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My First Car: Mini pick-up TLC labour of love

PUBLISHED: 16:44 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:44 23 February 2018

This 1966 Mini pick-up needed some work before Josephine Stecak could enjoy the freedom of her first car. Picture: Josephine Stecak

This 1966 Mini pick-up needed some work before Josephine Stecak could enjoy the freedom of her first car. Picture: Josephine Stecak

Josephine Stecak

This 1966 Mini pick-up was love at first sight for Josephine Stecak but it was a relationship that didn’t always run smoothly. Pictures: Josephine Stecak

Josephine Stecak believes her 1966 Mini pick-up had been used by a builder. Pictures: Josephine StecakJosephine Stecak believes her 1966 Mini pick-up had been used by a builder. Pictures: Josephine Stecak

When I first started working in August 1971, at the age of 16, I hated the long walk to the bus stop every morning, matched by an equally long walk to the office when I got off five miles later.

I longed for my own transport and, as I would turn 17 just three months later, I decided to buy a cheap runabout out of my hard-saved pennies from my £8 per week wages.

Along with my dad, I trawled the ‘bargain basements’ of local garages where I eventually decided upon a light blue, 1966 Mini pick-up. It was love at first sight, I could see myself driving around free at last from public transport. I handed over my £50 without a second thought.

The pick-up was delivered the next day and I could hear it coming down the road, the wheel couplings rattling, and a first repair bill greeting to me from inside their neglected housing. Still, I was happy. I had my first car ready for when I hoped to pass my driving test in the new year.

We replaced the couplings, then I gave it a more thorough examination to find the wings had been stuffed with newspaper underneath, hence fixing the holes as best we could!

The tailgate was covered in small hard specks of ‘something’ – we came to conclusion it had been a builder’s pick-up as it appeared to be cement splashes. So we rubbed down tailgate and resprayed it with can of matching paint. Dad cleaned up the pick-up area and put in a wood floor, also making a new flat cover to protect it.

It was now looking quite smart and acceptable, if you didn’t pry too closely. In February of the new year I passed my test first time and proudly began my personal driving experience.

The petrol tank sprang a leak and it stopped running while I was waiting in centre of the road to turn right – embarrassing.

Another time I pulled on the handbrake, while sitting on an incline at a junction, and pulled the whole thing out of the floor.

In the end, the engine decided it had breathed its last so ending my first year of motoring, which I still look back on with a smile.

Tell us about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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