Name Game - Morley's World 451

By: Dave Morley

Presented by

morleys world 1 morleys world 1

What's in a name?

I’m not sure why this should be, but if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have seen, over the last decade or so, a serious social move to make ourselves sound grander than we really are. A stay-at-home parent is now a primary care-giver. Hmm, fair enough, I suppose, but things really get crazy when we start to describe our other tasks in life.

Since when, for instance, did the bloke-with-a-big-truck who empties your bins of depleted goon-boxes and prawn heads, move from being a garbo (garbologist, if you want to be really proper) to an Urban Refuse Relocation Specialist? And when did the tip he took them same prawn heads to become a Recycling and Transfer Station?

And what about truckies? They used to be called, um, truckies. Now they’re called Road Transport Operatives and the freight companies they once worked for are now Logistics and Storage Specialists. No wonder a bloody fork-lift is now called a Rear-Steering Height-Adjustable Materials Handling Apparatus. Or did I just make that up?

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A ute or is it now a tradespersons tool conveyance?

Anyway, one that I didn’t make up (because my imagination is not that fertile) strayed across my bows in traffic the other day. And there it was, the best, most grandiose, ridiculous embellishment of occupational truth that I’ve seen since the Ex-Udder Beverage Wholesaler (that’d be the milko, then) stopped delivering to our primary domicile. (Now we have to schlepp up to the Intersection-based Emporium – sorry; corner shop.)

Now, please believe me when I tell you I am not making this up. It is, on my mother’s life, the truth. On the back of this ute was the company name, flowed by the descriptor: Physical Access Systems. Had me stumped at the time, too. Until I read the small print to discover the details that included ‘Automatic doors; Roller doors; Security doors’. Yep, Physical Access Systems equal doors. Bloody doors! The door company is now a Physical Access Systems Specialist. Jesus wept.

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Fast ladies of the fifties

Look, just in case this was your ute or your company, forgive me. I’ll assume it’s a giant piss-take and we can all enjoy the gag. At least, I hope it is.

Here’s another that made me laugh. I’ve owned my daily parts chaser for a couple of years now and, a water pump and radiator aside, she’s been a good old thing to punt around on a nine-to-five basis. She’s even done the odd longer haul interstate (to pick up and drag home an engine from Bris-Vegas no less).

But because the ute is more or less a tool of the trade, I’ve never paid too much attention to the way everything works. Specifically, I had never bothered to sit through the booting up process of the dashboard as the car wakes up each morning. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure why I made the effort to watch it all play out in its digital magnificence the other morning, but I did.

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Awaiting the booting up process

Basically, the on-board computer goes through a quick checklist (or so it seems) making sure that the air-bags are still connected and the oxygen sensors aren’t dragging along the road. And, once it’s done this, it conveys the happy state of affairs via a little message in the LED part of the dashboard. What made me giggle was the message itself: OK!

I swear, a simple OK would still have got the message through to even a dunce like me, but it seems even the ute itself is a bit surprised that everything is where it should be and still working properly. Hence the exclamation mark. Bless it.

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Is there real value in the last of the breed?

Now let’s talk numbers. I’ll go out on a limb here and confess that I’m not a numbers-matching kind of fella. I get it, but I don’t put a lot of importance on it. Seems to me that while you might have a car with a matching-numbers engine in it, the only reason that particular car got that fitted with that particular engine was because it was that bodyshell and that engine that met on the assembly line on that minute of that day. Nothing more to it than that. Pure chance. So what’s the big deal?

This whole subject was brought into focus for me recently when that last VF SS Commodore Series 2 off the production line sold recently for a smoking three-quarters of a mill. Now, the chap or chappette who paid that handsome sum for it, clearly values the fact that it’s the very last of the breed. But me? Um, I’d be happy with any VF SS Series 2. In fact, I’d take a minty example of any car rather than a slightly crumpled one (not that the VF SS in question was anything other than factory-fresh) that happened to possess some implied production-run significance.

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Matching numbers

Torrens disagrees (naturally) preferring to let his OCD run free. But I’ll remind you; this is the bloke who has a 1979 and a 1989 Commodore and reckons he’s holding out for a 1999 example to complete the set.

For me, it all comes down to chaos theory: If a car on a production line gets fitted with whatever random engine lines up with it, what’s the real significance of matching numbers? Bugger all, says I. And don’t start me on date-coded water pumps. Sheesh.

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Ready, set, drop

I’m left with the same degree of ‘meh’ when I see restorations that include reproducing production-line paint splodges and factory overspray of sound deadener. Does it make the finished car work any better? Nope. Does it make the restored car any more authentic? Well, no, because those paint splodges and oversprayed sections are – let’s be honest here – reproductions themselves. Oh, and then the restorer goes ahead and paints the car in water-based two-pack instead of the enamel the car was originally finished in. Say what?

Look, if all this stuff floats yer boat, good for you. Clearly, there’s enough interest in it that it must be a thing, and that means I could well be in the minority. Again. Fair enough. But one thing that has become clear to me lately is that there’s a lot more value being placed on originality than simple correctness. Slightly patchy paint now seems – for many folks – to trump shiny new two-pack and genuine factory fittings appear to be of more interest than new reproduction items. And, honestly, I’m kind of all for that.

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Big sticker lessens the look for some

To me, the notion of originality celebrates and pays respect to the life that machine had lived and the humans it has served. A mate of mine recently restored his old man’s car and, while he made it perfect again, he was also careful to preserve all the little bits of evidence (the optional driving lights and crooked holiday sticker on the rear glass) that made it his dad’s car and nobody else’s. But you know what the horrible downside of this is? It only makes me regret the cars I sold even more.

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