Journal: I Can't Wrench: A Gearhead's Shameful Confession

I Can’t Wrench: A Gearhead’s Shameful Confession

By Alan Franklin
December 2, 2014
37 comments

Photography by Josh Clason and David Marvier

After a long break from writing on these pages I’ve decided to reintroduce myself with an embarrassing confession: I can’t wrench. Or rather I’m not very good at it and don’t particularly enjoy it. I sincerely admire those who are good at it, even more so those who aren’t but do the work anyway, but it’s just not my thing at all. A humiliating admission for this gearhead, especially considering my DIY, blue-collar Midwestern roots. Or is it? Well, yes—it is, at least partially. Sorry, Grandpa Pete.

My other fifty percent, the dedicated, hopelessly obsessed, semi-professional car nerd half feels less and less shame as time passes, the self-acceptance and confidence that one gains in their 30s helping me to feel secure with and take ownership of my god-given deficiencies. Finally having enough money to pay someone else to burn and cut themselves on my cars has helped greatly as well–nothing’s too good for my haggard and mostly worthless collection of slow, uncollectable, and uncomfortable junk.

Like I said though, it hasn’t always been this way. I’ve done brake jobs, changed struts, water pumps, and even once replaced a motor in an AW11 MR2—a terrific car notable for its unsurprisingly terrible engine bay. I had a lot of help from my life-long professional mechanic father-in-law for that last one, sure, but I did most of the work, and I have the scars and disorganized drawer of awful, half-broken, and greasy Harbor Freight tools to prove it. A deeper understanding of the car and the tighter bond I felt with it were other, more beneficial gains, and I’ve never been more proud of a gross polluter smog certificate. I still sold it rather than finishing the job, though.

Even before legally licensed, I was boldly failing to live up to my handy guy potential. At the age of 15, I offered to change the oil in my mom’s ’86 Tercel, and seeing an opportunity to save a few bucks she gladly accepted—after all what could go wrong? Her son had shown a keen interest in mechanical things from a very young age, and he was pretty good with scale models, RC cars, Lego, and stuff like that. What could go wrong? Well, ask my little brother about his broken wrist and an abandoned, formerly promising junior high school basketball career. Twenty years later and he still mentions it frequently.

Despite my lack of talent, patience, and tolerance for discomfort I remain at least a tiny bit conflicted, though, especially with the recent arrival of my firstborn son. Like all dads, I want my boy to be well-versed in the manly arts, but would also like to spare him the experience of nearly dropping a gearbox on his face, losing brakes on a steep hill, or accidentally setting barely contained garage fires. I guess we’ll do a lot of fishing together.

This pressure among gearheads to be as proficient at working on cars as driving them, as knowing their histories, designers, specifications, quirks, and performance numbers is real, and I know I’m not the only one who’s felt its weight from an early age. An unspoken but understood prerequisite to wear the badge of authentic car guy or car girl, it’s been an integral part of the hobby since day one, and though I can’t honestly say I don’t understand why, I can assert with all sincerity that I feel its importance has been somewhat overblown.

A prevailing attitude in many, if not most, hobbies that occasionally dip into technicals, I won’t argue against the idea that a computer enthusiast should be able to change out a hard drive or update BIOS, or that a biker should be able to do a roadside derailleur adjustment. On the other hand, is it really necessary that a canoeist hollow out their own fallen tree or that a pastry enthusiast bake all their own cakes? There’s got to be a fair balance somewhere in between working knowledge and practical experience, and that’s what I’m arguing for here.

I’ve paid my dues, made the necessary sacrifices, and I don’t want to get greasy and curse at cars anymore, thanks. I’ve swung wrenches, fixed things, and tried with an open mind and heart to acquire a taste for the work, but if it hasn’t happened yet it never will. I’ve learned to appreciate whiskey, to enjoy the texture of tendon and various other offal, I’ve even come to kinda like accordion music, but I just don’t dig working on cars. I get plenty of satisfaction from looking at them, driving them, and patting them lovingly on the dashboard.

