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99 pages

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A teenage lad's fascination with old cars. An even greater fascination with teenage girls. A sad lack of sufficient funds to pursue either interest with much credibility. A conundrum which has challenged car-obsessed male youth the world over since the fateful day in 1885 when Gottleib Daimler's spindly-wheeled creation puttered out of its shed for the first time. Bangers relates how one impoverished would-be Lothario tackled these issues during the late 60s and early 70s. Successes were rare, disasters were commonplace but the adventures on the journey were entertaining and fulfilling - most of the time. An affectionate look back at a less constrained, less self-concious era, Bangers tells the story of a young man fumbling his way towards adulthood through tales of the many old cars that found their way into his life. Each of these crumbling wrecks moved him a fraction further down the path of enlightenment in his attempts to comprehend basic mechanics and female temperament - not that he ever got much beyond scratching the surface of either concept. In fact, 50 odd years and 70 odd cars later, he remains as bemused by it all as he ever was. However, two constants have remained with him throughout. One is the knowledge that he was always far from being alone in his obsession with old motors as a quick glance at the magazine shelves in any newsagent will confirm. The other is that someone, somewhere really ought to try and explain all this to the opposite sex.



Publié par
Date de parution 05 juin 2014
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781849891363
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Title Page
true tales from a 1960s teenage petrolhead – the cars, the girls, the dreams
a girl’s guide to silly old cars and the men obsessed by them
Chris Meade
Publisher Information
Bangers published in 2010 by
Andrews UK Limited
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The characters and situations in this book may or may not be entirely imaginary and might bear no relation to any real person or actual happening.
Copyright © Chris Meade
The right of Chris Meade to be identified as author of this book has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Bangers is dedicated to my wife Lizzie, my son Richard and my daughter Phillipa. Three infinitely generous, patient and supportive individuals who witnessed the ludicrous automotive shenanigans of their husband and father over many years with unfailing good humour, unlimited tolerance and unconditional love.
Recipients of coveted Swarfega Good Egg Awards are:
Melanie Whitehouse – authoress, editor, writing guru and marvellous mentor to 1 st time scribblers like me, Mel is the primary reason why Bangers did not disappear up its own exhaust pipe on numerous occasions.
Madeleine Haskins – little sister who had the foresight and wisdom to introduce me to her pal Mel.
Graham Lord - gruff but inspirational critic who correctly condemned various potentially disastrous ideas I had for the book as “total bollocks”.
The Duke of Cumberland – a fine public house on the Surrey / Sussex border which provided a congenial workplace, superb beer, excellent grub and particularly comely serving staff for Graham and myself to appreciate as we debated the finer points of silly old cars for hours on end.
Richard Meade – journalist, magazine editor and first class wordsmith who offered commonsense advice and calm, considered judgement on the frequent occasions when his father’s laptop was at risk of attack with a Morris Minor starting handle.
Phillipa Meade and Nicholas Osborne – who patiently sorted out self-inflicted software problems on the aforementioned laptop no matter how many times I caused them.
Huge debts of gratitude are also owed to the numerous friends, work colleagues, family members and unnamed, unknown heroes such as the flatulent motorcycle cop who either feature in the book or contributed ideas and support.
I feel I should also thank the various UK government departments and authorities concerned with road transport and motor vehicles. They provided much inspiration for this book through their endearing tendency to view the world they administer through the wrong end of telescopes and their unswerving belief that the concept of “rubbish in – rubbish out” does not apply to their own databases and computer systems.

