
For now though, I'd just like to get the little Spitfire on the road :) that's going to be a right little monster