I’ve recently been very busy, all under the hood
Under the hood of my project roster – the cars, designs, images and products just don’t make themselves….
But – mostly I’ve been working on the old BMW Sport Tourer. It’s been a labor of love, and at times a real pain in the ass. I’ve been speaking mostly in Anglo-Saxon at the old girl, even though the car only speaks OBD & a Bavarian version at that
What has stuck out through this time, is what I’m coining ‘The Spitfire Outdoor Workshop Ethic’ I really love the image above, although it’s not one of my own… I just feel it captures what I’ve been feeling over the last few weeks as I’ve been working away
My Grandfather loved to fix things, by working with his hands he connected with both himself as a man and as an engineer. It was natural to him, more natural than just going into town to buy the same object to replace the very same object – only due to one maybe small part that had failed. I just feel that we now in real terms have the total opposite attitude. ‘The Spitfire Outdoor Workshop Ethic’ means getting the dam plane ready and back up in the air – no matter what. Come hell or high water, you get the job done – even if that means having to rebuild the carburetors whilst sitting on top of the engine in the middle of a field with only a handful of tools and a bloke called Mitchel to help. You get it done, you improvise, you stretch yourself, you overcome, you grow – most of all you rise above
Because the alternative is unthinkable, That ‘Spit’ has got to be airborne, ready and able to take on the might of the Luftwaffe. Because, the alternative is unthinkable
I’ve been facing some real challenges in the workshop, some really experienced mechanics may well just see this as just another reason not to take an old car apart. But, I just can’t let the old girl go, because, the alternative is unthinkable – There have been times when I’ve almost given up, thrown in the towel and walked away. But, you see the thing is this – you’re not really walking away, this shit lives with you for fucking ever. Every time you turn your back on the opportunity life has given you to grow and evolve a little part of you dies inside – and all the men and women who gave so much to get you to where you are now, will have done so in vain. Because, the alternative is unthinkable – it’s down to you, and only you
The rise of the Gentleman Mechanic
A profound realization was had whilst on the phone with BMW spare parts after a lengthy call involving loads of part numbers and an explanation of what I was trying to fix… I was asked ‘Are you an independent BMW technician then?’ – ‘No’ was my reply, and then, just like that I replied ‘You know how there are Gentleman Racers?, well I’m a Gentleman Mechanic’ I smiled all over as I’ve no idea where this came from?! it just did, as all the best things just come to you – without excessive over thought. So, the job was done all the parts of the cooling system replaced, mended and put back together again – no leaks, no issues just happily doing it’s thing again as if it had all never happen. I was proud and mostly relived as I locked up the workshop. Then the most wonderful thing happened – A lone Spitfire flew overhead! The roar of its 1000hp Rolls Royce Merlin engine – the very sound my Grandfather called the sound of Victory, yes that sound filled the sun setting skies above the workshop. As it thundered across the sky every hair on the back of my neck stood on end, just as it flew across the roof of my workshop then on over the village green as it climbed sharply at full throttle into a perfectly executed victory roll showing off it’s stunning and unique wing design. I just can’t tell you how emotional it is to see these planes still flying. We’re so fortunate to live between two historic airfields, which is where this particular ‘Spit’ lives, restored and kept flying by men and women who really give a shit – Because, the alternative is unthinkable, they give of their time and expertise for free
If I were ever looking for a sign….
That, maybe – just maybe I’m on the right track?! Doing what I love and forging ahead with my own ideas – realizing my dreams on my own terms. Then a fly pass by a WW2 Spitfire at the very moment I’ve just completed one of the toughest jobs to date, as I’m locking up the workshop for the night?! Oh hell yeah that’s a sign, it’s a ruddy great big sign thank you very much and no… I’m not about to ignore this one
It’s time to report for duty, it’s time to volunteer it’s time to go join the men and women who restore these beautiful planes, as there’s a little blue & white propeller spinning on the front of all my projects, and most of all in my heart. All of this experience has just given me yet another level of depth to my devotion to the job in hand, a deeper connection to what I love most of all – my workshop, my roster of projects, my wife and our little girl
I do what I do – Because, the alternative is now unthinkable