On a bright, crisp day in September 2009 a sizeable and inquisitive crowd of spectators gathered on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy. They watched attentively as, a few metres out from a quayside, the lifting cables of a large crane quivered under the strain of raising what was obviously a seriously heavy object from the lake bed. A collective gasp went up as the object surfaced, accompanied by a group of rubber-suited divers carefully monitoring the straps and lifting hooks keeping it secure and level.
The object was a car. A very old car. A rare and beautiful 1925 Bugatti Brescia which, so the story goes, was dumped in the lake by a dodgy Swiss car dealer who had decided that abandoning part of his stock in such a spectacular fashion was preferable to handing it over to the local taxman in lieu of demands for payment.
Once it was dried out, the battered and dreadfully rusted Bugatti was to be put straight up for auction. No attempt at repair or rectification of the effects of being submerged for 80 odd years was to be made prior to its appearance before the auctioneer. Although it was largely still in one piece, the car would require many thousands of hours of painstaking work by painfully expensive craftsmen before its magnificent engine could roar again and its exquisite alloy wheels roll on tarmac once more. The eventual restoration bill would undoubtedly be measured in many hundreds of thousands of euros.
Nevertheless, 6 months later, the auction price achieved for this pinnacle of old bangerdom was £227,000.
About the same time as the events at Lake Maggiore, and at the opposite end of the old car financial spectrum, mine was the winning ebay bid on a rather down at heel 1972 Reliant Scimitar GTE. In its day, this had been regarded as an innovative, stylish example of decent quality British sports car engineering – an attractive amalgam of a nicely shaped glassfibre body covering well-proven mechanical bits filched from various contemporary Ford and Triumph models. Now, 38 years later, it was as described in all the best banger adverts – “requiring some attention”.
It cost me £900. It had an MOT and the engine seemed to run reasonably well when I went to collect it but, by the time we got it home, the steering had partially seized, the clutch had packed up, clouds of steam were wafting up from underneath the engine bay and the poor old thing dived towards the nearest hedge every time the brakes were applied.
But I doubt whether the successful bidder for the Bugatti was any more pleased with his or her purchase than I was with mine.
My name is Chris Meade and I am a car-oholic. More specifically, I am an old car-oholic. There, I’ve said it – I feel better already.
A small comfort to me in this dreadful affliction is the knowledge that there are many thousands, probably millions worldwide, of others who suffer as I do. Otherwise normal, entirely reasonable people leading otherwise normal, entirely reasonable lives but with a strange compulsion to immerse themselves in a grubby, expensive, potentially dangerous involvement with ancient rust buckets of dubious provenance.
The majority of these lost souls are, of course, blokes.
So where does this leave the girls who love the blokes who love the cars?
Bangers is my attempt to provide a little insight to those women puzzled by the curious behaviour of their menfolk struck down by this debilitating illness. I will try and tell you something of their stories by telling you my story.
My story explores the teenage years and early adulthood of an ordinary - albeit car obsessed - middle class lad from an ordinary middle class part of South East England in the late Sixties and early Seventies. It is a series of tales about chasing girls, student life at a provincial college, relationships with parents and various forms of authority. It covers the many part-time student jobs I undertook in order to keep myself supplied with books, beer and petrol. The tales are linked by the ever-changing array of old bangers that came into and out of my life during this period and the various larger-than-life characters that played important roles in enabling me to buy, maintain, understand and repair them.
It is a light-hearted romp, a loosely-connected series of anecdotes and observations about living with and patching up old bangers in a simpler, less constrained era that now seems so far removed from over-regulated, politically correct, 21 st century Britain.
The book leaps off into the future from time to time, relating events in later life back to the automotive adventures of my youth. It also jumps backwards a couple of times to relevant pre-teen experiences. All the stories are based on actual events although I confess to a little embellishment and artistic licence here and there. Most of the humour is at my own expense, relating blunders, romantic mishaps and come-uppances that came my way along with a few examples of minor triumphs (with regard to both cars and girls).
The technical content is limited – this is more a book about people than engine internals. However, there might be enough for you to surprise your man (and other girls!) occasionally with an insightful comment casually dropped into the car talk down the pub. Don’t worry though – lengthy dissertations on the difference between camshafts and crankshafts or the pros and cons of front wheel drive v. rear wheel drive do not feature and you won’t even have to buy an anorak.
As for any male old car enthusiasts who happen to be scanning these pages? Well, you won’t learn anything from this book that you don’t already know but you might be amused by the deranged musings of a fellow car nut looking back over his automotive life. And you can always hand it over to the lady in your life once you have finished.
So dear reader, male or female, if you have ever wondered why someone like Chris Evans spends five million quid on a high mileage, multi-owner, unreliable, impossibly expensive to maintain, 58 year old Ferrari when he could have bought a brand new one for a hundred and fifty grand or why the chap with the funny moustache and the John Major voice down the road spends all his leisure time underneath a rusty old Rover propped up on bricks in his front garden – please read on!
Chapter 1
A bid for freedom
“Bugger. She’s not gonna go.”
A barely discernible red glimmer from the ignition warning light faded completely as the starter stirred itself into another slow, ineffectual spasm, hardly managing to turn the engine through more than half a revolution. John gave it one

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