Cars for the rest of us.

We Want Your Best Hack Mechanic Story

May 31, 13 • by Craig Fitzgerald • Contest, Publishing3 CommentsRead More »

Memoirs of a Hack MechanicThe nice folks at Bentley Publishing in Cambridge, Massachusetts sent along two copies of Roundel magazine contributor Rob Siegel’s new book Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic: How Fixing Broken BMWs Helped Make Me Whole. We’re going to give them both away. Here’s how:We want your best hack mechanic story.

You towed a car home with a pair of panty hose.

You fixed a blown radiator hose with an Ace bandage (it works).

You left your tiedowns at home so you trailered a car home by flattening the tires and driving 10d sinkers through the tire, into the deck of the trailer.

We’ve heard it all, and now we want to hear your story. Email your story to We’ll post it to our Facebook page and the two stories with the most likes win.

We’ll be posting a review and some more information about Rob’s book next week, and we’ll post a winner in the email digest a week from Monday.

Rob’s book is available from Bentley Publishers with a cool Father’s Day package including the book, a bookmark, and a cool card from photographer Klaus Schnitzer.

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3 Responses to We Want Your Best Hack Mechanic Story

  1. I was in college – circa 1994, getting ready to drive home in my 1984 Mercury Capri hatchback, when the damned thing stopped dead on Fordham Road in the Bronx… blocking traffic for blocks.

    I popped the hood, but had no idea what to do beyond that… when a passer-by asked if he could take a look. He used a pen to fiddle with the butterfly valve on the carburetor, and the Capri came back to life, allowing me to limp home.

    He did ask me for a couple of dollars – apparently HIS car was stuck as well, but he had just run out of gas. He was walking to the station when he saw me.

  2. Michael McKee says:

    In the spring of ’73 I was in the dorms at Cal State Fullerton. As I was walking across the parking lot one day some one called out to me from under a 61 2 door caddy. ‘Could you hand me that 3/8 socket extension right there?’ he asked. So I picked it up and handed it to him and looked under the car to see what he was up to. He had the pan off the bottom of the engine and was pulling a rod cap off. ‘You’re in pretty deep.’ I said. And so I met Ed. What Ed was doing was replacing a rod bearing with a piece of leather. The crank journal was bad for that rod and wouldn’t hold a bearing at all. But a piece of leather would last about 2 weeks for Ed if he stuck to his routine. He’d gotten a piece of leather from a shoe repair guy. Some how he’d either traded for it or been given this piece of leather. That piece of leather was large enough to do several repairs and get Ed through to the end of the semester. Then he would sell the car and hitch hike to Washington where he’d get on board a boat for AK and work the summer to pay for the next year of school. I spent the rest of the semester spending every other saturday sitting next to Ed’s caddy drinking a beer and swaping stories while he replaced is leather con-rod bearing.
    In the fall Ed and I and another friend went to Las Vegas and back in a 58 F100. That’s a long story but we arrived back at school with the hood of the truck in the bed and a gas can with a hole in the bottom wired to the top of the carb gravity feeding fuel to substitute for a fuel pump gone bad.

  3. William Robinson says:

    In 2004 a buddy of mine and I had taken a 88 mazda 323 hatch from a friend after it would no longer pass inspection. We would aquire an old car and bomb up my driveway and into the woods behind my house. With the little mazda we thought to try somthing different and make it ride a bit higher. We jacked the car up untill the suspension was at full droop, grabbed the mig welder and burned a bead in around the shocks piston rod andthe shock body. We did this at all four corners which probably netted us 4″ of lift. We pulled the car out and proceded to climb my firewood pile backwards and the rearend of the car made the top of the pile. Popping the clutch starting off sent the car into a bucking mess but it wasnt bad when moving, so we took off for the top of the driveway and into the woods. The car made the halfway mark of the driveway and lost all momentum and revved freely to its limiter. After finding a coke can sized hole and a bunch of teeth and broken cogs had been spit out we decided cars need their suspension, especially if they are going to be beat on until they will not move, at least if you want to have any fun with them.
    Cheers all