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Dad cars: what’s a best automobile your dad’s ever had?

 As children, many of us have dream cars nonetheless with a whole automotive universe to name from, a courtesy of youth petrolheads tends to tumble on fantastical rarities with Top Trumps opening total and alpine cost tags. Why wouldn’t it? We competence not be means to expostulate until we’re 17 nonetheless we can all dream from a word go.

It’s mostly in a susceptible years as we proceed a age where carrying a possess cars becomes a genuine probability that financial existence starts to dawn, and a anticipation vehicles take on a some-more picturesque bent. And, of course, a vital change on this transition are a family cars we float in each day – a father cars. 

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Looking past the Ferraris and Lamborghinis on a bedroom wall and out of a window during whatever a aged male has got grieving kerbside in front of a residence is a right of thoroughfare for immature automobile fans. Many of us will remember a cars a dads had with misty-eyed nostalgia innate of prolonged family holidays breathless in a behind seat, supervised opportunities to change a gears and beep a horn on a expostulate or laughable trustworthiness issues. Whether they were good or bad, father cars mostly leave a durability impression.

But that of your dad’s cars left a symbol on you? As father’s day 2018 approaches a Auto Express group has taken a expostulate down memory line to remember a best and many noted cars that came into their dads’ possession during their childhood. 

You can find a father automobile picks below, tell us yours on Twitter (#dadcars), on Facebook or in a comments territory during a bottom of a page…

Citroen BX 16v

Steve Walker – Website editor

Citroen BX 16v

My father had association cars in a golden age of a repmobile by a 80s and early 90s. He was unequivocally many of a perspective that, nonetheless his organisation would usually about concede him to cheep into an entrance level BMW 3 Series or Audi 80, he wasn’t going to do that. Instead he focused his attentions on a tip row of mainstream family saloons on a swift manager’s list – many to my immature delight.

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Memorable installations on a expostulate enclosed a Renault 21 Turbo and a Ford Mondeo ST24 nonetheless my prominence was a black (with red stripe) Citroen BX 16v. With aluminium engine from Peugeot’s 405 Mi16 in a front producing 160bhp and a 0-60mph scurry of 7.4s, it was an considerable savage by many mesures nonetheless for me, a play was all in a hydropneumatic behind cessation that would arise adult when a ignition was switched on. It felt like a future.

Saab 9-5 Aero

Martin Saarinen – Consumer Editor

Saab 9-5 Aero

When a Saarinen family changed to Denmark several years ago, a family VW Passat was substituted for a code new 2005 Saab 9-5 Aero Estate. The dim grey automobile with 256bhp was my initial sense of a correct family automobile and fast left a mark, to a indicate that it’s a indication I’m now looking to possess one day.

The many noted outing in a automobile was a wintry midnight lurch opposite Sweden with usually a aged male and me. An dull highway during night was a ideal forgive to widen a Aero’s legs and press a barbarous ‘Night Panel’ symbol adopted from Saab’s warrior planes. The whole cockpit went dim detached from a immature speedo while a northern lights danced above us.

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Jaguar XJR

Hugo Griffiths – Deputy consumer editor

Jaguar XJR

My father’s Jaguar XJR will always stay with me, and not usually given he announced it with a content summary “Would we trust XJR?” – he’s not unequivocally one for texting, my dad.

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It was a six-cylinder X306 indication – itself a singular savage – done all a some-more surprising as it was one of a few XJRs propitious with a five-speed primer Getrag gearbox. It also looked like pristine murder – black on black with five-spoke disc-style amalgamate wheels. The bemoan from a supercharger, a believe my father was faster than roughly anyone else on a highway – few cars have done such an sense on me since. Even a series image was cool: MI5 XJR.

Rover SD1

Stuart Milne – Automotive handling editor

Rover SD1

A Mk3 Cortina was traded for a B-plate Rover SD1, that during a time was still a stream model. It had a bottom engine, a four-cylinder 2.0-litre corresponding to a three-speed auto. That meant it lacked a energy to get out of a possess way, nonetheless like any SD1 it looked a bit like a Ferrari Daytona. And to my ten-year-old self, that mattered distant more.

For all a fear stories about a Rover’s reliability, it ran faultlessly for thousands of miles. Only a decaying empty on a train holiday and a few interior trim ‘issues’ injured his ownership. In fact, it was such a good car, he traded it for another Rover, this time an 820Si that was flattering many hopeless.

