My love for little cars – Part 1

My first car was a 550cc Suzuki Hatch. I loved it.

I wish I’d had a yellow one, but mine was silver.
They usually came in the fashionable colours of white, silver and brown.

Waaay back in 1996 I got a $2000 student loan which my parents convinced me to use for buying a car, when I really wanted a motorbike. Which was just as well, really, because the only reason the uni approved my student loan was because I said I needed a car to cart props and costumes around as part of my performing arts course – which is a bit hard to do (and justify) with a motorbike. Plus I was studying in Ballarat, which ≠ good motorcycling weather.

Uki (I couldn’t call her Suz, because my mum’s name is Sue, and that just seemed weird) helped me move house 6 times, bump-in countless theatre shows when I was a busy but poor stage manager, and kept my relationship with MLM going when he remained in Ballarat for 2 years while I moved to Melbourne.

We often squeezed up to 5 full-sized adults into Uki (and by ‘adults’ I mean uni students, so I’m talking in a physical sense and not necessarily mental). I could look in my rearview mirror and see 3 pairs of knees squished on either side of 3 woolly beanied heads.


Uki even participated in our wedding – she delivered the groomsmen in style…cramped style.

Yes, Uki struggled up the hills, but boy she picked up speed going down them – occasionally even up to the speed limit. The trips between Ballarat and Melbourne on the Western Highway were hairy – lots of hills and lots of heavy trucks. I learned how to slipstream and became familiar with the perfect spots to pass, or get out of the way of, trucks.

Uki broke down at times – I was a student who couldn’t afford regular maintenance. She was pretty easy to push off the road, though. One time we found ourselves running on only two cylinders. Suzuki Hatches only have three cylinders, so this meant driving along in the emergency lane on the Western Highway, doing about 20km/h. When we came to a hill, my boyfriend (MLM) got out and walked alongside, giving a bit of a push to make sure we didn’t start rolling backwards. That was a very long trip.

Fast-forward to the year 2000, and MLM and I went to Tasmania for our honeymoon. We hired a small car for the trip, as we intended to drive all the way around the island. We were allocated a Toyota Starlet, which, to be honest, sounded a little like a Japanese toddler ballerina school to me. Well, we fell so in love with that car that when we got back, we bought one: a second-hand 1998 black Starlet with tinted windows and sports exhaust. We called it the Mini Mafia Staff Car.

But the Mini Mafia Staff Car & it’s untimely end is for another post…

Uki eventually got passed on to a lovely friend of ours who was learning to drive and wanted her own small car. She loved and cherished the little car for a good few years before Uki also met a sad end – being rolled by some Daft Punk fans outside the Arts Centre after a concert. Poor Uki.