The wish list!
Everyone has a wish list when it comes to cars but I've been a bit more picky! These are the cars I wanted and in some cases very nearly bought (or at least had a test drive) until finances and reality took over again!
I was still at school when I spotted one of these, a Suzuki SC100, and thought, 'thats the car for me', it was still a thought when I was learning to drive!
As it turned out there were very few around by then and I briefly flirted with the idea of a 2CV! Actually tried out a Citroen Dyane very similar to above but the lack of power was a concern. I was tempted later though when I had the Chevette as I could have just about afforded a newish 2CV6 Special, saw a beautiful red one with the rare hatchback but it never came to anything I'm afraid.
As a first car I should probably have bought one of these in hindsight, a neighbour in Ivybridge had a nicely cared for red 1300CL that Dad was keen I should get. It was a 1979 Fiat 128CL 1300 (newer than this one) but like a new pin and would have been fun but not what I wanted at the time for some reason. The free revving Italian engine and roomy taughtly sprung little saloon would've probably been a better bet than the Chevette or the Metro but never mind! Apparently now one of the rarest cars on British roads as most died of rust!
Just before I bought my first car I was visiting a friend (Peter) back in Newton Abbot and a Mini very like this one was on a garage forecourt so we of course took it out for a spin!! Coming down the Totnes road back into Newton Abbot I did a racing change to third coming to the roundabout by the Ogwell turn and went round the roundabout..., lets just say quite quickly, when we got out Peter was laughing, he said the salesmen was gripping the seat and went as white as the car he was trying to sell as we hit the roundabout! needless to say I didn't buy this one though it went well!!
In the event I ended up with the rusty old Chevette 'banger'! Well this one was the dream car at the time, the 2300HS but more than I could afford right then as well as being pretty rare even then and in all likelihood nigh on impossible to insure for a teeneager.
Another Mini?! Whilst I loved my rusty and knackered old Chevette Dad was adamant I needed a newer and better car and a nice looking fairly new (at the time) black grilled red Mini 1000 was on the forecourt of Ivybridge Motors. So (if memory serves!) the Saturday morning after the Wimpy dinner and dance in Torquay way back in 1984 we went down and took it out for a run. It really was in lovely condition visually but seemed to be 'crabbing' a little on straight roads and driving up the back road from Ugborough I accelerated hard in second and the most horrendous drumming/vibrating/rattling/teeth jarring noise came from the bulkhead. So it had been crashed at some stage probably (perhaps by an over zealous teenager on a roundabout somewhere!!) so we gave it back and said ' no thank you very much'.
Always liking classic cars I was actually offered a red Herald 1200 at college but I hesitated and someone else went for it, was a lovely little car...,
At about the same time another college friend was selling one of these that had been off the road for a number of years (in red and known as the 'squashed tomato') but getting it back on the road and lack of day to day practicality knocked that on the head I'm afraid!
A friends brother (Shaun) had a Y-reg early version Fiat Strada 105TC and I would have loved one, actually 'test drove' a newer generation/facelifted 105TC (also pictured) running it up to 90mph on the Plympton bypass (!) and the 130TC looked just fabulous but I ended up with a red Vauxhall Nova instead for some reason!
A few ' nearly' moments with Fiat's again but the Fiat Uno this time. I was working in Totnes and a garage had a nice metallic blue 55 two door but it had already been sold (just that morning!) but they also had a black 55 four door which was nice but just seemed a bit boring compared. A bit later on Ivybridge Motors had a fabulous looking 'fire engine red' Uno Turbo i.e. which I tried and would have dearly liked but the insurance costs would have been quite dramatic so not to be!
Closer to reality after a couple of years was the Cavalier Sportshatch which looked great..., a work friend had a gold coloured one which looked lovely, remember seeing him drive past at Milehouse junction in it one Saturday night and thinking..., 'yes.., I need that in my life'! Its not often reality exceeds your dreams but I actually ended up with the red Opel Manta Berlinetta so at last a plan had come together!
Before I finally got my red Opel Manta I looked at one or two others, a silver 1.8GT in Barnstaple where I was working briefly at almost £6000 was more than the better Berlinetta I ended up getting, also an A-reg so older/earlier model black Berlinetta at Allens Garage in Plymouth was cheaper at £4500 but was starting to show its age somehow and just 'felt' to be getting a little tired if that makes sense!
This was actually the serious alternative to the Manta but was a bit more to buy and by then I had set my heart on the Manta. This was actually a more modern and better car but it would probably have cost a bit more to insure though I did like the rear spoiler and funky digital dashboard and even quite liked the look of the short lived 4-door version at the time.
