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Today we will set aside the political correctness and proper etiquette with which we usually treat our hobby. Therefore, it is probably best if fainthearted readers or those who simply offend easily choose not to read any further…

There is a perfectly good reason why the Catholic Church offers the opportunity to repent your sins in the confessional. Cleans your soul and unburden your heavy heart in order to move on with life. I imagine we might be able to offer our faithful ViaRETRO readers something similar today.

I’m sure those of us who enjoy tinkering with our classic car in the garage have probably all been there. Sometimes our repairs are perhaps not entirely by the book. It’s obviously not that we don’t know better – that goes without saying! The correct repair accomplished with both the correct components and the correct tools is naturally what we would always prefer under normal circumstances. But there are times when one or more of those elements are lacking. This is when we are forced into being a bit more creative and imaginative. And before the purists raise their voice, I think it’s in place to point out, that it was this ability to improvise and explore new paths which led to the invention of the wheel in the first place.

However, this form of DIY activity out in the garage or perhaps even on the driveway, is all too often followed by a state of crisis. Either through dysfunctional mechanicals or being ridiculed within your social circles. Still, we all know that the passage of time heals all wounds. For years, all of us with a guilty conscience have benefitted from the art of denial. Yet, nothing takes the weight off your shoulders quite like a confession. Today ViaRETRO offers amnesty to all those brave enough to tell their story of wrongdoings from the hobby workshop. And to those about to write the editorial team, arguing that airing our dirty laundry will only serve to shame our hobby, I have but to say: Start by looking in the mirror, reflect upon your own past endeavors, and I’m fairly certain that you too could benefit from getting a few truths off your chest.

Yes, I too have a ghastly and cringe-worthy story from an engine repair multiple years ago. It has haunted me in reoccurring nightmares since the day of my sins. It is time I too come clean and share my story with likeminded enthusiasts, and I sense today will be that day. However, I am too mortified by my own actions to be the first to confess openly. For that, my story is simply too horrific. I sincerely hope someone else will have the courage to get the ball rolling with tales of minor misdoings. I promise you I will since bare my soul to all of you…

 

About The Author

All cars are lovable. Especially if they are Italian or French. I prefer them kept original, displaying as few modifications as possible. Sherry, a good cup of coffee and the sound of Miles Davis sums up the good life. Søren's keeper is a 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV – but he continually flirts with French connections such as DS, 2CV and R4.

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5 Responses

  1. Anders Bilidt
    All right, I’ll be the brave one and dive in first with a few of my bodges…

    Yes, I too have once repaired an exhaust on an early Toyota Starlet with a Coke can, a significant number of cable ties and an equally exuberant amount of aviation-grade speed tape. While it didn’t hold up for long, it still held up longer than I had anticipated…

    I also drove around for probably a good half year with the battery of an old BMW 1600 Touring I used to own, tied down merely with a bungee cord. The thread for the factory tie down had rusted and disintegrated, so what was I meant to do?

    But the funniest was probably when the wiper motor on my FSO Polda (my wheels during High School) failed during a longer trip which involved rather heavy rain. I had some thin rope in the boot of the car which we cut into three pieces. One piece was tied between the two wipers. A second piece from the left wiper and in through the left quarterlight to reach the passenger seat. Then the third piece from the right wiper and in through the right quarterligt equally to reach the passenger seat. Finally we disconnected the wiper arms from the now dead wiper motor. For the remainder of the drive, it was up to the muscle of my suffering passenger to ensure that the wipers were keeping the windshield clear for me to see the road ahead! :-)

    Who’s next with their confession?

    Reply
  2. jakob356
    The brake pedal in our 1978 VW bus, would not return fully due to a vacuum leak, but with a spring from a desk lamp under the cabin floor it was “fine” again.

    The start key stopped working in my 1989 Citroën BX Break diesel, so I bypassed the wires to a switch for the electric side sidemirrors, which had also stopped working.. So it got a start button like my old Citroén DS, very cool!

    Reply
  3. Dave Leadbetter
    We shouldn’t confuse bodging and being creative here. There’s very little in the photographs that I view as a bodge, simply the product of talented amateur engineers lacking a fully equipped workshop. I can associate with that.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I like to think my cars are well maintained but years of motorsport has taught me to be creative as you can’t mess about when the clock’s running.

