Thursday, September 22, 2011

From Mini to Bambino

As I sit here excitedly waiting for the car broker to deliver my new car  (how civilised!) I have been reminiscing again.

Dad under the bonnet of our first car
My dad took delivery of our first family car, an Austin Lancer, when we moved from the inner city to the suburbs. It was a big deal to move from being carless to having our own wheels. Dad loved tinkering with that car and spent many hours with his head under the bonnet.

When I first had a family the only four wheels I had were those on my big English pram. I wore out a lot of shoe leather pushing  my first two children up hill and down dale in that posh conveyance.

When we enrolled our first child at school, a few miles away, I needed something a bit faster and suitable for all weather. I opted for a zippy little car so, after a trip to all the caryards on Parramatta Road we settled on a brand new bright green Mini,. I loved HUI 090 and had great fun driving around and honking the horn. The only modifcation we made to that car was to replace the little beep, beep horn with one that was more suited to a Mack truck.Years later, in a fit of nostalgia, we bought another Mini just like HUI that the kids used when they were on their drivers training wheels.

The imminent arrival of child number three heralded the need for a new car. A succession of sensible Chryslers, Holdens and Toyotas lived in my garage for the next twenty years or so. These cars served their purpose in providing reliable transport for the family but none of them had the personality of that little Mini.

Finally in 2002 I got a fun car, a little Peugeot 206cc. After a hard day at work I loved driving along with the roof  down and the wind blowing through my hair. I enjoyed the chats I had with truckies and taxi drivers at the traffic lights who would say something like "Love your car, love" to this little white-haired lady behind the wheel of the convertible.

In recent years our family has experienced a growth spurt and my little car could not accommodate many grandchildren. So I put on my sensible hat and traded up to a small 7 seater, it's a nice European car that is family friendly.

A couple of weeks ago we were discussing Mr Geniaus' imminent retirement  and options for cars as he will have to return his work vehicle. Recognising that we do not need two big cars he suggested that he take the people mover and  we purchase a new little car for me. I was overly excited at this suggestion and agreed immediately.

So car shopping has been on my agenda. Although Mr Geniaus does not agree with my methods and criteria for car selection he sat back and observed my deliberations. He wanted me to buy a little new model Citroen, the D something or other, I looked on the internet and decided that it was ugly. I knocked out a few other contenders because they were too ugly, expensive, didn't have a USB connection or were too long for a small parking spot. Meanwhile Mr G visited dealerships, talked to salesman and pondered the specs in the printed brochures.

When I found another car that I liked I headed off to Parramatta to take a look. On setting foot in the showroom I spied a cute little Fiat 500, it was love at first sight. Dismissing the car I had come to inspect I sat in the Fiat; it was tiny, easy to access, I could see out the window and it came with a GPS, USB, electric roof and parking sensors. I didn't need a test drive as the car ticked all the boxes.
The Bambino

As soon as I got home I called Mr G to tell him I had found my car. "Did you take it for a test drive?" he replied. I said I didn't need to because surely a new car would be driveable. After studying the specs in the brochure I proffered he took a trip to look at the car and, no doubt, prepare a list of  reasons as to why the car was unsuitable.

Immediately on his return he phoned and admitted that the car was cute and would be fun to drive. Would I like him to talk to the broker to get a good deal. Of course I would (understanding that his haste was fuelled by the worry that I might change my mind and fall in love with a more expensive car).

So here I am sitting like an expectant mother waiting for my Bambino to arrive. I am just as excited as when I took delivery of that Mini 35 years ago.


Helen V Smith said...

Yes the excitement of waiting for the new car to arrive is special. Looks like a nice vehicle for getting into tight spots. Is the picture your actual car so it is that dark blue?

Loved the picture of your Dad and the older vehicle.

luckyllama said...

I have had 3 Fiat cars in my driving life, and what fun they all were. I really miss them, as when the need arose to drive an 80km round trip to work, a small automatic became a priority! Oh for the days of my sporty Fiat again! I wish I had pictures of my 3 old lovlies.

GeniAus said...

Yes, Helen, that is my car in the picture. Not as dark as it looks in the picture.
Just back from taking it for a spin - it's automatic with a manual feature so that you can change gears up or down - no clutch.
Think I'm going to really love this car.

Anonymous said...

And I envy you. The car I have wanted ever since it first hit Australia. It was just not quite suited to carting cartons of books etc. to events around Australia. I have bambino images, books and models in my home and office. For all its aura it is not quite the same as my original bambino, purchased new in 1970 for $1260 - the only car I ever regret selling (when 1st child was imminent!). Mine was deep blue too! And my first car (1963) was a mini - green too.

Lizzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizzie said...

So glad that Mr G looked after you (as if he wouldn't!) and you are in love with your new little bambino. It suits you! x

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Here in the states the cars you mentioned are very trendy and sought after. I love how the car we drove during our youth reflected that period of our life. We are retired now and own a Subaru Outback...believe it our not we talked about getting a van (soccer moms watch out) so we could haul more stuff back and forth from our home to our "camp cabin" in the southwest USA.

I loved this post. Congratulations on your new car! Don't you just love they way they smell and how good you look behind the wheel?



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