Hello and welcome to deadlycars.co.uk. I am Peter Warren and my office is on Fox Hollies Rd, Birmingham B27 7TH.
I first became interested in deadly cars back in the 1960s when I bought a three wheeler Messerschmitt bubble car. The thing was a death trap. Apart from the fact that the plugs oiled up with monotonous regularity, obligingly me every couple of days to stop by the roadside, find the offending spark plug, take it out, replace it with a new one (I always kept at least four as spares) and then hope that the car would get me home before another one oiled up. I would leave the oiled up one soaking in a can of petrol overnight and then it would join my stock of clean ones. Not that I thrashed the car too much; I didn't dare because sometimes the brakes worked and sometimes they didn't. The sight of me frantically pumping at the brake pedal frightened the living daylights out of my wife until she finally refused point-blank to ever get in the vehicle again. I don't blame her. Eventually I had it towed to a car breaker where I got five pounds for it; that was quite a lot of money for me in those days but apart from a clapped-out engine, useless brakes and a steering system that had a mind of its own, it was in fairly good condition.
I never did find out what happened to it in the end; the car breaker went bankrupt a couple of weeks later.
My second was a Ford Corsair. This had an interesting fault which we never really managed to sort out. The clutch was operated hydraulically and a plastic tube which carried the hydraulic fluid passed within a couple of inches of the exhaust manifold. Every few weeks this tube would melt, the fluid would flow all over a hot exhaust manifold creating a terrible smell, and the clutch would become completely inoperative. Have you ever tried driving a car with no clutch? The trick is to put it in neutral, start the engine, rev it then jam it into first gear. The car then either leaps ahead like a kangaroo, or it stalls completely. Finally it happened halfway up a long hill; I did my usual trick and it stalled. I tried it again; it stalled again. Finally I started the engine, gave it a real load of throttle, then jammed in gear. Something snapped and the gearbox disintegrated.
They don't make cars like that any more.
I'd had enough of cars so I switched to motorbikes. I got a lovely little two-stroke called a James Captain; the problem with this one was that the headlamp assembly fell off regularly which could be a bit of a nuisance when I was driving at it's top speed of about 60 mph. I traded that in eventually for a motorbike and sidecar; the bike was an A10 Super Rocket and the sidecar was a Watsonian double adult job. Have you ever tried riding/driving one of these things? The pull on the left is enormous because of the weight of the sidecar and you needed to be a miniature Sampson or Goliath to handle it. One day my arm got a little too tired, I drifted to the left and hit a convenient telegraph pole, the only one for hundreds of yards. That was the end of the motorbike and sidecar, and almost of me.
You would think that by then I'd learnt my lesson. No way. I bought a Datsun Sunny, which I was really proud of until I took it on a motorway. It steered like a banana. I traded that in for an SD1 Rover; this was redhot with a very powerful 3.5 litre engine. The problem was that it had been put together by British Leyland and it spent more time in our local garage than actually on the road. It was a safe enough car to drive however; it was so heavy that if I hit a Centurion tank the tank would have come off worse. Perhaps the weight of it was the reason why I never managed to get more than 12 miles to the gallon from it.
Car owners nowadays don't know how lucky they are!