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Marina

The Mighty Marina. THE car that I classify as my first car. I learnt to drive properly in this, and got my restricted licence in the Marina too (the old guy that was marking my restricted test LOVED the Marina, I’m sure that’s why he gave me my licence). Very good condition considering, very little rust, and tidy inside out. Sadly despite how awesome it was, it burnt as much oil as petrol (I was forever buying 4L bottles of 20w50 oil and it smoked like a train at high RPM), and let me down a couple of times.

Speaking of learning to drive in this car, I happened to have one of the best teachers ever; my partners dad. How do you learn to hill start like a real man? You get taken to a gravel road on a steep incline, told to park facing down, and then to reverse the car up the hill! Positive I can hill start anything, anywhere after that.

There’s an interesting story about the towbar on this car. Due to where the number plate is located from factory, when the towball is fitted to the towbar tongue (which is below the plate in the photos) the ball actually obscures a section of the plate. According to the police officer that pulled the previous owner over, this is illegal and he was made to remove the ball on the spot.

Did a lot of back road driving in this beast too, enjoying the totally unpredictable handling. Go into a gravel corner at speed, it’ll start understeering straight away and then transfer into oversteer, only to return back to understeer. Great fun.

The battery died, one very cold morning (just after the “Big Snow”)… on my FIRST DAY OF WORK. The other failure I suffered was a clutch slave cylinder, it died whilst driving so I quickly learnt how to shift without a clutch (which as it turns out, became a handy skill in a later car).

I was always tinkering with this car, and I learnt a lot about how various things like carburetors, timing and points work. I even found the “BLMC Special Tool” I made to adjust the points gap the other day in my old toolbox…. a slip of cardboard from the cover of a phone book.

It used to use a lot of oil, almost a whole 4L bottle each time I put gas in. I’m not sure exactly what was wrong as I never really looked into it back then, but it smoked heavily at high RPM so I suspect rings. I was using Morey’s Upper Cylinder Lubricant every time I put gas in to help with the whole using unleaded gas and valve seat recession thing. I actually ran out of oil once; I was driving around town heading to my parent’s place and noticed the oil light start flickering and the engine was chattering from the top end. Creeped my way to my destination and put the only oil I had with me in the car; about 1.5L. Light went out, engine was quiet (-ish) again and I made it home with no further issues. Topping up was a pain though as I didn’t tend to carry a funnel and I would often end up spilling some and it would go straight onto the exhaust manifold. So not only did it smoke from the exhaust, but it smoked from the engine bay too!

Sold it to some young kid who also wanted to use it to get his licence. Last I heard, it was rusting away in some old guys barn 😔 My partner tried to buy it back a few years ago as a birthday present for me. She managed to find and get in touch with the owner of the car, who was an older gentleman but after a couple of phone calls his elderly wife didn’t like a young woman calling him and put an end to it. Its like Schrödinger’s car now, sitting in the barn. It could be OK, or it could be dead. I keep tabs on it via Carjam, and the rego has been on hold for years and its last WOF expired 22 Feb 2007. Maybe one day I’ll see it again, but I doubt it.

1976
1.8L B-Series 4 Cylinder single carb, SUPER
4 Speed Manual
Foot activated high beam headlights
Spanish Olive paint

Tastes Like Petrol
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