?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Get your motor runnin'

I drove by an auto dealership today, and all the cars in front of the showroom had their hoods open and up, like mouths at the doctor saying "Ahhhhhh."

I have no idea why dealers do this. I think it's a throwback to the days when you could open an automobile hood and actually see the entire engine. When I was growing up, it was a ritual: a guy bought a car, he'd open the hood so his buddies could see the engine, and the guys would gather around the front and look at the engine. I mastered the enthusiastic "oh yeah!" and respectful "wow," even though I had no idea what I was looking at. No, that's not true. I could identify the air cleaner cover.

The extent of the rest of my automobile knowledge was that when my car started running rough, I had to take it out on the expressway and floor it long enough to "burn the gunk out of it." That's in quotation marks because it's a technical term. I always wondered how a state trooper would react: "Did you know you were doing 92 miles an hour?" "Yes I did, sir. The car was running rough and I needed to burn the gunk out of it."

Oh, and if a car ran out of gas, I knew enough to put gas in the tank somehow and save a little to pour in the carburetor so the car would start. Yeah, I could actually find the carburetor too. I'd forgotten about that.

These days, you open the hood and the engine compartment is jammed with all sorts of things that, truth be told, I have no idea what they are. Compressors for power this and power that, emissions control equipment—who knows what else is under there. When I open the hood of my wife's vehicle, it takes me two minutes to find the reservoir that holds the windshield wiper fluid. That's after it takes me two minutes to figure out how to open the hood.

I wish I knew enough about old cars that I could fix them. I'd love to get a car from the early '60s with huge Space Age-inspired fins in the back—an old Cadillac, ideally, but lots of cars of that vintage had fins. We'll see one parked along the road for sale sometimes, and I'll say to Sherry, "I want to buy that car." And she says, "You can buy it once you learn how to fix it." Stops the conversation every time.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
theoldsport
May. 22nd, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
I was just thinking today about how little I know about cars. Of course, as things like that get more complex, there are fewer opportunities (like shop class, etc.) for my generation to learn about them.

But it's good to see someone just a couple years older who doesn't know a heck of a lot more than I do about cars.
patrick_vecchio
May. 22nd, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
Cars these days are almost impossible for the shade-tree mechanic to work on, thanks to all the emissions-control technology.
sahlah
May. 22nd, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC)
I giggled reading this post. My brother had an old Galaxy that was huge and held together by spit and determination. One especially good repair I recall was the use of an empty soup can to somehow hold up the exhaust pipe.

My husband wants on old 60's era bus - your Sherry speaks the truth...
patrick_vecchio
May. 22nd, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC)
A lot of those old cars were the size of aircraft carriers, weren't they?
sahlah
May. 22nd, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Indeed! I drove an old Pinto at that same time. I recall going to a junk yard with him, getting a new door for the Pinto. The door fit flat inside the trunk of the Galaxy!

Now I drive an old Volvo wagon that is so complex it has to be hooked up to a computer before the mechanic can sort out the issue.

I love this old V70 - it's a brick, accelerates like it's chained to the front lawn, not even a little bit sexy - and PERFECT for my teen age male driver... :)

In my alternate universe I drive an old fastback Mustang. One day...perhaps.
patrick_vecchio
May. 22nd, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
That's funny descriptive stuff about the V70. Volvos were cool cars until they fell into Ford's clutches. Same thing happened with Saab and GM. Both used to be a little idiosyncratic, but in charming ways. The Americans ironed all of those wrinkles out.

I love those old 'Stangs, but as Nick Nolte says to Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours, "I'm a ragtop man." Or a pickup truck, depending on the circumstances.

nodressrehersal
May. 23rd, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
She's a wise one, she is.
patrick_vecchio
May. 23rd, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Except for that one lapse in the spring of 1980.
nodressrehersal
May. 23rd, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
I could say something smart-ass, like "Nobody's perfect" but that's not really how I feel. You both made a wise choice that day.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

March 2017
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow