Motoring: My Worst Car - Miles Harrison's borrowed Ford Escort

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The Independent Online
There are two sorts of cars in radio. One is the radio car, kept in pristine condition for VIPs. Then there are the pool cars, which despite the best efforts of the radio station manager, can be disgusting. When you drive them, if you hear mechanically unfriendly noises you just hope that the car gets you to back to the station, then keep quiet about the problem because you don't want to get involved.

My first job was local radio in Leeds. I was on my way back from Leeds United football club. The car was low on petrol, and I wrongly assumed that it could make it back to the studio on the fumes remaining in the tank. I was on the slip road from the city centre inner ring road in the rush hour when the Escort finally stopped.

Unfortunately it was plastered in station logos, so there was no mistaking who was responsible for this tailback. Sheepishly, I scrambled up a nearby bank and managed to get back to the station. In reception there was a traffic report warning drivers about a broken-down car on the inner ring road currently causing a 500-yard, and growing, tailback.

A station engineer asked what the problem was. I lied that the Escort had broken down. When he asked what tools would be useful to get it running again, I indicated that a good place to start would be a gallon of petrol.

That experience taught me never, ever to lend my car to anyone in the media.

Miles Harrison will commentate for Sky Sports on the Five Nations England vs Wales rugby encounter at Twickenham today. His book on the Lions Tour, `Best Seat in the House' is published by Aurum Press. He was talking to James Ruppert.

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