I have always had an affinity for anything mechanical and from an early age I was making or modifying something. Initially it was making things out of bits of wood and nails, then I moved onto bicycles. My true passion, however, was ignited with the purchase of a 1960s Vespa 125 cc two-stroke scooter which had been totally dismantled – and I mean totally! I paid the princely sum of R15 for this gem which I carried home in cardboard boxes. Over the next couple of weeks and R100 later I had, at the age of 13, a perfectly running scooter which provided hours and hours of enjoyment for me and my friends. Not coming from a particularly wealthy family, when the time came for me to get a car it was a case of “find something cheap and fix it.” I duly bought, for R100, a Vauxhall Velox with a 3-litre 6 cylinder engine and a faulty gearbox. The car stood at home with the offending gearbox on the workbench. I opened the gearbox and peered inside, not having a clue what to do next. Bit by bit it was taken apart and carefully laid out, over the full six metres of the workbench, until I got to the broken part. I bought a new part and worked my way back along the workbench. The gearbox was duly fitted and was perfect.
I have, over the years, learnt to methodically plan and treat each of my tasks as a project, often spending weeks mulling over the process which would best achieve the desired end result. I have realised that if something comes apart easily, there is absolutely no reason to use a hammer to put it back together! My initial career in electronics has allowed me to fix the majority of electrical problems associated with old cars … (more)