Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: "TRAINING WHEELS"-or How Motor Sport Influenced My Formative Years-Part Three
Just to set the record straight, my use of the phrase “Wonder Years” (in Parts One and Two) is not sourced from any past television series, but rather, from the original source: an advertising campaign from the ‘60’s (it may go back further than that, but that’s when it was introduced into my consciousness) featuring a brand of sandwich bread. That’s the impact that television had back in earlier times. To be able to lay down a form of written history that includes such occurrences is one of the main reasons I’m logging all of these “Memoirs”. A forum is thereby provided that can be both informative to younger generations, and allow the generations that “were there” to recall and discuss these events.
MEMOIRS OF AN INDEPENDENT REPAIR SHOP OWNER: "TRAINING WHEELS"-or How Motor Sport Influenced My Formative Years-Part Two
The very fact that I’ve allowed myself to be delayed in making this entry underscores the fact that the experiences I related in Part One, and am about to relate here, really have had a profound and lasting influence on my priorities.
Living up in the E. Sierra, there are always plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, especially after the snow thaws. This year has been no exception. So, in between warm-weather projects, I’ve been staying fairly occupied with motorcycle preparation (for both road trips and off-road excursions), and field “testing”.
So far, so good! Now, back to stories of early influences in my MotoLife.
As I mentioned in Part One, with the variety of racing venues proliferating the Greater Los Angeles Area in the decades of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, it was really hard NOT to be favorably influenced by all of these motohappenings.
MEMOIRS OF AN INDEPENDENT REPAIR SHOP OWNER: "TRAINING WHEELS"-or How Motor Sport Influenced My Formative Years-Part One
As with many young lads growing up as the motor sports world was rapidly advancing in the 1960’s, I was totally fascinated with just about anything sporting wheels—especially if there was a powerplant involved. And especially if it involved head-to-head competition with such devices.
MEMOIRS OF AN INDEPENDENT REPAIR SHOP OWNER: Tall Winter Tales - Extreme Weekend Banzai Road Test / Rally-Part Four
We rejoin our tale of adventure aboard what was proving itself to be a very worthy foul-weather road tripping first-gen Toyota van. It took us something like twenty-four blizzard-hampered hours non-stop to make it to our Golden CO destination, from the South Bay LA departure. The only casualty inflicted was committed against our recently purchased cable “chains”.
Counting our blessings, we put in for the night at what had to be the last “old-school” motel in what appeared to be a rapidly modernizing town. We would tackle the acquisition and loading of our intended cargo—a late-model Suzuki superbike—on the morrow.
MEMOIRS OF AN INDEPENDENT REPAIR SHOP OWNER: Tall Winter Tales - Extreme Weekend Banzai Road Test / Rally-Part Three
Having made our descent to the high plains east of Moab, The Mint and I now had time to reflect on both my performance behind the wheel, and that of our rapidly appreciating and Bodaciously Beaten Van. We had to conclude that the proof was in the proverbial pudding in both cases: aside from the occasional stop to clear snow and ice accumulation from the wheel wells—checking on the integrity of the cable chains on the rear—our progress was confident and rapid, considering conditions.
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: The End of the (Econo) Line – On Life Without the Venerable Van
The last five years certainly have not been kind to Institutions throughout the world, especially in these United States. Whether they be people, places, commodities, companies, lifestyles or leisure activities, nothing seems to be immune to the force that is presently driving things along.
The automobile, and the whole infrastructure supporting it is experiencing a paradigm shift that has wrought some serious casualty:
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: I Don't Like Your Tone – Some Thoughts on In-Cabin Audible Warning Devices
Since we were on the subject of electronic and computerized vehicle protection systems, it seemed like a logical move to begin a discussion of another long-standing and not universally beloved vehicle subsystem—this one ostensibly purposed to save us from ourselves, or at least our vehicles from “the nut behind the wheel”.
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: Now This is Alarming-My Ongoing Cold War Against Anti-Theft Systems-Part Two
Being an avid proponent of resolution—whenever reasonably possible and prudent—I had to pause to make sense of what certainly appeared to be the aftermarket equivalent of Anti-Theft Engineering Overkill, which had been residing for some time under the front seat of my newly purchased 1991 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD (Some of the circumstances surrounding said purchase are explained at the end of Part One.)
