The funny thing is that every car I've ever owned has been my worst car. I believe in getting value for money and that means buying a cheap car then running it into the ground. I rarely have to pay more than pounds 1,000 and then run the car to at least 250,000 miles. For instance, I bought a Ford Cortina for pounds 1,200 which had covered 80,000 miles. I ran it up to 280,000 miles and sold it for pounds 200, so 200,000 miles' worth of motoring for pounds 1,000 isn't bad is it?

I honestly don't think that my cars are any less reliable than brand- new ones, although the breakdowns are more memorable. A few years ago I was driving back in the early hours of the morning from a Water Rats charity function and giving a lift to Frankie Vaughan and Joe Brown. I dropped off Frankie, but on the way to Joe's place in the countryside my multi-million-mile Ford Sierra estate cut out on a T-junction.

It was a filthy night, and I think my big mistake was driving through a puddle which drowned the electrics. We waited for an hour before another car passed by and they let us use their mobile to call Joe Brown's roadie to come and rescue us. He turned up in a big Citroen with a set of jump leads. Its alarm went off, lights flashed and locked us out. Now there were two stranded cars.

Eventually the police stopped, taking the roadie and Joe back to his house so that they could break in and find the spare keys for the Citroen. Meanwhile, I went off in search of a phone box to call the AA.

After ruining my Yves Saint Laurent suit I got back to the Sierra and it started. I met the rescue truck a few miles later, said I was fine, then seconds later the car dies again. This time I put a bin liner on and started to walk towards civilisation

Chas McDevitt and his skiffle group had global success in 1957 with `Freight Train'. His book `Skiffle: The Roots of UK Rock' is published by Robson Books. He was talking to James Ruppert.

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