A deep fascination for engineering and the inner workings of machines has guided my life, and even if I’m more of an admirer than a doer, I can’t say it hasn’t worked out pretty damn well. I know a camshaft from a countershaft and a dog clutch from a differential, and that’s good enough for me. Kick me out of the club if you like, but my cars run well, I’ve got no gushing hand wounds and I’m quick behind the wheel.

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Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith(@fb_1043682525)
3 years ago

If you can’t wrench, you’re NOT a gearhead. If you own a classic car, or, bike, and, pay someone else to work on it, you don’t deserve it. You’re just another rich douchebag that’s destroying this hobby.

Brian Grant
Brian Grant(@briangrant570)
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter J Smith

Lighten up Francis.

Mike Aldridge
Mike Aldridge(@bikingmike)
5 years ago

I’ve taken heart from reading this. I’m currently right in the middle of changing the lower wishbones on my Alfa 156 V6, and it I’d a pig of a job. In spite of watching YouTube videos, asking specialists and buying expensive tools, it almost had me beat as I could not remove one crucial nut. I even started resembling everything so I could take it to the mechanic, when I realised there was another way to approach it. Managed to get one side done, and am now gathering courage to take the other side. What I have realised I’d this:

working on cars can really suck, especially when.parts are difficult to access.

*I know I made the right decision to not be a mechanic

*In spite of all this, there is a sense on satisfaction in doing it yourself

Gary Looper
Gary Looper(@looper-gary)
5 years ago

I think since you can now afford it, purchase good tools, keep them clean and in good working order….do the jobs you want too, in your own time, and slow down. Most of us aren’t Formula 1 mechanics in the heat of a Grand Prix. If your not sure of a job, YouTube is your friend!

Mark Fraser Babbitt
Mark Fraser Babbitt(@tusogni44)
5 years ago

Since 1980, when I had a brief stint racing a Formula Ford, followed by becoming an automotive Service Advisor, then Service Manager, I came to rely on techs that I took good care of by making certain they got their fair shar of “gravy” work. When I had somthing that needed to be done to my vehicle, one of the techs would take care of it, usually at a highly discounted rate. My joy of any vehicle is to drive the snot out of it…

Dan Wils
Dan Wils(@wilshansen)
5 years ago

I love restoring cars, much as I hate it, the process, disbelieve, angermanagement, soulsearching, happy and proudness, when it’s ready to be driven for the first time. I like building them to and beyond perfection, more that I like driving..
That does’t make one thing more right than the other. What counts in my book of life, is the thing that makes one smiling? What I don’t fancy, are those that try to convince their soroundings about their skills, and they do not know what they are doing at all? When all that said, I found myself a bit more to the driving side, after completing a 4 year restoration, but I’m also looking forward to my next 2 year project starting this winther…

Rick Spartan
Rick Spartan(@boobytrapsandtreasure)
5 years ago

Wow! It’s like you’ve entered my mind and wrote down my thoughts on the subject. Thank you.

Clayton Haynes
Clayton Haynes(@gnosis)
5 years ago

I don’t think it’s a major sin if you don’t enjoy working on cars because working on them and enjoying them are two different things. What is a major sin, though, is being a car enthusiast and a sub-standard driver. It’s simply not possible to truly enjoy a car if you can’t drive well, but there’s way too many people who fit into this category. The worst offender I can think of is Jay Leno. So many cars. So much enthusiasm. Such a great communicator. But an awfully talentless driver. One might argue that it’s still possible to enjoy cars without driving skill, but I think that’s entirely missing the actual point of cars – the driving experience.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox(@mc70)
7 years ago

I’m probably a terrible person. I’ve been engaged in conversation with interesting people who have amazing cars on several occasions. The last one was an old Pierce Arrow; a beautiful machine from a bygone era. I started to point out the interesting ways early automotive pioneers dealt with problems; often in elegant and clever ways. When probing into the car, the owner simply new nothing other than what one might find in a quick Google description. He knew enough to sound like he knew what he was discussing, but it was all very much anecdotal knowledge. My heart sinks a little when this happens; it tells me the car is (more often than not) simply an ornament or a bragging point instead of something that the owner truly knows.

