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Earlier this year I went with my brother to provide transport as he negotiated the purchase of a 1952 Chevrolet pickup truck. It was located in Kelso, so what with driving over to Norfolk to meet him, heading north to the Scottish borders, and returning by similar routes, I clocked a thousand miles that day. It was a blast, right up until the Chevy expired on the A1.
The Chevy in question is a 3100, originally equipped with a 3.5 litre engine that produced a mighty 90bhp. This one boasts a five litre V8 that manages rather more. Almost everywhere else, however, it's remarkably original. The result is around five seconds 0-60, and around twenty minutes to get back down to zero. The steering wheel is connected to the front wheels, or at least so rumour has it. The flashing indicators were a later innovation, but fortunately they didn't work.
When Martin pulled over and asked me if I'd like a go, I should have dreamed up an excuse. Instead I endured the most terrifying fifteen minutes of my life. Twitch your right foot on the accelerator and you need to stop to retrieve your head from the rear cargo area. Except, of course, you can't stop, because the brakes are slightly less effective than opening the door and dragging your foot. Meanwhile, you're sawing the wheel with that strange to-and-fro movement that people do in front of a back-projection on a black and white movie. You don't have to do this, as you might as well try to steer Jupiter, but as the steering is heavy enough to give Geoff Capes a hernia, you can at least kid yourself you're making a difference.
A few months on, and the brakes now kind of work, the steering has been connected to the front wheels with stronger knicker elastic and even the indicators flash. Driving it is an absolute joy. Big Abe, as it's now known, retains that big-boned, redneck charm with which it was born, along with a hidden kick that causes Focus RS drivers to pretend they weren't trying. All the way to the first corner - or, as it could be more accurately described, the scene of the accident.
Mart asked me to design a logo for the door so, given his obsession with aviation, we decided to invent a fictional crop dusting business. I discovered that there's a Locust Street in Capron, Oklahoma. Google Street View revealed what looks like a single aircraft hangar... Ladies and gentlemen, I present Flyin' A Crop Dusting.
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