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The Incredible Scarlet

Peugeot 309 XL Date Milage
Registered 27-OCT-1987 0
Acquired 24-JUN-1989 11,700
Released 04-JAN-2003 201,014

 

Scarlet aged approx 18,000 miles. Summer 1990

Scarlet aged exactly 201,014 miles January 2003

 

Quite simply, the most loyal,trusted friend over a period of thirteen and half years. Scarlet came into my life on the 23rd June 1989. I saw her in a used car lot. She was brought in the day before. Heavy rain the previous night meant she was covered in red dust that had since become encrusted onto her "Regency Red" paint work. 11,700 miles on the clock, one previous owner and priced at the princely sum of 4,795. next to her was a White D Reg Ex-demonstrator 309, but this beauty cried out to me. One test drive later I was committed to 30 months of late 1980's Hire Purchase at astronomical interest repayments and on the 24th June 1989 she was registered to me. We never meant to stay together as long as we did, the idea was 2-3 years tops, but we kind of  grew into each other. There was always other things to spend the money on (Mortgages, women, drink hahaha) and it was always cheaper to keep her.

Scarlet told me her name after 2 weeks, she was originally called Yvette, but she told me that was a stupid name and that she preferred Scarlet...and (if I was honest) so did I.

Most that knew her, loved her, there was just something about her that grew on you, although, one very worried later life passenger did complain of disturbing floor vibrations from the dodgy front near side driveshaft (oh and the bizarre burning smells).

Our first few years together were wild. Helped by the fact that you could actually get three sets of golf clubs in her (plus trolleys) and that she was spectacularly beautiful. "Be careful of men who drive cars like that" one wise mother warned. We eventually settled with the daughter of that mother after four years, or in Scarlet's case 48,000 miles. 

Numerous holidays and jaunts around Britain ensued. We went everywhere.

At 77,000 miles I got bored with working five minutes from home and we decided to work 45 miles from where we lived. For six and half years Scarlet did 90+ miles a day. With her radio we discovered

  • Radio 2

  • Wake Up To Wogan

  • Sorry I Haven't A Clue

  • The Shuttleworths

We heard Terry read out numerous daft e-mails of mine along those motorways. 

Her radio and cassette played so much music that she introduced all that listened to her...in particular....

  • Tori Amos

  • Jewel

  • Led Zeppelin

  • Rush

  • A particularly disturbing version of Sinead O'Connor's "Jump In The River"

  • Tenacious D ;-)

One compilation tape had the sound effects of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise on. We used to have fun  entertaining our passengers with that.

In our younger days we used to outrage everyone with our sadness, playing at full volume (whilst driving into work)

  • Guns n Roses

  • Bryan Adams (sorry, I know i am ashamed)

  • Tom Petty's "Full Moon Fever"

  • Kylie's 12" remix of "Hand on Your Heart" (no I'm still proud of that one)

 

What can I say? We where both young and a little 'Reckless'. I think the height of embarrassment (for me anyway) was twirling her keys on the end of my fingers in a local High St. The keys flew from my hand, skywards, before spiraling downwards into the drain cover.

In our latter days the TOG sticker in the rear windscreen was enough to outrage any passing witness.

To our knowledge we only ever hit two birds. Both on the local "Duel-Cabbageway", one was pigeon, the other was unidentifiable. I'm afraid many, many insects where killed, Scarlet and myself wish to apologise to any insects reading this.....except that moth that took two months to remove from her front windscreen.

Roadrage? The odd few moments

  • A meathead outside a Garage one night just past midnight. A gentle bleep on the horn resulted in him stopping getting out of the car and approaching armed with something heavy. Unfortunately we missed the b*stard as we swerved around him at speed...he desrved worse.

  • A rather arrogant mid-evening racing cyclist, who was annoyed that I found his cycling in the middle of the road at 21mph frustrating, decided to spit on Scarlet's windscreen. He then decided to cycle at record speed as we drove six inches from his rear wheel. Should have seen those legs go....

  • An absolute T*sser in a BMW who cut across three lanes on a roundabout. On my complaining (along with some rather splendid improvised hand signals) he decided to stop and get out and have a go. he was more shocked when I then wound the window down and gave him a go back. He retreated back into his cave...sorry BMW M3 Penis Replacement

  • A rather disgruntled pedestrian who decided that although Scarlets reversing lights were ON and we were in reverse motion, would still walk decide to walk into the path of our passage. Much bonnet slapping and head slapping ensued.

The bulk of her miles were done on the South-East motorways of England during the last six and half years we were together. Scarlet loved the M25, we used to enjoy spotting the cars that were older. On some days it was as many as three.

We had many adventures together and our last few months were our last great ones, we lived dangerously together and she always protected me, she didn't let us down.  She saw everything, heard everything and lived everything. Scarlet was my chariot, my confident, my phonebox, my rock.  

