My first hot hatch was a black Fiat. An Uno Turbo, it was my baptism of fire in pocket-rocket motoring. Thankfully, the thing never caught fire. But it once spewed steam when the radiator fan went kaput, and it also had a bad habit of spitting out thick exhaust smoke on start-up if it had been sitting idle for more than 24 hours. The quality of the black paint job was a joke, cracked by indifferent Italians who probably did the spray-painting on different shifts spread over several slow weeks, interspersed with a public holiday, an important AC Milan football match and a small factory strike. My Fiat’s black paintwork was otherwise nice.
Then, my racy red Civic VTi came along, showering me in its crimson glory and powering me from one ah lian to another with its DOHC VTEC prowess. It was red and great, but the classic Honda hatchback also put my bank account in the red. Owning that car was painful yet joyful – almost like losing my virginity all over again.
Driving further into debt, I upgraded to a Civic Type R in Championship White. It cost me a bomb, but it was an automotive bombshell. It bled me white, but we made magic on the road.
Then, in a rash move that took me from ah beng basic to ah beng fantastic, I had my Civic resprayed to yellow. It was quite a sight for this shrinking violet, who needed months of practice and thousands of kilometres to master the art of looking mellow in yellow. But I couldn’t do anything about the impressionable young girls, with coloured hair and colourful clothes, who kept jumping into my beautiful bengmobile without being invited/cheated.