I have a new car, and OH and I were musing over the cars we have had. The first car we bought together was a Morris Minor Traveller, which was a pale blue version of the one below (though that one does look as if it has been extended). The Morris was full of character, and brilliant for edging out into 1990s London traffic as people thought "Ah, cute Morris," rather than "Pushy b****** BMW driver".
It was, however, a mechanical disaster. It spent weeks at a time in various specialist garages, and we spent hundreds on it. Every time it went in for its MOT, we dreaded being rung up, told it had failed (it always had) and hearing what we came to think of as the W word - welding.
As well as its shortcomings on build quality, it was absolutely evil to start. Cars nowadays just start. You turn the key and that is it. When we got the Morris it had a starting handle in case nothing else worked. The starting handle took considerable welly, certainly far more than I had. Fortunately we managed to get some sort of modification (from memory, a choke). After we got the choke, matters improved a little. Boy, was I good at starting that car. I knew all about flooding engines, what to do if you had flooded the engine, and how to use just the right amount of choke to generate just the right engine note. I got that car started in the depths of winter. I could keep it going until it had warmed up enough to move off too - much harder than you might think.
Bearing in mind I never fully mastered the Morris' gear box, particularly its lack of synchromesh going into first gear, and, now I come to think of it, going from second to third even with syncromesh, I suppose it was just as well I could at least start it. Character or not, I was virtually speechless with relief when we got our next car, a BMW.
And with no car since have I ever had to exercise my mighty skill at starting the unstartable car. I feel quite melancholy to think of this unused ability, but not enough to get another 1970s British built car. Oh no.