Brooks's Cars

My Fords

1977 Ford Fiesta 1.3 SuperSport 

 

At university, I was lucky enough to find work during the holidays, as a joiner’s labourer. During my second year I had saved up £1,100 which I decided to spend on a car, minus some money for its insurance and road tax of course. I started looking through the AutoTrader, seeing what was available for the money, and I decided I was not going to have a 'run of the mill' car.

A Vauxhall Magnum caught my eye, only £370, it came with a stonking 2.3 litre twin-cam engine and was only £320 to insure. Spared on by that insurance quote, I looked at other sports cars. I looked at a Fiat X/19, I liked the idea of the removable roof, something which would attract me to other cars later on. I was horrified that the insurance companies wanted £600 to insure it even though it only had a Mickey Mouse 1300cc engine!

Anyway when I returned to Liverpool I had decided on a Chrysler Sunbeam 1.6S. Of the cars I could afford it was the quickest 0 to 60 (9sec) and the cheapest to insure. When I started looking for one, I soon realised they were rare and I began to notice other cars. A Mk3 Ford Escort van looked interesting for £1000, as the cheapest you could get a Mk3 car for in 1986 was £2,500. I noticed several Ford Fiesta XR2 look-a-likes and after riding round in a friends Fiesta Ghia all term (He drove everywhere like he was in a rally), I decided to have a look at them.

After seeing two, I bought the second one for £950 (in 1986). It was a 1.3 SuperSport, red with a Sports interior (Rev Counter, Centre console with original radio/cassette) plus a digital clock by the mirror/interior light. The car had a genuine Ford Motorsport spoiler kit and a nice set of XR2 alloys. The engine had done 106,000 miles but ran like a new one and burned no oil, a fact that went unnoticed at the time. The car looked and felt good but the truth was the bodywork was shot.

I did a lot of tarting up the body shell and getting welding done to pass MOTs. After an encounter with the police I also had two of the tyres replaced.

The car ran great at university, I didn't realise at the time but I was hardly using it due to the university digs, the university and the town centre all being within a 100 yards of each other. Plus I didn't get out of bed until 10:00am so the car never saw a damp cold morning.

I remember needing a new alternator and a wire coming off the starter motor which made starting fun, until I replaced the cable. Once on the motorway I lost all power and had to pull over on the hard shoulder I was going to a job interview (of all places) but, after 5 minutes rest, the car started as if nothing had happened and I carried on my way, it never did it again (but it would on a different car!).

Fiesta's: Simple, easy to look after, very rusty!

 

1982 Ford Escort XR3i

When I started full-time work, after only one week of damp mornings and having the clutch cable on my Fiesta snap, I decided to get a £3,000 bank loan and buy another car.

With the money from the bank and the Fiesta which I felt was worth about £600. I decide to buy a car for under £3,000 and I would sell the Fiesta later, or that was the plan. I was considering a Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8 SRi and a Ford Escort XR3i.

Fuel injection was the new thing and '0 to 60' was the most important characteristic of a car in 1987. The Cavalier's were cheaper but slower 0 to 60. I don't consider a VW Golf GTi at the time they were too expensive and an older friend of mine had one in black and I didn't like the interior of it.

I went to see a Cavalier for £2,500 but the paint on the roof was peeling. I saw an XR3i for sale for £3,400 (in 1987) and rang the owner asking if he would take a part-exchange. He said he would and I got the XR3i for £2,600 plus my Fiesta. I was made up with the Escort, I remember driving it home to Liverpool on the first night I bought it. Compared to the Fiesta, it was like driving a brand new car, it smelt like new and the quietness and power of the engine on the motorway was a complete contrast to the Fiesta.

The 5th gear was great, driving the car was a pleasure and it looked beautiful in Sunburst Red with its alloys and spoilers. It didn't have many other goodies though; it could have done with a sunroof and electric windows.

During my ownership, I replaced the alternator, two tyres and the exhaust. I put an alarm on it which came in handy when somebody throw a brick at it.

 I remember taking the car to Cleethorpes one sunny day and getting very hot and bothered. The car had no sunroof or air-conditioning and that was when I thought there might be more to cars than XR3i's could provide. So the search was on for another car. I remember seeing an Audi Coupe for sale (in a metallic green with chocolate brown interior), the same age but it had electric windows and power steering, I fancied a swap, a friend of mine owned one and said it was a good car but then I was introduced to convertibles.

I advertised my XR3i which I thought I would sell that weekend. To my surprise it took over three weeks to sell, I advertised it at £3,000ono. It had a crack in the windscreen, rust (I don't know were that came from!) and it needed a new tyre. After some phone calls a lad came round and offered me £2,650 (in 1988) so I sold it for cash.

Escort XR3i: Fast, fun, easy to maintain, now a classic car, I kid you not!

 

1994 Ford Mondeo 1.8TD LX

Strictly transport, this car. The Mondeo is very good, a lot better than the Sierra which it replaced. With electric windows, power steering, an RDS stereo, sunroof, air-bag and side-impact bars the car is very well equipped and very comfortable. I bought the car from a diesel specialist garage in Wakefield for £5,000 in 1998. It had 80,000 miles on the clock, from one owner and came with a full service history. I managed 49mpg at 70mph, which was better than I hoped. I owned the car for about a year and it never let me down during the 18,000 miles I did in it.

I decided to sell it, in order to buy a cheaper diesel. One which I wouldn't mind how many miles I did in it. Putting 27,000 miles a year on a car makes it harder to sell and you lose a lot of money when you do. Hence buying a cheap car, you can't lose much money, as you haven't spend much money in the first place. Buying a cheaper car for going to work in, also made it possible for me to buy another more interesting car for the weekends.

 

1995 Ford Freda 2.5TD 4WD Auto

 

It's a people carrier but this one has an awning, table and kitchen in the back and a hi-top roof which can sleep two. The 4 wheel drive helps it get out of muddy fields.