Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 16°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

My First Car: Door opens on spectacular autobahn adventures

10:36 14 February 2016

Hugh Richmond with his Hansa 1100 he bought while with the Army in Germany.

Hugh Richmond with his Hansa 1100 he bought while with the Army in Germany.

Submitted

When Hugh Richmond bought his first car in Germany, it was fortunate his Army training included driving and maintenance.

I was in the Army when I bought my first car in 1952 from a well-fed Arthur Daley type on a bomb site in Detmold, Germany.

It was a 1936 Hansa 1100, a quite sporty-looking two-door, four-seater of uncertain mileage. Hansa, Borgward and DKW were all forerunners of Audi – Vorsprung Durch Technik!

My car had an aluminium body on a hardwood frame, painted in a somewhat faded maroon. Safety features were large rear-hinged doors, a fuel tank ahead of the scuttle under the bonnet – like the original Volkswagen Beetle, semaphore indicators and no wing mirrors or seat belts. Comforts were few – no heater but it was cosy once the motor had warmed up.

The car was in generally good condition and had probably been stored during the war so, by the time I had hand-polished the paintwork with Brasso and sorted a loose ignition lead, I had a smart little tourer capable of 75mph.

It even had snazzy tartan covers over velour upholstered seats.

In those days you could actually work on your pride and joy. In my case, parts were the problem and, of course, trying to be understood by the local scrapyard.

“Mein auspuff ist kaput. Haven zie ein neue?” Blank stare. With my somewhat brisk style of driving, I soon had a hole in the exhaust, which I fixed with a beer can bound with wire.

I was fortunate in having a pit in the garage of my otherwise modest requisitioned house. This came in handy when I had to strip down the engine following a blow up on the autobahn caused by a split coolant hose. The correct parts were unobtainable but the bearings were undamaged – only the cylinder walls were scraped and some of the rings damaged.

I obtained some slightly oversized rings and increased the gaps with snips so that they could be squeezed together to fit. This rather crude repair was effective and oil consumption barely increased – not too much blue smoke.

I should explain that my Army training included vehicle driving and maintenance. I passed my driving test in a three-ton covered truck. The test included reverse parallel parking on the nearside. I have difficulty with that manoeuvre these days in my little Renault Clio!

I also picked up some useful tips from Mohammed, the handyman in Egypt, who could famously strip down a motorcycle with little more than a can-opener.

Further adventures included brake failure on a steep hill caused by a cut hydraulic pipe adjacent to a rear wheel rim. Quite soon after repair the drama was repeated. Investigation revealed a split wheel rim, due to corrosion, and forced by tyre pressure on to the brakeline.

Perhaps the most spectacular misadventure was on the autobahn again – this time near Essen in the Ruhr Valley. While travelling at about 60mph, the rear-hinged passenger door flew open, snapped the leather restraint, burst the hinges from the wooden door post and sent it spinning and skidding on the concrete.

Fortunately traffic was light, but my poor bride was left exposed to the elements, while clinging to the seat.

After fashioning and fitting a new door post, and further vigorous use of Brasso, the repair was invisible – not even a dent.

On being posted to the Far East in 1955, I sold the car to a colleague. For all I know, it’s still a runner.

We want to hear the story of your first car – whether it was a classy classic or a more modern motor. Send your memories of the car with a picture of it to motoring@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The Trotters Pig

Everyone has a favourite piggy - but which one is it?

Possible views for the new Cornhill in the heart of Ipswich.

A free wifi area could be created in the heart of Ipswich when the Cornhill is rebuilt over the next two years, it has emerged.

Tess carried a faulty BRCA2 gene, which greatly increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The family of a 24-year-old woman from Ipswich who has died of cancer have paid tribute to her “strength” and “bravery” as she was determined to live life to the full despite the devastating diagnosis.

Sun, sea, sand and shade is the theme for the competition

A competition is being launched in Kesgrave to help bring together people in the community who have a love of photography.

Just the straw rolls to clear after the harvest - Sue Foster

Suffolk is the bread basket of England.

Travellers encampment on Bramford Recreation Ground Ipswich.

Ipswich Borough Council today will start to clean up a playing field in Ipswich after a group of travellers left overnight.

Young Ipswich Town fan Noah Day having his picture taken with manager Mick McCarthy.

Thousands of Ipswich Town fans gathered at Portman Road for the club’s annual open day today.

Ipswich Hospital

Hundreds of working days were lost at Suffolk’s largest hospital through psychological issues last month, prompting an investigation into the possible link between staff overtime and stress.

Mia and Toby Hambling with the Great Piggish Bake Off

They are more photographed than Kim Kardashian right now - and it is clear to see why.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A woman used a pair of novelty Christmas slippers to set her ex-boyfriend’s front door alight after he rebuffed her attempt to rekindle their relationship, a court heard.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24