Going on my road trip to the Cape got me thinking about one of my first cars. I drove her in the early 1990s and called her my “Noddy” car. She struggled to go further than 60 kilometres at a time, and at 100km/hr she would start bouncing all over the road. A road trip was never on her agenda.
(As most of you weren’t following me in 2011 when I first wrote about her, I think it’s worth doing again.)
I got the car from my uncle who had had my aunt’s VW Beetle converted. I’m not sure what they thought they would use it for, but I was awfully grateful for it, as my previous car was a rusting jalopy that had leaves in the fuel tank, belched smoke from the exhaust and was forever breaking down.
My Noddy car was a metre shorter than normal, had a light, fibreglass body with roll bars and no roof. (Well, to be more accurate, she did have a soft-top roof that one could clip on but which leaked in anything more than a drizzle and was useless in winter, so I seldom bothered.) Her rebored engine stuck out the back and needed roll bars of its own. With no doors, and space only for two, she was a
love bug special little ride – perfect for the university campus – and everyone fawned over her gorgeous orange-red trim on a metallic sky-blue body, as well as her impressive “Super Digger” tyres.
As I mentioned before, she didn’t have much of a top speed, but did have awesome take-off speed. I would pull up next to a smart-looking sports car or German beast at a traffic light, gun the engine and then wheelie off as the light turned green, leaving the other car choking in a cloud of exhaust fumes … I only ever saw one other like her, and would probably still have her parked in the garage, I loved her so much.
But for one ill-fated day.
I was on my way to visit my grandparents out east when a woman, recently arrived in the country, sped through a red light and side swiped me in my little bug. It was one of those slow-motion dream sequences we all dread. With a screech, crunch and wail I bounced, twirled and skewed away from the intersection and watched my front tyre and half my suspension make a break for it in the opposite direction. And that was the end of my little car.
I still mourn her occasionally but what I mourn more is my fine head of hair.