Mechaic's Rant Dog

A Mechanic’s Rant

Another thought-provoking editorial from our friend and contributor Robert Morey of British Sports Car Consulting. Dealing with the “non-car-collecting ” public is a mechanic’s nightmare. People who don’t understand cars make the worst customers, and thank heavens I don’t deal with them anymore! A typical scenario with these aberrant creatures would be a 110k mile “Luxmobile” driven in with a leaking water pump, the car showing no signs of ever having a service. The customer states,”I’ve been topping up the water for two months and now the damn thing’s overheating!” So, on goes the new water pump, a gallon of antifreeze and they are gone (ignoring your advice that 7k miles is too long to wait to change that sludge they call oil solidifying in the oil pan). They are back in a week screaming because it still loses water. A […]

Parts in a Warehouse

Parts Pirates

“Yo ho ho and a bottle of ‘automotive snake oil’ ”??? It seems in today’s “buy it now” world of eBay and Paypal, we can now have useless junk sent directly to our front door without so much as picking it up and saying, “$50 for that?!”

Packing the boot as seen at a recent British Car Club show

Stuffing Your Boot or What To Take With You

Greetings again, Jolly gang! It has been suggested to me by persons unnamed that my recent article “What Stops Us” was geared too much towards the possibilities of failure and that this circumstance is so rare (at least with the more handy side of our group!) I should focus now on what to carry in one’s cherished chariot, rumbler, love machine– whatever you call it– to enjoy a more complete motoring experience! Do I have suggestions for this, you query?  You bet your balaclava I do, so take notes– grab your Waterman fountain pen or your quill and well, let’s get started!

What Stops Us - Get On The Road

What Stops Us? Tools and Supplies to Keep Us Going

I’ve been asked many times by forward-thinking owners, “What tools and spare parts should I carry?” So, this morning I pulled all the invoices I could find in the rack that were marked “tow-in”, and here’s what I found. Modern cars (for my purposes those from the 90’s on), keeping in mind they represent about 1/3 to 1/2 of invoices depending on the season, actually are more likely to be towed in than classics! Why is that? I asked Dory the shop dog, and receiving  no intelligible answer beyond a suggestion that we play a little chase the ball, I read more deeply in the invoices. Starting with the modern cars I have 2 “wash downs” on 98 and 99 Jaguar sedans (this is a common failure on those cars that is easy to prevent, call if you need trick), […]

MG in Junkyard

Aging Gracefully or How Long Will My Car Last?

I will, for the benefit of those with less than a master’s degree in mechanics, try to make this simple by breaking it down into categories by era… two very basic ones. All cars from the brass age (turn-of-the-century to about late-teens) until about the late 1960’s are of a simple enough nature that any part, no matter how complex by the standards of those bygone days, can be fashioned today by a competent small company if not by a talented individual. Those cars can — and often do — live forever! They are well supported in many cases by companies in the business of supplying those parts. Why? Because they can make them! The magazines are full of stories of epic mileages recorded by interesting cars (the 3 million mile Volvo, my 600 thousand mile TR4, the 900 thousand […]

Aston Marting with a Misfire

Random Misfire, Maintenance and Depreciation

Ok Let’s see… Random misfire and misfire on cylinder #11 … Looks like you need the basic ignition service. When would you like to do that? How much you ask? Oh, about $4,000. That was a nasty fall, can I help you up, get you some aspirin? Well of course I can break it down. Twelve spark plugs at $40.91 each, twelve coils at $157.56 each, a manifold gasket set at $407.36, and then around $900 labor …. How often?  Well, about every 25 or 30 thousand miles. Perhaps you should sit down again, you look faint. What I’m trying to point out here is that it’s possible to drive a spectacular car as your secondary “real car” for the kind of people that for instance left the 3 year old ‘Benz in the driveway this morning and drove the […]

Tor Johnson

Zombie Apocalypse – Caused By Your Car

Your “modern iron”, “rain car”, “grocery getter” or whatever you want to call it is turning you into a zombie! Yes it’s true, and a lazy one at that! Auto wipers, auto lights, seats that move at the touch of a button, navigation the responds to voice command! They even put controls right on the steering wheel so movement of your muscles is almost gone… Even the kids are not safe – the TV screens in your headrests are part of the evil plot. The kids won’t know what’s going on outside the car unless you feed the backup camera into the the TV headrests! And the list goes on. The start was the automatic transmission, and few took offense. But then they got the Zombie Plan up to speed – although electronically limited to prevent engine damage. Satellite navigation, […]

SU Carburetor Diagram

The Cellist Is Dead, Or, Your Car Is A Symphony

I’m sorry if this comes off as somewhat of a rant, but that’s because it is…. The act of diagnosing a running problem is not always simple; in fact, like a symphony it is most often NOT simple, and that very statement, “I’m sure it’s something simple,” made so many times by owners only serves to anger any mechanic. This statement belittles us and, if you must know, makes us more than a little upset! Imagine having someone tell you your job is simple! It’s like saying, “I could do this myself but I am taking pity on a wretch like you and will throw you a few sheckles from my lofty position, where I cannot be bothered with this trivial thing that is down at your level”… I am careful never to say this to anyone, not the computer […]

The Disenchanted Wizard - Working

The Disenchanted Wizard

Once again we welcome Robert Morey of British Sports Car Consulting to our site with his story of The Wizard. Does this sound like someone familiar to us all? The Wizard sat still, trying to shake off the sluggish mind of sleep, trying to move slowly every little muscle starting at the toes and working up. This seemed the safest way to get all the old parts moving and prepare himself for a day of the new spells, “Ha the new spells!” What a far cry from the magic of his childhood, so sad an excuse for magic;  again he could not move. Sitting another 10 minutes and moving all the parts of his fingers, he finally got up for a small breakfast to stop the hunger. This simple act brought up the courage to get on with it; the […]

Robert Morey - British Sports Car Consulting

There’s Always Better

We welcome a new contributor today, Robert Morey of British Sports Car Consulting. Robert is a long time friend and car lover, and he brings us a remembrances of the old homestead and vintage cars. Hopefully Robert’s contributions will be a regular occurrence here, and your feedback and comments are both welcome and requested. There’s Always Better by Robert Morey I remember my great grandmother’s chairs. They were huge. Seemingly the size of a car, but perhaps this was due to my size as these are some of my earliest memories. The enormous overstuffed  chairs had comforters of the “grandma knitted them” variety draped over them in several layers, and this made the already over padded appearance even more inviting. Never mind the fact that those chairs were situated like the wagons of the Wild West around the also huge […]