Motoring: Not a nice one, Datsun

My Worst Car; Ian Botham's Datsun 180 SSS
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Indy Lifestyle Online
I HAVE had plenty of pretty rum jalopies, especially when I was a kid. Most of them were rusty, slow and just plain unreliable. But by far the worst of them all was a really horrible Datsun.

Now this wasn't an ordinary saloon like a Sunny, but a 180 SSS fastback. Twenty years ago it was still regarded as a stylish coupe, and that may be why I bought it, but now I have my doubts. The colour scheme wasn't up to very much, with custard-yellow paintwork and a black vinyl roof.

Apart from looking terrible, its reputation for reliability was equally bad. Everything that could go wrong with that car did go wrong. I don't know where to start, or stop, with the catalogue of mechanical failures - except to say that if you name a part I probably paid to have it replaced - cylinder head, suspension, brakes, steering, electrics, starter, alternator, radiator...

I won't go on. In fact, I seem to remember that the radiator was probably the most common cause of upsets, springing a leak, then boiling over and getting me into even more trouble. That trouble usually involved being broken down somewhere on the A1. I lost count of the number of times that my father-in-law came out and rescued me from the roadside. It made me miss appointments, meals - although luckily not cricket matches. In total I owned that car for three months and I got no more than four days of strife-free motoring out of it. In fact if it did start first time in the morning and then ran for any length of time, I would be in a state of extreme shock. It got to the point where if someone had offered me a fiver to take that Datsun away, I'd have pulled their arm off.

It cost me a fortune to run, without actually running anywhere at all. When it did work it was surprisingly quick and comfortable; otherwise it was mostly stationary and a complete pain. I don't know what happened to that Datsun and I don't actually care. With any luck it has been reconstituted into something more useful - like a can of baked beans.

Ian Botham, the former England cricket captain, is commentating on England's Ashes tour in Australia for Sky Sports. He was talking to James Ruppert

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