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Adventure Stories & Humor

10 Best Tools of All Time - an addendum by Dick Joltes

A friend of mine (Hi, Al!) recently sent me a list of the top-10 best tools of all time for British cars, in honor of my purchase of a Spitfire. After reading this list, it occurs to me that they forgot to list the most important tool of all:

#11) Beer Want to see that odd problem from a completely different (and possibly unwarranted) angle?

Need to break down your reluctance to apply *just this much* extra force to that sticky bolt, but you're afraid that it might shear off leaving you with the job of coring it out with a "never worked, never will" broken screw extractor? Is it necessary to convince yourself that you'll still manage to drive that last 42 miles to the concourse competition in your otherwise meticulously-restored Morgan though one of your motor mounts consists of 37 yards of bailing wire and a prayer? (Note: if TWO mounts are involved, one may need to dissolve ones' resistance further with the application of single-malt scotch).

Stuck with needing 5 quarts of oil for the Bentley because it blew a seal 100 miles from the nearest Pep Boys and the only bottles you can find have been sitting on the shelf in a local gas station since Eisenhower was in office? (Note: extra points if the owner's name is "Jed"--see above note regarding single-malt). Unable to deal with the fact that the final remaining, nearly microscopic ripple in the paint on your Jag E-Type just won't come out no matter what buffing compound you apply? Overwrought because the woman you were trying to impress with your beefy, fully-equipped Series III just looked at it with derision and said "not banged up enough," and you're thinking that hitting the local Suicide Off-road track for some extra dents would do the trick? Beer's the thing! Application:

-- For each stuck bolt under the size of 12mm: .5 pint.

-- Over 12mm: 1 pint.

-- If said bolts are in a highly critical and delicate area: multiply the above by 2.

-- For each Lucas part involved in the problem: 2 pints.

-- For convincing yourself that Lucas really isn't all that bad after all and it'd be much easier to wrap the entire damned wiring system in Black Electrical Tape than to rewire the whole car, even though it's tried converting to Buddhism twice in the past month: 3 cases, plus 4 drams single malt.

-- For each hour spent in futile pursuit of the problem: 2 pints.

-- For each $20 blown on Random Parts Which You Hope Will Do The Trick while performing the aforementioned futile pursuit: add 1 more pint and a half-dram. At $100 in parts, double the above and hope for Divine Inspiration (known these days as "thinking outside the box").

-- When one needs to spend $120 on a tool that'd do that one job just perfectly but would never be used ever again, though one could get by with a Big Hammer and a Tie-Rod Separator and file out the scratches later: 4 pints.

-- If said procedure threatens to undo weeks of otherwise perfect resto. work: 8 pints and 1 dram single-malt.

-- Recovering from the Realization of What One Has Just Done after the preceding procedure has gone awry: bugger the beer and go straight for the single-malt. A liter should do for starters. Enjoy,

Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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