Motoring: My Worst Car - Paul Hendy's Morris Marina and Triumph Spitfire

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Indy Lifestyle Online
ACTUALLY TWO cars stick in my mind as being terminally bad. The first was my earliest car, a Morris Marina. Only looking back, do I really appreciate just how dire it was. However, to a 17-year-old who had just passed his driving test it was a real dream machine.

It was a coupe, so its two doors and sloping roof gave tall people in the back a real neck ache. What also convinced me that this really was a cool car was the skull's head gear knob. I honestly think that swung it for me and I was glad to hand over pounds 125 for this J-registered monstrosity. Beige on the inside and out, it did not have a great deal to recommend it aesthetically

It may have been a coupe but it was far from quick. The tiny 1300cc engine just about tugged it along. However, that did not stop me from writing it off after just two weeks.

Obviously the handling was not up to much, but the combination of a winding country road, several mates on board and some very borderline tyres meant that it ended up in a ditch.

As my father always told me: "You are not a good driver until you've had your first crash."

Although I became a better driver, I never did learn how to spot a lemon on the used-car lot.

When I was 21, I fell in love with an L-reg Triumph Spitfire. These cars are beautiful to look at but a pain to own. The hard top did not join up properly with the bodywork, which meant waterfalls came gushing in when it rained. I was always soaked. Starting could be a problem too. The only way to persuade the engine to fire was to wallop the starter with a hammer. Even when it did get going, there was a constant misfire.

At the time I was just getting into television and owning a car like this was costing me work. I can remember being in the last few episodes of Crossroads as an extra. I only made the set on time because the Spitfire was hooked up to the back of a breakdown recovery truck.

However, although the Spitfire may have been a disaster, because it looked good I still managed to get most of my money back when I sold it.

In fact, that is the only fond memory I have of it.

Paul Hendy presents ITV's `Don't Try This At Home!' on Saturdays at 6pm

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