Helping Hands

If you’re like me you have a car buddy with whom you’ve had all kinds of adventures. For me that man is a guy named Jerry with whom I’ve been going to collections and shows and on road trips for more than 20 years. If I have a problem working on one of the MGs or need help installing a water heater, I’ve always called on him because he’s an incredibly pragmatic problem-solver. But I’ve always felt as if it’s too much of a one-way street as I’ve helped him a lot less than he’s helped me.

My chance came when the phone rang one Sunday afternoon. I was expecting my wife but instead found myself talking to Jerry, whose 1969 TVR Vixen quit, leaving him stranded a few miles from home. All his efforts to get it running had failed. Would I come get him so we could hitch up the trailer? I grabbed the tie downs and headed out to where he was stranded.

The good news is that the car was well off the road and the shoulder was wide enough for the trailer. So after closing up the TVR we drove back to his place, hitched the trailer to his pickup and returned to the stranded Vixen. We’d never had the featherweight, but very wide TVR on the trailer before or we’d have known that it would be an incredibly tight fit. Loading it, with the help of a volunteer who had stopped to assist, we found that we only had about ¾ of an inch clearance on each side. With the car on the trailer and centered — that’s another story — I looped the nylon tow straps through the delicate suspension components and we headed for his house.

Before we could unload, the skies opened up, but we were dry in the garage. Soon enough the storm moved on and we rolled the car off the trailer and into the garage. Jerry kept thanking me, but I was just happy to have been home and have had the chance to pay back a few of the many favors he’s done for me over the years.

Do you have a story about how a friend helped you out of an old car jam or how you returned a long-overdue favor? Did you make a late night road service call or drive a spare part 90 miles? Or did you pull your buddy away from the big game because you were stranded in the old sled? Please tell us your story of a roadside rescue or when you just couldn’t get the Chevy to run right and your pal sorted it for you. Send your story and a photo or three to

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