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My First Car: The Little Red Bomber

Posted Nov 12 2012 2:44pm

I was in my mid twenties, many moons ago, when I decided that I was finally going to buy myself a car and learn how to drive . I was always a determined person and when I set my mind on something I usually follow through.

I had not the first iota of driving, nor of cars, but off I set with excitement and determined ambition.

My dad appointed himself as my 'car broker' and found me an 8 year old, little red Ford Fiesta (1981) in a back street garage off Dorset Street in Dublin, going for a song.

                                                                  (image via flickr)

Unfortunately that's about all it went for, as it stalled halfway on the day we took my new red beauty home! The garage man had to drive over and get it going again.

Not an ideal start and it sure was a real quirky car. It had great 'character' had my little red car - that was once painted mustard as we subsequently discovered! You can tell where this story is going, can't you?

But I loved it, I loved the freedom and independence it gave me, and the many unforgettable memories...

I recall my dad bullying convincing me, only two weeks into driving lessons, to bring him to a relatively nearby builders providers yard to pick up cement or something. I was terrified and remember stalling, completely confused and disorientated, in the middle of a busy junction whilst all other drivers kindly held back to let the silly learner driver re-correct!

I'm sure the look on my face was one of pure terror. But that was nothing compared to the look on my driving instructor's face as we passed him by on our way home! I swear he almost made his charge crash the car as he looked at me with his jaw on the floor! He had serious words with me at our next lesson. Which I duly passed on to my dad.

Me and my little red car got on very well though and I eventually reveled in driving everywhere. She brought me to work, to dance classes and to my show rehearsals for a national variety competition, where she ultimately earned her nickname: The Little Red Bomber.

Oh, she was a real show stopper alright, my little red bomber, as she regularly stalled at the traffic lights on the way home from rehearsals! Seven traffic light changes was our absolute record, as I recall. Although that may have also been due to my driving abilities.... at the time, I hasten to add! She also got stuck in the sand on Dollymount Beach when we were all leaving, in convoy, after our after-show reunion party following our success in said national competition! We won!

The little red bomber brought me many places in the following year or so. She even chugged her way around France, the poor thing, finally crawling home off the boat like a dying Love Bug on her last wheels. Or her last engine as it turned out. After completing 100,000 miles (that we knew of) her engine had finally clapped out.

Being raised in an era of 'waste not want not' a refurb engine was purchased, rather than buy a new car, when I hadn't even finished the loan repayments on this one. Boy, was that a mistake.

Let's just say that within a few short months the little red bomber had a short trip to the local shops as her final voyage, going up in flames on the way home. Quite literally, with me sitting behind the wheel! Seriously, I was driving along, minding my own business when I spot smoke coming from the bonnet. I pulled over and suddenly the smoke turned to serious fire. I jumped out, wildly seeking help from the bus behind me, full of passengers. The funny thing was I had stopped outside the house where my friend who normally lives abroad was staying. I knew she was in Ireland as this was her wedding day, but had no idea that she was in that house! You can imagine the shocked reunion when I knocked on the door to suggest they might want to move their car unless they wanted it toasted, along with my car with it's vast collection of cassette tapes!!

Within a week the car was removed by Dublin Corporation and no doubt squished into oblivion, forever.

At that time I was dancing in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre, on a two week run with the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society, and the joke doing the rounds was that I was getting a new piece of jewelery for Christmas: my Little Red Bomber on a chain!

I subsequently bought a new car, another Ford Fiesta, blue in colour this time and in much better condition.

In fact, despite tough beginnings, I have always driven Ford cars and find them to be fantastic cars to drive.

My first car was the worst car I ever owned but gave me the best memories.

I will never forget my Little Red Bomber.

May she rest in pieces!

Note: This is my entry into Carcraft: My First Car Competition. I entered this competition because it's a fun one that appealed to me. I doubt very much that I will win the iPhone 5 but if, by some miracle I do, then I will donate my relatively new iPhone 4s to campaign to help a child with Autism or Special Needs with communication.


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