Sunday, March 06, 2005  

Well, you ain't too young or pretty.

Imagine this in hand painted red lead, with two doors.


It was our first car. It cost £40 off Joe the Turk. We had to tow it home because it wouldn't start. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas 1984, we parked it up the side of t'father-in-law's garden, and there it stayed for a while. A few days later we were given another car that had been in an accident, some slight dodgy dealing later and we swapped the damaged car for an older, road worthy one. The Avenger was redundant even before we had got it going. Tracy gave it to her dad as a Christmas pressie, and Ernie was born.

Ernie was like Trigger's fucking brush, it had more engines than any other car I have ever known. It had doors, bonnet, boot lid, seats and all manner of bits and bobs from other Avengers. T'father-in-law managed to keep Ernie on the road for well over ten years, and it was still running well the day it got written off in an accident. OK, so the exhaust was a patchwork of baked bean tins and copper wire, and the accelerator arm on the carb' was held in place with an elastic band, and if you braked hard the driver's seat would tip up dangerously, but it had been seriously modified.

The engine had been swapped for the tiger version, which the rally car in the picture used, the rear differential was taken off a 1100 version of the Avenger. It was so powerful that the first time it was used after the mods, the brakes set on fire. It was clear that would need to be changed as well. I think disc brakes were knicked off some heap of junk, and Ernie was complete.

It would beat most cars away from a standing start, and was only bettered by those with a lot of power at their disposal. Because a professional paint job was way above the available budget, Ernie was hand painted with some red lead paint that is usually used for coating the inside of industrial bulk vessels, this made it almost impervious to bodywork damage, any slight bump would not bother Ernie, whilst usually causing major damage to the other car (no crashes whilst I was driving it, I may add).

It was a sad day when Ernie was towed off to the scrap yard, I'm convinced it would still be running today had it not been totally fucked up in a side impact crash. Avengers always had a bad press, but it was one of the most fun cars I have ever driven.

I'm going to try and find a photo of Ernie, he was a thing of beauty and he will be a joy forever.

| posted by Simon | 10:19 pm | 0 comments
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