Monday, November 10, 2014


What a load off my mind!

American Ingenuity
It's said that one major reason we won World War 2 was the practical superiority of the average American Soldier.  For example, if the Jeep or truck he was riding into battle in were to beak down, the GI would jump out, take a look under the hood, fix it, and return to battle; whereas, the German Soldier would have no idea why his truck broke down...and would have to wait by the side of the road for someone to come a fix it.

This kind of practical knowledge was expected of us boys of the 50's as well. And many of us carried on the mechanical tradition very well.  But I wasn't one of them. But thank goodness for the average filling station attendants back then. They bailed me out of some very sticky situations. Just imagine having the fan belt on your car break and fall off in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday night.

That happened to me about 50 miles outside of Charlotte chugging along in my little foreign TR3 roadster.

Gas Station Mechanic
Luckily, I found a station that was still open and even luckier was the fact that the attendant was
probably one of those ex GIs who helped defeat the Nazis.  He had never seen a little foreign car like mine, and his gas station certainly didn't stock TR3 fan belts, but he though maybe one of the tractor belts he had in stock could be made to fit my car.

It did, and I went merrily on my way home.

That was just one of many times, some nameless gas station mechanic bailed me out of trouble. After each incident, or course, I vowed to learn something about automobile engines so I wouldn't be such a helpless nerd.

Well, cars got better and better in the 60's and 70's and I'm naturally lazy, so I kept on remaining ignorant....and feeling guiltier and guiltier...until today I read an article in the UK TELEGRAPH

"There's never been a better time to know nothing about cars."

It goes on to say:

"Perhaps there was a time when men really were men and could repair their car with nothing but their wits, an elastic band and the foil from a cigarette packet. If mechanics are your thing then so much the better, but otherwise it’s now a task for a specialist. As this week’s study points out, engines are more complicated - or sophisticated - than ever before, with key parts in different places in the current popular models, and other components hidden from view. "

But the article does say everyone should know how to check your oil level and change it regularly to protect the engine. I can do that. "As the old saying goes, if you can't find the dipstick, the dipstick may be you!"

What a relief!