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Dobloseven

Your worst car

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On 24/12/2019 at 12:49, Stevan said:

I had 100% reliability from my 500, bit boring in that respect really!

This was a 500 from the early sixties!

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26 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

This was a 500 from the early sixties!

No, about 2011!

The only time it was in dock, other than annual services was when someone drove a delivery van into the side of it!

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........my worst car was my second car when I was 20 yrs old

 

I bought a brand new 1968 Sunbeam Imp sports which had a rear aluminium engine and trans-axle based on a design by Coventry Climax. .... for the princely sum of £655.00

It had an 875cc tuned engine which would do 55mph in 2nd ...75mph in 3rd and ?? in top!!

It could corner as well as a mini Cooper S.......that is when the engine had not blown a head gasket or burnt out an exhaust valve.

That is why it was my worst car as it was totally unreliable!

 

Having said that....when it was running and being only 20 yrs old and at university in the late 60's

...........say no more as we had fun :)

 

........a real love hate relationship :rolleyes:

 

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8 minutes ago, WilliamJames said:

........my worst car was my second car when I was 20 yrs old

 

I bought a brand new 1968 Sunbeam Imp sports which had a rear aluminium engine and trans-axle based on a design by Coventry Climax. .... for the princely sum of £655.00

It had an 875cc tuned engine which would do 55mph in 2nd ...75mph in 3rd and ?? in top!!

It could corner as well as a mini Cooper S.......that is when the engine had not blown a head gasket or burnt out an exhaust valve.

That is why it was my worst car as it was totally unreliable!

 

Having said that....when it was running and being only 20 yrs old and at university in the late 60's

...........say no more as we had fun :)

 

........a real love hate relationship :rolleyes:

 

The car had a significant design fault, the cooling system was marginal at best, but if it was in less than 100% condition and/or the available performance was actually used it stood no chance!

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53 minutes ago, WilliamJames said:

........my worst car was my second car when I was 20 yrs old

 

I bought a brand new 1968 Sunbeam Imp sports which had a rear aluminium engine and trans-axle based on a design by Coventry Climax. .... for the princely sum of £655.00

It had an 875cc tuned engine which would do 55mph in 2nd ...75mph in 3rd and ?? in top!!

It could corner as well as a mini Cooper S.......that is when the engine had not blown a head gasket or burnt out an exhaust valve.

That is why it was my worst car as it was totally unreliable!

 

Having said that....when it was running and being only 20 yrs old and at university in the late 60's

...........say no more as we had fun :)

 

........a real love hate relationship :rolleyes:

 

 

The cooling system was more than capable of the job being asked if it. 

 

The problems with cooling occurred because the radiator was subject to a lot of “road dirt” being thrown up by the rear wheels clogging the radiator matrix! Those “in the know” would regularly apply a hose pipe to wash out the “back flush” matrix every so often to remove that road dirt. If that was done they didn’t overheat.

 

The engine itself was a VERY good power unit indeed and one of the very first overhead cam engines to be used in a mass produced car. They were capable of being tuned to deliver simply amazing amounts of power (reliability did tend to suffer somewhat though!) The were very popular power units in many performance kit cars like Ginetta for instance.

 

It was a very quick and simple job to remove the entire power unit, it was a job I did many times whilst serving my apprenticeship. 

 

The designers of the early Imp however got it wrong in a big way. The headlights are required, by law, to be a certain height from the road surface. They were too low on the production Imp so in order to correct that (very basic) cock-up they simply “jacked up” the front suspension, that made the camber angle on the front wheels simply ridiculous with the wheels looking VERY “pigeon toed”  

 

A common “modification” was to dump a couple of bags of cement in the (front) boot. That put a fair bit of weight onto the front wheels, it settled the suspension down and vastly improved the cars handling which, up until that point, suffered severely from understeer 

 

Andy

Edited by Mr Plodd
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52 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

A common “modification” was to dump a couple of bags of cement in the (front) boot. That put a fair bit of weight onto the front wheels, it settled the suspension down and vastly improved the cars handling which, up until that point, suffered severely from understeer 

 

Andy

 Andy. I carried full 5 gallon water containers in mine!

