SmokStak

The Apparent Art of Engine Rationalization


| May/June 2002



SmokStak

The following was posted on the SmokStak bulletin board at the www.enginads.com web site. Not exactly a discussion, it was just too good to pass up. Enjoy!

By Tim Claremont

After being in the old iron hobby for any amount of time, it becomes common practice to peruse the classifieds in a quest for more stuff. At first we tell ourselves we are only looking for that one last part to complete our current restoration project. Remember when you had just that one engine that was practically worthless because it needed the doohickey that holds in the muffler bearings? What a waste to let it sit there and allow its molecules to coalesce any further! Remember thinking that if you could just locate and install that $10 part the engine would be worth thousands?

Once you have talked yourself into the small repair that will reap these massive rewards you start scanning the classifieds. You're not sure exactly what the part is called, but if someone is offering up parts for the same brand as your engine, it will probably work, right? You call on every ad that mentions your make of engine. Then your eyes start to catch the ads that offer similar engines to your own because 'that one will have the part I need ... and a bunch of extras ... and the price is not much more than the cost of the part I need ... and it isn't located too far away.'

In the beginning, and with shipping costs in mind, the ads that piqued our interest are fairly close to home. But as the natural progression of things continues, it becomes entirely possible, even rational, to retrieve engines from even farther away. Certainly Joe in West Bumble knows someone who can carry it to Coolspring, where Fred can pick it up and haul it back to East Gibblefritz, where you can schedule a day trip to grab it next fall. Perfectly rational, as long as you're not trying to rationalize it with the wife.

In the course of three months you realize you have accumulated three more engines, four oilers, two mufflers, a torn copy of the owner's manual, two carts with broken wheels and a pickup to carry it around in. Also note that the very part that initiated this quest is still nowhere to be found.

Eventually the wife catches on, noticing the family car doesn't quite fit into the garage as well as it once did. She thinks the answer is to clean the garage. You think the answer is to buy a smaller car. Marriage counselors call this 'dissension.' Engine hobbyists call this 'stage two.'