Let it never be forgotten that your hobbies are supposed to be fun. Keeping that in mind, this page is dedicated to motoring-related tom-foolery!
This simple test is intended to establish if you're suited to kitcar ownership. Study the following questions and select the most likely answer to each scenario.
You receive some junk mail through the post offering you the chance to win
a brand new Proton. Do you -
a) Throw it out as it couldn't replace your soon-to-be-classic 15 year old Fiesta 1100.
b) Fill in the form and return it thinking that the little woman can use it to go shopping.
c) Fill it in immediately and return it telling yourself you can sell it and put down a deposit on an Ultima.
Your car requires some work. Is this most likely to be -
a) Heading down to the breakers' on a Saturday morning with a few ill fitting spanners to retrieve a second hand brake pipe.
b) Sending the car in for a full dealer service and valet at the company's expense while you go for a round of golf with some work-related acquaintances.
c) Getting a donor car into the drive and spending the weekend relieving it of the necessary grubby bits.
You pull onto the garage forecourt. Will this involve -
a) filling up with oil and checking the petrol.
b) filling up with unleaded petrol, signing for it on the company account and claiming the Texaco tokens for yourself.
c) Having someone approach you to ask about your wonderful car before you get a full tank of four star onboard.
4. Your idea of sporty driving is -
a) having a laugh by intentionally weaving around the roads forcing other drivers to avoid you - after all, their dented panel will cost more to fix than your whole car costs.
b) overtaking another diesel rep-mobile on the M1 at 75mph.
c) Heading out on some tasty A and B roads, easily out-cornering the boy-racer in the Corsa with the big alloy wheels who's trying to wind you up.
5. Your idea of one-upmanship is -
a) One of those red rear window graphics that announces the model of your car to all.
b) Having 15" alloys when the other guy's Vectra only has 14" items.
c) Having a car that gets more looks than the luridly coloured Porsche 911 on the other side of the junction.
6. There's a hitch-hiker up ahead. What happens next?
a) They quickly disappear back into the bushes when they notice your bucket's uncertain approach.
b) You drive on - there wouldn't be room for them anyway - the car is full with your wife and kids.
c) You stop and the smiling, buxom young blonde female gladly accepts your kind offer of a lift.
It's a beautiful summer's evening. Do you -
a) Pull the carpets out of the car and set them in the sun to dry the previous day's rain from them.
b) Cut the grass.
c) Don your shades, pull down the hood and croooooose.
You return to your parked car. Do you -
a) Remove the brick from the front wheel and roll down the hill until you've gathered enough momentum for a jump start.
b) Operate the central locking with your remote keyring and hang your jacket off the JC handle.
c) Step over the side, harness yourself in, fire it into life, and drive heroically into the sunset.
You approach and must negotiate a roundabout. How do you indicate your intended
route to other road users?
a) You daren't. Any use of non-critical electrical circuits is prone to cause an electrical fire.
b) You don't. You never think of why.
c) You don't need to. Your kitcar darts decisively round the roundabout before other road users have a chance to see your intentions.
see how you've done, according to which answers you chose.
Mostly a) - While your efforts to maintain your car's capacity for self-propulsion are admirable, they are probably a little ham-fisted. In any case, it's probably a monetary thing. Your seemingly constant efforts to keep your wheels running would be much better re-directed in constructing one of the budget based kitcars. With some assistance in the hands-on approach to car mechanics, there may be hope for you yet. You're probably already on first name terms with your local breaker, which is a distinct advantage.
Mostly b) - Any trace of car enthusiasm you once had has been reduced to reading motoring weeklies like Auto Express. You now regard the car as a tool, a piece of 'white goods' such as a fridge or washing machine. This is often a natural side effect of company car 'ownership'. Your only hope of retrieving the situation is to take the bull by the horns and get yourself a summer sportscar such as a Fury or a S***n. Given a probable lack of spannering experience, buying one ready built is even acceptable.
