(Similar car model but in brown and there was plenty of room for 3 kids at the back – Austin 1100 was one of the classic cars we ever rode. Photo source: Wikipedia)
This is the very first car that was owned by my family – my Dad’s Austin Minor (I think this is what was written at the back of the car). I even still remember the registration number – BK 7426 (a good number to take for 4 digit number?).
Actually my Dad did not plan to buy a car – we were not rich and certainly, we got used to taking the public bus. We were taking the bus to see a movie, going for Deepavali shopping and also to visit relatives. Anything further, we had the train to take. Anyway, one fine day, I think it was in the 1980s, my Dad came back driving an old Austin.
It was on a loan from his boss at the workplace. My Dad worked late and it was too late to take the bus, so his boss asked him to take the car back home (he had another car to take). We were so excited that we asked for a ride but my Dad did not agree because it was his boss’ car and he had to take it back the next day. We were a bit disappointed but we understood him.
But the next day, my Dad drove the same car back home and this time, he was early. He asked us to dress up quickly as he wanted to take us for a ride in his car. Did he say “his car”? My mom was the first to ask him. Apparently his boss wanted to sell off the old Austin since he was no longer using it. But when he saw my Dad driving it the other night, the boss decided to sell it to my Dad for a very cheap price – less than RM1,000 and payable whenever my Dad had the money and on instalment too.
Immediately we had the wheels to roll. No longer we had to wait for the bus to go around but instead, we had a gusty Austin zipping in and out the traffic. The car was great – it had 4 doors, manual gear, a cassette player and plenty of space in the rear for 3 growing up kids. It even had enough space in the boot to pack durians for the entire family.
We could go now to some faraway places in our own car. Almost every month, my Dad will take us to Morib. Since we had a car, it was easier to travel and carry things for the trip. On the way back, we would stop in Banting to stock up cocoa fruits into the boot.
That car stayed with us for many years until the late 1990s, it got broke down and my Dad did not have the cash to get it repaired (the repair was major due to the model of the car). So, it was left at the car park for weeks until one fine day, the guys from DBKL came and tow it away. That was the last time we saw the car.
In a way, I miss that old car…