by John Simpson
After I'd been employed for a while, and gained a bit of confidence, my boss, Mr 'R', gave me first big job to do on my own - strip a V8 engine out of a Plymouth Fury. This was something I could get stuck into, learning all the while. Suffice to say that another mechanic, Dougie, reassembled it!
By this time I'd got my own tools which consisted of Britool A/F, Metric & Whitworth ring & open ended spanners, screwdrivers, pliers, hammer etc., in a barn type tool box, how much did it cost? The princely sum of £19 11s! A bit different to my toolbox today, full of Snap On tools, worth about £10,000!!
A job I remember working on a Reliant Regal, changing the brake master cylinder, which is located under the vehicle, similar to a Morris Minor. It was over the pit with the front wheel on two pit boards and me working underneath, I needed to get at the brake pipe union, so without thinking pushed the car forward, crash bang wallop! You've guessed, the front had dropped down the pit causing slight damage to the fibre glass body!! Another telling off!!
While working on a Citroen Dyane I had an embarrassing moment. It was stood outside the workshop doors, gently ticking over. I opened the bonnet and revved it up, panic it lurched forward pinning me against the doors, I shouted for help and it caused much amusement with my work mates.
Some Dyanes were available fitted with a 'Trafficlutch', which was a second centrifugal clutch much like a lawn mower, which enabled you to drive in traffic without depressing the clutch when stationary, so I'd left the car idling in gear and when I revved it lurched forward!!
Baitstrand of Kirton - that was the name of the garage I was working at - were well respected in Citroen circles and we used to get cars from all over the country coming in for their annual service, which took a full day to complete.
We also had a lot of customers from the RAF (there are a lot of RAF bases in Lincolnshire) with their DS's which most had purchased in Germany. I got to meet some very interesting people.
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