My first mid-life crisis came when I was just 23 and looking back now at how much fun it was I can’t help looking forward to the next one.
I’d very sensibly had two very standard cars; Ford Orions were cheap dependable and got me there and back to Portsmouth and Plymouth with no issues at all. The problem was they were very boring. Whilst away in the Gulf I started to dream about being exciting. Late night chats with car experts (any man after 4 pints) had started to give me an idea about which way I wanted to go. A couple of kit car magazines later and I was hooked. The decision was made; I was going to hunt out a Midas Gold.
The Midas kits were built in Loughborough I think so I went for a tour and saw the beautifully put together show cars, how great they looked. I pictured myself on Monte Carlo sea front with Claudia Schiffer on one hand and a Pukka pie in the other, a shiny new Midas sunning itself behind me. Of course because I’m just too tight, as stated before when it comes to the crunch of paying for any gadget I will always opt out at the last minute. I also knew that I had the technical car knowledge of a Anglo Saxon ox and so I figured that building one up myself in the traditional manner was not an option. And so it was that I found myself in Bristol, after extensive second hand advert searching. I’d tracked one down, A Midas Gold fully built and ready to go.
Ok so it had a bit of marking on the bonnet where the previous turbo engine had melted it but that was not a problem because it only had a standard Metro engine in it now – right? I was hooked and soon was driving it home. Oh my goodness what a thrill. I’ve never been so happy with any purchase. It was raining so the roof was up but I was still getting a little wet, this was clearly my fault as I’d probably not shut the window properly. As soon as the sun came out the roof came off and I was in Heaven. The Gold is a tiny little two seat soft top. It has headlamps similar to the Frog Eye Sprite and the curves designed by Jack Brabham, it was sexy. Best of all it felt like driving a go kart. It only had a 1 litre metro engine in it but weighing in at about 2 grams the car was amazing to drive. It accelerated fast; it stuck to corners like glue and could achieve awe inspiring speeds well in excess of 50 miles an hour down hill! It didn’t matter that the top speed was not all that high, in a go kart on the M1 at 70MPH I felt like I was Nigel Mansell and I would occasionally burst out laughing.
As it turned out it had been put together by a monkey. Bits kept coming off, or turning out to be extremely dangerous and needing replacing. We had to rip out the petrol filter because it kept clogging, also meaning that the fuel guage stopped working, and I had to take a guess that it was time to refill the small tank after about 180 miles. Doors swung open on tight bends. Window wipers worked when they felt like it. Lights came on or went off to their own preference. The car was a mess. I had to drill holes in the floor because the cockpit kept filling with water when it rained; this simple solution worked a treat.
It’s also safe to say that no women ever understood the pulling power of the car. Oh they were drawn in by the look of it at first, but as soon as they peered in and smelt the damp they generally lost interest; Claudia never phoned. The thing is that all these things never mattered. When I was sat behind the wheel I always smiled. Roof on or off the car was a joy to be in. My Midas was so much fun, I’d smile and just laugh as I drove it, I’ve never felt like that in any car since. Driving it made me feel 17 and that was the thing. I felt like a kid in Hamleys.
I miss that feeling so that’s why I’m looking forward to getting my next crisis. I don’t know what it will be this time, perhaps an old style Mini convertible or a motorbike. I’m not sure what piece of junk I’ll wind up getting but as long as it’s too small to put any children in and it makes me laugh just by turning a corner, I’m in.