Motoring: Gran's banger becomes Tom Cruise's missile

My worst car/Andrew Nutter's Vauxhall Chevette
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Indy Lifestyle Online
I was 21 and had failed my driving test five times and to be honest I was starting to feel a little bit desperate. I really thought that I would never get to own a car. Eventually, though, I did pass, and as a present my grandma gave me her treasured car which turned out to be a Vauxhall Chevette automatic.

Now it was definitely the perfect car for her, but I had my prototype Tom Cruise image to think of. So a small, blue, automatic hatchback with no stereo or any other mod cons was hardly what I had in mind. No wonder the Chevette soon got rechristened, very appropriately as it turned out, as the "Shove it". At least it looked very tidy. In fact the bodywork was absolutely perfect - until, that is, I got to work on it. That was as a result of driving like the complete nutter that I am. I managed to chalk up three minor crashes in very quick succession. This was mostly as a result of sliding on the icy roads because I would be at the fruit and veg markets for 4am during the winter.

Eventually my luck ran out on a return journey from the market in the run-up to Christmas. I was in a traffic jam at the time and the combination of the early starts, no radio to keep me entertained and a 5mph crawl meant that I quickly dropped off to sleep. Not surprisingly I crashed into the car in front. It was very embarrassing and I felt as though the whole world was watching me. The police towed my car away and there was no doubt that the little "Shove-it" was a complete write off. It was parked - well, dumped really - outside my restaurant and looked like a complete eyesore.

However, to my complete amazement someone offered me pounds 75 for the wreckage. I used that as part of a deposit on my dream car, a BMW Z3 roadster. This couldn't be more of a contrast to old "Shove-it" and takes my breath away every time I go out for a drive. I feel very James Bond and have even added a very personal touch in that the numberplate reads A1 NUT.

These days everyone seems to stay out of the way. I wonder why that is?

Andrew Nutter presents `Utter Nutter', a radically different cookery programme on Channel 5, Sundays at 5.25pm.

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