Lon B 1972 MG Midget Mk III 2dr Convertible

Duct Tape, Bailing Wire, and Shoestrings

Tales of mechanical improvisation, I have a few. Sounds like the first line of a song, but I digress.

Driving classic (read older) cars most of my life I have had to deal with quite a few roadside repairs and here are a couple. My dear old dad had taught his kids to never leave home on a car trip without a basic set of tools, bailing wire, a general repair kit, and our common sense.

A few years back some friends and I had taken my old 1964 Dodge van camping in the mountains. Coming down from on top of ole smoky one of the rubber brake lines had developed a leak and soon we were left with no pedal, and no brake fluid. There we were left on the side of the road miles from anywhere. So I used a good wrap of duct tape and small worm type hose clamp to seal up the brake line. For brake fluid we sacrificed a bottle of good vodka, and with help from one of my camping buddies we bled down the brakes and made the trip down the mountain and the 40 miles or so home safely.

A few years later I was out with a date driving my 1972 MG Midget having a grand time cruising along the lake when the throttle cable snapped in two. Not being able to make much time at idle speed in first gear I decided something had to be done as it was a bit embarrassing getting passed by bicyclists. So I stopped and got my running shoes out of the trunk. My date asked if I expected her to walk home as she watched me remove the laces from the shoes. I raised the bonnet of the car and fashioned the laces into a pull string throttle for the car. Running the long laces through a hole in the fire wall I could then control the engine speed again. My date had a great time shifting the gears as I steered the car with one hand while pulling the throttle string with the other. Oh, and we did pass the bicyclists a short way up the road.

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