I find it somewhat superficial. I find myself feeling that I’ve wasted my time talking to a charlatan. Yeah, I know… I’m a terrible person. I know we all own cars for our own reasons, and my reason isn’t any more valid than anyone else’s, but I can’t help but feel that those who outsource all the work for their cars simply isn’t a car guy. Maybe they’re a car collector, or they appreciate cars, but not any more than they might appreciate a movie.

Thomas Faires
Thomas Faires(@tffgtv6)
7 years ago

Most people are not into fixing their cars. Nothing wrong with that. I do work on mine and have helped plenty of people who are the non fixers. First thing, it is not fun fixing cars; it is fun having fixed the car. It is like playing golf. No one has fun playing golf; after they have finished the game is when they say they have enjoyed themselves. It is a time of problem solving, meditation, and frustration release. If you have a real love for the car, you will admire the technology or craftsmanship, or cuss it! But only when done was it fun. Daly driver, never fun. Moms car, never fun. Being young, you will tackle anything; today it has to be a fun car or a noble reason to work on a car. Modern cars, yuck! I will never get to work on a modern Ferrari so anything on the normal field not fun. After about 1990, It might be fun to own, but not fun to work on. Sense of accomplishment only brings me back.

JB21
JB21(@jb21)
7 years ago

There are people who have special touch with machines, that’s for sure. Mechanical sympathy is what I usually call it. On the other hand, pretty much everything on a car is made already, so what you do when you work on a car is sort of IKEA style do-it-yourself hobby kit, meaning you don’t have to be all that good with anything to change this or change that on a car. It’s really just a matter of will and desire. I’m mechanically inclined, and I work on my car, but it’s not because I like it, it’s just because I don’t trust other guys working on my car. I hate working on my car, but I do it anyway.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko(@kuroneko)
7 years ago

You cannot wrench? That’s OK, because I cannot make glorious video or contribute entertaining & thought provoking writing for free to the internet hordes. Keep at it! Neko.

Alan
7 years ago
Reply to  Kuroneko

Neko,

You provide plenty of the latter–love your Grand Touring stories. Encouraged to see you’re a fan.

graeme langford
graeme langford(@graemel)
7 years ago
Reply to  Alan

I believe that you have to have a talent or feel for working in cars. Something I do not possess. Sure 35 years ago I used to do all my own service work. But cars were much simpler back then. I had no money and needs must. I remember replacing the oil pump and drive bar on a MK1 3 litre Capri with a good mate who lived up the road. Both of us lying on our backs in the snow on the driveway. The advice sort said I needed to take the engine out. I could not afford an engine hoist so we dropped the front suspension down and managed somehow. Changed gearbox’s and frequently had the cylinder head off my 1980 Mk2 escort.
I got by. Never managed to kill myself although it was close but I knew I was amateur night at best.
So now I am fortunate to leave it to those that know what they are doing. That is a mute point as in my experience there are not that many people out there that really know what they are doing. A lesson we learn by experience the hard and often very costly way.
My gift is that I am very quick behind the wheel. I can feel what the car is doing and diagnose what is not quite right. I quite often infuriate good friends when I start to list what is wrong with their car from the passenger seat.
I think the words spoken by Clint Eastwood in one of the Dirty Harry films “a man needs to know his limitations” sums it up for me.

G Math
G Math
7 years ago

There certainly is something to be said for the enthusiast who appreciates cars but does’t really have the ability or desire to wrench. I don’t really think that there is anything wrong with it, however I think maybe those who feel excluded or shamed just need to “man up” a bit. I’m not telling you to start wrenching, I’m telling you to just learn to not take such offence to the minor teasing that may happen as a result of your lack of knowledge. This teasing exists in any field of study or interest. Granted that this teasing is being done in a classy manner, I see nothing wrong with it.

Being a 24 year old who recently graduated from university with a degree in economics and business I have a lot of friends who appreciate cars and yet know nothing about them. So whenever I’m asked for advice we often end up having a good laugh.