Great car, but very unreliable!

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56 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

The cooling system was more than capable of the job being asked if it. 

 

The problems with cooling occurred because the radiator was subject to a lot of “road dirt” being thrown up by the rear wheels clogging the radiator matrix! Those “in the know” would regularly apply a hose pipe to wash out the “back flush” matrix every so often to remove that road dirt. If that was done they didn’t overheat.

 

The engine itself was a VERY good power unit indeed and one of the very first overhead cam engines to be used in a mass produced car. They were capable of being tuned to deliver simply amazing amounts of power (reliability did tend to suffer somewhat though!) The were very popular power units in many performance kit cars like Ginetta for instance.

 

It was a very quick and simple job to remove the entire power unit, it was a job I did many times whilst serving my apprenticeship. 

 

The designers of the early Imp however got it wrong in a big way. The headlights are required, by law, to be a certain height from the road surface. They were too low on the production Imp so in order to correct that (very basic) cock-up they simply “jacked up” the front suspension, that made the camber angle on the front wheels simply ridiculous with the wheels looking VERY “pigeon toed”  

 

A common “modification” was to dump a couple of bags of cement in the (front) boot. That put a fair bit of weight onto the front wheels, it settled the suspension down and vastly improved the cars handling which, up until that point, suffered severely from understeer 

 

Andy

Must agree with all you've said Andy. 'Been there, done that'.

The biggest problem with the O/H Coventry ClImax engine was the almost total inability of the average motorist of the day (more use to low-spec side valve cast iron engines) to maintain it correctly. Although common now it was at the forefront of engine technology then & required some specialist knowledge & abilities. Given these it was the bee's knees!

 

Nearly bought a Ginetta 14 (self build?) but got married instead. Still not completely sure I made the right decision LOL.

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5 minutes ago, micktheshed said:

 

The biggest problem with the O/H Coventry ClImax engine was the almost total inability of the average motorist of the day (more use to low-spec side valve cast iron engines) to maintain it correctly. 

A little bit of an exaggeration there, by this time a great many cars had OHV engines, not side valve. 

Agree in principle though, alloy block and OHC were pretty new in a production car.

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Hillman  Imp was my first car in 1976, a ‘63 deluxe 7170 PO. Swapped it for a Yamaha FS1E moped ( wish I still had it!) I was a toolmakers apprentice at the time and one of the machinists was an Imp enthusiast and racer. He helped me repair it, gave  me loads of ‘development’ bits to make it more reliable. First job was to decamber  the front by fabricating extended bottom wishbone mounts then we addressed the cooling system by fitting a radiator to the front of the car and running two copper pipes to the rear. Cut two holes in the front panel and opened up the heater fan holes then punched some louvres  in the bonnet. Electric fan finished that off but you had to remember to turn the fan on if you got into traffic rather than wait for the Kenlowe switch.  It  was a win win situation as the radiator (Allegro IIRC) and the two long pipes doubled the coolant capacity. Recurring head gasket problems led to the manufacture of a solid copper gasket milled out on a cnc machine and pulled up nice and tight with generous amounts of Wellseal. The thing would just rev and rev even with a single Stromberg, just needed regular points and condenser replacements. The only thing we never quite ever fixed properly was the pneumatic throttle linkage. There was a rubber ball under the accelerator pedal and a plastic pipe ran back to a little bellows arrangement on the carb. After about 20 minutes you would realise that your foot was mashed to the floor but you were slowing down. Foot off gas count to 10 and by that time the ball would have reinflated and you could carry on. Wonderful little cars, all my mates had Minis but the Imp  was quicker and handled better. 

