My Worst Car: Bradley Walsh's Hillman Hunter

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I'D FORGOTTEN all about it until now. It was an utter nightmare and that nightmare was a navy blue 1971 Hillman Hunter which was constantly falling to bits, although, as I'll explain later, Rolls-Royce kept it on the road.

I can't remember how I got hold of that Hillman. Maybe I won it in a raffle or something; I hope I didn't pay good money for it because it was truly awful. I think the worst thing was I'd actually given up my favourite car to own it.

You see, my nan and grandad lent me the pounds 375 to buy a G-registered Mini 1000 and it was brilliant. I did all the things young blokes do to their first cars and that meant a big, fat three-inch exhaust and a pancake air filter. It really looked the part.

In fact, I did a custom job on my mum's Ford Anglia, which had wide wheels. She hated me for that. When I borrowed it, I looked cool. When she drove to Sainsburys, I think she just felt stupid because everyone stared at the car. Never mind, for some reason or other - probably lack of money - I got rid of my lovely little Mini and got seriously lumbered with the Hillman Hunter.

For a start, it was hideous to look at - a rectangular bore of a four- door saloon, finished in dark blue. I got to know that colour intimately because I was always push-starting it. Almost every day it would break down, refuse to start or leave me stranded. I'm surprised I still had a job because I was late for work so often.

Luckily, I was at Rolls-Royce in Watford making helicopter engines at the time. I had a mate called Nobby who was very handy with a welding torch. As bits fell off, we'd find some spare mild steel and stick it back on. It is fair to say that Rolls-Royce kept my Hunter on the road - just. What we did was probably illegal and meant that for about six months all RR's profits got diverted into my rusty Hillman.

Eventually, I had enough and I think we cut it into pieces and buried the Hunter at secret locations all over Hertfordshire. I hope no one ever finds it. Archaeologists would be baffled though: fancy trying to explain how a long dead Hillman Hunter happened to have loads of Rolls-Royce metal in it.

Bradley Walsh presents 'The Big Stage' on Wednesdays, Channel 5 at 8pm. He was talking to James Ruppert

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