That aside, I do think it is a pity that such a large portion of my generation is completely incapable of doing the simplest of tasks. It was amazing to see people who were doing so well in their classes, and yet they were just dumbfounded when it came to repairing anything. I recall walking out of class one day and seeing 3 guys and 2 girls staring at a flat tire with the jack and tire iron in hand. At first I tried guiding them so they would learn, but it was just too hard to watch so I did it myself.

In closing I will say one last thing. I have found this knowledge to be invaluable. It comes in use for things far beyond fixing cars. Learning how to troubleshoot, fix, and build things has given me the tools to succeed in school or anything else I’ve applied myself to. Not to mention the girls certainly appreciate a guy who knows how to fix things. Point is that by avoiding getting your hands dirty, you’re really just doing a disservice to yourself.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay(@christophergay)
7 years ago
Reply to  G Math

I tried to conjure up a comment here several times, but it kept sounding either too crass, too elitist, or it evolved into a much-to-lengthy discourse.

You have managed to express much of what I was thinking in a thoughtful, polite, and productive manner.

Thank you. Well done.

As for the rest of you: What [i]he[/i] said.

matt
matt
7 years ago

I agree . . . nicely said!

Jake
Jake(@jake)
7 years ago

Im a 17 year old who loves classic cars (haven’t driven a classic car) but simply the design and the lack of bullshit intrigues me when i say bullshit i mean computers. But i really don’t know where to start? like do i buy an old e30 for my first car and try and work on it or do i buy a book? i know this might sound pretty dumb but any suggestions would be a lot of help because its something i really want to pursue in my life!

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson(@andreas)
7 years ago
Reply to  Jake

If you’re from America, an older American car, truck or a Fox-body would probably be a good place to start. The reason? Knowledge will surely be plentiful if you get stuck and parts will be both cheap and readily available. If, however, you’re not from America or purely don’t like American cars, there are plenty to choose from.

The easiest will most likely be a VW Beetle. There are competitions in how fast you can remove the engine and I think the record in somewhere around 4 seconds (however, done in a very unsafe manner). Parts and knowledge are also plentiful. You could also go for a Type 2 or Type 3 I guess, if you don’t like how the Beetle looks. Personally, I think Type 3:s look amazing. Also Mk1 and Mk2 Golfs are fairly simple.

Older Volvos, along the lines of Amazon (120/130), 140, 240 if you want as little electronics as possible. I don’t know how easy it will be to find parts in America, but it should be fairly straight forward. The cars are easy to work on however. That being said, the 240 has electronic fuel injection and that’s the beginning of “computers in cars” more or less.

Continuing on the European theme, the BMW E30 is actually also a pretty good choice. Parts will be a little more expensive if you go for the real deal (which I believe you should). Although, I haven’t worked on them myself, I’m told they’re easy to work on. However, by this vintage of cars you’ll have quite a few electrical devices to wrestle with and electronic fuel injection.

Last on the European theme (that I can think of right now) are British roadsters along the lines of MGB:s and Spitfires. Owners are enthusiastic and often knowledgeable and parts are easy to come by (at least in Europe). However, the amount of maintenance needed is often up for heated debate, so I won’t go there.

If you’re into Japanese cars, there are some to choose from. However, rare as the “vintage” models are, I guess it will be easier to get a hold of something a little newer. The 90’s Civics have a huge fan- and knowledgebase and parts are plentiful.

Nissan S-chassis (240SX if you’re American) are also easy to work on, much knowledge is to be found and parts shouldn’t be a problem. But the newer you buy, the more electronics you’ll have to work with. That being said, really old electronics can be quite dodgy even if there’s not as much of it.

And I’ll round up with the Japanese equivalent to “British roadsters”, i.e. Mazda Miata. Especially the first generation (NA). They are so stripped out, there’s quite a few things to go wrong with them and they are quite sturdily built. However, they are quite reliable too so you probably won’t “need” to work on them as much, but that’s not a bad thing in my book, since it’s less stressful to work on a car that you want to work on rather than need to work on.

Forums are an excellent place to start. I don’t know if I’m allowed to link to other forums without the consent from the Petrolicious guys, but for the cars above good forums won’t be difficult to come by. Also, you can’t go wrong with the standard Haynes Manual. They have one for every car mentioned above.

jake
jake
7 years ago

Thank you !!!!!

