My buddy Jay and I loved to race cars. All kinds of cars. Big ones like Cadillacs, medium ones like Valiants and Ramblers and small ones… Like Fiat-Abarths and Volkswagons.One thing we found out quickly, was that when you race cars, they will break. And if you have to take a broken car to a dealership to be fixed, it will cost a lot of money. Money was one thing we were really short of, back in the 1960s, and so, out of desperation and need… We learned how to be hot rod mechanics.
Most of the time, we were working either out in my side yard, another friend’s barn or Jay’s really small garage.
One particularly cold winter weekend, I was at his place and our wives needed to go shopping while I helped him work on an old 36hp VW. Since it was the weekend and we were not in any real hurry, as soon as the ladies left, we started working on the first of several six-packs of beer.
After a couple of hours of freezing hands, dropping wrenches and running out of fuel for the almost-useless shop heater in the garage, we decided that it would be much easier to rebuild the VW engine if it was out of the car and sitting on a workbench.Getting it out is no problem for a couple of strong, young lads. Those 36hp engines didn’t weigh much and once you stripped the heater shields, etc… it wasn’t much larger than a modern microwave.
Once out, we decided it would be much easier to rebuild if we were warm. So the obvious place for this greasy handful was… the kitchen table!
The ladies returned several hours later, to find every spare piece of kitchen real-estate occupied by cold, greasy engine innards. And the two of us were laughing very hard at how extremely difficult it was to hold on to simple hand tools.
The ladies drove us to dinner ‘out’ that night and we spent all day Sunday, fighting massive hangovers and a very ‘frosty’ silence from our womenfolk while reassembling the bug.
It was a learning experience.