Dating 1st base

But I still have the magic touch with a roll of pinstripe!

Where once, your average punter would go weak-kneed and giddy at the thought of a Hyundai Pony Sport Special (with white Weller wheels, front spot lamps, twin coachlines and a Richard Grant glue-on tail spoiler), for better or for worse the buying public are more switched on these days.

Looking back, it was dreadful, the fake wood on the dash and glovebox was about as convincing as your average Elvis tribute act and the striped nylon seats were as pleasing on the eye as staring at the sun!

Oddly though, I liked the car for it’s snazzy looking Cibie Iode 35 driving lamps in the grille, a rev counter, twin tone horns, 165/13 tyres, electric clock, Sundym tinted glass, rear armrest, push button Radiomobile MW/LW wireless and lamps in the glovebox and boot.

The advert might have had a voiceover by a slightly younger Steven Fry, but the car was a disappointment – it was nothing more than an L model with metallic paint and logo.

Working as a mechanic at the time, these cheap and nasty add-ons were part of my remit – and, when I ponder on this, I hang my head in shame.

The Mini had seemingly millions of editions such as Chelsea, Ritz, Advantage, Mary Quant to name but a few.

While the Metro suffered a similar plethora of sometimes pointless models like the Sport, Moritz, Principles, Red Hot, Jet Black and Advantage, for example. The ones to really grind my gears were the dealers’ own special editions.

The Manta Exclusive run-out model equally so, yet Vauxhall also did the Antibes based on the Nova, Astra and Cavalier with awful doom blue paintwork and a seat trim that looked worse than hessian wall paper, all topped off with some sexy brilliant white wheel trims.

Who remembers the stunning Vauxhall Cavalier Calibre though? Even the Soviets were in on the act with the Lada Niva Cossack – yes, it was a production model but converted from the normal bitterly crude standard model in a big tin shed on the North Yorkshire coast.

However, I have saved the best (or worst) ’til last. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

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