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson(@andreas)
7 years ago
Reply to  jake

You’re welcome. Out of the cars mentioned, I’d personally say that an E30, Golf GTi Mk2 or the Japanese cars are the most exciting choices when talking about driving experience, while a Fox-body or there about will net you the most horsepower for your money. However, all of them have their upsides and it’s purely down to preference I guess. That being said, a stock Volvo isn’t the most exciting (even if it’s got a turbo). However, they are immensely practical and probably among the safer (at least the 240).

Mr. Wilmot also makes a fair point. If an E30 is what you want, you should go for it. In all honesty, if there’s a will, there is a way and it’s easier to power through the difficult or “boring” bits if you’re really excited about the car. Buy a car and go to work on it. There’s a chance you’ll feel out of your depth and things will most likely go wrong, but that’s part of the learning experience. Personally, I think reading etc. is wise. However, nothing beats hands on experience, so the best course of action is probably to do both simultaneously.

Christopher Wilmot
Christopher Wilmot(@chrisc351)
7 years ago
Reply to  Jake

If you want to build an E30 then do it! You can always learn along the way. It’s the passion that keeps you going. I remember when I was 17. I had a 01′ Honda Accord. Now at 21 I’ve added a MGB that I’ve restored last winter, a E28 that I’ll be doing the body work on, lowering and painting, a 49′ Chevy Truck that I’m swapping onto a newer rolled S10 chassis and a TT that I’ve gone big turbo and currently stripping and turning into a track toy. Don’t let anyone ever try to steer you away from what you love. I’ve been down in the dumps, especially when all my friends were driving new cars while I had to work 7 days a week through high school. It pays off in the long run. Just allow the passion to keep flowing through you, to keep you hooked!

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson(@andreas)
7 years ago

Although I have a hard time understanding why we seem to have an absurd affinity to constantly label ourselves and others, I guess I’ll be a hypocrite and take a stab at this none the less (as I did in the other thread today). Granted I don’t actually know who coined the term gearhead, I personally interpret the word as someone who is into cars and also enjoy fixing or modifying them. Someone who is into cars and driving, but doesn’t like to work on them, I’ve always considered to be a “car enthusiast”. But that’s just me and the interpretation is up for grabs.

However, unlike some rude and condescending people, I don’t look down on people who doesn’t have an affinity or will to wrench themselves. What might and might not interest a man isn’t a self-imposed choice and therefore I find it strange that some would talk down to you or “laugh you out of the bar” just because you don’t share their narrow and specific passion.

Since there’s no adamant definition of the term gearhead (except that it’s usually centered around cars and/or mechanics), you can still gladly consider yourself one without having to apologize for you not being into various kinds of lubricants and wielding a set of hand tools. Next time you meet someone who calls you laughable or your (and several more) generation(s) lazy and spoilt for “just throwing money” at a discipline you’re not fond of, just don’t listen to them. They are usually just old and insecure and instead of dealing with their own self-esteem problems, find it easier to piss on others and try to bring them down in their own fall.

Michael
Michael
7 years ago

Glad I’m not the only one. For me, it’s just time. I’ve only got so much. I’ll pay someone to fix it while I’m at work, so I can drive it when I get home. Time in the car, rather than under it. Credit to those who have the touch. Your skills are appreciated. Great perspective Alan… You re not alone.

