Parting with a friend is never easy, but today, I parked Elly up in my garage for the last time. Hopefully not the very last time, but I know not when I will have the funds to get her back on the road again. Her MOT expires tomorrow and she won’t be passing another without major surgery.
I’m absolutely gutted to be honest. I know there are more scary things to get upset about in the world, but this car has been my companion for 15 years. We’ve had some remarkable adventures together. She was present the night that me and my good lady wife became a couple. She was heavily involved when my good lady wife became my wife. Elly has transported me to so many different jobs I find it hard to keep track – from admin assistant at a gas company to IT Support at Severn Trent Water, IT Project Management Administrator at NFU Mutual, Classic Car Weekly features writer in Peterborough (at two different publishers) and latterly to my part-time job helping out at a community minibus scheme. We have lived in Birmingham, rural Northamptonshire, the rather scary flatlands of Cambridgeshire and more recently the stunning beauty of rural mid-Wales.
We have driven through Scotland, most of England, vast swathes of Wales, fragments of France, Belgium (twice) and Luxembourg. We’ve hooned around race tracks, taken part in rally stages, autotests and sprints. Gone greenlaning. Travelled to some of the biggest 2CV meets in Europe. Appeared on the Live Stage at the NEC Classic Motor Show (where she dragged Mike Brewer off the stage on his arse).
However you look at it, we’ve had some awesome times. I know it’s stupid to get sentimental about a lump of metal that clearly has no brain or thoughts, but she’s a proper pet to me really.
Which is why I’m heartbroken. Closing the garage door, not knowing when she’s coming back out again was horrible. Pleasingly, I think this year will be a good one for writing work. It needs to be. There’s no way I can cope with keeping poor Elly cooped up for too long. Really, she needs a new bodyshell, with talk of aftermarket replacements coming to market this year. Will she be the same car? Well, replacing the chassis, engine, gearbox (several times), bumpers, seats, doors and huge chunks of the bodyshell has left me feeling no different about her than when I first set eyes upon her in the summer of 2000. I had absolutely no idea that this would be the one car that I wouldn’t sell. I’m still not entirely sure how it happened.
But it did happen. She got the claws in and now the world feels a little less fun. Have a good rest ol’ girl.