Sunday Column: Peter Griffiths – It could have been a brilliant career

I could be polymath if I wasn’t so lazy. I’d also start showing off about what I think I know if I didn’t think that would make you stop reading instantly. I’d also go out for a drive right now if a) I wasn’t slightly spry on mountainous liqueur or b) enormously poor because driving costs so much. Also you’ve already got sick of the letter ‘i’ and the apostrophe.

So the old jalopy with the big green bum was in the Black Country for a month for which my wallet had the pleasure of shelling out 350 big boys. This, using the rudimentary Windows calculator, equates to 87 and a half wing-wangs a week, which is more than it costs to run in petrol for a week. This is a heartening realisation for the future given that all sorts of financial firewalls were abutted against post shell-out. The old question of value for money and what is available that won’t lose value arose and were dealt with swiftly.

Denial is not, never has been, nor ever will be a river in Egypt and must be dealt with whether you like it or not, that is a life lesson for free. Any denial experienced by this poor sap tapping away at a keyboard lies in the fact that the mileage is so high on my car, some welding was required (not structural – too hasty? Too hasty), some rust requires treatment, some exhaust sections require replacing, and yet it has a ticket for another year.

This means either sit back and fix whatever goes wrong over the next year or work out what is best to consider in the interests of preservation and the old dear’s future. Unfortunately this clown has little to no idea about that sort of thing. Too easily does the eye wander to superficial frippery, too easily does the mind wander to fantastical engine swaps and suspension transplants. Some semblance of reality needs to be grasped otherwise a fine relatively old car will be lost through neglect and it will be hugely regretted.

Does the solution lie in advice on the forums? That forum which has recently been a great aid in reducing this years insurance premium? That could well produce sensible answers. There are a lot of keen amateurs on that website and only a few with decent advice and experience so yeah that could be good. But where to start? Things need putting in order of priority and that is not something that was taught in British schools in Worcestershire between 1995 and 1998, it’s a skill that life has taught harshly.

The engine is fine, that’s a gibbon (as Republica sort of never sang). The brakes are at 80% which is perfect given the current economical life the car is experiencing, the rust is only superficial as stated but is up there on the list, the suspension components were noted as having considerable movement at the first place which failed it in an MOT (a Subaru garage) but that’s understandable given the precision with which modern J*panese cars are made these days. The exhaust isn’t quite going to fall off any time soon but then it is not allowing the engine to breath as well as it could at the moment, which in turn isn’t contributing to the pursuit of economy.

Things aren’t how the appear from the outset, but the E30 still lives on.

Anyone can spout on about what they would ideally do to their car but it is futile and ultimately disappointing. Unless you’ve the funds then you’ve got to be realistic. This means doing a little bit by hand, on your own steam, and not being afraid of breaking something or getting it disastrously wrong. Those who are already able to fiddle and do this on their own deserve many small rounds of applause of appreciation for their efforts and bravery. The angle with which this last paragraph has been written might belie a little of why the Touring may be decaying a little.

The exhaust might be decaying, but at least its legal.

As the first paragraph stated, there are many different things which occupy this mind, many different dreams and also many different actual things in real life. To be able to grasp any one of them at one time would be a great thing. Putting these pieces of work together is tricky given the current state of my attention span and the copious distractions which a modern dandy is faced with in terms of technology and social events.

Now, given all that and also never having been able to think in a linear manner, you’ll appreciate the difficulty with which this is being put together. You’d think that there are piles of  notes which support such a grand structure and such pompous verse but no. Imagine if it were so. Imagine the condition the car could be in. Imagine what I could achieve if only I applied myself.

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