JBL (Josh)
JBL (Josh)
7 years ago

I completely “get” where Alan is coming from. The reality is that the old car hobby includes a cross-section of people with a wide range of interests and talents and everyone brings something different to the table (or workbench). My father is not a gearhead and is relatively indifferent about cars. Consequently I never spent time wrenching on cars growing up but have always appreciated their design, performance, and history. Most of all I enjoy the drive. In fact, a fascination with cars is one of the reasons I became a professional product designer. I am easing my way into the old car hobby now that I’ve finished the restoration on an old AH Sprite (which was started at a restoration shop for the bodywork/paint and engine rebuild and I’ve since redone the interior and various sorting). All of my car knowledge has come from time spent with some great friends who have been helping me learn how to work on the car. I am finally becoming comfortable diagnosing problems and really enjoy meeting fellow enthusiasts and spending time in the garage with fellow tinkerers. I don’t think our generation (I’m in my 30’s) is lazy, but rather that we weren’t all exposed to (or had the expectation of) working on cars the way previous generations were (when it seems like the majority of drivers more or less knew how to do oil changes and diagnose mechanical bugs). And I don’t begrudge anyone who loves old cars but not the mechanical sorting/repairs that comes with it. Whatever the motivation, if it means that classic cars are kept on the road and that the time spent with the car brings happiness to the owner, than it’s good for the hobby.

Engineer
Engineer
7 years ago

A lot of what TJ said is true. Most of this generation (my generation, I am 31) is completely incompetent at all things manual labor and expects things to be done by other people in general. My generation also like to congratulate themselves for recognizing their deficiencies and expects to be applauded for it (read the article). I am not going to tell Alan he is not a gear head, because he obviously loves cars. Alan you are a gear head, so don’t worry. I am going to call Alan and my entire generation lazy though. But hey, it’s your money. If you want to waste it, that is your choice. If you are sending your classic car to a mechanic there is a 90\% chance you are being ripped off. As a small example, I Bought a 1983 911SC from someone local. They swore up and down about how good their mechanic was. He looked at me like I as crazy when I told him I would do all the work myself. I have a pile of receipts from the mechanic he used. Subsequently, I have had to correct nearly everything that was done done by the Mechanic. If you want car work done, the only way to be SURE that it is done correctly is to do it yourself. This goes for new cars too. The diagnostic tools and electronics are not that bad to buy or work with. I have a C63 AMG and manage to do all maintenance and repairs myself. Don’t let newer cars deter you. The fundamentals are all the same.

Just remember that when you take your car to a mechanic he or she is probably from this generation, and he or she is probably lazy. Do you want that person working on your car? I don’t.

Ben Bishop
Ben Bishop(@bish)
7 years ago
Reply to  Engineer

For me the realization came one day at the age of about 26 that I could do a better job than what I was paying for – since then I have done everything (bar paint and complex upholstery) myself – taking the approach that the people you pay are humans too, it’s not rocket science, and slowly pushing my repertoire of skills out . Of course – there are those 60+ y/o guys who have been doing certain jobs since they were apprentices, and I recognise that without years of practice, the ability to form a flat sheet of steel into a ball, or a lump of dead cow into an immaculate interior are things that I should step aside on – but I will watch with interest and learn what I can from masters like those…

When it comes to injected cars, OBD2 is a god send (but at the same time, has resulted in lazy mechanics who can’t fault find worth a damn) – there is nothing more frustrating that trying to troubleshoot a L-Jet or Motronic car with limited diagnostics capability that isn’t actually throwing a fault code… with OBD2 a cheap dongle from ebay will tell you what’s wrong in an instant (or, if you have a friend with a workshop and a $10,000 Snapon diagnostics unit, they work pretty well too I guess).
I have friends who don’t do their own work – helping and encouraging them to break out the spanners is something I do, but I never look down on them, and in fact I’m looking forward to not working on our next daily driver (so is my wife – I think she’s tired of hearing me complain about that abomination with 3 cam belts that’s in the garage).
It feels like people who work on there own cars are dying off – but I don’t have any problem with people who pay someone to look after their toys – they are still every inch an enthusiast.

TJ Martin – your level of fuckwittery never ceases to amaze.

driver x
driver x
7 years ago

I ain’t no gearhead.
But I do love cars and driving.
Hands on mechanical tinkering never really appealed.
I prefer to admire their design and driving aesthetic.
If that means paying someone to get their hands dirty, so be it.
But I won’t pay for a chaffeur.
🙂

Nathan
Nathan
7 years ago

People like TJ Martin are one of the reasons the number of car enthusiasts is dwindling. He clearly needs to learn the difference between a car enthusiast and a car snob — or more to the point, a car enthusiast and someone who has self-esteem problems and is trying to overcompensate.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

IF .. you’re going to own and drive classic machinery …. here’s a few reasons to get over it [ the fear and discomfort ] as well as getting on with learning how to do it …. now !

