Recently, the bonds of friendship were well and truly tested when one young fella wrote off his mate’s car.

Now this story isn’t new. We have all heard of such tales before. So what makes this example so interesting?

According to, “RMIT engineering student Brendon An, 23, gave his silver Gallardo LP 550 to Will Shao, 20, while they were in Sydney for the weekend.

“Mr Shao and a cab collided on Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, yesterday morning. The cars crashed into a wall and a pole.”


Image by Gordon Mccomiskie via Daily Telegraph.

Those in the know will realise the significance of such an act, but for folks like me who don’t know their cars, you would not give it a second thought. Apart from being thankful that no one was killed.

Turns out, a “Gallardo LP 550” is a very flash piece of machinery. In fact, it is a Lamborghini worth half a million dollars.

The the stakes were upped a bit, and the idea of forgiveness was taken to another level.

Again, this is interesting. But what fascinated me even more was the fact that Brendan An is a university student, one whose parents have very deep pockets when it comes to spoiling their son. You see, the car was a gift from them.

Now I don’t mind saying, WHAT SORT OF PARENTS BUYS THEIR SON A HALF A MILLION DOLLAR CAR? I am sure they are loaded and lovely and everything else, but WHAT SORT OF PARENTS BUYS THEIR SON A HALF MILLION DOLLAR CAR?

Immediately my mind is drawn back to my time at university. I was one of a lucky few who carried a set of keys to class, along with my portable typewriter.

The car in question was a hand me down from my parents. It was a pale green 1982 Nissan Skyline. I thought I was so fancy because the air conditioner worked. Although the tape player did die with a my treasured Salt N Pepa cassette in it.

I was 18 at the time so I proceeded to trash that car slowly.

I specialised in touch parking. This is where you use other cars bumper bars and rear ends as my guide to smoothly glide into a parking spot. The aerial was ripped off it at one point, so I drove around town with a wire hanger fashioned into a map of Australia as its substitute.

But perhaps the most notable feature, which caused me to be pulled over dozens of times by the fuzz, was a bumper bar sticker that read TAKE ME DRUNK I’M HOME AGAIN.

Yep. Pure class all the way.

Over the course of…. well, my course, that little green car went from looking quite decent when I got it, to taking pride of place at the student carpark. A car park that resembled the aftermath of a very active and successful demolition derby. It was a smorgasbord of bashed up vehicles, each car slightly crummier than the last.

The way that university students cars should be.

Brendan’s fancy car cost more than they average Sydney house. But turns out that Brendan and I have something in common! Our parents both gave us our cars as a gift. And we both trashed them in one way or another, with his car ending up on the front page of the paper having been wrapped around a pole and mine sold for scrap while I was backpacking overseas.

One thing I know for sure. I will not be buying or giving my kids a car when they are older.

I can still hear my parents frustrations ringing in my ears nearly 20 years later. Of course I didn’t value something that I didn’t earn! DER MUM.

I will be watching with interest to see whether Mr and Mrs An decide to buy Brendan a lear jet to replace his Lamborghini.


Tell me about your first car. What was it?

Did you buy it or was it given to you?




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*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter @Woogsworld.

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  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Linda Robinson

    I bought myself a Honda Civic for $3500 (brand new!) in 1975. It was great! My parents couldn’t afford to buy me a car nor did I expect them to do so. I looked after it.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    I was lucky enough to be given a car by my parents for my 18th birthday. It was a very uncool 1966 Hillman Minx, that cost $600 (probably about the equivalent of $4000 these days). It came complete with a big ding in one side, so the extra scratches and dents that I added over the years only added to its charm.

    We’ve helped our two eldest buy their first cars – the deal was that whatever they managed to save towards it, we’d match. Luckily for us, they’re crappy savers and we only had to come up with about $2000 for each of them. We don’t mind helping them out, but I agree that something you’ve earned is valued far more than something you’re given.

