My Worst Car: James Whale's Renault 4

Just thinking about that Renault brings back memories - all of them truly terrible. It was far and away the worst car I have ever owned. At the time, which was some point in the late Seventies, I was living in Northumberland and had bought this heap to transport bales of hay around. I had got a job on a radio station in Derby, which was good news.

The really bad news, however, was that the only form of transport I had was that terrible car. I literally tied it together with string, running pieces around the bonnet and on to the door to stop bits falling off. Obviously, it broke down - and I missed my first show.

I got towed to a garage and someone claimed that they could fix it. As soon as I got it into third gear, though, it ground to a halt. That was the start of endless problems. It is fair to say that the Renault was not a natural motorway car, especially when it had to cope with 150 miles a week .It was red - which was fortunate because at least you couldn't see the rust. Inside, it didn't even have proper seats; they were like deckchairs. Very uncomfortable. If I had to sum it up, I'd say the Renault 4 was like a Citroen 2CV but not so sophisticated. It proved to me that the French aren't as stylish as they like to think they are.

I broke down on the motorway twice, which in my book is about the worst crime a motorist can commit. Even now I go ballistic when I see a car on the hard shoulder. How can they be so stupid? Which is why I had to get rid of that rotten rust-bucket. A car dealer offered me a tenner for it and I jumped at the offer. After that, I saw the light. The future of motoring for me was shaped like a big car. I bought a Vauxhall Royale. For me it was the equivalent of a Rolls-Royce. I went straight home and took the family for a drive. Bliss.

As for that Renault 4, I should think that it has now been usefully reconstituted as some tin cans.

James Whale presents Talk Radio's late evening show Monday to Thursday, 9pm to 1am, and also the `Sunday Soapbox', 4pm to 6pm. He was talking to James Ruppert.

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