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My First Car: Vauxhall part of the family until it succumbed to rust

This Vauxhall Velox was the first car owned by Linda Westwood’s father. Picture: Linda Westwood

This Vauxhall Velox was the first car owned by Linda Westwood’s father. Picture: Linda Westwood

Linda Westwood

Linda Westwood had visions of running along the road like Fred Flintstone when the cassis of the Vauxhall Cresta rusted through.

Linda Westwood and her husband bought this Vauxhall Cresta from her father. Picture: Linda WestwoodLinda Westwood and her husband bought this Vauxhall Cresta from her father. Picture: Linda Westwood

My dad bought his first car, when I was 16, in 1963. It was a vivid green Vauxhall Velox – an upgrade of the Vauxhall Wyvern.

A chrome-enhanced beast, it took us to Great Yarmouth for a holiday – far better than the train we had endured in previous years.

We always had a caravan holiday in those days. I just remember the weird smell of gas in those caravans, and I also remember the car’s registration number – KMJ 328.

As soon as I became 17, I wanted to learn to drive. By then, dad was the proud owner of a grey and black Vauxhall Cresta. What a beautiful car. Dad favoured Vauxhalls, even though they had a bad reputation for the bodywork rusting.

The gear change was on the steering wheel – different to the car I was learning to drive in – but I used to drive us around as a learner on a Sunday afternoons.

I married in 1966 and, around 1968, we bought the Cresta off dad.

We enjoyed going to watch stock car racing and one day, as we drove across the field to park, we heard a loud clunk from under the car. My husband took the Cresta to a garage and, a few days later, was told we had had a lucky escape because the chassis had rusted through. I had to smile when I realised we could have been running along the road... like Fred Flintstone!

So, the Cresta died, and I guess the number plate – YNM 999 – did too.

Tell people about your first car – email your memories with a picture to motoring@archant.co.uk

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