Molly is a 1920s/30s BSA 3 speed stepthrough pushbike, she’s was my main commuter in Bristol.
Despite only having 1.5 functioning gears (she’ll sometimes give me second, depending on her mood), brakes that scare the beejeezes out of me when wet (or at least fill me with that ‘fuck, I’m not going to stop’ sensation), I adore her. She’s awesomely comfy, chatters away to me quietly, and is delightfully archaic.
We currently have Rebecca, my 1969 Morris Minor… the trans atlantic minor. When we emigrated, we shipped her over from the UK…
I’ve owned Rebecca a very long time. She’s been ruined by a garage once, then restored by Jonathon and Co of JLH Minors. There’s so much to say about her, and also not a lot. She’s just a Minor, but she’s my Minor and I very much enjoy driving her. Not to say she couldn’t be improved. Anyhow.
Ravtastic – the Rav4 EV.
One of about 400 Rav4 EV’s from the early 2000s that escaped Toyota’s crushing spree. Range of about 70 miles, NiMH batteries and 4-5 hours to charge from empty. Not bad for a 20 year old EV.
BMW i3 (as yet unnammed).
She has, so far, not proven to be very reliable.
I’ve owned a pretty weird selection of vehicles, from the obscure and unloved to the mainstream and fairly ordinary.
Imey – a pre-full-production UK spec iMiEV
Having spent a lot of time debating and considering, and a very long time with a spreadsheet and all the bank statements, invoices, and receipts for work on the car, petrol, trains, other transport costs we came to the stunning realisation than running an EV would be so much cheaper than running the Volvo that it was unreal.
Hence we ended up being the first on our block to own an EV. Again.
It had a weird, non-compliant J1772 socket, but was otherwise a standard iMiEV. Awesome fun, Mitsu really screwed the pooch when they didn’t keep this car up to date.
Amy – a really badly upgraded Austin 1100
Amy’s an Austin 1300 bought to – theoretically cover transport while I convert Rebecca to an EV. She’s somewhat of a rarity, I think there’s around 400 of them left, or something sad like that. She’s also been tweaked to have the engine and autobox out of a 1982 Metro – creating something that never existed, I think, a 1300 Automatic. She needs some TLC, the previous owner having done hideous, hideous things like painting the rooflining with white paint, and using mastic to fill in the dash cracks and having hodged the conversion in with the skill of a monkey with a mallet. But she drove well (apart from a sticking starter) and the hydrolastic suspension really does allow you to float on fluid :)
The bike, which I’m tempted to call Milly (but she’s not mine, so I can’t) is a similarly ancient Raleigh:
I bought this for my wife and discovered it was in much worse state than I’d expected. But I’m a woman of my word, so I paid the e-bay fee and brought her home and pondered how to fix her. A new front wheel, some careful lubrication, and a lot of hide feed, and gallons of green paint and she’s servicable if not particularly attractive. I just needed to fix the shifter cable and she should was in service… and then I realized that the head was slightly bent. I ended up giving her away when we emigrated.
Hugo – a 1989 Yugo 45a.
I got this as my first road-legal car. Rebecca still needed a lot of work, and I needed a car to commute in. This low milage beauty was located in a nearby village and was in my post-Uni-pre-Job price-range. (Suuuuper cheap). One MOT later, and she came into service. Promptly shredding the water-pump on the way into my first day at work. Allowing me to enter the posh girls’ school at which I’d got a job to the cheery sound of rending metal and leaving a stream of steaming water behind me.
Nina, a 1983 Golf GL.
Had a rather modified engine, went like stink. Absolute delight to drive. I’ve always been sad I let this one go. Contrary to popular opinion, this car is RED, not brown. Although the interior looked like they’d discovered brown and plastic on the same day and got rather over excited.
Given in lieu of rent to a friend who then abandoned her in a car-park after the battery died. Presumably scrapped.
Brick, a 1971 Vauxhall Viva.
Hideously unreliable, someone had pulled him out of a retirement, given him a brief service and stuck him on e-bay. Broke down on the way home. Then broke down more often than he ran. The rings went and he burned more oil per mile than fuel. I got a new engine in him, and then something else broke…and he snded up being sold off to a Viva fan, hopefully treating them better’n he did me.
I did win the award for “shed of the show”, though at a Viva revival.
Je-jy and Vixy, A pair of DAF 44s.
Loved these, they were awesome. Je-Jy had spent years in someone’s garden and we pulled her out and saved her (my wife named her on the way home when I was trying to persuade myself not to save her. That didn’t help).
Sadly I could never get them to run right – and nor could any local garages. One of them broke down in Belgium, which, it turned out was a mixture of the mixture being wrong and our local garage assembling the clutch incorrectly. The guy who bought Je-Jy, turned up, said “oh, no, ignore the stuff in the manual, it’s hopelessly wrong”, tweaked the carb miles from the recommended setting and in 20 seconds she was running better than I’d had her running in a year. Git.
