Captain Misery's Miserable Mishaps

It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

>Part One of my Fantasy Garage of cars no one likes


Every man that likes cars has a fantasy garage, or at least makes a list of what they would like to own should the opportunity (and money) present itself. True to form, I created a Facebook photo album depicting what I would like to have in my fantasy garage and predictably most of them are Italian. It’s crammed full of Ferraris such as the 365 GTB/4, commonly known as the Daytona, the Dino 246 GT, the 599 GTO, F40 and a brace of Alfa Romeos, Lancias and a couple of Fiats and Abarths.

I’ve made it no secret that I like cars no one else likes. Or what other people would class as crap cars. So, this is part 1 of my guilty pleasure fantasy garage. No specific reasons as to why they are in here except that I like them.

So what car are we going to have lining up first?

The humble Fiat Panda 4×4. Why?

It was cheap, and certainly felt cheap, but was an endearing little car. A capable off-roader, this mountain goat of a car got where most couldn’t.


The Citroen Visa.

Not a brilliant all round car in the same way that say, a Peugeot 205 was. But I liked these because they were quirky, fun to drive and in the pre-1984 models the interiors were typically bonkers Citroen before they went all serious and boring.

Citroen GS / GSA

What we have here is a proper Citroen. Hydropnematic suspension and flawed in its extreme. Underpowered, slow, bonkers inside and nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Satellite units to operate most important controls. Operate the horn and the heater came on, the indicators were operated by a switch under the seat somewhere and the wipers were operated by mind control. But the car came out in 1972 and looked like nothing else. I’d have one of these because I love the styling so much. And the suspension. And the mental interior.

Citroen AX GT

I’ve owned two basic 1.0 AXs and can tell you the pluses and minuses for owning them. The minuses far outweigh the pluses. For instance, it seems to be made out of recylced Milk Tray boxes, and if you crashed into a leaf it would write the damn thing off. But because they were so light and so chuckable, that made it excellent fun to drive. Even the 1.0 engines punched far above their weight, but the little 1360 GT was a true pocket rocket. Later AX’s were boring, my choice is the Mk 1, with a few bonkers Citroen things like single spoke steering wheel and a dashboard made from tracing paper.


Peugeot 104

Or to be exact the 104 Z, which was a three door, short wheel based version. Provided basis for Talbot Samba and Citroen LNA (predecessor to the AX). Basically, another overlooked small French car that was a bit of a laugh. Not the prettiest car in the world but I like them all the same. Hang on, I’m noticing a pattern here. Small French cars seem to be recurring….


Renault 11

And another French car. Bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing this. My mates parents had one many moons ago, a 1700 GTX and I swear that car was the fastest thing on four wheels. I doubt a Veyron could have caught it. It also looked a whole lot better than the car on which it was based – the Renault 9. A car so boring you lost the will to live before you got to the back. But with quad headlights and a glass wraparound tailgate, quite a stylish car for the early 80s.

Fiat Uno

Ah, something Italian, back to normality then. My first car was a Fiat Uno and my dad had one when I was a kid. Launched in 1983, it still remains in production in India and Brazil. It was a cracking, if somewhat fragile, little motor. Lively performance, brilliant interior space and best in Mark 1 form where it had a Citroenesque interior with satellite pods for lights and wiper controls. It was also a bit Citroenesque when it was wet as a push start was sometimes required.


Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint

I’d love an ordinary cooking ‘Sud, but there’s something about the shape of the Sprint coupe version. Neat, uncluttered shape by Giugaro, neat handling and a sweet, free-revving flat four engine.

But the main reason I want one? My first ever toy car was a Alfasud Sprint. And now I want a real one.

Lancia Beta HPE

Only the Italians would attempt to make an estate car (HPE means High Performance Estate) where you can’t fit much in it. Still, it looked more like a coupe. Of course, being Italian and from the 70’s it earned a reputation for being rusty, and the Beta saloon was the car that pretty much killed Lancia in the UK

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus

Take a Hillman Avenger, wrap the oily bits in a neat hatchback body. Bring to the boil with some with the Lotus tuned handling and simmer with the Lotus 2.1 slant four 16 valve engine. Garnished with rear wheel drive and you have a capable rally car and a brute of a road car.

Ford Escort RS2000

The Professionals is one of my favourite TV shows and the character Ray Doyle (played by Martin Shaw) drove a white RS2000, drifting and handbrake turning it everywhere. I wanted one because of that. Then I saw some of these taking part in motor sport events and wanted one even more. Looks ace with the so-called droopsnout front.

Ford Fiesta Mark 1 XR2

Has to be the Mark 1. It wasn’t very fast and wasn’t as good as the Mark 2, but this one looked the business with the circular headlights, the spotlights and the pepperpot alloys. The Mark 2 just looked shite.

Stay tuned for part two if you are nerdy enough like me. Though if you got this far you must be.



October 3, 2010 - Posted by | Motoring

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