Imagine if Lucas, Prince of Darkness were still supplying electrics to the British car industry. A Lucas navigation system would make Apple Maps look like a good choice. Lucas telematics would require a Whitworth wrench to access.
I kid because I love. I’ve spent more hours under the hood of British sports cars than just about anything else in my life, though not at all in the last decade or so. Even then, I still have MG shop manuals under my bathroom sink, ready for the restoration of the car I don’t yet own.
The familiar, yet disconcerting sound of a medium-duty diesel was our first clue. It was the early ’90s, a time before ubiquitous cell phones, and my dad and I had been waiting for several hours for my stepmom to arrive in her MGB that we were putting away for the winter. She arrived eventually, in the cab of a rollback.
The engine decided to pop about 10 miles from our storage facility, a garage at my stepmother’s childhood home about 90 minutes from our house. The plan had simply been to keep it there until spring, but it would be a couple years before the old MG would see daylight again. Along the way, I learned about engine rebuilding, the importance of a good engine hoist (ours was crap), proper placement of jackstands (my toe still hurts a bit when it rains), and what happens when a Lucas distributor gets installed 180 degrees out of phase.
What sucks the most? I never got to drive it, as it was sold before I turned 16.
I have a 2000 Maxima with about 155k on the clock. I purchased this car in Los Angeles and since 2005, it’s lived in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The main issue is that I can tell the transmission is starting to get a bit soft on the 1-2 upshift, specifically once it starts getting cold out. I presume the primary reason for this is the abuse it’s suffered at my hands. As it was a California car, it has no traction control and though I love it nine months of the year, it is utterly helpless in the snow—snow tires didn’t seem to help tremendously. I’ve had to rock myself out a number of times and I presume the trans has gotten overheated at least once. I’ve been good about changing the fluid (drain and fill 3x, filter too) about once a year but I think I’m near the end on this trans.