A right little raver; My Worst Car

STEWART LEE'S MORRIS MARINA COUPE
I BOUGHT my grandad's 1970 tan-coloured Morris Marina Coupe for pounds 50 in 1989, and it managed to be both the best and worst car I have owned.

What I loved were the little details which made it so different from boring modern cars. First of all, it had continental wing mirrors, which were fashionable when the car was new. These, if you recall, were fixed to the front end of the wing, out of sight of the driver, and there was no way to adjust them. Brilliantly useless.

My grandfather had also fitted leopard-skin seat covers which really set this Marina apart, especially as the leopard skin covered the steering wheel. It also smelt used - there was nothing antiseptic about it, this was a motor which had lived.

Finally, it was the car I can remember being driven around in as a child, so there was a strong emotional attachment.

The Marina may have been slow, but it was brilliant at getting me to poorly paid - indeed, mostly unpaid - stand-up gigs all around the country. I have lost count of the number of times I spent sleeping in it at motorway services.

Once I parked at the deserted end of a car park to be woken at 3am by an illegal rave which had kicked off with my Marina in the middle of it all.

Did I mention that it was an automatic? Well, the gearbox had long since given up behaving in a conventional manner, so I had to juggle the brake and accelerator to persuade it to work. On the whole it was very good at getting me to where I wanted to go, but then it would suddenly expire.

That happened after a gig in Edinburgh. It got me there, but had to be towed back home. I sold it for scrap and managed to get back what I paid for it. Before it went though I prised off all the badges that said "Marina" and "Coupe" and put them in a box which I've still got.

I regret getting rid of it but I couldn't afford a new engine. If I owned it now, I reckon it would look really cool and eccentric, whereas back when I was a penniless stand-up, it just looked pathetic and a bit sad.

Stewart Lee is currently appearing on BBC2's `This Morning with Richard Not Judy' at midday on Sundays

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