Revcounter: Join us in the Unique Cars mag workshop

By: Unique Cars magazine

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It's about time we had a little chat, in the shed...

Revcounter: Join us in the Unique Cars mag workshop
The Mighty Kingswood.

Revcounter - Unique Cars mag Editorial column

Spouse Ms M Snr and I were out touring, with the mighty Kingswood, somewhere in the countryside. It’s a 1979 HZ, with a 253 V8 in the snout, that we’ve owned since 1982 (we’re the second owners), so there was nothing unusual in that. ‘Heffalump’ is a family pet these days.

What was worrying was how much goddamn fuel the thing was drinking. Seriously, every time I touched the right pedal, you could see the needle on the gauge sinking, fast. Okay so we were towing a big enclosed motorcycle trailer, with two transports of delight inside, and it was a heavy bit of kit. About an even tonne. Even so…

At one stage I pulled up and got under the car, looking for fuel leaks. As 253 owners will know, they can guzzle dinosaur juice around town, but aren’t too bad on the highway. Normally.

There was nothing obviously wrong and muggins just had to live with the idea (that weekend, at least) it was using as much petrol as your average light aircraft – about 36 litres per hour is normal for a 320-cube Lycoming. Fine for a Cessna, not so good in a Kingswood.

I should add we had the carb ‘done’ by one of the few remaining experts in these things just a few years before. What I hadn’t counted on was just normal wear and tear.

We got home, a little poorer, but in one piece. Some basic health checks, with the luxury of time under the shade of the shed, revealed one of the fuel lines under the car, near the driver floorpan, was perishing and the top of the carb (still the stock item) was working loose. As is often the case with mechanical traumas, the drama had its source in more than one cause. An hour or two with some fresh fuel line and a screwdriver fixed the problem.

If I’d been a more focused owner, these things would never have happened. Just look after your toy. However with a few cars (the number varies from around three to five – it depends on the day) and lots of bikes under our roof, focus is not one of my strong points. Sometimes I’m just grateful if it runs.

Funny thing was, it was relaxing to find some issues and fix them. That it cost sweet FA, other than a bit of time and a few basic tools, was satisfying.

Yeah, yeah, it won’t always be that easy. Gawd knows, there have been plenty of other times when I’ve been perfectly happy to set fire to the car rather than continue stuffing around with its ailments. Which, in a perverse way, makes any small victory that much sweeter.

The fact is that no matter how hard I try, muggins will never be a decent mechanic or panel-beater. There are things even I can learn and master, and times you have to pass on the problem to someone who actually knows what they’re doing. Which is fine.

Even if it’s beyond my abilities, I still want to know how it’s done. If nothing else that means I might be able to have a conversation with the man or woman with the trade qualification. So far I’ve found most actually like to share their knowledge, and are pleased when someone shows a genuine interest.

Which is a spectacularly round-about way of saying we’ve gone back to basics in this magazine. There’s a big Garage Gurus section, with expert advice offered by Dave Morley (write to him via for all workshop and buying counselling), reader restos, owner profiles, a beginner panel-beater feature from young Jon, general feedback and lots more.

If you ever wanted to get in touch with Uncle Phil, our project car ringmaster and the world’s fussiest owner who, like Morley, has a rare practical and long-term knowledge of most things car, the email works for him, too. As it does for Beetle-thrasher and al-round shed-dweller Glenn 'GT' Torrens.

It develops and grows over time, with shed master profiles and money-saving how-to guides and regular reader restos.

The general idea is we talk about your cars, our cars (much the same thing, I reckon), shed tips, buying advice and we might even tackle relationship counseling. After all, a happy partner inevitably leads to a happy workshop.

And yes, we still know how to use analogue mail: the address is Unique Cars magazine, locked bag 12, Oakleigh 3166.

Give it a go…

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