The other possibles (and tried!) before the Manta were a Capri Laser (though a white one in Newton Abbot) or an XR2 but neither were quite what I wanted! Good ones are getting rare and quite valuable these days, more so than the equivalents from Vauxhall/Opel.
Well tenure of the Manta was extended for various reasons but at one stage it looked like it may be sold and alternatives looked at including a Cortina Mk5 which I actually quite liked...,
and a Triumph (though a 1850HL as opposed to the Dolomite Sprint pictured!) but it was a bit old fashioned for my liking!
Another Vauxhall after the Manta? Well nearly, it was a favourite but real life took over (I got married!) so the purchase price of one of these wasn't an option at the time.
So I looked at some Cavaliers but that never came to anything, instead getting another Nova!! There was a green very early Cavalier Mk2 which to be honest was a bit of a dog but a red facelift Mk2 looked fabulous but at only 2 to 3 years old the front door frames were rusting out above the door mirrors and the dealer refused to do anything about it and wanted full price so that was a NO!
I got keen on Citroens at one point and liked the look of a BX Meteor, the potential service costs of hydropneumatic suspension scared me off though so I ended up getting the ZX.
I looked at a number of Mercedes 190E's of various ages, I nearly bought a red G plate 2.0 similar to this one which was being advertised privately in Exeter for £5500, went to see it and fell in love with it, for the retired owner it had been his baby and wanted for nothing including a new sump guard, bonnet insulation pad and alloy wheels like the one above. He was part exchanging it for a Daewoo (!!) and they'd offered him £4500, he said there and then I could have it for £5000, he called me back a couple of days later and said if I matched the trade in offer it was mine because he wanted me to have it as I clearly appreciated it and would take good care of it. I was a bit uncertain, money at the time was admittedly tight and the first MrsL wasn't very keen. A couple of days later on a Saturday I called by the Daewoo garage and there it was parked at the side of the building looking a bit sorry for itself and covered in bird....., droppings!! So sad and was always for me 'the one that got away'! I was lucky enough to end up with a clean K reg 190E 2.0 which was a lovely car - the pictured 2.6 or a 190D 2.5 would have been nice though!
While I had my 190E I spotted this gorgeous low mileage and well cared for F plate Mercedes 300CE coupe, was so so tempted but couldn't justify it (though did end up getting the E220 which came close!). It was shortly before I actually got the E220 I actually looked at and tried an E200 automatic in Dorset looking exactly like the car I finally bought being 'lettuce green with mushroom cloth ' interior!
When we first moved to France there was a lovely looking Mercedes ML270-CDI for sale at Wilding Motors in Torquay, it was a green paint and beige leather 7 seater 6 cylinder 2.7 litre diesel automatic with reasonable mileage and well cared for (it had been Ian Wilding's own car I think) and pretty good value for the amount of car you were getting. was so so tempted and actually tried a similar one in Jersey to see if it was worth pursuing and making the trip to Devon (though the one I tried was not as nice or good condition) but MrsL was not so keen and it probably wouldn't have been as practical as the A-class in fairness so it didn't happen. A shame in a way.
Oh my! Now this WAS a flight of fancy, just before going on holiday in 2014 I spotted one of these in a dealership in Jersey, they let me have a drive and it was gorgeous!! It would be lovely to have one but may use a bit more fuel than the A class being a V8!!
Slightly left field perhaps but was very tempted by this lovely cosseted modern classic (always like this particular model for its style and practicality - would look better on Merc alloys though!); it had been on a specialist classic car website for a few weeks and just had a price reduction, a heck of a lot of car for the money but not terribly easy to justify buying an older car when I was pretty happy already with the two newer ones (A-classes) I already had..., never mind!!
Ah well..., one common theme from my early teens to now has been that I love Morgan sports cars and it is still something guaranteed to make me look twice..., though devotions have been divided even since that time with the 70's/80's R107 series Mercedes SL..., perhaps one day if the lottery win comes up!
As a postscript..., it was never really on the cards I'd get one but I did always admire the Volvo P1800ES of the 1970's. I was still at school when I saw one in the Volvo garage in Newton Abbot and I was allowed to sit in it! Lovely lovely car but I remember it seemed to have a heavy clutch! Anyway in 2021 with the arrival of the Volvo C30 t5 I do seem to have the spiritual successor to the P1800ES!
While waiting for the house purchase to go through and looking at the cash from the house sale in France just sitting waiting in the account the thought of going out and buying a 'little something' while waiting was tempting. I've always liked the original 'proper' Land Rover Defender, not a heavily modified tarted up gin palace like many of the later ones (or for that matter the doubtless capable but too Range Rover'esque new Defender!). Ah well, back to the land (rover!) of dreams!