Million Mile Joe
Put bluntly, you can run a car for in excess of a million miles on the same engine and gearbox. Somehow this fact doesn’t sit so easily in a culture which still subscribes to the grand idea of the new-car-as-myth. But it is a fact.
There will be no prized for guessing that this startling number of miles was achieved in a Honda either, Honda having won the title of the UK’s most reliable car for the last six years running.
It seems that if you are a bit handy and a whole lot concientious, verging on the autistic as Joe here clearly is, then you can truly get a hell of a lot of miles from your motor. Obviously generational increases in performance and refinement levels are going to pass you by like that new Skoda flying by in the outside lane. But if you persist, and if you swallow a certain amount of pride in the process, especially with a certain sort of motor, then in theory you can try at least to run your car into the ground.
If you drive only on Western European roads then you would be forgiven for thinking that mute-coloured new cars are the standard worldwide; that the seamless business of nipping between cities and relatives is a norm of the upwardly mobile society. But some cultures have by necessity adopted a very different approach to running and owning their cars.
To visit a country like Argentina is to bear witness to all sorts of innovation and persistence which is at once terribly embarrassing and wonderfully inspiring. The cut and shut, the mismatched bonnet and the lapsed suspension are all standard features of the Developing World freeway. And as a result they are much less sentimental about their cars and much more comically pragmatic.
When the wheel falls off your taxi at the maximum speed of 50kph, as happenend to me on the way from an Argentine airport, you really have to smile.
And whilst the current recession hasn’t driven us to the these sort of desperate measures just yet, we know from common sense that maintaining your car rigorously pays dividends, when looking to resell your car later on, for example.