Motoring: Go man, go, she said. Lulubelle had other ideas

My worst car: ron moody's ford consul
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The Independent Online
My worst car was, as is not uncommon, my first. It was a 1951, second-hand, pounds 400 off-white Ford Consul convertible with a dark green hood and whitewall tyres. The number plate was LBL 282, so she had to be a Lulubelle, a name justified at once by her feminine temperament.

Some might have attributed her poor compression to four delicate cylinders, but I knew she kept in third gear at a steady 25mph to look after me until I'd had more experience.

I was playing at the Apollo Theatre in London in the intimate revue For Amusement Only, and decided to drive in for a matinee through Berwick Street market. Lulubelle was deeply offended at having to rub shoulders with the common coster barrows and nudged them imperiously out of the way. The costers swore at her and threatened her bonnet but I chivalrously took the blame and paid to have the first of her many dented doors repaired. After the Apollo run, we drove off on a provincial tour.

She floated between theatres like a bird but if I so much as took one member of the cast on board, she rumbled and juddered and steamed and stalled. As for pulling the birds, the purpose for which white convertibles with whitewall tyres were designed, Lulubelle proved possessive and impossible.

My first date was a Canadian girl who asked me why I travelled all the time at 25mph and in third gear. I said the Lulubelle liked it, and never saw her again. Another girl leapt into my flashy front seat after a party and said "Go, man, go!" That didn't last either. It was about this time that Lulubelle exposed her worst fault. She sulked. I accepted the occasional starter-switch seizure as unfortunate but when she became tearful and resorted to damp starts, the end was near.

After seven years I sold her in part exchange for a car named Mac, a 1959, brand new pounds 1,300 off-white Ford Zodiac convertible with a dark green hood and whitewall tyres. As I drove masterfully off in my shining bright, macho male knight of the road, I noticed a young student walking around Lulubelle, giving her a very ardent inspection. I swallowed a pang of jealousy and drove off.

Ron Moody has worked in showbusiness for nearly half a century. He has written several books including `Very Very Slightly Imperfect' and `The Devil You Don't'. `The Amazon Box' is his first children's book, which is published by Robson and priced at pounds 14.95. He was talking to James Ruppert.

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