But Scarlet was tired and she told me late in 2002 that she really couldn't do this anymore. The Blue Tac on the drivers window wasn't keeping the window in place anymore and she was getting pretty embarrassed with me having to open the door and get out to pay the toll booth guy at the Dartford Crossing and at Ashford International. Such was Scarlet's embarrassment, that she would show off and refused to give me the seat belt back. The final discussion we had was on the A244 one Monday morning. Held up in a queue of traffic for 5 minutes, we pulled away and she gave off a glorious puff of blue smoke. "I'm not putting up with this much more" she said, "but I'll get you through until you find my successor, but don't wait too long".....

So on the 4-Jan-2003 we said goodbye to each other. Scarlet was exhausted, but she purred like a kitten as we pulled into the garage where we said goodbye. Our last drive was in a blizzard along the A20 and back on the M20. I think she ordered the weather as I wanted 'one last thrash'. Scarlet knew one last thrash would probably kill her....we parted whilst she was still alive....

 

 

9:06am 4-JAN-2003. 201,014 miles. Thank You Scarlet

 

 

 

What was replaced (from memory) Scarlet let me down on 7 occasions on the road Bizarre later life design features
  • 4 Replacement Driveshafts (nearly 5)

  • 3 Sets of Front Shocks

  • 3 Sets of Rear Shocks

  • 3 Sets of Front Brake Discs

  • 3 Handbrake Cables (nearly 4) 

  • 1 Replacement Front Windscreens

  • 1 Replacement Rear Windscreen

  • 1 Replacement Gear Linkage Rod

  • 1 Replacement Rear Anti-roll bar

  • 1 Replacement Choke cable

  • 1 Replacement Near Side Indicator Unit that spectacularly exploded on the A2 

  • 1 Replacement Electric Radiator Fan

  • 2 Replacement Clutch Cables

  • 4 Exhausts

  • 4 Batteries

  • Numerous sets of HT cables, Distributor Caps, Rotor Arms.

  • 1 Replacement Drivers side lock (the key snapped in the original)

  • Countless Light Bulbs 

  • 1 replacement set of Rear Brake cylinder seals

  • 1 Replacement Water Pump

  • 1 Replacement rheostat board for the electric fan

  • 1 Replacement Warning light switch

  • 1 Replacement Blower Fan Direction Knob

  • 2 Bottom Hoses

  • 1 Replacement fuel hose, disturbing smell of unleaded in side the car alerted the driver

  • 1 resealed Drivers side light cluster. First alerted by a boot that resembled a swimming pool (common 309 problem on the first rain of winter)

  • The odd fuse (blown fuses always caused bizarre electrical problems)

  • Numerous CV Gaiters

  • Numerous tyres..forgot how many. 

  • Approx 32 Services

  • Approx 5700 Gallons of Unleaded Petrol

  • Original Gearbox

  • Original Clutch

  • Original Alternator

  • Original Starter Motor

  • Original Engine

  • One unfortunate collision with a White Van,  whose owner I sincerely hoped fell off his ladder

  • One unfortunate collision with a bollard in an unlit car park in August 1989

 

  • 2 Clutch cables
  • 2 Bottom hoses spurting coolant all over the M26 and M25
  • 1 gear box linkage
  • One near side rear 'blow-out' on the M26
  • OK it was me that left my side lights on at Lakeside

 

  • A constant knocking from the front drive shafts, no matter how many times we replaced them. That lasted for 5 years with no detrimental effect.
  • Odd burning smells when coming to a rest
  • A second gear that would always 'crunch' from 70,000 miles onwards
  • Drivers side rear wheel used to get extremely hot
  • Ominous plume of blue smoke when pulling away after a few minutes of idling
  • Terribly susceptible to damp once the Peugeot 'plastic bag' over the distributor disintegrated.
  • Wheel trims that never ever stayed on
  • A starter motor that would refuse to either switch off, or switch on
  • An engine that would always have the last word
  • All the dashboard lights had blown, speed was estimated via 'seat o the pants' method
  • A Drivers window that would refuse to stay shut
  • A Drivers Seat Belt that would refuse to release itself more than half an inch a time
  • The gas cylinders in the rear hatch had long since given up the ghost, leaving the owner to strategically balance the hatch on his head, whilst removing the shopping
  • A non-functioning rear windscreen heater due to the lead coming adrift (soldering the first detached lead caused rear windscreen number 1 to explode in spectacular fashion)
  • A front grill that got damaged by some debris that hit her on the M23/M25 intersection, loving repaired by local garage and then destroyed once more by my neighbours football playing brats.
  • Numerous small nicks and dents inflicted by above brats, although I could never prove it.
  • The radio (a rather fine Phillips) worked till the end, although the cassette player gave up in 1998.
  • Bodywork? Both rear wheel arches had seen better days. The front bonnet was starting to go and both door sills were corroding where the drain points on the doors dripped. Oh yes and the drivers side seatbelt point was looking very very dodgy