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The first car I wrote off was a 1964 Singer Chamois when I was an apprentice, loved that car, it could tell a few stories...ended with a very tired mini which I hated.

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Sunbeam Imp Sport was the first car I drove,F reg IIRC. First driving lesson on 17th birthday in 1971.After a few lessons instructor announced he was passing his customers to another fellow and buying a chip shop which he has to this day. Shop is a timewarp, his till has to be wound with a handle and only goes up to £9.99.Second instructor had a C reg Herald 12/50,the one with a sunroof, which he replaced with a new J reg. yellow 13/60 which  must have been one of the last, as by then the Toledo had been launched. Regarding side valves, I believe the last UK car so equipped was the 100E Ford Popular which lasted until 1962,a year before the Imp was born. However Rover used an overhead inlet/side exhaust layout in the P4 95 and 110 until 1963 and the P5 3 Litre until 1967 and some Landrovers into the seventies. Reliant also used a sidevalve Austin 7 based engine into the sixties when they launched their own all alloy OHV engine. 

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Discovery 3. Had it from new for just over 3 years. Never again a Land Rover for me.

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On 26/12/2019 at 16:50, Dobloseven said:

Regarding side valves, I believe the last UK car so equipped was the 100E Ford Popular which lasted until 1962,a year before the Imp was born.

The carb and fuel lines were over the manifold so heat from manifold created air bubbles in fuel lines and car would grind to a stop.  I cut up a 5 litre metal can and shaped it to deflect the heat and no more issues.

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On 26/12/2019 at 16:50, Dobloseven said:

, I believe the last UK car so equipped was the 100E Ford Popular which lasted until 1962,

Ah the Ford Popular 100E. My first car. Changed the cylinder head gasket in about one hour. Unbolt the head, take off the old gasket, clean all the surfaces, replace the gasket and  head, bolt it down in sequence, torque the bolts and away you go. Starter motor, 2 bolts and the electrical connection, 20 mins. A special mention for the ingenious vacuum wipers, climbing up a hill and they slowed right down until they eventually stopped. Coasting down the other side of the hill and they suddenly became active again, slamming back and forth at such a rate that they eventually flew off unless you got to the speed control before that happened. Such joy and I learned a HUGE amount about cars on that one.

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On 26/12/2019 at 15:02, Stevan said:

A little bit of an exaggeration there, by this time a great many cars had OHV engines, not side valve. 

Agree in principle though, alloy block and OHC were pretty new in a production car.

 

What I actually said: "The biggest problem with the O/H Coventry ClImax engine was the almost total inability of the average motorist of the day (more use to low-spec side valve cast iron engines) to maintain it correctly. Although common now it was at the forefront of engine technology then & required some specialist knowledge & abilities". 

OHV hadn't entirely taken over from side valves &  very rarely alloy engines from cast iron engines. Certainly the average Joe was still in the 'side-valve, cast iron' era, as far as abilities were concerned, Overhead Valves were merely a better version of these. The Overhead Cam/alloy engine,  & maintaining it was, & still is, a very different challenge. The almost universal adoption of shim adjustment required specific tools/abilities & considerable expertise for a successful result.  It was normal practice, in the day, to adjust valve clearances when they got 'noisy'. With the Imp they needed adjusting most when they were quietest (hence the resulting burnt-out valves when this was neglected).

Alloy components require much gentler & considerate handling, eg. with the head bolts a torque wrench was essential, but very few people had even heard of one, let alone knew how to use one (hence the frequent blown head gaskets). With the older technology near-enough was frequently good-enough & all was well.

 

Upon re-reading this it sounds very much like a lecture, which was  certainly not my intention at all LOL. However, I do feel I have to set the record straight & sharing my hard-won knowledge is the only was I see of doing it. I hope you can take it in the spirit it was intended.

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Another issue with the Imp was that the front cylinder's spark plug was difficult to access and not uncommon to buy a secondhand Imp where that first plug had never been changed - and they didn't last long in those days.