1) When … not If your classic fails in the middle of Podunk NoWheresVille where all the money in the world won’t help you in the slightest …. nine times out of ten you’ll be able to fix it good enough to get you to a qualified mechanic

2) Having deeper knowledge will also keep you from being screwed by unscrupulous and incompetent mechanics on a regular basis … remembering those two Italian wingnuts that posted a story here recently and their self imposed abysmal joke of an experience both on the road as well as at a Porsche event … all over a minor problem that any half wit should of been able to diagnose in ten minutes or less

3) Unlike the current Zeitgeist … especially amongst those of your particular age bracket [ and younger ] Money … is NO substitute for knowledge , ability and experience … a lesson you’ll either learn right here and now somewhat painlessly … or down the road when it’ll really hurt like hell … financially .. emotionally as well as potentially life threatening … remembering you are a target when driving a valuable collectable classic

4) If you can’t work on it yourself … you aint no GearHead …. but rather just another reasonable to well heeled Rube pretending to be a GearHead . Meet up with someone like myself [ who kept three Ferrari’s and an Alfa Romeo on the road himself 99\% of the time … all of which were driven regularly ] and you’ll be laughed out of the bar so quick your head will spin

5) Dependency on others these days for all the details of your automotive life … what with the rapidly growing endemic epidemic of incompetency spreading across the land in ALL fields and areas … just because you ‘ think ‘ you can afford it is in fact a Fools Paradise

6) It aint rocket science . Not even close … so as stated above … get over it … and get on with it ! Or get outta the game !

Having said that …. if this discussion were about most newer cars [ say 1995 onwards ] where an advanced degree in computer programing and at least a $100,000 of diagnostic computers and bespoke tools is needed just to change the freaking oil .. well … you and I wouldn’t be having this discussion now …. would we !

simon
simon
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Hmmmmmm I have to disagree tj with 4, 5 and 6.
Its called getting your mates together, having a few beers and doing it with your friends. Without my friends my Rx2 never would’ve brapped a day in her life, let alone stopped properly.
Part of being a gear head is the bonding you have with others over a project, its purely a catalyst for friendship. The result is the pleasure of achievement and the excitement of getting to drive your beast.

Jarrod
Jarrod
7 years ago

The only thing I will not touch is the gearbox and the axle gearing. Motors, electrical, everything else I have done. I do not have the technical knowledge right now to mess with gearboxes and setting up axle gearing. That does not mean it will remain that way forever. I will, at some point, tackle them. Time, good manual, and some knowledgable people are all I need.

Joris
Joris
7 years ago

hey at least you are doing something usefull with your passion. It’s nothing to be ashame of. Just do the things you are comfortable doing on your own. And ast Josh points out a motorcycle can be that comfortable thing. Anyway keep up the good job with the website. I love it!

Nicolas
Nicolas
7 years ago

I feel your pain. I love cars, especially the engineering behind them. I’d love to be a mechanic, but I’m crap with tools. Like you I did much more when younger, but that might have been because it was such a great time to spend with my dad, who enjoyed working on cars. Since he’s gone, its no longer the same… my kids don’t share the interest, so its usually just me and a bunch of grease. So I do much less; I still change the simple routine stuff like oil changes, and even did a brake job a few months ago (which reminded my why I stopped many years ago). The people who are good with cars, and fabricating metal things in general, are held in high regard. I like to think of the money I pay a good mechanic in the same vein as donating money on an artist or institution of higher learning. Its for the greater good to patronize people who are good at this type of work.

kruno
kruno
7 years ago

you are lucky if this is your garage on these pictures

Josh
Josh
7 years ago

I have a happy medium.
I won’t touch engines nor gearboxes, however I will happily pull a motorcycle into a large amount of small parts and re-assemble.

But no engines. Nope. Never.

Other Josh
Other Josh
7 years ago
Reply to  Josh

But engines are the best part!