I want to work with the fire and steel

by Malcolm Tyler

Cars and motorbikes. I've had a lot of them. HQ Holdens, Mark 1 Cortinas, HD Holdens, Minis, Suzuki 500's, BSA 250's, I've driven ridden and worked on them all. I've been on first name terms with many wreckers, worked on cars in the streets and lost a fair bit of skin and blood on pans too rusted, hard to reach or too difficult to get at. I've learnt a lot about cars, I've learnt a lot of swear words and I've learnt a lot about driving cars that are just barely (or aren't) legal.

Now I'm doing it all again, with an old Mercedes that is a panel-beater's dream. Why am I spending lots of money, time and being called nasty things by my wife and being asked why by my kids? She puts it down to me being too cheap or a mug, but I don't see it that way!

There's something about getting an old heap running and knowing it is only running because you've worked on it. There's the pleasure of working with your hands and knowing just how far to tighten a bolt or how to weld a panel. There's the joy of knowing that if it stops and won't start that I have a fair chance of fixing it, or I'll know what needs to be done. There's the joy of old metal and chunky motors that have some 'grunt' and cars that don't look like a plastic box, even if they are freezing and rusty. There's the company of like-minded fanatics who can stand around a bonnet for hours discussing an oil pump or the carbie.

I might come in at night looking like I've slept in the grease trap of a garage. I might spend more than I should, in time or money! I might get burnt on a rustbucket or find nobody makes the parts anymore. I might teach my kids that you can fix it and it's fun to make it work and it is a skill and you might need it one day. Perhaps they'll pension me off when cars are 100% plastic and you need a computer to do an oil change. Perhaps my kids will know what to do with the computers. If I had my time over again, I'd save a bit of money and be a bit smarter, but I wouldn't stop working on cars and bikes with fire and steel.

From: Men's Advancement Newsletter

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