Nissan GT-R (R35)

Lee Stern – Content editor

Nissan GT-R (R35)

This was a initial automobile that truly shocked me. Unrelenting opening and physics-defying dynamics, we had never gifted speed like it. Sitting sweaty-palmed in a newcomer chair it was easy to see since the GT-R won foster with a motoring press. Since my father collected it 8 years ago, we can’t contend a fear cause has ebbed away, we don’t consider a choice upgrades holding it past 600bhp have helped.

One memory of Godzilla, though, will stay with me. After my consistent final to try launch control, for a initial time, my father acquiesced. So aroused was a acceleration, that it left my father dim and volatile – an comical impulse we treasure!

FIAT 131 Mirafiori

John McIlroy – Deputy editor

FIAT 131 Mirafiori

Our family had a twine of FIATs during my youth; we remember my mom pushing a 127 Palio, and my father had a well-used Regata 75 Super that we once gathering from Northern Ireland to southern France for a summer holiday. There were also during slightest dual Stradas, nonetheless we managed to stop him from going a whole sow and signing adult for a Croma.

The prominence for me, however, was positively a 131 Mirafiori. On paper it wasn’t remotely glamorous, embellished as it was in a toilet-related shade of brown. But it was comparatively large for a family during a time, with me in brief trousers and my sis in nappies, and it felt comfortable.

Crucially, though, it had a stately tie to motorsport, around a fanciful 131 Abarth that scored large victories in a World Rally Championship. And for a child who frequently boiled a paint off his Matchbox indication cars, to afterwards relivery them in motorsport colours, this hermetic a deal.

Fiat Panda Mk1

James Howe – Content editor

Fiat Panda Mk1

My dad’s automobile story is best described as eclectic: a two-tone immature Toyota Tercel 4WD, magic-carpet Citroen Xantia and heavy P38 Range Rover all left their symbol on me as a immature automobile enthusiast. None prisoner my imagination like his Mk1 Fiat Panda, though.

Resplendent in singular book Sergio Tacchini trim – finish with poison immature upholstery and pinstripes – a Panda was a inexpensive runabout with gummy front calipers to dad, nonetheless an intent of boxy consternation to me. In sheer contrariety to a cosseting Ford Granada Scorpio family car, each tour in a thrummy Panda was a small adventure.

Ford Cortina Mk4 2.0L

Marc Sibbons – Outreach executive

Ford Cortina Mk4

Not a best nonetheless unequivocally a beginning memory was my dad’s white Ford Cortina Mk4 that he owned while we lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when we was usually a kid. He affectionately called it ‘the beast’ that we entirely embraced and whenever we had a outing out in it we desired a sound of a clunky shrill engine. Don’t consider I’d share a same unrestrained for that pole now nonetheless it is a good memory nevertheless. 

BMW 5 Series (E34)

Richard Ingram – Reviews editor

BMW 5 Series (E34)

My dad’s list of unknown three-box saloons stretches longer than my arm. He’s had large BMWs, Volvos and even a peculiar Jaguar – and in my early days he proudly paraded around in a splendid white Vauxhall Carlton.

But one of my beginning motoring memories is his dim grey E34-shape BMW 5 Series. It was his initial Beemer, and was positively a automobile that got me bending on a Bavarian brand. So many so, we now possess a tatty square-light ’76 BMW 2002.

Despite being a comparatively squalid 520i, we can still remember a sound that silky straight-six done underneath full throttle. It was so smooth, in fact, that my father frequently reminds me of a powers to send me to nap after usually a few miles. They usually don’t make them like a used to…

Renault 19

Alex Ingram – Staff writer

Renault 19

One of a initial cars we remember my Dad owning was an H-plate Renault 19 Prima in Bleu Ozone (pale lead blue, to we and me). It isn’t his favourite given it was a fastest or best-equipped. It’s given it was indestructible.

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From memory, a 1.4-litre ‘Energy’ petrol spent a whole Ingram reign being ruthlessly thrashed, nonetheless it never complained. A Ford Escort motorist rear-ended it, ruining a Ford’s bumper, nonetheless a 19 didn’t have a scratch. Just before a 100,000-mile mark, Dad traded it for a code new Mk1 Megane. Within 6 months it had indispensable dual new gearboxes… 

Vauxhall Calibra

Steve Fowler – Editor-in-chief

Vauxhall Calibra

I never unequivocally forgave my Dad for branch down a event to buy a Cortina 1600E with a sunroof (a burst behind light did it for him). So over a years we done do with a Fiat 850, Fiat 124, a tank-like Vauxhall Victor that flattering many wrote off a Triumph Herald in a low-speed parking incident, a Datsun 160J, a Mazda 323, Datsun Sunny, afterwards a integrate of company-provided Vauxhall Carltons – we could go on. He even had a Jag XJ for a while – a dream come true!

