by Paul Sweeney
I had an embarrassing moment this morning. Despite having easily passed the CoF (advanced version of Britain's MOT test) for vehicles used to carry passengers for hire or reward recently, the horn button on the steering wheel of the Daimler didn't work.
I pulled the centre button off and found ... no wiring at all! Being something of an amateur electrician myself, I quickly formed a strong suspicion that this could be a factor in my lack of "horniness", as it were (settle down at the back, please!).
So, as I was in town anyway this morning, I stopped at my favourite car repair place (they hate me, but love my credit card) and asked them what auto electrician they would recommend. I was directed to a workshop just 200m away and tootled off happily. This was going to be easy!
I parked up and presented myself at Reception where I quickly explained my "horn-y" issue to a reassuringly oily young chap in overalls (don't you hate trying to talk about car thingies to dolly birds or men in suits?). As soon as I stopped talking, he uttered those immortal words, "Sorry but we don't touch classics, mate" (thank God he didn't call me, "Bro"). "But" I protested lamely, "it's just a simple 12v system". He smiled patiently, "Sorry, no. You will have to see Dave". "Dave?" I asked. "Yes, Dave. You know - off Austin Street. He does all the classic cars round here". Not wanting to seem stupid, I responded, "Oh - that Dave .... of course!" and after thanking him, left to seek out Dave, the Legendary Wizard of Classic Car Electrics.
I pulled up outside the only place off Austin Street that had signs that mentioned car electrics and wandered inside. A lovely lady who was not a dolly bird - and I mean that in a good way. I suppose I need to explain that now ... she was shall we say a little mature to be so described - but more importantly, she was interested in me and my car and keen to help - woohoo! Once I had outlined my horn-tabulous troubles, she declared, "You know who you need? Dave! He's not here at the moment but will be back soon." With that, she retreated back into her SRS or Special Receptionist Space. How did I know it was a Special Receptionist Space? It had a heater, of course!
So, I resigned myself to hanging around for a bit and turned to look at the cars inside the workshop. Right next to me was an old British saloon; quite a big one. I had to find the badging to identify it - a Morris 14. It hadn't had a WoF (MOT) for 2 years but the bonnet was up and the wiring running from the spark plugs looked new and very tidy indeed - clearly evidence of Grand Master Dave's prowess! I pulled out my smartphone and took a couple of pictures (below).
I was about to take more pictures of the Morris when Dave appeared at my side, asking how he could help. He marched me outside to look at Queenie immediately as I told him about my horn-tastic problem.
When I opened the door, he glanced inside as I pointed to the un-horn-y button as if he wouldn't have known where to find it while I mumbled about there being no wires inside. Dave thought for a moment, then said, "The cheapest way to get your horn working is to run a wire to a new button - those old ones can be fiddly".
Then he leaned inside and said, "Or of course you could just press this one instead" and pressed a button I'd never noticed before that was mounted on the underside of the steering column. A loud, HONK! emanated from the car as the horn (for indeed that was undeniably what was making the sound) worked perfectly!
Dave smiled pityingly at me for a moment, said "I think you're OK then" and marched briskly away chuckling to himself. "Thank you Dave!" I called weakly after his rapidly-departing figure.
I admit I jumped into Queenie and left as quickly as I could. I suppose my feelings are mixed, in truth. On the one hand, I hadn't bought a car that passed it's CoF test when it shouldn't have and also it wasn't going to cost money to fix. On the other hand, I did feel a little silly.
But never mind, I'll soon get over that and if I'm honest, I've done sillier things before now!