    New cars are a really stupid idea for kids. They need a clunker that they can bash around in for a few years till they learn to drive properly.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    I bought my first car, a holden sunbird after I finished University.
    We’re a two car family, my children use one of them when we don’t.
    The family volvo is a lot safer for them to drive anyway.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    sue bell

    My father bought our families very first car when I was 18. No one in the family had a licence so I was made the first learner in the family. It was an ancient Rover, it had tiny (vestigial) running boards and tiny flip out turning signal devise. The car was huge and I could only listen to the radio at 60 km which kept my speed down. I could barely see over the steering wheel. We found out, after it was bought that it had an old tractor engine in it not a Rover engine. Still it went forever andmost engine trouble could be fixed with a screwdriver or a pair of stockings. It was always a dodgy adventure to drive it.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Photographer Mum

    I had a 1984 Honda Civic Shuttle that my dad gave me when I was 18. I have some very fond memories of that car, lots of fun and mischief. Unfortunately the timing belt went (in the middle of Galston Gorge) and it went to car heaven that day. It was such a good little car, even with the problems it had…

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Jodi Gibson aka Lipgloss Mumma

    A red Datsun 200B with purple seats and a sun roof. Ooh yes class all the way. My Dad gave me $1000 for my birthday and I saved another $1000 to buy it!

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    Mazda 1600 bought from the wreckers for $365. Had a heart of gold and went for years until the rust finally claimed it. $20 was a full tank of petrol.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    NoComment of Nunawading

    I turned 18 in 1978 (ouch, hurts a tad admitting to now being 51), and was given a car by my parents, some time after gaining my licence… a lovely Holden Torana, late 60’s or early 70’s (hope no car enthusiasts are going to report that they weren’t made in the 60’s, but that how I remember it)!

    It was a hand-me-down, having been bought second-hand as, firstly the family car, then mum’s taxi, and eventually my (short-term) pride and joy. My Torana had once enjoyed life in a metallic silver colour, but by the time I assumed ownership, was a sad and sorry, flat and dull gray… but not for long, having a good panel-beater friend, it was reborn as a cool rusty orange machine (rusty being a shade, not a condition)!

    I cringe now, thinking back on my colour choice, but, well I’m a 60’s child, I’m not expected to have good colour sense, am I?

    The car elevated me to cool status, for a short time, until having commenced work rather than University, I realised my wages would enable a serious upgrade, much to my parents’ horror; “… there’s nothing wrong with the car Karen, don’t waste your money…”. Good advice, but just not for me.

    So, loan application submitted and approved, I said a fond farewell to my Torana and upgraded to a sky blue Datsun 180B, with fancy hub-caps and tinted windows – I was in teenager “car-heaven”! Turns out the Datson was a total “lemon”, so I longed for my old Torana, whilst blocking my ears to the constant, and oh so repetitive, parental lament of, “You should never have for rid of the Torana, what a waste of money, yada,, yada, yada”… Worst thing was, they were RIGHT (as parents usually are when offering advice to teenagers)!!!

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My folks matched me dollar for dollar in the purchase of my first car. It was a Datsun Stanza SSS, with go-fast stripes, mag wheels and a sun roof.

    The mag wheels were NOT sexy. The sun roof leaked and needed to be replaced. And I was constantly having to grind out the rust, treat the metal, bog it up, sand it back, then re-spray it. Dad taught me how to do it, so I got pretty good at it.

    I polished Stan once (he had a name), then decided never to do it again, because it showed up all the little rust spots.

    It had a killer sound system, and I was stoked to find it had the reversing beep. I thought it was totally cool, till a friend told me you couldnt hear the beeping outside the car. I took out the fuse after that.

    I went to the junk yard and found a sporty steering wheel to replace the daggy standard SSS one (I would often go to the wreckers to get spare parts). I also stole an 8 ball from a club I used to go to and drilled a hole in it and glued some nuts so I could use it as my gear stick nob. It used to come loose from time to time, and once it came off when I was changing the gears. But it was COOL. And BTW, those pool balls are as solid as a rock. Drilling into that sucker took dedication.

    When it rained, Stan would stall when I was waiting at the lights. But despite this, and the fact that an alarming amount of the body work was body filler (not metal) that car drove like a dream. It was like driving a rally car, it was awesome! I LOVED Stan.

    A few of my friends were given new cars (complete with massive sound systems) wrote off their cars in the first 6 months of owning them. My child will be saving up for her first car… I expect she will appreciate it more.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was a 1956 Ford Prefect from my Dad. On my 21st. he was in hospital after a heart atttack~ anyway the car did me well to get to and from uni~ it often broke down at night~ some air filter problem? RAC would come out and suspend a tin of petrol with a tube from passenger side window. This car taught me how to double de-clutch. It also had a cute small metal sign on passenger’sglove box . It said somethig like “dear passenger, when you alight don’t slam my door”…My car”Elsbeth” looked comfortable at law school, parked up against cars we referred to as penises on wheels…owned by young men whose fathers were astrononimically wealthy….

