Episode 89. Mitsubishi Celeste. UFC 357T.

With all the fun I'm having cruising around in my Mitsubishi Celeste, I thought that its only right to mention the car that it replaced. My first Mitsubishi Celeste, UFC 357T, otherwise known as 'Miss Daisy'. I'm not one known to name a car, but if a car has a name when I get it, I don't un-name it either, and 'Miss Daisy' is a car that I still think about to this day.

As I'm sure you can imagine, it didn't start out this way. When I got it it wore its factory colour which was metallic grey paint. It looked pretty good too, except for all the surfaces that faced the sky had oxidised, and therefore were very flat. But the bodywork was sound, so I thought that I would attempt my first ever paint job on it. I bought a compressor, and spray gun, then several litres of Ford Signal Yellow to squirt onto it. I laid it on in my Grandmas garage, and the first couple of coats went on pretty good, but just as I put my final coat on the weather changed, and it got foggy, and chilly... It was November after all! Anyway, for a first go I was pretty happy with it, and hit the streets happy with what I had done. After about a month some kind individual decided that what it needed was an added stripe carved into the side with his key. This did not please me at all, but I figured that the way forward, to hide this new stripe I had gained, would be to paint some sort of graphic along the side. My go to graphic of choice at the time was flames! Back the the paint shop, and armed up with another two litres of Ford Signal Green I headed back to my Grandmas to apply my cool flames! Now I'd never painted flames before, and I wasn't really sure what I was doing, but carried on regardless. The hardest part I found was making the flames symmetrical, and then covering the whole car in masking paper! But much like my first paintjob, my first flamejob was far from perfect, but I was happy with it!

After many years of being used as my daily driver, carting me to college, to work, and everywhere else I wanted to go my Celeste was starting to look a little playworn. I decided to refresh it a little.

I thought that I could probably carry on driving it while I restored it. But as ever with this sort of thing, thats not the way. The problem was the more I dug around, the more needed to be fixed. I half heartedly carried on, I wanted to fix it, but I didn't want to stop driving it. It was the only car I had, and I needed it to get from A to B if nothing else!

I think it started to get to the point where it was barely legal. I would get stopped by the Police constantly mainly because they wanted to check that it had MOT and Insurance, which it did. But worse than that, wherever I went in the thing my friends would joke that I must be on the way to a banger meet in it! It really was getting pretty rough. The Rat look hadn't arrived yet, so perhaps I was just ahead of the game, but if I'm honest even I didn't like how it looked, and was even a little embarrassed by its erm, patina! This all came to a head late one evening when I had the chance to take home a young lady who I had been interested in taking home for a very long time. She took one look at the Celeste and said, is that your car? I am NOT going home in that. She then turned and left! She went home with a young fella called Alan who had a red mk3 Escort! They actually married and had four children together before Alan left her to it! Looking at her these days I can only say that I am genuinely glad that she didn't care for my playworn Celeste, it looks like I dodged a bullet there!

Anyway, before long this happened...

My Second Celeste, PEL 837W arrived on the scene! This of course meant that I could stop trying to keep the first one on the road, and I could work on it as much as I liked without having to worry about what I will be travelling to work in the morning in.

I got cracking, and did a fair amount of stripping, and even some repairing, but sadly it was soon pretty obvious that I had ran out of talent, and I was in far deeper water than I was comfortable with. On top of this work was manic, as was my social life, and after a short while I threw a car cover over it, as I was going to get to it some day! I had good intentions to do it too, but it never happened. I don't know how long it sat out there in all weathers under that car cover, but it was good five years, and probably closer to ten! The next time I uncovered it, it was because I had noticed several people advertising that they were looking to buy a Mitsubishi Celeste. So as I had two of them I uncovered it this one as it was more of a project than the other one, and decided that as I really didn't have the talent to get it back on the road, it was time someone else had a go. The time spent under the cover had not been kind to it. It hadn't saved it, infact if anything it had made matters worse. The cover had held the water against the body, and trapped the moisture underneath it.

Nevermind I thought. Somebody might be able to save it, so photographs were taken, and an advert written up. Before long the advert was answered by a very keen young fella who thought that although I was asking too much for it, he would take it if we could agree on a price.

I have to admit that the more I looked at it, the worse it looked to me. So pretty soon we agreed a price, and he had himself a new project! His plans for it were for a complete restoration, and in all honesty I thought he was being pretty brave, but I liked the idea of it being saved, so I was happy he had it.

Before long there was a transporter outside my house collecting my very tired looking Celeste. I wondered if it would actually make it up onto the transporter without breaking especially as the wheels refused to rotate. However It did manage to get dragged on board the transporter, so I figured that was probably a good sign. Sadly after a little while the Celestes new owner had found himself having to cull his collection very quickly as a developer had bought the land that he rented to store his car collection on. Added to this he had found that it was in worse shape than I feared. The rear suspension collapsed when he moved it again and the front hubs were still seized solid, as was the engine. He said that he'd seen worse restored but tracking down all those parts at a sensible price would be a labour of love. He had asked about for donor Celeste's but everything he got offered either had no mechanicals or they were just as bad. I guess much like me, his enthusiasm was there but realistically it would take too much to bring the poor thing back to the road, and you'd probably end up making one car from two... Or three or four! Added to this with his storage crisis keeping him awake at night, it probably just wasn't going to happen. I could completely understand what he was saying, this was pretty much how I felt when I offered it for sale. One good thing did come out of this though. I made a new frined, and became good friends with the fella who tried to save my Celeste after I failed, like they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

The thing is though, like a few of my cars that I have sold over the years I do find myself wondering what happened to it after my friend sold it?

After looking at the DVLA website it would appear that perhaps it's still out there, lurking in someones garage or workshop, but where? It's last destination was Bexhill, which is a seaside town situated in East Sussex in South East England, but after that is anyones guess. The question is though why do I care? I mean I've still got one, and the one I've got is even on the road. But still I wonder, and funnily enough the cars that I've sold and still think about always seem to be the roughest, most playworn cars I've owned! So should you happen to know where there is a very playworn 1979 Mitsubishi Celeste thats pretty much just a pile of rust with every component that should move siezed solid... Then just let me know!