Big Boys Toys by Caroline Dearden


Digital Story Transcript

We’ve had model cars, planes, boats, houses… you name it, we’ve had it. The latest idea is to build a car. Five or six kit car shows later, the decision is made. A GCS Hawke.

One sunny day a worn-out Cortina arrives. The girls are not impressed, you can see it in their faces. This has to be the most boring car they’ve ever seen. With a house move, the project is put on hold. Then sometime later, the kit on order, preparations begin. The Cortina (now known as the donor vehicle) is dismantled. The garage has taken on the form of a scrapyard and an engine amongst other things sits on the floor.

I love cars, but you can only look at so many bolts and bits of chrome, can’t you? Finally the kit arrives, all hands on deck to lift and carry such precious parts. Wings on the landing, screen under the sofa, the bonnet gets pride of place in the dining room.

Funny enough, as the body takes shape, the girls are getting more interested. Lots of volunteers to steer the car in and out of the garage! No engine yet. Then he says, “You’re okay with a needle, do you think you can cover this foam and help with the back seats?” I get all the best bits.

Next paint; navy blue with cream interior, definitely.  A visit to the paint shop changes all that, now it’s going to be old English white with burgundy trim.  Finally the day arrives when we don’t have to push the car. Engine in, wheels on, off to go! First trip out, Sunday morning, Chepstow market. .. just like in the movies. Forty miles an hour, gentle breeze, massive grins on both faces in the back.

I look at his face, concentrating hard, listening for any unusual sound, trying to conceal a boyish excitement. .. then finally sitting back and enjoying every minute of the first journey. And I’m thinking, “I wonder what’s next?”

“Dad, do you think we could renovate a Renault 5?”

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