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    Oh yeah…my first car was described as a “polemic diatribe” by someone, a man, now in P.R~ I had a lot of womens’ liberation stickers on her!!

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Nikki @ Styling You

    Our communal (not as in holy but as in share car with my brother) was a royal blue Datsun 180B (I cannot even tell you the year of make but I suspect it was 1970-something) complete with mag wheels and sports steering wheel.

    My bogan girl car journey continued with the purchase of my very own car … a 1979 gold Gemini with tartan seat covers. One driver. One very old lovely old lady driver with a penchant for things Scottish sold it to me. The car – not the old lady – was quickly dubbed Hamish.

    Hamish served me well until my little brother borrowed him one weekend and Hamish ended up second best and flashing what was under his kilt in an accident.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was a baby poo coloured ’76 Toyota Corolla. A total bucket with a dent in each and every panel courtesy of my Auntie who had previously owned it. I loved it to bits anyway and was so pleased that I had my own car.
    I think its important to go through the shit car stage of your life. It toughens you up.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Aeron Winters

    My first car was a 1969 ford (not sure of the model). It was dark royal blue and I think it was big enough to carry about a dozen people) it was so huge I could hardly see over the steering wheel and I really couldn’t see out the back to park it so I just had to estimate how close I was to the vehicle behind me (lol). Although it wasn’t pretty, it was mechanically sound (dad being a mechanic and all) so it was very reliable transport. It was almost as old as I was and I had it even after I finished school and went to work. I didn’t replace it until I had been working for two or three years. It was getting into pretty sad shape by then. I should mention that it was a ‘gift’ from my dad when he replaced my mum’s car…not exactly flash, but better than nothing.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Scandi Coast Home

    My parents didn’t help me at all……;O)
    I got my license when I was 23 and bought a Ford Laser (with the help of my wonderful husband). I really loved and appreciated it (and my hubby).
    Tania xx

    • Reply October 2, 2012


      Mine was a Ford Laser, too. It survived burst hoses, running out of oil on the Hume Highway and sliding into a ditch at 2am one morning, front first…spun several times on back roads in the Strathbogies without crashing…a little, manoeuvrable (?sp) car that nad absolutely no guts up hills but boot space. My first car should have been a Mazda 626 but my brother got his licence before Mum and Dd moved on to a new family car and he blew the head gasket about 10k out of town. Country kids!

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    It is not a good idea for the young and inexperienced to be driving old unsafe rustbuckets. Novices should be driving the safest cars they can afford. The road safety research centre at Monash University (MUARC) and NRMA/ RACV etc put out lists of the safer second-hand cars recommended for novice drivers.

    New cars these days incorporate many more safety features than a 10 – 15 year old vehicle, such as airbags and stability control. Ideally, these safe new are the cars novices should be driving – but that is probably not going to happen.

    Also avoid very small cars of any vintage – the smaller and lighter they are, the less safe – all other things being equal.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was a 1971 Toyota Corona and I bought it myself when I was 16 for $1000 (I had been working since 14 and saved furiously to buy it).

    There was no way my Mum and Dad would ever have been able to afford to help me buy a car and I’m glad they didn’t. Too many adults these days rely on their parents to buy them cars, give them deposits for houses, etc. Being forced to stand on your own two feet financially is character-building. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was a Datsun 120Y, at the time in 1990 I thought it was the bees knees as the family car was a Kingswood Stationwagon. My dad lovingly restored it for me as it had been purchased from the wreckers. He even sprayed in red to replace the horrible orange colour that is was. I gave that car absolute hell and it never ever failed me. Only once did I have to actually spend real money on it replacing the clutch cable. Filling it up left me change from a $20. I learnt how to smoke a ciggie, change gears and drink a can of coke whilst driving in my beloved Daisy, thank god we didn’t have mobiles back then! I loved that car but it seemed to be a magnet for every idiot on the road to hit me. I finally had to get rid of it when it came off 2nd best in its 5th major car accident. My son will probably have a car bought for him by his dad or Grandfather, it will be a race to see who does it first (the joys of divorce). But knowing my dad, he will have the lad out there learning how to check typre pressure, change tyres and check under the bonnet like he did my sister and myself.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Smitten Kitten

    I was given a 1984 White Corolla, I named him Tarquin, he was older than me and an auto as I couldn’t drive manual. I loved it, my boyfriend (now husband) and I spent hours on it, I honestly believed I could “do it up” to Summernats standard and it would be an ideal “sleeper”.

