Many moons ago, before I took ownership of a 660bhp modified, flame-spitting Nissan GT-R, 17-year-old me started motoring life off with a lowly 1.0-litre Toyota Yaris. It was as base-spec as they come; three pedals, three doors, a stick in the middle, manual, cloth seats, and what can only be described as a 'minimalist approach to in-car technology'. The key to driving it was to maintain enough speed, because trying to accelerate from a standing start would mean many minutes' worth of staring at the speedo praying for a tail-wind.
By far and away the most terrifying moment I had with my first car came on an autumnal day in September. I was driving to my cousin's wedding in Kent and it was raining hard. With skinny tyres, the Yaris lacked grip on the driest of days, but in the wet, manoeuvring my silver pride was proving to be a tricky endeavour.
Ten miles away from the venue, I got lost. This was before the days of realtime mobile phone mapping technology, and so I decided to follow my directional instincts by turning down a quiet country lane in the hopes it would lead me to civilisation. This narrow lane quickly became a track, which promptly led me into a farmer's field.
Deciding it was unwise to retrace my steps and turn around, I started driving onto the field. After 20 metres, my pace started to slow and I realised the field resembled more of a bog than a traversable surface. 25 metres in, I got stuck. Really stuck. The front two wheels were spinning and flicking up mud and I quickly gave up shifting from first to reverse, worried I was just digging myself deeper into a boggy hole.
In my wedding best – my favourite suit – I decided to get out and push. After five minutes of squelching around making no progress, I heard the sound of a diesel roar – my rescue chariot – the farmer's tractor. I was able to get a tow, was given some stern words that this wasn't in fact the way to the venue, and was sent on my way. Half an hour late, I arrived at the wedding… caked in mud.
After a few more years piloting the tin can, and creating many more first car memories, I decided to switch to something rear-wheel drive, and became the owner of my second silver pride, a BMW E46 M3.
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