Demolition Man - Faine 388

By: Jon Faine

Presented by

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Jon tests the structural integrity of his man cave

From Unique Cars #388, May 2016

I really should stop doing dumb stuff before something really bad happens. Last month it nearly did. It started with good intentions and – like so many adventures – an ad for a wreck of an old car that no one else wants to buy.

I have spent a few years already playing with a 1923 Citroen B2. I am – slowly – making a boat tail body for the sporting version called the Caddy. There are none around. And the 1920s Citroens are few and far between in any configuration. So an ad for an orphaned car with not just one but three motors and a truck load of spares is enough to set the pulse racing. Add in a set of five brand new 6-ply beaded edge tyres and the proposition adds up financially. Problem – the car and spares are in Brisbane and I am in Melbourne.

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The auction finishes on eBay. No one bids. I do not want the car, just the tyres and spares. The fella selling will not split them up.

So what does the budding entrepreneur do? I ring around and find an accomplice. Ted agrees to look at buying the car if I get it trucked down. I can keep the tyres and distribute the parts I do not want far and wide amongst the vintage Citroen brethren.

Eventually the car arrives. The body tub is filled with tonnes of cobwebs and precious parts disguised as greasy steel and aluminium. The massive car carrier can fit into our back lane but there is no way can we push the laden car up the slight incline to get her inside my shed.

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Genius Jon devises a cunning plan. There are steel pillars supporting the back of the shed. Attach a massive old pulley to one post, with big solid bolts. Run a steel hawser through the pulley, attach one end to the heavy old car and the other end to my 4WD towbar. Slowly move the 4WD out of the shed and bring the old girl up the slope and inside. What could go wrong?

Plenty can go wrong. As the towbar takes the strain, the B2 moves a few feet. Then the only movement is of the garage steel post. It starts to bend under the strain. The post is welded to the roof beam. As I nudge the 4WD out of the shed, the welds break. I am pulling the shed roof down.

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Behind the wheel of the 4WD I am oblivious to the looming disaster. Our son Jack is watching and starts to shout. Then he breaks out into hysterical laughter. His warnings disappear into guffaws and with tears of laughter rolling down his cheeks he runs through the garden to the house to alert his mother to come out and watch the idiot in the 4WD pull down a shed on top of his head and all the precious cars.

Thankfully, other eye witnesses to the looming disaster have a more practical response and scream at me to stop. The supporting post is only just holding the edge of the roof steel beam. Another two seconds and the 4wd would have pulled it down completely.

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So we have to leave the old car blocking the busy lane and reinforce the structure of the shed. We then still have to get the hulk inside. And I have to somehow retrieve my dignity and some respect from wife and son who are still holding their sides laughing at my foolishness.

A few phone calls and a whip around the neighbourhood and I call in every favour I have. Six of us heave and groan and eventually push the car inside. We re-introduce the garage post to the roof beam. Ted buys the car. And my wife dines out forever on the story about the day I nearly brought the shed down on my head.

 

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