I bought my first car when I was 26. It was a 1983 1ltr Toyota Starlet, it was silver and an absolute piece of junk. £500 worth of junk. It had those windy down windows, the horn was a button at the end of the indicators and when I say silver, I actually mean 50 shades of silver, I was quite fond of scraping it off walls and bumping into bollards! The radio aerial had been snapped off so even if the radio worked, it wouldn’t have worked. If I was driving into a head wind I had to put my foot to the floor for fear of going backwards. If my friends were in the car with me, they hid due to embarrassment at being in such a jolopy. It wasn’t pretty but it got me from A to B. Obviously my vanity chip hadn’t kicked in yet because I drove that car the length and breath of the country not caring what it looked like, I was mobile!
What my car lacked in grace and good looks, it made up for it in stamina, it never gave me any trouble, apart from trying to get a matching colour for all the patch up paint jobs. One November morning I was driving into work, I was running about 10 minutes late so I was anxious to make up time. It was lashing rain so everyone was on a go slow. It didn’t help my anxiousness. I had just driven past Balgriffin Cemetery and was pulling up to the traffic lights and there in front of me was this amazing Porsche, it was beautiful, 2 years old, spotlessly clean, it looked brand new and the engine purred, it was canary yellow and wouldn’t have looked out of place in Beverly Hills, but on a cold rainy winter morning in North County Dublin it looked completely out of place. I was horrified at the colour, how could someone choose to buy such a beautiful car in such a gaudy obnoxious colour. The lights went green and off we went down the Malahide Road, even though I hated the colour I kept looking at it with envy. I imagined whoever owned it must have been either very rich or very famous to be able to afford such a car. If was a far cry from my battered and bruised noddy car.
The traffic lights on the Malahide Road are incredibly annoying, in the space of 300 meters there must be at least 4 sets of traffic lights. Due to the rapid speed of the lights going from green to orange motorists were desperate to make the orange lights. It was still raining when we arrived at the next set of traffic lights, and Mr Porsche was still right in front of me, lights go green, and we were off, now it became almost a race to make the next set before they went red. The rain was horrendous at this stage. The lights had just gone orange at the next set of lights so Mr Porsche went for it, I followed. A split second later he obviously thought twice about whether he would make it or not, because he jammed on the brakes. The rain was so hard on the windscreen I had a delayed reaction to his brake lights, he had stopped a few feet past the lights, I panicked and jammed my foot on the brakes. I immediately broke into a skid that seemed to gather pace by the millisecond. Then I hit him, and I don’t mean I tapped him on the bumper. My car rammed into the back of his car like a runaway train. It felt like slow motion but it all happened in a matter of seconds. I also stupidly had no seat-belt on.
A moment or two later, I got out of the car to face the music. There was steam coming out of what was left of my bonnet, it looked like an accordion that had been welded onto the back of his car. There was no sign of him getting out of his car so very cautiously I walked up to the driver window. I didn’t know whether to knock on the window or just talk to him through the window. I saw him sitting there with his face in his hands just shaking his head. I tapped on the window, he turned to look at me and shouted ‘get away from me’ through the window. I was now afraid of my life of what his reaction would be when he got out of the car. Luckily a work colleague was a few cars behind me so he pulled up and buffered his anger towards me. Understandably he was furious, it was after all my own fault. We swapped insurance details and he gave me his card. He was a Solicitor, I really had hit the jackpot. just my luck. It was now time to try to prise the cars apart, slowly he nudged his car forward successfully. He was still furious and as he drove off I can only imagine what he was calling me, after all I had ruined his car and his day.
While my car had crumpled like an empty tin can all the damage done to his car was a dinted bumper and broken lights. However, a new bumper and lights cost £4,500 and he had whiplash that paid out £31,000. I got my piece of junk repaired for £150 and I was back on the road, thankfully I have never been involved in another crash. I didn’t keep that car for very much longer, there was slightly too many shades of silver, the vanity gene was kicking in.
I wondered who would buy such a car about an hour earlier, well I certainly found out! I still dislike yellow cars 🙂