Freedom Isn't Free: Checkpoint Charlie and a Sprite

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sfhogman

Buckeye
Joined
Nov 18, 2002
Messages
1,742
My wife lived in Germany for 10 years, before the Wall came down and before the Communists were overthrown. She mentions walking in a park in Berlin and suddenly coming up to the Wall. It was dark, forbidding and on the other side- as she well knew - was Mordor. On more than one occasion she had to travel through East Germany- she found it colorless, grubby and creepy, knowing that she was an item of interest to the Stasi...she wishes she could take our kids back in time to see what happens when true despotic bureaucrats take over.

Enough. Click on the link to see what love can accomplish with a rented Austin-Healy Sprite....

http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2015/07/heinz-meixner-defects-from-east-germany.html

Always liked those cars.
Jeff

Addendum: Overhead shot with driver, fiance, and soon-to-be mother in law in the back...
http://imgur.com/NmakVA0
 

SAJohn

Hunter
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
2,300
Jeff, Careful what you wish for. At the start of college I bought a five year old bugeye Sprite. It was already starting to fall apart. I kept repairing it for two years and then sold it. 48 HP with driveline parts made out of the poorest steel known to man and electric parts from the prince of darkness. You looked up at truck hubcaps. You never had to turn on the heater as it was always plenty hot in the cockpit from engine heat. On even just a mildly warm day it would vapor lock. You had to constantly fiddle with the single tiny SU carb. With those close together headlights at night oncoming cars would think your were twice as far away as you really were. I could go on and on.

John
 

sfhogman

Buckeye
Joined
Nov 18, 2002
Messages
1,742
Thanks, SAJohn.
Believe me, I know. Roommate had one back in college and I was sort of detailed to keep it running for him...
Lucas, Smiths gauges, rust everywhere and a steering wheel made of painted dried mud.
Finally got rid of it after I pulled the emergency brake lever out of the floor by its rusted roots.

Gah.
Jeff
 

Ugly Hombre

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
740
an item of interest to the Stasi..

Now we- are of interest to the American version of the Stasi.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,741
sfhogman said:
Believe me, I know. Roommate had one back in college and I was sort of detailed to keep it running for him...
Lucas, Smiths gauges, rust everywhere and a steering wheel made of painted dried mud.
Finally got rid of it after I pulled the emergency brake lever out of the floor by its rusted roots.

Hi,

Jeff, his name wouldn't have been Tom, from Kankakee, IL, would it? Tom lived a few doors down my first year in college ('67-'68), and had a Bug Eye that had seen a couple of Midwest winters before coming to "What's all that rust stuff on your car?" SoCal. Second year he wasn't back and I have no idea where he, or the Bug Eye, went next...

Black Rustoleum became my frame and undercarriage's friend a little later when I had an MGA--too bad they didn't have a tanker car full of the stuff at the Morris Garage works in Britain when the car was built! The plywood floorboards seemed an oddity to me at the time, but at least they didn't rust. And it was an inland SoCal car, too...

Rick C
 

cadillo

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
667
My first car was a 1966 Austin Healy Sprite. Too small for me these days.
 

nvbirdman

Blackhawk
Joined
Jun 14, 2002
Messages
710
A neighbor put a set of points in a little English car one time and couldn't get the car to start again.
He and three teenagers worked on it for a couple of hours to no avail.
I wandered over and noticed a small fiber washer that they had on top of the pivot for the points. I realized this was an insulating washer and told them to put it underneath. The car started right up.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,741
nvbirdman said:
A neighbor put a set of points in a little English car one time and couldn't get the car to start again.

Hi,

Ah, good ol' Lucas points...

Maybe a year after I'd sold my MGA, I walked out to the apartment parking area where a neighbor was working on his MGB. Asked what he was doing, and he was putting in a new set of points. I made some comment about the frequency that had been required with my car. In fact, I'd even kept a small Lucas screwdriver on my key ring that included an appropriate sized (0.016"?) feeler gauge.

He agreed with that experience, then asked me, "Have you ever seen a set of Lucas ventilated points?" Curious, and wondering if there had been some giant leap forward I'd missed, I told him I hadn't. Had Lucas finally made them?

"Nope" he said as he started to laugh, then continued, "And don't worry, they never WILL!" as he got back to work.

Rick C
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,741
Bull Barrel said:
I still deal with Marelli points.
Set em and forget em.

Hi,

They might work fine in a Guzzi...

I once had a Fiat, which, of course, had some Magneti Marelli bits in it. In that car, they were just Lucas outsourced! Adjusted points at every plug change. Now that doesn't sound bad, until we note that was every 2500 miles. Then I discovered NGK plugs which could usually go 5000 miles. Points still needed attention at 2500, though. ;)

Rick C
 

sfhogman

Buckeye
Joined
Nov 18, 2002
Messages
1,742
Yup.
Many years ago I had a Ducati 250 Monza motorcycle. Fine when it ran, although no competition for a Japanese bike - this was back in the 60's. One day I was tracking down some electrical gremlin or another, and I removed the headlight to get at the fuse box. All the wires came together there, for servicing or something. The wires and connectors were wadded up in a plastic cigarette box that someone had modified with a jackknife. On the carved-up cigarette box were the words, "Magneto Marelli"...

True story.
Jeff
 

Bull Barrel

Hunter
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
3,279
My brother once owned a 67 MGBGT. Rolling rust, we called. Good thing he worked at a parts sore at the time...
 

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