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24 minutes ago, micktheshed said:

 

What I actually said: "The biggest problem with the O/H Coventry ClImax engine was the almost total inability of the average motorist of the day (more use to low-spec side valve cast iron engines) to maintain it correctly. Although common now it was at the forefront of engine technology then & required some specialist knowledge & abilities". 

OHV hadn't entirely taken over from side valves &  very rarely alloy engines from cast iron engines. Certainly the average Joe was still in the 'side-valve, cast iron' era, as far as abilities were concerned, Overhead Valves were merely a better version of these. The Overhead Cam/alloy engine,  & maintaining it was, & still is, a very different challenge. The almost universal adoption of shim adjustment required specific tools/abilities & considerable expertise for a successful result.  It was normal practice, in the day, to adjust valve clearances when they got 'noisy'. With the Imp they needed adjusting most when they were quietest (hence the resulting burnt-out valves when this was neglected).

Alloy components require much gentler & considerate handling, eg. with the head bolts a torque wrench was essential, but very few people had even heard of one, let alone knew how to use one (hence the frequent blown head gaskets). With the older technology near-enough was frequently good-enough & all was well.

 

I have no issue with your comments other than that by the time the Imp was introduced the vast majority of cars on the road had done away with the side valve engines and virtually all professional and DIY mechanics (other than devout Ford 100E fans) were well acquainted with OHV engines, even though OHC and alloy blocks were, as you say, "at the forefront of engine technology".

When the Imp was released, the "average Joe" was firmly in the OHV, cast iron era.

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In an ironic way Singer used OHC engines for many years culminating in the SM1500 and Hunter models. When the company was bought out of insolvency by Rootes, the engine continued in the Gazelle, a badge engineered Minx for few years until the OHV Hillman engine was standardized in both models in the late fifties. Another OHC user was Wolseley whose  own four and six cylinder engines were replaced by OHV BMC units in the early fifties. Think they were all cast iron engines though. Another early OHC user was Jaguar whose famous XK engine first appeared in 1948 and continued for over forty years. 

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On 26/12/2019 at 15:22, Tuningdrew said:

Hillman  Imp was my first car in 1976, a ‘63 deluxe 7170 PO. Swapped it for a Yamaha FS1E moped ( wish I still had it!) I was a toolmakers apprentice at the time and one of the machinists was an Imp enthusiast and racer. He helped me repair it, gave  me loads of ‘development’ bits to make it more reliable. First job was to decamber  the front by fabricating extended bottom wishbone mounts then we addressed the cooling system by fitting a radiator to the front of the car and running two copper pipes to the rear. Cut two holes in the front panel and opened up the heater fan holes then punched some louvres  in the bonnet. Electric fan finished that off but you had to remember to turn the fan on if you got into traffic rather than wait for the Kenlowe switch.  It  was a win win situation as (1) the radiator(Allegro IIRC) and the two long pipes doubled the coolant capacity. Recurring (2),head gasket problems led to the manufacture of a solid copper gasket milled out on a cnc machine and pulled up nice and tight with generous amounts of Wellseal. The thing would just rev and rev even with a single Stromberg, just needed regular points and condenser replacements. The only thing we never quite ever fixed properly was the (3),pneumatic throttle linkage. There was a rubber ball under the accelerator pedal and a plastic pipe ran back to a little bellows arrangement on the carb. After about 20 minutes you would realise that your foot was mashed to the floor but you were slowing down. Foot off gas count to 10 and by that time the ball would have reinflated and you could carry on. Wonderful little cars, all my mates had Minis but the Imp  was quicker and handled better. 

1, I took the easier approach a fitted a double cored Imp Sport rad! The secret was to keep it clean on the front core area.

