My first car was a Fiat 500 which I bought in 1954. This car came immediately on a long trip, as I drove to Greece, a country which was still almost completely unknown in Denmark. So unknown that I could not even get Greek money in the bank. It was certainly a advantage, because there had just been change of money, and it was perhaps not known in Denmark.
The trip went without too much difficulty, but there was long way to Greece, and I was driving a total of 8,000 km in a month. My Fiat was the model that was equipped with a watercooled engine. This was in front of the car, and not in the rear as the later model 500 with air cooling. In relation to its size this car had quite a large load capacity, but there was no horsepower to spare in the mountains. There was, fortunately, sunroof, because it was very hot in Greece and also attributable in Yugoslavia.
Since, there was some wood in the body, this was not particularly well suited in the Danish climate, and I therefore soon shifted out the vehicle with a similar model in which the whole body was made of steel. The car continued as the family car when I was married and we had children, and it worked really well, because there was plenty of room for a child in the rear, and we could also be four adults who were transported, although not very comfortable.
Finally there had to be a radical change. The Fiat was delivered at the car breaker after about 10 years of relative faith service, and we bought our first VW in 1967. It was not the small Beagle, but a 1500 model, which was the VW factorys attempt to move with the times, but never was as popular as the first model. With us it was popular. There were a lot more space and much more powerful engine in the new vehicle, and with a little good will, there was both room for the children, who now filled well, and mother-in-law.
This car also served us for 10 years, and it was replaced with a similar but slightly larger model, for that was a VW1600, and this car we had in 30 years, but now, 35 years after it was manufactured and with almost 300,000 km on the counter, it is replaced by a more modern Toyota.
There had to be a great overhaul in 1993. 21 years of daily use in the Danish climate bring after all its wear, so there had to be changed many corrode plates. Since this would take time we bought a second car, and this time the little VW Beagle, and I still have this car. It's some work to keep a couple of old cars running, but they are dependable, and at least not leaking coolant. The maintenance has also good conditions in a heated double garage, so it must be a difficult problem which can not be tackled here.
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Edited february 25, 2009