Not that the installation looked a mess, or anything like that. It was really rather well organized, in truth. At least a half dozen standard circuit relays, a control unit, and all of the accompanying wiring neatly gathered into a substantial loom and routed under the carpet to points North, East and West.
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: Now This is Alarming-My Ongoing Cold War Against Anti-Theft Systems-Part One
The hostess, an avid bird-watcher, related an anecdote regarding an in-field faux pas, wherein their transportation for the day—an early millennium Ford Explorer equipped with an intermittently malfunctioning anti-theft system—was the catalytic device that made them the unwelcome center of attention—albeit a momentary one.
Memoirs Of An Independent Workshop Owner: Two Can Play At That Game - Part Two - Sundry Shady Shop Swindles
Since my last entry involved Crooked Customer behavior, I think its only fair that I give equal time to that of the Shady Shop. Rather than merely relating what have most certainly become cliché’—and I’ve pretty much heard them all—I’m going to relate a few accounts in which I personally have been on the receiving end, as either a consumer or a shop owner.
They really stand out due to a few factors, not the least of which is the absolute unflinching nerve, if not downright out-and-out hubris on the part of the perpetrators.
Memoirs Of An Independent Workshop Owner: Two Can Play at That Game-Part One-Memorable Crooked Customer Capers
“You can’t cheat an honest man”, a quote I understand to have originated from none other than W.C. Fields turned out to be even more profound than I originally surmised.
I mean, I had for some time figured that being as straight as possible with myself, or anybody else—including, and maybe even especially customers, when I finally got into that arena—was the best way to go.
Of course there were real tests, trials, and defining moments along the way, but it always seemed to be a road worth staying on.
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: "It's Anything But THAT!"-Detecting the Motive Behind the Exclamation-Part Two
This entry (as with Part One) is one of the exceptions. I still wouldn’t mind “hearing” your thoughts, though…
Once upon a time, when my little repair shop microcosm was a much safer and secure place to tread, I would rarely get a customer request for a repair procedure that was unlawful, unsafe, unprofitable, unfair, or just downright unrecommendable. And if their request was any of these, it would take very little effort on my part to dissuade them from their skewed request and get them to embrace my recommendation for properly solving their problem.
Or, did I DREAM that?
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: "It's Anything But THAT!"-Detecting the Motive Behind the Exclamation- Part One
For the most part, I’m trying to avoid the whys and wherefores behind the topics I write about in this column. I’d just as soon hear from readers as to their opinions about the reasons behind. But there are going to be exceptions to that rule, as far as my postulating about motives.
This entry is one of the exceptions.
I still wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts, though…
As I stated in my last entry, in the final analysis—in spite of the opinions voiced on the nature of their vehicles problem—the customer generally sincerely just wanted the problem remedied. There were no ulterior motives I could detect in their erroneous observations; I just appreciated that their scope of experience was limited in comparison to mine, and I took what usefulness I could out of their efforts to help.
But then, there were those occasions when I highly doubted the sincerity of the customer’s statements. In this entry, I’m going to relate a couple of those occasions to you.
Memoirs Of An Independent Repair Shop Owner: "It's Anything But THAT!"- Famous Last Words That Have Provided More Help Than Hindrance
If I had a dime for every time a customer said that to me while in the process of Repair Order composition… I would have made a lot less money off the ensuing job!
I mean, the whole idea of the pre-repair consultation—at least from my point of view—was and is to get as good an idea as possible about the nature of the vehicle’s problem, so a proper repair can be performed in an expedient, efficient, and cost-effective manner.
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- Dusterdude When there is a strike the union leadership talk about “brothers and sisters “ . They should give up that charade . Bottom line is they are trying to wring out every last penny they can and could care less ( putting it politely) about the future of the industry 5 - 10 years+ down the road
- Ronin They all will back off, because the consumer demand is not there. Even now the market is being artificially propped up by gov subsidies.
- Keith Some of us appreciate sharing these finds. Thank you. I always have liked these. It would a fun work car or just to bomb around in. Easy to keep running. Just get an ignition kill switch and you would have no worries leaving it somewhere. Those OEM size wheels and tires are comical. A Juke has bigger wheels!
- Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
- Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.