Mostly c) - Fibreglass resin courses through your veins. You are the kind of person who sees motoring as a form of entertainment, who lives for warm summer evenings and serpentine B-roads. You probably already own at least one kitcar, and if not, you should do. However, you are slightly given to fantasies of buxom blonde female hitch-hikers.
10 Best Tools of All Time
Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; its never been there when you need it. Besides there are only 10 things in this world you need to fix any car, any place, any time.
Duct Tape Not just a tool,
a veritable Swiss Army knife in stickum and plastic. It's safety wire, body
material, radiator hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more - in
an easy to carry package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct tape
in concours competitions, but in the real world, everything from LeMans-winning
Porsches to the Space Shuttle use it by the yard. The only thing that can
get you out of more scrapes is a 50 pence piece and a phone box.
2. Vice Grips Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling wire twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-til-it-falls-off tool. The heavy artillery of your tool box, vice grips are the only tool designed expressly to fix things screwed up beyond repair.
3. Spray Lubricants A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors, alternator, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig phlegm, repeated soakings will allow the main hull bolts of the Cutty Sark to be removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is the infamous Little Red Tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross eyed (one of the 10 worst tools of all time).
4. Margarine Tubs with Clear Lids If you spend all your time under the bonnet looking for a frendle pin that caromed off the pertal valve when you knocked both off the air cleaner, it's because you eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of tasteless vegetable oil replicas just so they can use the empty tubs for parts containers afterward. (Some of course chuck the butter-colored goo altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike air cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
5. Big Rock at the Side of the Road Block up a tyre. Smack corroded battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types on the noodle. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only tool with which a "Made in Malaysia" emblem is not synonymous with the user's maiming.
6. Plastic Zip Ties After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and wiring with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked-up version to the car parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking mass of amateur- quality wiring from a working model of the Brazilian Rain Forest into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. Of course it works both ways. When buying a used car, subtract £100 for each zip tie under the hood.
7. Ridiculously Large Craftsman Screwdriver Let's admit it. There's nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting or mutilating than a huge flat-blade screwdriver, particularly when wielded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the tool of choice for all filters so insanely located that they can only be removed by driving a stake in one side and out the other. If you break the screwdriver--and you will just like Dad and your metalwork teacher said--who cares, it has a lifetime guarantee.
8. Baling Wire Commonly known as MG muffler brackets, baling wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's not recommended for concours contenders, since it works so well you'll never need to replace it with the right thing again. Baling wire is a sentimental favourite in some circles, particularly with the MG and Triumph set.
9. Bonking Stick This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy ends is technically known as a ball-joint separator, but how often do you separate tie-rod ends? Once every decade if you're lucky. Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all-purpose application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge flat-blade screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick. (Can also be use to separate ball-joint ends in a pinch, of course, but does a lousy job of it).
10. A 50 pence piece and a Phone Box See tip #1 above.
Peter Egan's Tool Dictionary
Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a
kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far from the object
we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard boxes delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling rollbar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just above the brake line that goes to the rear axle.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VICE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale garage cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the Whitworth socket drawer (What wife would think to look in there?) because you can never remember to buy lighter fluid for the pack of cheap disposable lighters you bought in Cornmarket.
ZIPPO LIGHTER: See oxyacetelene torch.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for hiding six-month old B&H from the sort of person who would throw them away for no good reason.
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against the Snap-On Tool Calender over the bench grinder.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you to say, "Bert Weedon."
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a Capri to the ground after you have installed a set of lowered road springs, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front air dam.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a car upward off a hydraulic jack.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters. · PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbour Chris to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.
SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.
TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease build-up on crankshaft pulleys.
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of earth leads and hydraulic clutch lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large engine mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.
BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulphuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning salon. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that artillery shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Somme. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round-out Phillips screw heads.
AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Draper impact wrench that grips rusty suspension bolts last tightened 40 years ago by someone in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and rounds them off.