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Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Polite Classic Owner

I’ve been working both my day-job as a mechanic, and my passion as a writer wannabe, to the exclusion of all else this past week. People fix vehicles during economic downturns, so my shop has been busy. I’ve also found real interest in my erotic paranormal novel, LANCELOT, which may actually pan out into a real publishing credit. I don’t plan on writing anymore about it until the deal is something more than fiction. I did sign and send in a contract; but for some reason, even that reality seems elusive. If LANCELOT actually makes the transition from wish to reality, I will post the news.

On to Day-job news. A funny thing happened at the shop regarding an ancient car I neither worked on, nor actually saw. Normally, I hate talking about ancient cars, especially when they’re still nine years younger than I am. A gentleman smilingly told me in a very English accent he hoped I could help him when I offered my usual greeting of ‘May I help you’. I had my doubts the moment he said:

“I own a 1959 Morris Minor, and…”

“I can’t help you, Sir,” I interrupted, because I don’t work on European cars, and I hadn’t even seen a Morris Minor car since I worked at a K-Mart Garage nights while going to college, back in 1973. K-Mart Garage stayed open until 10PM, and nobody cared what got dumped on the night guy. :)

“This is strictly a mechanical question,” the man quickly assured me, holding his hands up in a placating manner.

“Oh good, because the Internet is about the only source I can recommend to you for information or parts on a Morris Minor.”

“Quite,” he agreed with a chuckle. “I have many resources bookmarked. This particular problem has to do with my rear leaf springs buckling from age.”

He explained how after finding a source for new leaf springs, he had attempted to take off the old ones, which utilize a bolt needing a spanner type wrench. A spanner wrench utilizes two case hardened prongs which insert into a bolt head with two holes drilled in its surface. I gave him advice on a few techniques for removal, including drilling the bolt head off with progressively larger drills, or what I’d do: use a cutting torch to slice it off carefully.

“Oh… I say… could you…”

“No,” I cut him off politely again, adding a head shake for emphasis. “Take your time, and if you don’t have a cutting torch, soak the section in penetrating oil for a few days, repeating the oiling whenever possible before you make another attempt. It will dissolve the rust.”

“I will give it a try,” he sighed. “Thank you.”

“Good luck with your project,” I told him with heartfelt thanks it was his and not mine.

Wow, a 1959 Morris Minor question. I’m glad only verbal answers were all I had to offer. :)


Charles Gramlich said...

Hope the "Lancelot" thing works out. I know exactly what you mean about keeping it under your hat. I do the same thing because I've been burned before. When it comes through, though, it's grand.

Miladysa said...

The 1959 Morris Minor is a Classic Car! Poor Chap - I hope he finds his knight in shinning armour out there somewhere.

I shall keep my fingers crossed for you regarding Lancelot! :D

Beth said...

Definitely keep us posted on the Lancelot contract.

I've never even heard of a Morris Minor.

BernardL said...

I am definitely a skeptic, Charles. :)

He found the parts, Miladysa, which to me is the really tough accomplishment. He has his knight in the mirror. All he needs is patience. :)

I will post it, if Lancelot makes it all the way, Beth. If I hadn't worked on one at the K-Mart garage, I wouldn't have ever heard of a Morris Minor either. :)

Virginia Lady said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you with the Lancelot project, Bernard. As for the shop visitor, I'm glad he left with your advice and didn't keep pressing for more. Definitely an unusual find.

Barbara Martin said...

Congrats on your "Lancelot" story. I agree with Charles on being burned. Can't be too careful.

I've heard of a Morris Minor before, a neighbour had one.

BernardL said...

Thanks, VL, he understands unless he wants to pay a restorer, who has garage space open for months at a time, he will have to take his time and do it on his own. :)

I've heard of so many deals falling through on writer's blogs, Barbara, it will be real to me when I see it listed for sale. :)

Vesper said...

I hope to hear good news about Lancelot! :-)

The guy who visited you at the shop seemed pretty reasonable...

BernardL said...

Thanks, Vesper. Yea, the Morris Minor owner was a real nice guy. If I did restoration work, he'd be a peach of a customer. I'm just too old and disinterested. :)