Garage band blues

| 27 Oct 2011

Last weekend, I finally cleared up my garage. I will admit that it was prompted by two things: 1) my wife telling me to do it because she could no longer get in there, and 2) the fact that, with autumn in full swing, I wanted to get the Scimitar nestled within four walls before I rendered it naked thanks to my recent bout of paint-stripping.Four hours in, I had successfully achieved one of my goals: the Scimitar was in – well, sort of. Turning my tool chest round by 90º (so that I couldn’t actually access any of the drawers) and bending the metal garage door very slightly so that it was physically inside the garage. Unfortunately, in achieving this I had sorely overlooked the other reason for my spring clean: the fact that – as Mrs P gently informed me – 80% of what was cluttering the rest of the garage up was now piled up at the end that opens into the back of the kitchen. Which meant that she had even more limited access than before. Pointing out my achievement of finally housing the Scimitar would have been churlish – and might have got me a slap – so I quickly pushed it out again and set to work. Properly this time.The nice thing was that this provided me with an excellent opportunity for a trip down memory lane. As I went through forgotten areas of the garage, I found offcuts of wood – the shape of which immediately told me that they were for a bit of AC that I remade a few years ago. In another corner, I uncovered a collet from the last time I removed the cylinder head from our old 1968 Mini, and in a big box on a top shelf I discovered several SU carburettors that had been scavenged for bits when it had what I thought to be fuelling issues. Porsche parts, MGB parts, Mini parts and Land-Rover parts – they were all there, but more surprising were the Morris Minor bits and bobs I found in a drawer. A couple of these hailed from my first classic, bought in the early 1990s, and for some reason I had deemed them important enough to hold onto, although for the life of me I don’t know what I am going to do with them. What I do know is that parts of my previous classics continue to turn up in my current fleet. The Land-Rover has the cigarette lighter from my old Porsche so that I can run a sat-nav unit should I need to. The Scimitar wears the gearknob that my brother-in-law made for the 912, while the electronic ignition module is mounted to a bracket with the carburettor-to-manifold bolts from my old Mini. The Landie hard-top was missing a couple of bolts that attach it to the main tub, but this was easily overcome with the deployment of two engine-mount bolts, again from the Porsche: recycling is alive and well in my garage.

Then, last night, I was watching a gig by modern blues icon Seasick Steve (above) and was reminded of possibly the coolest bit of auto-recycling I have seen in recent years. Steve is famed for his collection of home-made guitars, but I think his finest hour is the instrument crafted from a pair of Morris Minor hubcaps, a broomhandle and a handful of nuts and bolts (below). You can see it in action on YouTube here.

Now, if only I could find a musical use for eight old numberplates, a LWB Land-Rover wheel, three dead ignition coils, 27 old spark-plugs and a box of used brake shoes. Perhaps I could be famous yet...