Motering: My Worst Car

Right Said Fred's Richard Fairbrass

THIS IS a very difficult question to answer. I have in fact been extremely lucky - and also determined not to be lumbered with an unreliable motor, because I know how they work and how to repair them.

Probably the worst car was something my family was once given. You see, my dad was in the Merchant Navy during the war and his best friend was invalided out. When he died he left his invalid carriage to my dad in his will.

Obviously he didn't have any use for it, but as a teenager I desperately wanted a go-kart and this was the next best thing. So my dad converted it for me to hare around in. It was a dreadful looking thing and not really much of a car. The worst experience I ever had was being attacked by someone who was disabled. They reckoned that by driving around in it I was taking the Michael. It was the furthest thing from my mind, but I had to wait a good few years before getting hold of a car that wouldn't cause offence.

How wrong I was about that. The Austin A35 I acquired to get me to and from college was perhaps the most offensively ugly thing I've ever seen. The proportions just seemed to be all wrong. For me, it didn't have any redeeming features whatsoever.

In fact it proved to be extremely reliable, and the only problems were self-inflicted. On one occasion I remember ducking out of college early with 11 friends. Incredibly, we all managed to cram into the car, and sped out of Crawley at 60mph. It was amazing that none of us was killed, especially when there was a loud bang from the back - the leaf springs on the rear suspension had broken in half.

That A35 had to go, but I didn't see how anyone could be tempted to buy such an ugly car. It might have been reliable but it was creaky, noisy and old. Then I was given some very good advice. First take some bed- sheets and soak them in water, then remove every interior panel. Stretch the material over all the metalwork, let them all dry and then replace the panels. For a week, you will have a car as quiet and rattle-free as a Rolls-Royce.

I was also told to put sawdust into the gearbox to quieten it down, so I did that too. For about a week that A35 was a brilliant buy. After that, it most probably fell apart.

Richard Fairbrass, former front man of the pop band Right Said Fred, presents `Gaytime TV' on BBC2, on Tuesdays at 11.20pm. He was speaking to James Ruppert

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