Chris Mooney12 October 2010

What car did you learn to drive in?

The British School of Motoring has ditched the Fiat 500 for the Vauxhall Corsa. This is a shame

What car did you learn to drive in?

Inspired by the news that a nation of young Britons will do their first stalling, kangarooing miles in Vauxhall Corsas from next year, work on stopped for an hour this morning as we all reminisced over the old sheds to which we once excitedly fixed our first L-plates.

It appears that a massive 80 per cent of BSM instructors preferred the Corsa to the little Fiat which, having driven both, we find somewhat surprising. Still, at least they didn't have to deal with any of these...

"A red Peugeot 205 GL, with a mammoth 1.1-litre engine. Nicknamed 'The Lawnmower' due to its high-pitched chainsaw engine noise and need for full choke at all times, it eventually met a death on a mini-roundabout in Ealing Broadway when a cab cleanly removed the entire front half."
Chris Mooney, Editor,  

"A 1984 Citroen BX 1.9 ZD: 71bhp of non-turbo diesel grunt. It may have had a turbo at some point in its life, but certainly not by the time I drove it. It rode on sophisticated hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, that level being - by the end of its life - directly on top of the wheels, giving the BX the profile of a chopped low-rider but none of the street presence. Deposited unexplained green goo from its underside when parked on a hill for longer than two minutes. Had electric windows. These didn't work. Died of an existential crisis."
Sam Philip, Senior Writer, TopGear magazine

"1991 Ford Fiesta MkIII 1.0: frequent overheating caused by potentially fatal head gasket ‘issues'. Frequent stalling caused by potentially stupid driver and/or rubbish fuel delivery system. Frequent boating caused by never-changed-in-its-lifetime dampers/springs. Much rust. Lingering feeling that steering rack had formed a union with fuel delivery system and voted for strike action. Patented Wet Dog Smell permeated cabin."
Vijay Pattni, Web Producer, 

"1993 Vauxhall Corsa: was pristine, until I got my hands on it. Miscellaneous injuries inflicted by driver included lacerated alloys, broken wing mirror and indicating stick, and wounds to the car's underbelly after unfortunate pavement incident."
Tony Adebowale, Sub-editor, 

"Red G-Reg Peugeot 205 1.1 ‘XL', a suffix that did not befit car nor driver. The steering wheel required a five-foot arm-span and became especially heavy after some thick tyres and 15-inch alloys were added as a birthday treat. The front indicators housed secret blue strobes, which alerted slower motorists, of which there were few, to my presence. Had a habit of stalling if the revs dropped below 2,000rpm, which meant going downhill was best tackled in neutral, with the throttle buried. Sounded fast. Wasn't."
Dan Read, Staff Writer, TopGear magazine 

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