National Motorsport Academy

Cars You Wish You’d Kept

We all get a little sentimental about our old cars and whether it was a rust bucket, sloppy jalopy or you were luckier than most, we all remember our first. But we also often suffer from sellers remorse. Your eye gets taken by something faster or a new project and all of a sudden, your pride and joy is off down the road with a new owner. It may take a year, it may take ten, but we guarantee, at some stage, you’ll regret it! So, we asked the NMA tutors and students to take a trip down memory lane and tell us about the cars they wish they’d kept. 

1979 Mk2 Ford Escort 1100 Popular Plus

Tim Mullis

The first car I owned – Grandad’s 1979 Mk2 Ford Escort 1100 Popular Plus .  I received this car in the mid 90’s – Grandad didn’t need it anymore on account of him being dead! 

I was doing my year out at Reynard Racing Cars and this car meant no more trains and buses.  Grandad always sat on a cushion to drive, often wondered why – he was quite tall.  20 minutes down the road with the cushion thrown in the back I understood fully the situation as the damp from the seat made its way through my trousers and the cushion made an unexpected comeback. 

Maserati Quattroporte Evo

Roger Grimshaw

3.2 V8 Twin Turbo 335bhp in Eurobarge leather and suede comfort. Went from 0mph to stupid fast in 5 gallons and it drank like a dipsomaniac at a free bar. The most wonderful car I have ever had, but a service was £2000 and that was not the chains service, that would be £7000!!

Only around 50 were made so it’s turning into a modern classic.

I don’t even want to imagine what it’s worth now so don’t tell me!

Nissan 200sx / Silvia

Wayne Gater

First point here, leading up to this car I’d had Metros, E30 BMW’s and lastly a 2.0 20v Volvo 850 saloon with a throbbing 143hp so I was going for a considerable jump in performance for my first ‘proper car’.

Cast your mind back to the early 2000s. Fast & Furious had only just come out and certainly no one in my area had ever heard of a Nissan 200sx. Well I’d has my eyes on this little one for a couple of months, badged as a 200zx which I think probably helped me acquire it.

When I turned up to view the car it was parked in true movie style diagonally across the road, just waiting to go. As soon as I drove it, I knew it wasn’t standard, from the jolty paddle clutch engagements to the way it responded from the rear to the slightest of throttle input. This was a quick car, certainly for my locality where the 106 GTi and Saxo VTR were considered top of the pile.

 What was originally stated as a ‘standard car’ then turned out to be something else entirely. It had a Cusco limited slip differential, true adjustable coilovers and completely uprated bushings and bracings throughout. Those wheels were a high end two piece split rim and the engine, with Nismo injectors, Greddy FMIC, equal length stainless manifold and roller bearing turbo, full exhaust, Greddy profec twin stage boost control, Apexi Power FC engine management (and a fancy Japanese fold out double din CD player!) was pushing out just over 310hp, which considering this car was 200hp from the factory was a fair amount of performance hike, again something relatively unheard of in my local area.

The body kit is a k’s Aero kit fitted at the factory, with the only addition being the rear bumper which at the time looked well with the rest of the kit. Although I always wondered if it would have looked better with something a little less parachute like.

2005 this was, I was still young and fuel was still cheap, great time to own a performance car. I will always miss this car, but I know it’s long gone.

The guy who bought it fancied himself as a drifter – turns out he probably wasn’t that good at it, as around 4 weeks after he bought it, pictures appeared on the forum of how he’d sent it careering into a concrete barrier on a drift day. A shame to hear of its demise, but in a way, but I take some solace in the fact that it will eternally be remembered as ‘my car’ in the way it looked when I had it. 


Toyota Supra

Ed Sarling

I have no regretted car sales! I own my perfect car. and that’s the short story!

I’ve owned several cars and motorbikes, I’ve loved a few of them but don’t miss them. 


I’d owned 2 Supra’s previously, and I was crushed when one got written off by a drunk in 2008, however while looking for something new another Supra came up for sale in the back of a barn. It had no engine, no interior, no gearbox, but it was black, it had a targa top, and a cool digital dash! This was the model I’d always wanted, albeit missing some bits!


£800 secured it and 4 weeks later it had an MOT! Fast forward 12 years, 4 engines, 2 interiors, some body panels, a lot of performance parts – I’m 6 trophies later! It is, for me, the perfect car and I love driving it.


It’s value now? well its insured for £16000, but I wouldn’t sell or swap it for anything or any amount! This wasn’t an easy journey. There has been money, blood, sweat, and a lot of late nights thrown at this car. It’s been a labour of love! There have been times when it kept giving me problems, a few mates said ‘just sell it and buy something that works’! This is where normally people give up and you would have your story of regret. But I’ve seen too many friends go through this! Jim and his Mk3 Astra, Si and his vectra, i could go on! But seeing how much they wished they had just sucked it up and got through that hard bit, made me determined to not become that person. And now that has forged into my personality that when things get tough, don’t sell the car, push on through, like when the assignments seem hard and the calcs aren’t working, just keep at it! 


Note: Ed is a student on the NMA BSc Motorsport Engineering degree and clearly putting his learning to good use!

Mitsubishi Evo V

Kieran Reeves

Probably my Evo V, wish I had kept that car as it was 1 of only 9 that entered the UK as new, and they are now worth a good few quid. Of course it was modified but kept it sensible at 415bhp.

Wayne I am sure as probably sent you his White Silvia so you can ask him how fast my Evo was. I think he is still hurting to this day. 😂

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