Seven automotive sins

I have just done a quick check and it’s not looking good.  Until now, I hadn’t considered myself a particularly bad person but there’s a handy check list available to ensure we stay on the straight and narrow.  Unfortunately, I must confess that it appears I regularly commit most of the Cardinal Sins.  It is probably no surprise that they all relate to motor cars. 


While we might all be quite happy with the little hatchback which hauls us to work, takes the broken mower to the tip and doesn’t cost too much to run, this does not stop the car enthusiast pondering what it would be like to sit in the Maserati burbling away next to us at the traffic lights.  In fact, it goes further than this – do you picture yourself sitting in it?  Or driving it on a long weekend to France?  Or where you might park it outside your house?  Would the child seat fit in the back?


My Series III Land Rover manages just 12 miles on a gallon of unleaded (with a sip of fuel additive to help it go down).  If this isn’t pure motoring gluttony, I’m not sure what is.


Quite honestly, I don’t need more than one vehicle.  However, I’d rather sell my mother than one of my motors, so I definitely exercise vehicle over-consumption.  Frankly, if I had another place to park a vehicle, I’d fill it.


Ah, this isn’t one of my bigger sins, but I still have a few examples of ‘could do better’.  Most of the evidence sits in my garage, like the big tin of Waxoyle to be used to protect vehicle undersides.  It has been there for about a year now and the job is still on my ‘to do’ list.  Then there are the holes in the passenger footwell of the Land Rover, just waiting for some attention.  Still, it’s not too draughty with the mat over them.


Here is not the place to print the expletives I shouted when I skinned my knuckles when working under the bonnet recently.  Or when I dropped a bolt in the engine bay – and it didn’t fall out onto the floor but sat in some oily gunk somewhere en route, never to be found.  And I was absolutely furious when someone tried to steal the Land Rover a couple of months ago.


Hmm – back to the Maserati again.


I have always struggled to understand why this is necessarily a sin, because it is not clear why it might be detrimental to anybody else.  I remember the day when my M.G. passed its MOT first time after a three year rebuild.  I had invested many evenings in a cold garage to bring the car back to its former shininess.  It was large undertaking and I felt (I thought justifiably) proud of the end result.  This happens on a smaller scale too, perhaps taking a step back and admiring shiny paint work after washing and polishing a car.  Pride is often linked with vanity but can also be detached completely.  One might be proud to have fixed something about which he or she had no prior knowledge.  Externally, there could be no visual change – who would know if you had serviced your car yourself for the first time, or taken out the engine to put in a new clutch?  You might not even share this with anyone, but could definitely enjoy the puffed-chest feeling because you had achieved something.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say a little pride is a good thing.  Perhaps if we were all a little more proud of our motor cars, we’d look after them and drive them more carefully.  After all, for any greedy people, it’s likely to help keep up the value on your car when you come to sell it – to the envy of your neighbours…

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