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Spend & Save

My Worst Car - Russell Grant's MG 1300

I called my first car Jupiter, which is the planet of travel. It was a Ford Anglia, and it took me all over the country without ever letting me down, which is more than can be said for my second, and worst, car - a horrible MG 1300.

Poor old Jupiter's floor rusted through, and I had to buy a replacement. The MG was certainly attractive, with its Bermuda yellow paintwork and black vinyl roof. That's why I called it Venus - it was pretty - but the moral was that appearances can be highly deceptive.

Persuading the MG to start was a constant trial. Instead of a reassuring whirr before the engine itself would engage, all I would ever hear was a dull thud, then nothing. The battery was always dead, and hardly a day went by when the car didn't cause me some sort of grief.

When it conked out one day on the Hammersmith flyover, that was the final straw. I had to get out and push. I made it off the flyover, stopped outside a pub and I went in for a couple of stiff brandies. I never drove the MG again; I phoned my local garage and said, "get rid of it".

After that experience I have always tried to pay some attention to the car's astrological chart. Provided you can find out when a thing was made, you can chart absolutely anything.

I remember buying one of the first Austin Maestros, the talking ones, which had a female voice to give you various stern warnings. I found that it was badly aspected. Its relationship to Uranus wasn't very good, and that is the planet that relates to electrics. The garage could not find any problems when I asked them to check it out, but the voice went from soprano to bass in a week, and this butch woman kept telling me I was running out of petrol.

On one occasion I really should have paid closer attention to my own predictions. While reversing my VW Golf on a building site I ran over some planks, which gave way. I ended up at a 90-degree angle, looking at the sky from the bottom of a sewerage ditch.

A friend said: "Read your column in the TV Times." Under my star it said: "Watch out for hidden obstacles."

Russell Grant is presenting `House Busters' from 19 January at 8.30pm on Channel 5. He was talking to James Ruppert.