This page was last updated on $Date: 2000/03/06 00:01:12 $
10 Best Tools of All Time
Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; its never been there when you need it.
Besides there are only 10 things in this world you need to fix any car, any
place, any time.
- Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife in
stickum and plastic. Its safety wire, body material, radiator
hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more in an easy
to carry package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct
tape in concours competitions, but in the real world,
everything from LeMans winning Porches to Atlas rockets use
it by the yard. the only thing that can get you out of more
scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.
- Vice Grips - Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling
wire twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-til-it
falls-off tool. the heavy artillery of your tool box, vice
grips are the only tool designed expressly to fix things
screwed up beyond repair.
- Spray Lubricants - A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors,
alternator, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig phlegm, repeated
soakings will allow the main hull bolts of the Andrea Doria to be
removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these
sprays is the infamous little red tube that flies out of the
nozzle if you look at it cross eyed (one of the 10 worst tools
of all time).
- Margarine Tubs with Clear Lids - If you spend all you time under
the hood looking for A frendle pin that caromed off the petal
valve when you knocked both off the air cleaner, it's because
you eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of tasteless
vegetable oil replicas just so they can use the empty tubs for
parts containers afterward. (some of course chuck the butter-colored
goo altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike air
cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by
a time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
- Big Rock at the Side of the Road - Block up a tire. Smack corroded
battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types
on the noodle. Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that
packs the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the
only tool with which a "made in India" emblem is not synonymous
with the user's maiming.
- Plastic Zip Ties - After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and wiring
with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked up
version to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform
a hulking mass of amateur quality wiring from a working model
of the Brazilian Rain Forest into something remotely resembling
a wiring harness. Of course it works both ways. When buying a
used car, subtract $100 for each zip tie under the hood.
- Ridiculously Large Standard Screwdriver - Let's admit it. There's
nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting
or mutilating than a huge flat bladed screwdriver particularly
when weilded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the
tool of choice for all filters so insanely located that they can
only be removed by driving a stage in one side and out the other.
If you break the screwdriver --and you will just like Dad and you shop
teacher said--who cares if it has a lifetime guarantee.
- Bailing Wire - Commonly known as MG muffler brackets, bailing
wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct
tape, it's not recommended for concours contenders since it works
so well you'll never need to replace it with the right thing
again. Bailing wire is a sentimental favorite in some circles,
particularly with the MG, Triumph, and flathead Ford set.
- Bonking Stick - This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy
ends is technically known as a tie-rod-separator, but how often
do you separate tie-rod ends? Once every decade if you're lucky.
Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all purpose
application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge
flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel
or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking
stick. (Can also be use to separate Tie-rod ends in a pinch,
of course, but does a lousy job of it).
- A Quarter and a Phone Booth - See tip