Whilst the two Directors of Leyton Classics own a few classic cars, over the years they’ve owned some interesting stuff. Being friends since 12 years old, they shared many early escapades in their cars. We thought it would be fun to outline a few real “corkers” in a series of posts on the website. Since starting driving in the early 1970’s there have been some boring albeit rare vehicles, a small number of interesting ones as well as the standout stuff.
As a bit of homage to interesting but cheap classics, we’ve constructed these posts to encompass the years 1970-2000. One of the real tragedies of classic car ownership is that values have increased out of reach of many people, yet there are still interesting cheap cars to be had.
Probably not Phil’s best buy, but owned for 6 months in the early “70’s. The Fiat was something of a rarity in the UK, with a 600cc 4-cylinder engine slung out over the rear wheels Porsche style. However that’s where the similarity ended, the Fiat was slow, with poor handling and a perchant for breaking down. White with a red vinyl interior and folding rear seat, it was a later build without the suicide doors of the early model. The usual Fiat rust problems were eating into the car, leaving a patchwork quilt effect on the floorpans.
Looking like a pumped up version of the 500, you had to work the gearbox hard and avoid steep hills at all costs. After 6 months of torturous ownership it was swapped (with some cash and sighs of relief) for a two year old Minivan.
On passing his test, Nigel’s Uncle who owned an FB Victor VX 4/90 was giving up driving and as it was in great condition, it was snapped up as his first car. With 1600cc, twin carbs and a side flash in red, it looked the part, although rather dated. With 70 bhp, but a lot of heavy metal (and leather seats) to lug about, it was thirsty, fairly quick but rather a handful for a new driver. Front disc brakes and high compression head gave it a heady 0-60 of circa 16 seconds.
Following three months of reasonable thrashing, after dropping off Phil one evening, the VX met its match on the apex of a hump back bridge, demolishing the other car, but inflicting life changing injuries on itself…although Nigel walked away car-less.