2, I was taught the technique of lapping the head & block with a wet stone using a figure-of-eight motion.  The object being to obtain a matt, stress-free surface that was reasonably flat (any m/cing induces stress!). The stud holes were also c/sunk to avoid lifting of the block thread area into the head holes. I don't recall any gasket failures after that was carried out. I've still used the method up to today with the same success.

3, I do remember them , however, mine was cable operated but not much more reliable.  I, all too  frequently, had to use the choke cable to temporarily operate the throttle to get home.  I was doing 25/30K per annum,  at one stage, so I even fitted a spare in place for a quick change-over LOL. I finally replaced it with a nylon lined cable (Colin Chapman or Jackie Stewart brand?) that proved to be the  total cure.

 

On my last Bond 875 I recall the carb. tending to freeze-up in winter (usually after the first mile, requiring a 10 min. halt whilst it thawed out. I cured this by strapping some copper pie to the manifold & routing the heater through it. The whole engine was kept covered in an old coat to warm it up quicker!

I also transfered an ex-Imp rear anti-roll bar, heater matrix, various go-faster parts & bolted on a permenant roof rack! It was quite happy cruising at 75mph in the outside lane of the (then only 2 lane M1!) passing all & sundry, with the loudest noise being the mournful wind whistling in the rack).

 

When any of my more recent cars failed I got little further than contemplating the black plastic covers under the bonnet LOL. The phone no. of Green Flag is imprinted in my brain! It's just not the same.

 

My last word, promise...........  (for those who never were never privileged enough to own an Imp & are getting bored, yawn, LOL), a few more interesting (?) facts:
The original Imp engine was 1000cc but it was thought much too powerful for public release after testing down the new M1, from Coventry, at continuous speeds well above 100mph (the normal family car of the time really struggled to reach 80 & couldn't maintain much above 65/70 for any length of time). It was reduced to 875cc (but had 10:1 compression when the norm was 7 or 8 max!). Remember that cruising at 40/45mph was considered quite fast enough in those days.
It's release was delayed 2 years because the Mini piped it in 1959 & Routes got cold feet. Otherwise I  doubt the Mini would have survived with it's much poorer spec, bouncy ride, cramped interior & abysmal oil consumption (300 mmp!).  The royal connection probably saved it.
The fast-back versions (eg. Imp Sport) were less aerodynamic than the standard saloon but looked the part.

The up-market Chamois version had a fake front grill to pacify the potential anti-rear-engine customers.

The Imp had a relatively  heavy double-skinned body (approx. 16 cwt- 800Kg) due to press availability, whereas one of it's off-shoots, the Bond 875, weighed in at less than half & had to use the even more de-tuned 8:1 compression version (but could still managed a constant 90+mph: believe me).  My slightly breathed-on Bond was once clocked at 110mph! It makes me feel sick, now, to think of having a puncher at that speed!!!!
A starting handle was available for serious DIYers to aid maintenance. I had one, of course!
The Ginetta 14 managed a claimed 114mph on the Imp Sport engine & 1" bigger wheels(13")!

 

Why are modern cars sooooo boring?

 

Don't set me off again I can go on for hours!

 

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 It me wasn’t but my dad I must of been around 16 he took me to the show room told me we was getting a lada estate car 😳 

he always says the best car he ever had

i remember after passing test the steering wheel felt like a bus comfy seats though 

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S Type Jaguar 2.7d. Just so unreliable. Loved its line's and comfort  but engine was a bag a spanners ... Spent a small fortune keeping it on the road... Shame ! :rolleyes:

 

GAS ...B)

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13 hours ago, micktheshed said:

1, I took the easier approach a fitted a double cored Imp Sport rad! The secret was to keep it clean on the front core area.

2, I was taught the technique of lapping the head & block with a wet stone using a figure-of-eight motion.  The object being to obtain a matt, stress-free surface that was reasonably flat (any m/cing induces stress!). The stud holes were also c/sunk to avoid lifting of the block thread area into the head holes. I don't recall any gasket failures after that was carried out. I've still used the method up to today with the same success.

