Our last new member of 2022

Those of you that have been members for a few years will know that I have managed to persuade the first new member of the year to write a little piece about themselves and their Barchetta. This year I am breaking with that tradition because I thought you would like to hear about our last new memberof 2022. Lynn Taylor is devoted to resurrecting her much loved car. Thank you Lynn for your story and we all wish you a very happy ending!!

Martin Garrad

Where did the love affair begin?

In the early 1990s, I used to commute from Essex to a hospital in East London,where I worked. My daily route took me past a Fiat Dealers in Buckhust Hill, one night on the way home I saw this pretty little green car. The next day I left work early to stop and have a look. The car was finished in British Racing Green with a tan leather interior. I sat in it (big mistake) as I instantly fell in love with it. The Car Salesman told me it was a Barchetta, but as a newish driver, I couldn’t afford the car or the insurance, so I left the forecourt, and thought it could be my dream car that one day I may own.

The years went by and in 2004, after the re-launch of the Barchetta, I was again smitten when I saw one on the forecourt of Salmons in Colchester. I tried to do a deal with my Clio Sport but, even though it was only 2 years old high millage was against me and he would only do a good deal if I had the one on the forecourt, which was not my choice.

In a temper tantrum, my partner gave me a copy of the Exchange and Mart open at an advert for a company called DTR in Mortlake. They had several Barchettas for sale. My heart went straight to a limited edition silver and black one. I already knew as I as I drove down that I was going to buy it! We went for a test drive around Richmond; in my head I was cruising down Italian hillside roads! We got back to the show room, and I bought it. I had to wait 2 weeks as I was going out of the country, it was the longest two weeks of my life, as you may well imagine. Then on the 24th of July 2004 I took possession of my dream car. It had 7500 miles on the clock and DTR maintained it until they moved to Coulsdon.

Living in the garden, to the point when we built a garage around it!

Time went by and when my lovely car had covered some 140000 miles I noticed that my passenger rear side wheel was at an angle and when I got home my partner said it could be springs and he would have a look. Although the car had only just passed its MOT I parked it in my garden, where it stayed until 2016. I occasionally opened him up for air and a clean, but then my husband who collects VW vehicles wanted to build a workshop so my precious car had to be moved.

Airing the car

The battery was charged, a dribble of petrol was put in the tank and hey presto it started first time. It was moved within the garden for the base of the workshop to be laid and eventually parked on the drive. Later still I drove it to a local mechanic for a quote to make it road worthy. I knew there was rust and would need a newish engine. He said the repairs underneath would cost about 2k, before he did anything else, and that the car wasn’t worth it, again my dreams were shattered, back to the drive it came.

Rust from standing in the garden

I traipsed around the country looking for a decent second hand replacement, I found that some newerones were in worse condition then mine. In the years that went by I owned several admirable cars including a fine Renault, a Fiat 500 and my last car was a lovely Mercedes SLK AMG. However, none of these made me feel like I did when I drove my Barchetta. So in November 2022 the car was towed off the drive to a local body repair centre to have the floor pans, seals and arches replaced, once this has been done it will have the engine overhauled with a view to getting back on the road in early spring. It may need a re-spray, but it will be drivable again.

I have never stopped loving my Barchetta, and even though the cost of getting it on the road far out-ways the value of the car, my heart has overruled my head on this occasion. There really doesn’t seem to be any other car that can truly replace it in my heart. In any event, you only live once, right?

Lynn Taylor