    Unfortunately over a few years I racked up the kilometres to about 400,000 and Tarquin didn’t want to go anymore, I bought the same model, but manual in nana-beige and sold Tarquin for more than my parents paid, after all it had a cd player and rims.

    The nana-beige rolla, named De Manuel (get it? The Manual?) was a trying beast, it brought my boyfriend and I to a grinding halt at many a dirt road to scream at each other as he was teaching me the gentle art of driving manual, of course he was joining the army so I only had 6 weeks to learn and of course I had already sold Tarquin. Happy Days.

    De Manuel was loyal to his last day, after stalling regularly including once during peak hour on the Story Bridge (trauma!) we knew it was time to say our goodbyes. We negotiated a $2000 trade in on a new Hyundai Accent, he took us the 100km to the dealership but as my boyfriend (I know he took forever to marry me) was supposed to drive De Manuel around the back as the snotty sales people didn’t want it in the front row of their caryard where I had parked it he tells me De Manuel has died, he will not start. So we jumped in the Hyundai super fast and hit the road.

    I treasured that first car and often think fondly of my ‘Rolla’s and we always point it out when we see a Tarquin or De Manuel on the road <3

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    pauline w

    My first car was a Ford Cortina (1970?) 2 door, about $1000 when I was 17. My parents bought it for me but I paid it off weekly from my $32 per week student nursing wage. Because it was a 2 door, it was considered a ‘sports’ car and the insurance was horrendous, so I only had third party. It was written off when someone went into the back of me and wasn’t insured at all. I had to keep paying off a car I didn’t have. I think I got a few dollars for scrap.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Smitten Kitten

    Oh I forgot to mention I lived in a small country town (one set of lights and there was a ceremony when they were put in). I could change a tyre, hoses, jump my battery and check and replace all the fluids. I even repaired my fan belt on the fly a dozen or so times!

    But the best bit was the mysterious stalling problem, and in the last few months before we moved to the big smoke I had a deal with the NRMA guy, every morning before work I would make him a coffee and toast and he would be waiting in the driveway to jumpstart my car.

    I knew lots of friends who got new cars but none of them loved and appreciated their car like I did. When I have children of driving age I will help them buy their own car, and I can only pray we find an ’84 corolla on the side of a dusty country road for sale.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was also a Nissan Skyline but an ’88 model. I bought it for $7500 in 1997 which was big bucks back in the day. It left me with the sum total of $100 to my name. Dad would only let me buy a rear wheel drive car so thats how I ended up with a skyline. Loved it to bits.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    It’s also not safe to put a supercharged car into the hands of a 19year old “child” – their brain has not completed development – it’s giving him permission to go out and try to kill himself as there is no way a boy (or girl) of that age would drive at 60km/hour in a Lamboughini.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was given to me by my grandfather in 1983 – it was a ’72 Cortina, 6 cylinder, brown with a cream vinyl roof. I loved that car- I did my driving test in it and it became my ticket to freedom.

    Apparently my “rating” with the lads from the local boys school went from a 6 to an 8 once I got that car, lol (in my defence I still had braces on my teeth until I was almost 18)

    We had a few bingles and it had a habit of stalling whenever a bit of water splashed up onto the spark plugs. I “fondly” recall jumping out of the car with my trusty can of WD40 in hand to spray the plugs and get her going again – yes, ever in peak hour on the Cahill Expressway!

    It was stolen twice from outside uni – the first time the police called us to collect the car. It had a broken accelerator cable and dad rigged up a bent coat hanger as a temporary accelerator, sticking out the side of the bonnet which he could just reach as he drove by hanging out the driver’s side window.

    The petrol gauge died in it’s later years and I often ran out of fuel and trekked to the nearest petrol station with my jerry can.
    Finally it was beyond registration after many years of loyal, if not unreliable service. I sold it for $250 to a guy who said he was going to do it up. He arrived in a car that looked worse than mine, with his girlfriend, baby and what looked like their wordily possessions in the back seat. To this day I think they may have “upgraded” to my unregistered car – perhaps living in it?

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    my first was a 92′ honda civic hatch- velvet blue I used to describe it as. I was wrapped, saved up myself and bought it for a couple of thousand after suffering all through uni with a busted push bike… my mates got a good laugh, reckon’d it looked like a hairdresser’s car.
    transmission was forever dodgy, but it did once make it half way down the qld coast on just a few drops of water in the radiator and no oil! Was a beast!

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Jo Johnstone

    A ’59 VW white bug which kept on catching fire under the back seat where horsehair covered the motor!

