There’s nothing as liberating than knowing you have the freedom to get into your vehicle and go exploring in it.
There nothing that makes you feel independent than being able to pay for your own vehicle so you can go on your own adventures with it.
And there’s something depressing about having to lose your favourite vehicle.
My little Suzuki Vitara JX 2000 model came at a time when we needed two cars. My brother, Peter, knows a guy who gets cars. So, all the way over in America he contacts his mates and one says they have a small 4×4 that “would be perfect for Scouting”.
His mate drives it all the way from Southampton to Swindon, clocking a max of 60mph all the way up, just for us to see. £400 freer, the Suzuki is mine.
I’ve not owned many cars myself, that last being was a Peugeot 306 and the one before a Vauxhall Corsa- I’ve tended to drive other people’s cars as low wage makes it hard to manage my own car, so I was thrilled at having this one.
The little Suzuki, my “Tomb Raider” car, had a fantastic low mileage of 60,000 when I got it. Unusual for a sixteen-year-old model, but it had been kept on a farm for transporting hay bails out into the sheep fields. A quick glance under the bonnet showed evidence of mice nests and straw, remnants of its previous life. Sadly, this life has caused its demise, but I wasn’t to find out the extent until two years down the line.
My little Suzuki,
Joyous to drive.
My little Suzuki.
A lot of people would comment on the car, especially elder women who used to drive similar Suzuki Vitara models when they were my age; each would comment on the same aspect of it – the way the car would drift on the motorway if there was a strong side wind, the way it would struggle up a hill if it didn’t have a good “run up” and the way it was a nippy little car that, if it ever reached 70mph, could weave in an out of the traffic with ease. Yes, the sight of mine would bring back those nostalgic memories of independence and freedom for them. They would happily smile and walk back to their air-conditioned, new family models with airbags, safety features and assisted parallel parking technology and eventually forgetting all about their own little Suzuki’s and the fun they once had in theirs.
I won’t forget this little car. I’ve looked for similar models, but with only 300 left registered in the UK I doubt I will find the same… and it won’t ever be the same. I will never again be told that the flooring under the back seat is so rotten that, had someone sat in the seat and we’d driven over a “sleeping policeman” too quickly they would fall through the floor! I never will have a flooded driver’s footwell again and spend months trying to find out the source of where the water was coming from only to discover one day that the water had mysteriously stopped entering the footwell and dried up, never to be wet again. I will never be able to drive that little 4×4 in heavy snow up to Barbary Castle, passing the stuck arrogant BMW drivers on the steep incline roads in Old Town as they refuse to believe their high powered up cars can’t take them to get their Costa Coffee in the morning…
Yes, down tiny twisty down roads, over the ruts on the Ridgeway, down farm lanes and tracks avoiding the free roaming chickens, in heavy fluffy snow and on the manic M4 my little Suzuki has been undisputedly fun the drive. Sadly, it’s time was very short lived. I had intended to keep it until the mileage reached 120,000miles, double what it started out on with me, but at 66,355miles I’ve had to say goodbye. The MOT list read like a breakup letter, piece by piece, word by word, breaking my heart at its faults, for me, the car will always remain perfect- even if a piece of paper rejects that notion. Those words picked out its flaws, exposed its secrets and ultimately acknowledged that the car would have ended up being a Frankenstein monster, forever having to be patched up, welded, screwed together and rejected because of its defects. In the end, it was the heavily rusted parts that caused the structural parts of the car to be unfit for road use. Had it been loved more on the farm, kept safe, used often and maintained, it may have lasted for another few years…
I must sign off now, work beckons, but I don’t feel ready to yet. I want to keep writing, keep the memory alive, convince you, dear reader, that I am not obsessed with this car but it will be frivolous… our time together has to end.
My little Suzuki, the most joyous little death trap I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. At least you were loved at the end, wanted and needed, enjoyed and honoured, considered and cared for, sadly your rust cancer was your demise and I couldn’t stop that from happening, it was too deep inside of you- we could have prolonged the inevitable but it wouldn’t have been for long, you probably wouldn’t have even survived the welding… Thank you for being so fun the drive, I will cherish the memories and I will miss you little Suzuki. Drive high in the sky!
P.S The spiders will miss you.