Vixy just needed lots more love than I could afford. The brakes were constantly out of balance, and she was never as sweet as Je-Jy.
If I had money, I’d build an EV version of these – because they are fab.
Chester, a 1989 Volvo 340 GL.
Delightful car, but eventually hit that point where he’d require major TLC time, or would end in utter unreliability. Shame, because he was ace.
The Enfield 8000.
This 1970’s EV wonder never ran when we had him. When we got him he needed new batteries – although they’d probably have serviced for what she wanted him for (but he died on the way home from the MOT centre). I got him from my mum after it was flooded out, which was a terrible shame because it was an awesome car. Now resurrected as The Flux Capacitor by Jonny Smith.
BTW – he *came* with the god-awful rover grill pre-attached.
Again a bit of an EV-disaster, this was my mum’s after a transient period in my hands. The charger on it turned out to be duff and it killed the batteries. The new, expensive set of batteries. Quickly.
A Gen 2 Prius with a lot of miles on the clock and a past life as a builder’s car. Did exactly what Toyota said it would, a lot of miles on not that much petrol (but rather a lot of oil).
The Bikes – currently all ex-fleet too…
I’d wanted a GT550 forever. So I got one. A non-runner that had sat for a year in someone’s garden. With some help from John, some new wiring, a new battery, a service and a new clutch, a lush bike was born. She is a delight, unfortunately, she was a toy.
See, I soon after I started to cycle to work. It took me at worst the same amount of time, and at best less time to cycle to work than to take the motorbike or the car. It was fairly reliably quicker to cycle. So the motorbike sat, and sat, and sat. And sadly with no excuse to keep her, she was gone via e-bay.
When I get money I’ll entirely replace her with a Zero or something similar. :)
Charlie – an MZ ETZ 251 (you’ll see a pattern here)
Charlie was Charlotte, named after the pirate Charlotte De Berry – she had to be a pirate ‘cos her number plate ended ‘YAR!’. Well, perhaps there’s no exclamation mark. Charlie, being incomplete when I got her, was to be built from the remains of Claire (the evil), and Charlie, and a couple of other bikes along the way depending on what breaks. She was a spectacular disaster. I never got her to run very well, although I used her for commuting for a while. She left me stranded (as did the AA) for several hours in freezing cold temperatures (it was snowing). And then she got stolen-and-dumped. I retrieved her and gave her away…
Claire was and is the most evil and potentially the most unlucky of bikes. A J Reg ETZ 251, she was sold to my ex as a spares bike. She’d sat unloved in a garden for 3 years and siezed solid. She gave her to me when she bought an ER-5, for which an ETZ 251 was not terribly good at providing spares. By a careful process of tipping plusgas down the bore and rocking her back and forth she was unsized, the few stolen parts replaced and she took an MOT which she…failed. Then she attempted to dump me off on a corner. She passed the next MOT though, although she sounded ‘a bit rough’. The tyres were changed for non-rock-solid-Turkish ones, and I rode her about 12,000 miles. By this time, 3rd which had been absent at the beginning was feared permanently deceased; the engine sounded like it was filled with spanners, and 4th gear had started wandering off. Above is an action shot…
Broken down. This is the way she spent most of her life. Electrics failed. Gearbox failed. Carb fell off. The alternator expired. She went off to have her engine rebuilt. The newly rebuilt engine siezed… on the motorway… in the rain. She was recovered, the engine was rebuilt again. The clutch came off the taper. I put the clutch back on the taper. The bottom of the frame rusted out and the footpegs fell off. Third gear’d wandered off somewhere dark and cool again, so the engine went off to be rebuilt and I got Charlie (in bits) to rebuild one *good* bike from two duff’un’s.
Rebecca mog was beginning to show the rather painful signs of being hideously abused (she’d racked up some incredible number of miles as I was bikeless). So, when I was offered a rattly-top-ended, 51k kms, Kanuni ETZ 251 for 45 quid, well… How could I say no? She’s been used up until a few months before I bought her, but when I got her home she sounded ratterlier than I thought when I looked at her. A new speedo drive, a new fork seal, a new speedo cable and new mirrors and she clattered through her MOT and for the next few kms until…well, it became apparent that she had a major oil problem. One of the engine seals had failed and lo, the engine was slowly wearing itself to death.
Nai, short for Naidenka.
An ETZ 125 – the bike I learned on, and the first bike that tried to kill me. The exhaust broke (in half, while I was riding), the engine seized, the electrics failed (countless times, including on the day of my motorcycle test), the brakes disintegrated, bits fell off, she’d never start (my neighbours probably got extremely sick of me kicking the engine over repeatedly early in the morning accompanied by “kick-ch-ch–ch—ch-PLUTH!….FUCKING THING!”). I patched it up, fixed many things, resprayed her metallic purple and ended up selling her for about the same as I bought her for.