H698 GHF, as I often said to AA patrolmen. That Vauxhall Nova was my first and worst car and I was well and truly stitched up by a car dealer.

I desperately needed a car to get me to gigs and at the time I thought I was doing all the right things. I did the essential previous-owner checks. I took the dealer's word for it that he had the previous keeper's number. I rang it and the lady on the end of the line confirmed what a brilliant car and lovely little runner that Nova was.

Afterwards I suspected that she was probably his wife and probably did this phone routine about 25 times a week. What I remember is that the dealer never opened the passenger door, or the bonnet. Only later did I find out why.

Not surprisingly, that Nova turned out to be terminally temperamental. It always refused to start in the winter and the engine would often cut out without any warning. Not a good idea when you're driving in the fast lane of a motorway at 70 miles per hour. Very dangerous, in fact.

But even when it had decided to cut out, it sometimes decided that starting was a good idea after all if you left it alone for 20 minutes.

I eventually found out how bad that Nova was when the police stopped me for speeding. The policeman ran a check on it and found that it had been very badly written off a few years previously. I should have spotted all the signs because there were no badges, the passenger door wouldn't easily open and neither would the bonnet. When I did manage to prise it up, I noticed there was lots of extra red paint all over the engine parts. It seems that the whole front end had been replaced. In fact that bonnet led to me being stranded in Wales when I couldn't open it for several hours, then could not get it to shut.

The big advantage was that no one would ever want to steal the Nova, but I needed a car that I could rely on to get me to and from gigs. I've got no ability to fix an unreliable car, so decided to get rid of it.

There was no way I could sell it to a private buyer with a clear conscious, so I went to my local Vauxhall dealer. The salesman never even opened the bonnet, or passenger door and paid me book price against a brand new Corsa. I nearly pulled his arm off.

Writer and producer Dave Gorman can be seen starring in `The Comedy Network' on Channel 5, the live show of which is currently touring universities. He is resident at the Talk of London every Tuesday Night. He was talking to James Ruppert

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