My First Car: mad moments in my Mini

My First Car - Julian Purser

My First Car - Julian Purser - Credit: Archant

My first car back in 1973, for the sum of £120, was a 1965 850cc green Mini - a purchase which started an amusing and shocking run of events.

My brother fitted a 1275 GT head on the engine, so it was no longer a standard Mini, and yes I could not resist testing its performance out. Up the A1 I went and putting it through its paces, it went like thunder, overtaking and leaving behind a Bentley and a black 911 Porsche. Then in the rear view mirror I saw the Porsche closing on me, flashing its lights before overtaking as I began to slow down to 75mph. Speed can be so deceiving!

Attending night school, I met my Japanese girlfriend Mimi, who was in my class. We got on well from the very start and went out to the cinema and so on. With the summer months fast approaching, we agreed to spend a day at the Ruislip Lido Pleasure Park. We had ice cream, a ride on the miniature railway and took some photographs. Returning to the Mini, which was parked on the side of oncoming traffic, I noticed a bus-stop on the opposite side of the road and just beyond us. We got in the car and rested for a while after an exhausting, but pleasant, day. I noticed a large queue of people at the bus stop and thought to myself they have been waiting there for a time.

After about 20 minutes, we decided to make our journey home. Pulling over to the left-hand side of the road and passing the bus stop this ageing woman lunged out of the queue and launched a vicious assault upon my car, striking it with an unknown projectile as I drove by. When I eventually pulled over to inspect the damage, I found that the offending weapon was a large bunch of keys including car, house and office keys which were wedged on the surrounding metal rim of the bodywork.

At the time we couldn’t think of the issue she had with us as we had been sharing what was a sweet and tender relationship. The old lady obviously had a whole bunch of issues and all on a key ring, which I then possessed. Years later, when moving house, I found the offending bunch of keys in an old tin box in the garage that had quietly rusted away. It brought a smile to my face even then.

On another outing in my Mini, while driving north up the A1 in the slow lane I noticed two Minis in front of me which instantly reminded me of the cars used in the film The Italian Job. Unfortunately they were not sporting the right colours and, as far as I know, the occupants were not wearing crash helmets in preparation for a daring bank raid!

Julian Purser

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