Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Taxing Problems

Well, what a stir good old Mr Blair has caused with all this "price by the mile" nonsense. It doesn't really affect me as a "classic motorist", as my mileage is comparitively miniscule anyway.

However, quite apart from the various good arguments against such a scheme (and also glossing over the rather lame response, supposedly from the PM, which was appropriately and immediately marked as Junk by Hotmail) what really irritates me is a number of the green lobby who seem to think cars are the preserve of the rich and famous! "Cars are a luxury item," they cry. Apparently, poor people shouldn't have cars anyway, so raising the tax is no big deal.

Ugh?? That kind of dim-witted drivel can only have been written by some odd-ball daughter of Geldoff who already has more dollars than brain cells, but is still busily trying to deny it by hiding out in the Indonesian jungle, saving monkeys or some such!

I'm not sure what planet they live on, but here on Earth, particularly in the UK, cars are anything but luxury items. In fact they are the work horses of a nation, depended upon by young and old, rich and poor, for better or for worse. By way of an example, I just calculated (while forming this rather hurried rant) that buying a car saved me at least £100 this year. Furthermore it will save me a lot more than that next year, simply because I won't have to use the extortionately priced public transport system!

To quote myself (I quite like doing that):

In the UK people with a low income drive a car, because successive UK governments have put an end to [cheap, reliable public transport] by privatising and fragmenting our railways and other public transport mechanisms beyond recognition, allowing jokers like First Great Western to run up massive profits operating an awful service, by privatising what should never have been taken out of public hands - and for what? A few quid of some city banker's tax bill so they vote for you again in 2 years time!

Clearly, the British public transport system is no alternative to car travel, for rich or poor. Pricing people off the roads achieves nothing but confining low income folk to their locale. Don't feel sorry for me, because I can afford the train - I just don't, because it's a horrific waste of time and money!

So for those who say cars are a luxury item, pull your heads out of your behinds and look at the real issue here. The CAR is the ONLY viable means of transport in this country where the public transport system has been repeatedly raped by greedy and vote-hungry men. Until the government sorts that out, they should forget about driving people off the roads.

Blah! I'm going to the pub.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Spring Forward

Torsion springs - the root of all evil!Well, I got the Lotus back on the road all by myself! I had a look at the throttle problem a couple of weeks ago, and on closer inspection I noticed three things:

1. What I thought was the throttle cable was actually the choke cable (how embarassing!)

2. The throttle cable is, in fact, nearly new.

3. The return spring is, in fact, very, very old!

You see the little hooks on the ends of the blue spring on the right in the photo? (Photo courtesy of Pated Springs, by the way.) Those hooks hold the torsion spring in place. On my Lotus, one goes through a hole in a piece of sheet metal, which appears to be something to do with holding the carburettors in place, and the other goes through the end of the throttle cable.

After a thorough forensic examination, I deduced that a combination of the metal being very old and my over-exuberant application of the throttle resulted in the hook at the throttle cable end sheering half off, thus causing the spring to dangle helplessly beneath the carburettors! That's why the throttle stuck open with alarming effect, half way around the M25.

On the plus side, enough of the spring was left to effect a decent repair with some garden wire, so not only is it now driveable again, I'm also in less of a hurry to take it for its service (though I really should sort that out soon anyway).

The Fiat lies with Bob right now. He's had it for a week now, so knowing Bob, he's nearly done!

One other piece of news. I'm not sure if I'm proud of this or not, but Honest John featured me (about two thirds of the way down, headline " hold you?") in his column in the Daily Telegraph. As an example of what happens if you don't give mechanics a deadline. Oops!