Emily Gallagher’s First Car…..

Not exactly what Emily's first car looked like but a reminder all the same

Not exactly what Emily’s first car looked like but a reminder all the same

What was your first car and why did you buy it? My first own purchased car was a BMW 316 1993. Jet black, 18” rims with low profile tyres and a boot spoiler you could surf across the Atlantic Ocean on. I loved her, the seller did remove the all singing all dancing (excuse the pun) stereo as it would have increased the purchase price by £300, a cost I decided was over inflated for his Pioneer CD and cassette player! One other slight snag discovered after purchase, was the fancy low profile tyres were a bit too wide for the rims, with the result there was a binding noise when there were passengers in the back. This didn’t prompt me to change them though, the cool factor outweighed the noise factor so the wheels and tyres remained. Prior to owning this machine, I had been fortunate enough to have driving access to several other cars owned by friends or family, these included a 1986 Audi 2Lr diesel in fire engine red, a 1988 1.4 ‘dual carb’ Honda Civic, and an amazingly cool and ‘In Vogue’ Ford Escort Xr3i. My first motorbike was a 2000 Yamaha YZF R1, purchased in Kristiansand, Norway and driven for almost two years, beautiful bike, beautiful country the perfect combination, 150 bhp on one wheel, safe to say she was fast!

What did you pay for it? If I recall correctly I paid £3,400 Ire pounds (old money) for the 316 and she was worth every penny. Amazingly when I sold her 2.5 years later I got more than I paid for her, £3,500 she traded at, hands down the most reliable car with the best return on investment compared to anything I’ve owned since.

The bike was £11,500 Ire (converted from Norwegian Krone) and I sold her 2 years later for the equivalent of £10,000 Ire.

How did it change your life? Some might say “cars are just a collection of metal and parts to get you from A to B” I live in the world that would seriously contest that. What my first car and every subsequent motor brought, was, absolute independence, endless enjoyment and an undeniable feeling of pride, not to mention the bridge that gapped the distance from being young and “irresponsible” to “all grown up” and (relatively) accountable !

What was the longest trip you ever took in the car? Several up and down Ireland trips mostly from Co. Clare to Dublin. Unfortunately the longest trip wasn’t in the BMW. Myself and my best mate Anne-Marie had finished up in Norway and needed to go back and collect our stuff. We took her 2nd car, Subaru Legacy 4WD, from Dublin on the ferry to Holyhead, drove to Newcastle, ferry to Stavanger and back again loaded down with all our gear. The weight in the back was so much, (even with the 4WD) we almost burnt out the clutch trying to get her up the 2nd level ramp in the ferry from Stavanger to Newcastle, the load master got impatient and we ended up having to lower her back down and park on the level! Best road trip ever…..I should have taken my BMW, although with all the weight in the back we probably would have worn all the rubber off the over-wide low profile tyres!

What was your best memory or most memorable moment in the car? Driving home the day I bought her, on the way I pulled into a petrol station to fill her up, I was beaming from ear to ear and full of pride, I was filling up my car to go on whatever trip I desired, total freedom. I didn’t sleep that night in anticipation of the next day and being able to drive her again. From then on it was all good memories.

What was your worst memory associated with the car? I can honestly say I can’t recall a single negative memory owning that 316, it was all good, even better than good. The saddest day was the day her new owner drove her from my drive, but only a few weeks later I spotted her on the road and she was gleaming, I was so happy that he ‘got her’ as much as I did. The most negative thing about the R1 was from October (November at a push) to March, she lived indoors for the Norwegian Winter, it did afford time to work on her but indoor activity only!

How long did you keep your first car? I kept the BMW for 2.5 years and actually didn’t sell her until after I purchased her replacement, the separation anxiety would have been too great, so it was more of a phased out process!

The bike was sold after I left Norway in 2002, sadly the new owner crashed her only 2 months later (no serious injuries thankfully) but there is a lesson in there somewhere Mr. Norwegian man, DON’T ride a motorbike in sandals regardless of how sunny the weather !


Emily Gallagher

15th August, 2014


Author: wheelsforwomen

Ireland's only website for women on wheels - cars, motorbikes, bikes. Video/ reviews, driving tips - written by women for women.

Share This Post On