Tag Archives: old cars

Seeing is Believing: The Mark of Doom!

They say there’s no fool like an old fool; and I must have looked like a truly aging wally to anyone who passed my house this  morning. You see I’d just arrived home upon my bicycle from a neighbouring village where I had dropped off my ancient Toyota for it’s annual safety test. Perhaps I was exhausted. Maybe I was so concerned that it would cost a fortune to fix any problems with the Toyota, that I was neither seeing nor thinking clearly. As I made the final effort up the slope to my house, I was horrified to find that someone had made a discrete paint aerosol stroke upon my wall. In Britain this is a sure sign that ‘spotters’ have been around to check out any vulnerable properties for later burglaries by criminal gangs…

My first concern was the question of why they had selected my home. What made it such easy pickings? Finding nothing obvious, I thought it best that I remove the sign before the aforementioned criminal gang appeared. So, without further ado, I set about the mark with soapy water and a scrubbing brush. The result? Nada. Next I attacked it with a solvent – turpentine substitute to be precise. The result astonished me: the mark remained…er…unmarked! Then I brought out the big guns; a sheet of  sanding paper. No paint on Earth could resist  that. But it did. There was no effect whatsoever. My expression must have been the dull-eyed look of a simpleton. I think I summoned up a “Duh?” Then it dawned on me. Raising my gaze upward, I became aware of the proximity of my Skoda Octavia. More significantly it’s rear lamp cluster. Focussing to a more distant point I noted the presence of the Sun. It, the Skoda, and the criminal gang’s sign aligned perfectly…

I’d been trying to scrub off a ray of light! In my defence,  they do say that genii make the best idiots. Guess that makes me a genius – especially since my ancient Corolla managed to pass it’s test yet again!

Eight Years On

As I mentioned in my Tooty the Chef’s wheel restoration post, I bought my ‘modern classic’ 1998 Toyota Corolla, in immaculate condition in 2014. It was done on the spur of the moment, and I’ve never regretted the impetuous act. Here’s what the little beauty looked like back then…

Well, as I said earlier, the years have not been kind to my dinky 1.3 automatic. But recently a new air filter, an automatic gearbox oil change, and those dashing yellow wheels seem to have perked up the motor somewhat. So, to celebrate the fact that my favourite car is still up and running after twenty-four years, I stopped by the same locale and took it’s portrait again…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I know: but I think it’s still a cracker. I think a lot of old Corolla owners feel the same way: there’s still loads of them on Britain’s roads, and every one of ’em I spot makes me smile. You’re bound to find at least one in Waitrose car park. Quality lasts, obviously. And if you’ve never driven one, give it a go: there’s something indefinable about them. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a big fan.

Tooty the Chef Gets Auto-Restorational

Everyone knows Tooty the Chef…

…and his inspirational recipes for people who don’t really want to cook, but have to…

Well, back in 2014 he happened upon a low-milage Toyota Corolla for sale at the side of the road. His wife drove one, and he liked it so much that he didn’t hesitate to buy it…

But the passage of time was not kind to his pride and joy.  Five years of daily commuting and weekends away, plus three years of dissuse on the hard standing, took their toll upon the sadly fading and peeling paintwork. Deciding to give it a visual ‘once over’ Tooty tore off the wheel trims and was appalled by the condition of the rusting wheels…

Things weren’t much better in the wheel arches either…

And the sight of the crud-encrusted suspension and brake fittings really ‘shat him up’…

So a major clean-up was undertaken with alacrity…

Now all thoughts of the day’s food preparation had been dismissed as inconsequential. Tooty the Chef had become Tooty the Auto Restorer – despite the fact that he knows sod-all about mechanicking, and usually pays other people to get their mits dirty. But, coming over all ‘Wheeler Dealer’, he pulled off the wheels and began cleaning off the dirt and rust…

But he was quickly thwarted when water became trapped in the micron-thin gap between the surfaces of the rim and hub of his pressed steel wheels. Fortunately our favourite chopping board champ is also an improvising kinda guy, and before long he’d dug out a paint-stripping heat gun that hadn’t seen use since the mid-nineteen nineties…

Naturally it worked fabulously. How could it not? But after Tooty had applied a coat of rust conversion liquid…

…that same micron-thin gap came back to haunt him, and those improvisational skills were required again…

Yes, he set-to  with a propane blow torch. And it was so successful that Tooty simply had to make a celebratory corned beef and maasdam cheese toasted sandwich..

So, as the last day of March 2022 came to a close, all five wheels now bore a coat of red oxide primer…

And very nice they looked too. But as the first day of April dawned, Tooty knew that a plan that had been festering in his head for hours would require action. He decided to go with a Spanish theme for the wheel resto. So, as a cold north-easterly blasted through his workplace with the gusto of a ravaging  hoarde of Viking warriors, Tooty masked off the tyres  and pulled out his rattle-can of bright yellow paint…

Despite the icey blast playing havoc with his aging bladder, the wielder of the spatula soon had his tatty wheels all spruced up and looking dandy…

…even if he, himself was feeling far from dandy. Knackered would be more accurate. But, as he touched up a few areas that appeared slightly less than perfection itself…

…rain, sleet, and a flurry of snow intervened…

But, being a hardy sort, a quick cup of coffee was partaken, and he was soon back on the case. And, oh my,  what a result…

Fortunately a delivery van arrived, on cue,  with a set of wheel trims that Tooty had ordered on-line. A quick and timely service soon softened the garish wheels…

…leaving Tooty so pleased with himself that he made a delicious  chicken curry…

…that was really nice. Gosh, what a multi-talented individual he is. And such good automotive taste too!