Rust in Peace

31 Dec

I like cars. Always have. New ones, old ones, fast ones, classic ones, foreign ones, shiny ones, rusty ones. All sorts. I’ve driven lots since age thirteen. I’ve bought them, sold them, coveted them and crashed them.

All in all I prefer the older ones. You had to be able to drive them; nothing was automatic, not even the choke, no syncro on the gears or power steering. In-car entertainment – you’d have to fit a radio and aerial. Traction control – what’s that? Navigation was by roadmap – satellites were the stuff of science fiction. And ABS? To stop quickly meant standing on the brake pedal. They were individual, had character and I could recognise the make by the headlights in my rear-view mirror. Try that today…

But never have I seen a more interesting collection of clapped out, shabby old bangers than on the roads here. They are often suicidally overloaded, kept going on a wing and a prayer and held together with gaffer tape and string. Bald tyres are the norm, despite the fine being more than the cost of a new one, and there’s a few specials about where the wires poke through. Also frequently seen broken down on the shoulder. But they  fix them, somehow manage to keep them going – out of necessity I suspect. At least you can work on older vehicles though. No computer scanner nonsense. Even I could strip down the carburettor of the old Minxie, my first car, blow out the jets and re-assemble.

They would never get through an MOT. But they don’t have to. No annual checks here – just  a one-off roadworthy certificate on change of ownership. Explains a lot.

That’s just what you see. Many of the cars on the road have have engine implants; indeed few bear their original innards. There are big cars with totally unsuitable, under-powered engines to satisfy those with a need to look cool yet hope for economy, and small cars with monstrously tuned jobs – real wolves in sheep’s clothing. And you should see some of the workmanship – varying from the awe-inspiring to the downright terrifying and ramshackle. This is a country of extremes.

And I love them all. It has become my latest photographic fixation and am in search of the best worst example. The sad thing is, three of the vehicles I have been riding in are contenders (two on the road and the other – engine out waiting for a donor).

Like I said in a previous post, we’ve been keeping off the roads so not much photo opportunity. Yet. Expect to see random shots of suitable specimens popping up in future posts, just when you least expect them.

For now, I give you three Fiat (Fix It Again Tomorrow) Unos, with their proud owners. These cars are known hereabouts as kannie dood – meaning immortal. A bit like the old English adage – Old Fords Never Die.

Les and his blue one-John and his red one-Robert and his white one

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