The end of the road for an old family favourite

PUBLISHED: 12:10 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:06 06 May 2010

REGULAR readers may know that I do not have a great affection for motor vehicles, being happy enough if they get me from one place to the other without too much fuss. But I must admit there was a little lump in my throat when I finally had to say goodbye

REGULAR readers may know that I do not have a great affection for motor vehicles, being happy enough if they get me from one place to the other without too much fuss.

But I must admit there was a little lump in my throat when I finally had to say goodbye to my Renault Espace the other day.

We had been together for a number of years and enjoyed some great adventures.

Perhaps the most adventurous was when, packed to the roof with clothes, camping equipment and you name it, we took it back home to France for a fortnight.

It had right-hand drive for the English market but seemed to be happy travelling on the wrong side of the road, purring along only slightly over the speed limit on the motorways as it ate up the kilometres to Brittany.

It was two weeks of trouble-free motoring perched on seats which were comfort personified.

The only discomfort I had with my larger than average frame was when it came to sleeping on the ridiculously narrow camp beds.

The Espace found its way to all sorts of English places and for years was no problem at all but, sometimes like people who don't realise it, it gradually became geriatric.

There's only a certain amount of repair work one can do before it becomes money down the drain.

So, after sitting idle on the drive for a few months while I worked up my resolve to rid myself of my travelling companion, the time finally arrived for its final journey.

It was ignoble. A crane swung out from the vehicle knackers' yard lorry, a chain was fixed through the open windows and the Espace was hoisted aloft, metal crunching, to be plonked on top of two cars already collected for disposal.

The cruel, powerful crane arm then came down, crushing the roof and windscreen to secure the Renault in place for that drive to oblivion.

The Espace was long in body - like me, I suppose - and once was fleet of foot but no longer (again like me).

It had become a little rough around the edges - some would say like me as well - and its once dark roof had been bleached by the sun. Look at my picture and you'll see where I'm going.

Funnily enough, the results of a new survey hit my email in-box this week and, believe it or not, this suggested that more than 14 million drivers resemble their four-wheeled friends.

It is not saying that there are an awful lot of people with huge eyes and large open mouths with chunky metal teeth resembling radiator grilles, or folk with E-type noses.

This survey is more to do with personality and image - linking people with such things as engine performance, practicality, size/legroom and fuel economy.

There's one thing which did immediately come to my mind.

A certain deputy prime minister has long been known as Two Jags but, judging from current publicity, I reckon he is more of a Rover.


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