My First Car: By gum! Spearmint colourful character

PUBLISHED: 12:25 07 November 2016

Lizzy Siswick named her Mini Spearmint after a packet of Wrigleys chewing gum on the dashboard when she bought it.


Lizzy Siswick needed a little help from her friends to get to work most mornings... to push-start her Mini called Spearmint.

It was 1972 and I had just passed my driving test and I was hoping to get a car. Money was a bit tight so I was looking for a bargain.

A relative of mine, who owned a pub, had this old Mini for quite a while in the car park. She was hoping to learn to drive herself but could not get the spare time with having a busy pub, so she said I could have it for £50 and so I grabbed it.

It had a few spots of rust and a missing handle but I soon got it fixed.

It was a white Mini and everything was original.

On the dashboard there was a packet of Wrigleys chewing gum – a white packet with a pink and green stripe down the middle of it, I was struck with an idea so I got my painter and decorator husband to paint a pink and green strip from the bonnet to the boot and I called the Mini Sspearmint.

Spearmint became quite famous round the village, not just for her colours but because most mornings when I set off for work I nearly always needed a push to get it started. There was always someone about who would give me a push. I would park it at the top of a hill when I arrived so I could get back home after work.

On occasions I rented a stall on the market selling anything and everything. I would fill the Mini with stock, as much as it would take, and off we would go to the market. With any money I made, I would fill the Mini up with petrol and treat my two boys.

I ran the Mini for two years but it was needing quite a few repairs and renewals so I had to let Spearmint go it was very sad. I sold it for £40 to a young apprentice mechanic who he said he could sort it.

So then I bought an old red Volkswagen Beetle from a retired couple who had had the car from new and I called it Laura after my mum because she had red hair.

Laura was so... oh but that’s another story.

Tell us about your first car and the adventures and scrapes you had – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to or post it to Andy Russell, motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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