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The Story

My first car.

It doesn’t matter how many cars one can have, I bet everyone will always remember the first. This is how it all began for me.

Coming from a bulletproof N16 Nissan Almera, a car that I don’t consider to be my truly first because even though I drove it around sometimes, It was basically only my first contact with a steering wheel and three pedals and I didn’t spent much time around it. What I also didn’t happened to have back then was a license and the freedom it provides, so I was limited to short but fun drives around my residence, which for the 13-year-old me were like lapping an international race track!

A couple of months after my first adventures behind the wheel, my parents traded the Almera in for brand new Mondeo.

The Mark III Mondeo came as an attainable dream car as soon as I saw an advert of a beautiful “Machine Silver” ST220 alongside with a Focus ST170 on the back of a car magazine.

Ours wasn’t the mighty ST, but sporting the torquey 2,2 liter, 155 horsepower diesel instead, was close enough to me.

With my mom using it as a daily most of the time, I only got close to it as a passenger. Ocasionally I got lucky and could jump to the drivers seat…ehmm…to, let’s say, get some experience for my upcoming driving test.

After getting my title, the Mondeo’s keys were shared between my mom and me and was by then when I started to customize it a bit. With the help of my dad and the influence of some american car scene on the island, I also found my standards which remain until today as the Mondeo still serves as an inspiration for everything I do to my other cars.

A purposely build hatchback is fun to drive and also quite easy to handle due to a short and lightweight chassis, but when you have to deal with the extra lenght and weight of a sedan/saloon, things can get tricky sometimes. With that said, the Mondeo was/is a very safe car and had spared me from a lot of situations that could have gone very, very wrong.

Me, as an 18 years old Petrolhead, with a different kind of car on my hands, probably would not be here today writing this story.

One day, while challenging a red BMW 320d E46, the Mondeo went on limp mode, later revealing some problems with fuel pump and injection system.

By that time it was risky to have an electronically dependant Ford where I live due to the lack of people to properly work on those. The mechanical issues can always be sorted but when specific software is needed to read and code everything that has to be replaced and it’s not easily available because there were no dealerships around, the not really wanted but wiser decision was, sadly, to trade the Mondeo.

The car which came to replace it is better in many ways but during 7 years and 77000 Km, a lot of memories were made and I still regret the day I let the Mondeo go.

César Melo

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