Posted 21/Oct 2009 at 23:55
by in Cars & Vehicles read by 75 people

I bought a car. Great! A 1986 Nissan Micra. With holes.

"Really?" I said to my mate Phil. "How much?" "Oh, 150 quid. Not bad eh." "No, good, I replied. That's a steal, really. What did you say? Holes? How big? What like a rust spot?" I said. "No." " What, like my finger?"  "No." he said. "More like my hand!"

Well as much as I like to write about my own cars, this one has to be told. I used to play the saxophone on the UK South Coast with my friend Phil, a very very good guitar player. Phil lived in a caravan at the time - now this is mid 90s and he was saving up for a house. 

Every time we had a gig, I would pick him up from the caravan or train station.

Not an easy task, he and his guitar had to fit into my tiny Triumph Spitfire after having piled all the speakers, amps, saxophones, mini disc and tape decks and peripheral gear such as wires, stands and micophones. We had to let the top and leave the boot open sometimes to get it all in, driving around with stuff flapping in the wind on the freeway.

We would stand at the station and stress around to get away, measuring, trying, moving around stuff, resulting in us arriving late at the gig, having to rush setting up and having to start playing without even a sound check or the required coffee, wine or orange juice.

When this happened, our gigs used to continue to feel rushed, and the groove to chill to was not easy to find. As they say, it's all on the inside. 

We were getting more venues to play, sometimes 3 or 4 times a week and things had to change. Phil went out to buy a car on a budget. A whole 150 pounds, some 3 gigs worth of investment. 

When he found one, he was delighted. A blue Nissan Micra. The engine still purred nicely, the seats were comfortable, windscreen wipers worked and only one light was broken. Best of all, it had 3 months MOT left on it and about the same tax.

Phil stepped up to the opportunity, parted with his cash and drove home. 

The rust holes were indeed as big as my hands. I drove up with him to a wedding gig in the pouring rain and water came in through the air filters and the window seals. We had to dry our instruments every time and it was a miracle the mini disc player survived as long as it did.

We finally spent a saturday filling them with ahem - a mix of newspaper, polyester compound, more newspaper, some plastic mesh and finally body filler. We got the original colour from the dealer at some 20% of the car's original purchase price and finished it off nicely with a thorough spray. The holes were now a tight bobbly mess sporting the same colour as the rest of the car.

We were good to go. We were careful to park a few blocks up from the posh venues and carry our gear to the gig just in case anyone would spot our sound but cosmetically challenging bodgejobs.

For a long time, we continued to be good to go. Phil drove the car around for some 7 years I think before it fell apart.

His next car was a white Micra of about the same age - holeless.

All in all, they are great little cars though. You feel like you are driving a can of beans but the Micra always fit our gear and never once left us standing by the roadside, thus averting disaster with a bride and groom waiting for some smooth jazz favorites!

Red xoxo

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