James Miller


Monday, May 12, 2008

Travels With My Celia(c)


I'm writing a book called Travels with My Celia(c), which described some of the travelling that I did with Celia, both before and after my diagnosis with coeliac disease and her death.

This is an extract.

The Second Best Car in the World
May 12th, 2008

I say second best, as I’ll let you choose the best and you can argue amongst yourselves interminably.

In August 1990, Celia bought one of the last of the first series of the second Elan to be made by Lotus.

Celia already had a red one and as she liked that so much, she felt that as production was ending, to get a last one would see her in a nice car for a few years.

She loved that car and when she replaced it for daily use with an Audi A4 Avant, it found further use as the spare when our normal transport was being serviced or had broken down. Not that the latter happened often, but dear little K9WFF or Yellow Dog as she called it, just kept running.

She did about 70,000 miles driving between Chambers and Courts all over East Anglia and the only trouble she had was when a kid, cut the hood and stole the radio. But the new hood fitting superbly and it can still be raised and lowered quicker than any of those fancy ones you see nowadays.

For the last few days, I have had it back on the road and you realise what an amazing vehicle it is.

It still has the grunt and coupled with a light weight and superb handling, it can leave anything for dead. There’s the story of the nicked Sierra Cosworth that once had a go at me on the A66 in about 1992. And lost! And the driver got arrested! But...

It has an almost perfect use of space and coupled with wide doors, a lady can get in and out in a short skirt and maintain her decency. Drivers may rate an Elise better, but that car doesn’t have the everyday usability.

Lotus was always slated for the build quality of their cars. Drive it now and there is no rattle or shake and everything still fits as the day it was made.

And then to park it in the street with the top down is not to invite the theft of everything inside, but to receive admiring glances from everyone that passes.

One day, I’ll find a better car, but I’ve waited eighteen years so far!


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