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Car Lore

For me a great experience was meeting someone who actually was a first-hand witness, to the 300 mile per gallon carburetor, that had been rumored, as an urban legend for so many years. I needed to get my battery checked, since it was dead and I wanted to find out whether this was a permanent condition or it only needed a recharge. I went to a garage on Mission just south of 30th Street in San Francisco, one I had never been before, being late on Saturday afternoon.

There was one mechanic and he was the owner. Everyone else was off. He tells me that he has to put my battery on a charger, in order to get a good read with a gauge. Now I think in the back of my mind - that's nonsense, but I can't quite remember for sure. He's going to charge me seven bucks, and it is going to take twenty minutes to half an hour, so I says, "OK". He is muscular, dark curly hair, about forty years of age, dressed in gray coveralls, with a white T shirt and dark chest air fringing the lower neck line.

While I am waiting I join him on the concrete floor. He is working under a car on his back, in the glare of a utility light with his arms up in the recesses of an engine compartment. The vehicle's front end is on jacks about three feet off the ground. The engine is off its motor mounts, disconnected from the transmission and hanging down in the rear about six inches. He says, "They designed the chassis in England and the motor in Detroit. The only way to change the most rear spark plugs, is to pull the engine part way."

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