    There was the time some years ago when on a very slippery Welsh rally the inevitable happened and I finally stuffed headlong into a bank after spectacularly failing to negotiate a T-junction. We carried onto the petrol halt before inspecting the damage, most of which was cosmetic but the broken glass headlamp lens was a problem as such damage can get you excluded. I needed a flat piece of Perspex to fix over the broken glass to make it “safe” but no such material was to hand. Thinking quickly I raced into the shop to come face to face with a man poised to enjoy his late lunch, a pre-packaged tuna sandwich. Sensing an opportunity I blurted out “have you finished with that?” and he poised startled in mid bite. Fast forward to the end of the rally and there was a damage check, and to ensure public safety a policeman was also in attendance. Casting his torch over the remains of the car he paused as he noticed the illuminated list of ingredients taped across the front corner of the car… Tuna (Fish) (25%), Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Water, Cucumber (14%)… He suggested the best resolution was for us to get back over the border into England sharpish.

    Bush engineering can be of higher quality of course. When the 2002’s fan controller failed on the A1 recently we started to overheat at the roadside. My other half is quite good with electrics so whilst I was poking the fan it was inventive of her to suggest by-passing the fan controller and join the fan wiring to the redundant spot lamp wiring. This also gave us the ability to switch the fan on and off, far more elegant than hardwiring it to the battery. Some may point out that meant we needed to drive on full beam to cool the engine, but I’d point out the headlamps are so useless that’s a matter of enhancing safety anyway.

    Three years ago my 318Ti showed early signs of head gasket failure so I whacked some K-Seal in it as temporary fix for a few weeks. Last year I cracked the sump a billion miles from home on the Isle of Mull so I borrowed a four post lift in Tobermory and wobbed it over with chemical metal before driving it 400 miles home. A year on from that it may just still have a JB Weld sump and be running on K-Seal. Well, if it still works…

    The last one involves the police again. We were in our now departed Eunos Roadster waiting to pull out from a junction onto a fast moorland road. From over the crest, a small hatchback appeared at warp speed and the driver panic braked. Getting well out of phase he had to swerve a number of times before successfully hitting us, luckily just glancing the plastic nosecone. His car shed panels like a clown car at the circus and ours was left looking like a Hungry Hungry Hippo with its mouth now open wide. Once the police had ascertained that nobody had been injured they arranged recovery for the other car. I asked if they had a saw and some tape in police equipment but they had better than that. I drove home slowly with the front of the car tied down with police incident tape, the type used to seal off a crime scene. Well, if they were happy with it why wouldn’t I be…

    There are others to report but I’d have to change the names to protect the guilty (me) so I’ll leave it there. Mine are tame compared to some I have heard though, and I do know a man who once sheared all his wheel studs whilst driving through India so cable tied the wheel to the hub, but he’s completely mad.

    Reply
  4. Søren Navntoft
    Hmmmm… stories of pure innocence!
    Towards the late eighties I suddenly found myself the owner of a motorcycle – a Harley Davidson Sportster. The smallest model and with an ironblock engine. After a while it was clear that the engine wasn’t in the best of health, so something needed to be done.
    It became apparent that the old valve guides were the cause of the issue, so new ones were ordered. They duly arrived and then spent a rather substantial amount of time lying on my counter. Eventually one day, I finally gathered momentum – it was time to get the Harley back on the road.
    However, back then my workshop wasn’t kitted out near as well as it is today. Several essential tools for this job were lacking, among others a set of reamers. The substitute was found in an old round file. This proved an extremely slow process, so I promptly attached the round file to a handheld drill to speed things up a little…

    Yes, I know. I know. But I should add that the Harley at least returned to the road, and the engine held up for many years.

    Phew… that was a tough one to admit to! I promise, I shall never again commit such sins…

    Reply
  5. Anders Bilidt
    Ouuuuu… , I do indeed think you have us all well and truly beaten there! Ouch, must have really hurt having to confess to that one…

    , hehehe… love the tuna-headlamp-repair… :-)

    Reply

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