24 Jun 2013

Cleaning Points and Broken Linkage - In celebration of the crap car!

So, now it’s time for a confession, here at Gasketeer.com HQ, we like cars… but we are not obsessive enthusiasts. In other words, we like nice cars but have literally no idea when it comes to looking at an engine!

The other night at a drunken family gathering I was introduced to the component of points. Being a spring chicken, I had no idea what these were but I was told of tales that involved my mum and dad driving their beloved Mini (a proper one, not one of these new German ones) in which they had to keep removing, cleaning and replacing the points when it rained.

By the sounds of it, because of the regularity of this occurrence, a streamlined system for changing them had developed over the years… in the driving Northern rain my dad would strategically park the car under flyovers and bridges for shelter. He would then pop the bonnet remove the rusty points and replace them with clean ones. The rusty points would then be given to my mum and she would sit in the passenger seat and clean them up ready for the next time they had to be changed. The major highlight during the ownership of the Mini was a 12 hour car journey when the points had to be cleaned 15 times!

On questioning the parents how annoying this was, their response was, “...it was all part of the fun!” and… this got me thinking…

When I was 17, I decided to pack a massive tent, three of my mates and loads of camping gear into my first car (Peugeot 106) and take a road trip around Scotland. Needless to say, it was a bit of a squeeze! We left Yorkshire and went up to Edinburgh, then West across to Glasgow for a few days before heading up north towards Oban and Fort William.

Now, for us, at our age this was an epic trip (it really wasn’t!) but my wonderful 106 Zest2 in all its shimmering silvery blue glory kept us right. That was until we got to Edinburgh.  There must have been something about the Haggis in the air that got to my car. My mud guards fell off on the motorway, my rev counter stopper working periodically and then on our way to a Safari Park I was down to using 3rd gear as my linkage broke (see the photo!).

Although waiting for the RAC in the car park of Blair Drummond Safari Park wasn’t what we had planned on our trip, it turned out these are the memories that stuck most in my mind after all these years. To this day we still chat about it now, just as my Mum and Dad did about their Mini just the other day.

This just wouldn’t happen in my car nowadays and in all honesty I miss it… so let’s raise a glass to crap cars and all the memories we had with them!

Tom Spence

Head Gasketeer @ www.Gasketeer.com