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 4X4

 

Just bought this one... Its 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.