But for reasons that we can usually put down to a mid-life crisis, a white Vauxhall Calibra incited adult on a expostulate one evening. Due to my mother’s disability, we had to have an automobile and a usually indication that came with an automobile during that time was a entry-level 8-valve model. So it didn’t accurately go as good as it looked – nonetheless boy, was it a looker.

Still is in my eyes. Those slight headlights are unequivocally many of today, while a neat coupé physique character was forward of a time, too. Shame a interior came from a Vauxhall Cavalier, nonetheless I’ll never forget a Calibra and conjunction will my Mum – she still says it’s a best automobile they ever had. 

Vauxhall Victor

Chris Haining – Content editor

Vauxhall Victor

If your motoring career is tangible by a initial automobile we float in, cave was cursed from a start. My post-birth float was a 1975 Vauxhall Victor, that we vividly remember from my toddlerhood. Many weekend hours were spent examination Dad brazing pieces of aged tobacco tin into a front wings – it never truly recovered from sitting axle-deep in a quite high waves during a day in a Mirror dinghy. Also noted was a Victor’s vinyl upholstery, that would whip my babyish strength on a balmy day.

The Victor was after transposed by a hand-me-down Cortina. From there Dad’s swift story took a somewhat upwards trajectory, eventually reaching a silly heights of a Mondeo Ghia X 24v. I’m gratified to contend that we heavily shabby his many new squeeze – a 2003 BMW 540i that he bought from me 12 years ago when we sole cars for a living. I’m sorely tempted to convince him out of it when we can means to run it myself.

‘Fully imported’ V6 Toyota Camry

Jordan Katsianis – Content editor

Toyota Camry V6

You’ll presumably suffer reading all about a propitious brood of fathers who owned engaging cars in this list, my memory is maybe a small reduction impressive. My story is formed in mid-90s Australia. European cars deliberate mainstream on this side of a universe were both expensive, and rare, so what was a center category ride? A V6 Toyota Camry, and it’s critical to note a ‘V6’ comes first.

It was navy blue with bullion badges, and nonetheless a unequivocally clarification of bland, it’s expected still on a highway 20-odd years later. There was also an component of honour in a Camry being a ‘fully imported’ chronicle from Japan, an infrequently critical cause of a pestilent tasteless car. Regardless, this transposed a Porsche 944, a trade my father was bizarrely happy about…

Porsche 930 911 Turbo Cabriolet

James Brodie – Senior staff writer

Porsche 930 911 Turbo Cabriolet front

If there’s one thing we suffer deliberating with my dad, it’s cars, given a illusory range of things he’s owned both during my lifetime and before we was born. Early highlights before we arrived on a stage embody a Mercedes SL 230 Pagoda that he reminisces about dewy eyed to this day, a period of Ford Capris and MG Bs, nonetheless also a Lotus Europa Special, that he hated and couldn’t wait to get absolved of.

In my time, a few of my dad’s cars unequivocally mount out. The Aston Martin Rapide S he’s now a unequivocally unapproachable owners of and a sharp looking, black Peugeot 306 turbodiesel included. However, it’s a white Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet tucked divided in a garage when we was about 4 years aged that takes a win. This automobile vehement me and shocked me in equal measure, and it positively stank of petrol. My dual many clear memories are of tears after banging my conduct on a behind of a chair interjection to a squabble of turbo lag, nonetheless also sulking alongside my hermit when one day we saw it being installed onto a trailer, prepared to be taken to a subsequent owner. Mum was delighted.

Morris Minor 1000

Pete Baiden – Web producer

Morris Minor 1000

My father bought a Morris Minor 1000 in 1961 when he was usually 18 years old. For a initial correct highway trip, he gathering it around a UK with his best crony Dave, covering over 1,000 miles. Looking behind during a 1000’s opening stats now – with a 0-60mph time of over 30 seconds and a tip speed of 75mph – it contingency have taken him some time to cover those miles, although, as he still likes to indicate out, a roads were many quieter behind then.

It was also a automobile he had when he met my mother, and he gathering her home in it after their initial ever date. Years later, it was tales like this that done me adore that car, even nonetheless it never unequivocally left a garage when we was flourishing adult – and mostly spent some-more time used as storage space than as a vehicle. we remember it being a enchanting arise whenever he did take it out on a road, like we were stepping behind in time.

