Not long after turning 18 I bought my first car. She was a bright blue Ford Laser with shiny Victorian number plates and cost me (for an 18 year old) the huge sum of $8000. At first I was too scared to drive her. She was brand spanking new and so very beautiful and I wanted her to stay that way. I spent the first week just looking at her. I called her Babe. Put simply, I loved her with all my heart. Eventually I hopped behind the wheel and from that moment we went everywhere together. We undertook road trips from Melbourne to Sydney and headed out to friends in rural Victoria with the windows down, music blaring and the smell of sheep shit and lanolin filling my nostrils. I remember one fantastic trip out to Hanging Rock. She was full to bursting with my friends and we drove down the country roads with the hit of the year What About Me by Moving Pictures blaring from the cassette player.
The very best times we spent together were at the beach. We’d head down to Sorrento or Lorne and she’d wait patiently for me in the car park while I did my very best to bake myself to a crisp. I’d return to Babe with tight red skin, smelling of surf, salt and coconut suntan oil. When I hopped behind the wheel, her seats would burn my bum and I’d have to shuffle around waiting for everything to cool. She soon also took on the smells of summer. They were halcyon days. Babe and I parted ways 10 years later. I often wonder if she’s still being driven around somewhere.
And now, some 20 years later, I’ve taken possession of another bright blue Ford with shiny Victorian number plates. I was thrilled when the team at Kidspot let me know that, as one of the finalists of Voices of 2014, the major sponsor Ford Australia wanted to give me a Ford EcoSport Titanium to test drive. Well, heck yes, thank you very much! Babe2 is now resident in my garage. The very act of getting into her instantly filled me with the feelings of exhilaration I felt way back in 1982. I could almost smell the coconut oil and feel sand between my toes. Babe2 and I have driven around the streets of Sydney, windows down, dogs hanging out the back windows, their tongues lolling with a happy windswept look on their faces. So far we’ve visited the beach and Luna Park. We’re heading to our farm this weekend for more adventure. My son has requested I keep the car so he can inherit her when he turns 18. My daughter has announced that it is the coolest car ever. Me? I think it’s a perfect first car for a new driver as it’s easy to manoeuvre, fuel efficient and compact. Similarly, if you run a business that requires a zippy little car with good boot space, Babe2 is your girl.
What was your first car? Did she have a name? Did you love her to bits?
Until next time…
* Ford Australia have loaned me a Ford EcoSportTitanium to test drive.