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Kristin Moore

    A white Holden Torana – one of the fastback 6 cylinder ones that were VERY fast. Also with a map of Australia aerial and containing half my wardrobe as I lived out in the sticks. Eventually went for scrap.

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    Ha! My first car – my beloved 1972 Toyota Corolla that was older than me by a few years and cost me $850 – was also sold for scrap when I was backpacking overseas.

    I was devastated when I arrived home but really, it was the right decision. That thing was a death trap!

    I was carless (and probably careless!) for about 12 years and then bought myself a nice, second hand, safe Mazda 323. For $14,700. What a jump in price!

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Cybele @ BlahBlah Magazine

    I spent a lot of time in my mate’s baby poo brown Dato 180B until I could afford to buy my own poo brown 1970 mini. I loved that car. It could fit between the bollards of Pitt Street mall, so we drove it down there after I made a wrong turn.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Robyn (@slightly_deep)

    My first car was a 1987 Mazda 626- it was as old as I was, and we called him Frank the Tank. My parents bought it for me- they bought all 4 of their daughters their first cars, and each car was dodgier than the last. We lived 4 hours from the closest city, and all had to travel for Uni- and those cars used to do a lot of km’s!

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    A Mitsubishi Colt sedan was my first car, cream paintwork and deep beige interior, cassette player must have been worth a bit because someone broke into the car one night and literally ripped it out of the dashboard. I had many great drives in it until it started blowing smoke like there was no tomorrow and another great moment was when the horn went off and wouldn’t stop, major headache. Oh how I miss my Little Cream Colt!!!

  • Reply October 2, 2012


    My first car was a white laser. Great car. Lots of fun. Replaced with a lilac mirage that ran for years with little care. My husband eventually wrote it off by hitting a roo, about 2 years ago. We had it for 12 years with no dramas. I loved my purple car, it was all mine.

    Like the above story, while at uni, the only time I saw security being cheered was when they booked a Porsche with red p plates that had parked in a disabled spot.

  • Reply October 2, 2012

    Ms Midge

    I bought my first car a couple of months after getting my first job – at 19. I had saved $1000 and borrowed the other $1500 from the bank. She was a beauty – baby poo brown 1977 Toyota Corolla Coupe – with a sunroof and mag wheels. Hilarious. Certainly taught me to treasure what I’ve earnt.

  • Reply October 3, 2012


    My first car was a 74 chrysler/mitsubishi galant. My dad picked it out as they were paying for it. I really wanted a torana like my sister, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. It initally had no stereo, so I used to carry my boombox in the front seat, except when I had passengers. It was unstoppable though. One Saturday morning my parents went to move the car and it was filled with smoke. When they opened the ashtray all 1000 cigarettes caught on fire.

  • Reply October 3, 2012


    My first car was a 1971 Ford something. Cost me $900 – mum & dad paid half & I had to pay them back. It was mustard yellow with a dark brown roof. 3 speed auto, speedo was still in miles. Rust had eaten holes in the floor – you could see the road as you drove. The intermittent wipers were controlled by a button on the floor that you had to press with your foot. Ran on three of four cylinders – you had to put it in neutral & keep your foot on the accelerator when you stopped or the engine would stall. There was no carpet – that was taken up as it leaked when it rained & the carpet started to smell after a while. It was a 2-door, but you couldn’t get in the back seat as the seat release didn’t work. I cried for days when someone stole it when I was at work one day. It was found burned-out in the bush a couple of weeks later. Sad ending to a great little car.

  • Reply October 4, 2012


    My parents gave me my first car, a cream 1967 VW Beetle with red vinyl interior, it only had AM radio so I took a portable cassette player that I hung off a bar which was on the dashboard in front of the passenger. I drove my friends everywhere & we often had to roll start the car & there was this one time after an INXS concert I was driving everyone home & one of the front wheels broke off. I used to call the car Basil & he had personality – loved that car even if it did break down have no air conditioning the heater didn’t work & an AM only station on the radio. I looked after it as best I could but I was working so needed it for that & night school.

    Oh yeah I forgot who spends $500K on their kids car!!!

  • Reply November 10, 2012


    My first car was a white 1973 Chevrolet Suburban 3 on the tree and equipped with a 454 7.5L. It was a thirsty beast which was scary in wet weather due to all round drums and non- existent PS. It had meat locker like AC and there was enough space for anything from a fridge to 9 people. It only had AM 8 track at the time though. I sold it 10 years ago to a guy who says he will keep it as long as possible and I still see it once in a while.

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