The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - Robin Reliant
Chatting with an ex colleague recently, we got round to people we both worked with around thirty years ago. One fellow that came to mind was the firm's car expert, a bit of a dreamer who had come out with two memorable motoring "facts" (among others). One was to tell us how his mate had made a piston out of wood that worked perfectly (it was a very hard wood, we were told), and another was how he had fitted the back axle upside down on a Cortina and had one forward gear and four reverse.

Another ex workmate once informed the canteen table that one of the rear wheels drove the car forwards and the other drove in reverse. He had discovered this piece of engineering genius when he had the back raised on axle stands and watched the one wheel rotate in a different direction to the one he was turning by hand. What was even more amazing was that several other listeners nodded in aggreement while the rest of us burst out laughing. It's difficult to explain how a differential works so nobody bothered.

Anyone come across others with some weird motoring flights of fancy?
The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - George Porge
and another
was how he had fitted the back axle upside down on a Cortina and had
one forward gear and four reverse.

He was correct............................................
The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - Lud
A foghorn-voiced rich Italian I was at school with in the fifties insisted that the new Alfa Giulietta coupe could stop in six feet from a hundred miles an hour. Nothing one could say about the physical impossibility of braking a car that abruptly or the dire effects that would have on anyone inside the car could shake his loudly-voiced conviction.

Some years later I heard with sadness that he had killed someone in a car crash. Amazing how dumb people can be.
The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - L'escargot
One was to tell us how his mate had made a piston out of
wood ............

I believe this was indeed done during and after WWII to remedy burnt-out pistons when people were poor and cars were in short supply. Cars were sold on bomb-sites by all sorts of unscrupulous people. In my young, inexperienced, and naive days I bought a twenty-year old car which subsequently was shown to have a hole in the top of one of the pistons.

Edited by L'escargot on 10/01/2010 at 07:56

The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - wrangler_rover
In my experience, the more a person professes to be a car expert, the more mundane car they drive.
The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - Harleyman
In my experience the more a person professes to be a car expert

I always loved the late "Blaster" Bates' definition of an expert.....

.... "ex" is something that has been and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure!
The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - Cliff Pope
Some of these stories are true, others total nonsense:

Wooden piston - there was a letter in Practical Motorist in the 60s from a reader whose car was losing power, and on stripping the engine down found one of the pistons made of wood.

Turning axle upside down - I remember reading an account of the 1908 Peking-Paris race. I think the reason was gearbox failure so it wouldn't provide any forward drive, only reverse. Turning the axle upside down indeed reverses the direction, because the crown wheel is now on the other side of the pinion.

The backwards/forwards dfferential is of course nonsense, but there is an element of truth in it. A farmer warned me that if when going downhill on a tractor it starts to run away, the moment to jump clear is when you notice one of the whheels turning backwards.
The reason is that if one wheel is getting a grip, but the vehicle's momentum is causing it to speed up faster than engine revs permit, the result is the other wheel slippng and turning backwards. At that point he said there is no hope of regaining control.
The Bar-Room Motoring "Expert" - jc2
Had to be a Mk.I/II. Cortina-couldn't do it on later ones.

Edited by jc2 on 10/01/2010 at 09:44


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