3, I do remember them , however, mine was cable operated but not much more reliable.  I, all too  frequently, had to use the choke cable to temporarily operate the throttle to get home.  I was doing 25/30K per annum,  at one stage, so I even fitted a spare in place for a quick change-over LOL. I finally replaced it with a nylon lined cable (Colin Chapman or Jackie Stewart brand?) that proved to be the  total cure.

 

On my last Bond 875 I recall the carb. tending to freeze-up in winter (usually after the first mile, requiring a 10 min. halt whilst it thawed out. I cured this by strapping some copper pie to the manifold & routing the heater through it. The whole engine was kept covered in an old coat to warm it up quicker!

I also transfered an ex-Imp rear anti-roll bar, heater matrix, various go-faster parts & bolted on a permenant roof rack! It was quite happy cruising at 75mph in the outside lane of the (then only 2 lane M1!) passing all & sundry, with the loudest noise being the mournful wind whistling in the rack).

 

When any of my more recent cars failed I got little further than contemplating the black plastic covers under the bonnet LOL. The phone no. of Green Flag is imprinted in my brain! It's just not the same.

 

My last word, promise...........  (for those who never were never privileged enough to own an Imp & are getting bored, yawn, LOL), a few more interesting (?) facts:
The original Imp engine was 1000cc but it was thought much too powerful for public release after testing down the new M1, from Coventry, at continuous speeds well above 100mph (the normal family car of the time really struggled to reach 80 & couldn't maintain much above 65/70 for any length of time). It was reduced to 875cc (but had 10:1 compression when the norm was 7 or 8 max!). Remember that cruising at 40/45mph was considered quite fast enough in those days.
It's release was delayed 2 years because the Mini piped it in 1959 & Routes got cold feet. Otherwise I  doubt the Mini would have survived with it's much poorer spec, bouncy ride, cramped interior & abysmal oil consumption (300 mmp!).  The royal connection probably saved it.
The fast-back versions (eg. Imp Sport) were less aerodynamic than the standard saloon but looked the part.

The up-market Chamois version had a fake front grill to pacify the potential anti-rear-engine customers.

The Imp had a relatively  heavy double-skinned body (approx. 16 cwt- 800Kg) due to press availability, whereas one of it's off-shoots, the Bond 875, weighed in at less than half & had to use the even more de-tuned 8:1 compression version (but could still managed a constant 90+mph: believe me).  My slightly breathed-on Bond was once clocked at 110mph! It makes me feel sick, now, to think of having a puncher at that speed!!!!
A starting handle was available for serious DIYers to aid maintenance. I had one, of course!
The Ginetta 14 managed a claimed 114mph on the Imp Sport engine & 1" bigger wheels(13")!

 

Why are modern cars sooooo boring?

 

Don't set me off again I can go on for hours!

 

 

Probably because they are so safe and predictable.

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Had an 11" flat Astrali steering wheel on my Imp, definitely went faster after I fitted it. ;)

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1 hour ago, xtrailman said:

 

Probably because they are so safe and predictable.

And the things that could, in the past, be fixed by tinkering and ingenuity at home now require a full computerised diagnosis.

 

1 hour ago, Griff said:

Had an 11" flat Astrali steering wheel on my Imp, definitely went faster after I fitted it. ;)

They worked wonders on most cars! After I fitted one on my 1965 Vauxhall Viva SL 90 I could get it up to "full beam warning light" on the speedo (After the end of the numbers just before going full circle to zero) on the long downhill stretch of the M6 just south of Great Barr. The car became horribly unstable at that speed which I fixed by jacking up the rear suspension.

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23 minutes ago, Stevan said:

........on my 1965 Vauxhall Viva SL 90.......

My dad and my mate's dad both had 67 Viva HB's which we were allowed to drive our girl friends around in.

 

My dad had an SL90, my mate's dad only had the 90.

 

I obviously always felt superior to my mate.

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