But all good things contingency come to and end. My father owned many other cars over a years, nonetheless a 1000 was always around until he finally sole it in 1997. It was a unhappy day.


Sean Carson – Chief reviewer


From a immature age we was bitten by a bug when it comes to cars – mainly, due to my aged man’s mania that was tender on to me. He enjoyed rolling his sleeves adult and removing stranded in, so his infirm years were spent fettling Lotuses. They constantly indispensable it.

A family arrived, so British sports cars done approach for some-more unsentimental prohibited hatches and super saloons, nonetheless all conspired to emanate a ideal unfolding for me in 2003: a ideal automobile during a ideal time.

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He bought a BMW M3 CSL – a brand’s nude out hardcore lane automobile – a few years before we learnt to drive, so time spent in a newcomer chair holding in a 3.2-litre straight-six’s hard-edged initiation bark respirating by a CO twine airbox and a bump of a SMG II programmed primer box’s infamous changes (paddle change transmissions have come a prolonged way) had me concocting notions of one day being means to get behind a wheel.

That day finally came – and it didn’t disappoint. The engine revved impossibly tough and a sound meant we always had it wound turn a clock. The lightweight coupe clawed a tarmac with aggression, generating supercar levels of hold for a time – in a dry, during least. In a wet, for a wide-eyed immature driver, a Michelin semi-click Cup tyres were rough to contend a least…

Mitsubishi Evo 6 Tommi Makinen

James Wilson – Content editor

Mitsubishi Evo 6 Tommi Makinen

Massive spoiler, dustbin lid sized empty and splendid red rally-inspired clothing was flattering many a ultimate regulation for a automobile in my 6 year-old mind, and that was accurately what my dad’s Evo 6 Tommi Makinen book offered. Back in a early 00s a aged male worked as a ubiquitous manager during a Mitsubishi dealership adult in balmy North Yorkshire, and as it was a golden epoch for Evos behind afterwards he had a twine of demonstrators that did wonders for a propagandize run. The Tommi was by distant my favourite, nonetheless a pièce de résistance was that a series image review ‘Y NOT’, which, coincidentally was my father’s logic each time he motionless to unleash his middle Makinen…

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And finally… “My dad’s got a drag racer” – 1955 Ford Popular

Dean Gibson – Content editor

1955 Ford Popular drag racer furious thing front

The one automobile that my father had that will always hang with me was one that we never saw pierce underneath a possess power, nonetheless it still had a flattering large impact on my adore of cars. When we was little, my father had a double garage during a bottom of a garden of a west London semi, and in one dilemma there sat his Ford Popular. However, it wasn’t your standard post-war transport, as my father had remade it into a drag racer.

My father bought a Pop in 1965 from a scrapyard for £10, afterwards sole a engine and gearbox on for £10 (so it was effectively a giveaway car!) and afterwards went about branch it into a quarter-mile apprehension with go-faster tools and lessons schooled from reading Hot Rod repository from a US each month.

He initial propitious it with a Jaguar XK straight-six and afterwards a ‘proper’ 302 cubic in. (5.0-litre) Chevy V8 using on methanol fuel, that was good for 500bhp. The front wings and carp were transposed by a fibreglass flip front, there was a Jaguar four-speed gearbox and a behind spindle came from a Land Rover, while a front wheels came from a Lotus singular seater and a behind tyres were used Formula One rubber, bought from a partner who worked during Goodyear’s racing tyre division.

The interior was nude and propitious with a executive driver’s chair and there was a easy hurl cage, nonetheless it was a purple metalflake paint pursuit (as practical by my granddad) and a name, ‘Wild Thing’ (after The Troggs’ hit), that were a tools that we unequivocally remember.

By a late 1960s, Wild Thing could cover a entertain mile in 11.5 seconds with a tip speed of 122mph, and it kick AC Cobras and Jaguar E-Types in a process. There was a intensity for it to go even faster, too, nonetheless income was tight, and afterwards we was born, so Wild Thing was late to that garage in west London. My father sole Wild Thing in a 1990s, and that was a usually time we saw it move, when it was being towed to another garage in west London.

It afterwards disappeared, being upheld by a series of opposite owners who rebuilt and mutated it to their possess needs. So when my father found it again a few years ago, it was zero like a automobile he’d built. we consider he still regrets offered it. we consider we do, too.

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