OPINION: My first car was a Minx
OPINION: You never forget your first car - and mine was a Hillman Minx.
Unlike today when most teenagers regard it as their right to have their own car, I was in my 40s with four children before I got my first car and even then it came as a great surprise.
My husband and the kids woke me early on my birthday, handing me the end of a string and telling me my present was on the other end.
Still in my PJs, I followed the string (kids all giggling at the rear) all over the house, around the backyard and into the next-door neighbours' driveway where ... there was a Hillman Minx and it was mine.
I could hardly believe it. It was black and certainly not new but it opened worlds for me and my children.
The year was 1962. At the time we lived in South Australia, at a place called Christies Beach, which is heavily built-up now but then it was regarded as country.
The Minx was manufactured from 1932 to 1969 as a middle-sized family saloon by the Rootes Group - an English family-owned company headed by brothers William and Reginald.
Production ceased in 1969 and now the Hillman Minx has become something of a cult object.
But mine was a workhorse.
It ran on fumes - my daughter swears she remembers me buying 18c worth of petrol - and I don't remember too many services either.
But I drove my kids to school in hot or wet weather - although they generally walked - and importantly, I soon got a job at a nearby chook farm.
I drove all their friends home after post-school visits, during which they scoffed up huge quantities of fried scones with syrup, and the Hillman was usually grossly and illegally overloaded with passengers.
It didn't even have seat belts. Or indicators.
School holidays were the best. With a car we could go for picnics on the beach or in the hills, we caught yabbies in the creek, went fishing, went sliding down the Noarlunga sand hills, swimming - the days were never long enough.
And on the first day of term I severely embarrassed my children by tying balloons and streamers to the Hillman to drive them to school, in mock celebration of the return.
As the kids grew I taught the three eldest to drive in the Hillman Minx. It had gears of course.
Just for the record, they are all good drivers.
At last my well-worn Hillman was traded in for a Mini Minor - but that is another story.