The Dog Haired Laser

When I picked up my first car, the owner hadn’t bothered to vacuum the dog hair lathered over the rear seats. I pulled out into the street, and sunk as I failed to realise that this base-spec Laser had no power steering. As a work colleague’s hand-me-down, it was a gracious gift from my folks, but it just wasn’t what I’d imagined as my foray into motoring.

I thought I’d lined up two very sensible and viable options for a first ride. Either a tidy AE82 Twin Cam Rolla from Ringwood’s Car City, or a privately listed Aus-delivered AE86. I’m thinking the Sprinter must have been listed for about $4k 😞.

Struggling to convey the benefit of older JDM Toyotas, and making a minimal contribution from Saturdays working a car wash, the low-ks and nineties build of the Ford won out. So just before my Ps test, I had a KF Laser in the driveway. 1.6l carby. 13 inch rims. GL trim.

And you know what happens when a 18 year-old wants in on the car cruising community and drives a Laser hatchback. The TX3 rims go on, but they’re still outsized by an 15 inch subwoofer in the back. Four channel amp playing bass-test CDs to shake the number plate. De-badged - make ‘em think it’s a Ghia? Who knows.

Monster tachos and yellow shift-lights were a thing back then. I did’t go quite that far, but a smaller gauge certainly still found itself on the A-pillar. My defence, which I thought was quite reasonable, was that the GL didn’t have a tachometer in the factory dash. Well, factory dash with the green backlights swapped for bright white ones of course.

I cringe now but what a wonderful car. What first car isn’t? The reservations I had on pickup day subsided day two, and for most days before the driving test, I was driving the thing up and down the driveway, simply because I could.