- I'm a sucker for a 944, so this was already off to a good start.

Tribecoin Creative Writing Competition Results

It's been a long time coming... sorry.

7w ago

It's been well over the week that I'd set this competition to run for but hey, I'm a busy man and ended up getting a proper job that's taken up a lot of my time of late. Anyhow, time for the results of the competition.

And the winner is Matthew Wood.

Matthew went as far as to email me a word doc. of his submission, which I have handily copied below for y'all to enjoy.

It was my mate Steve that came up with the idea, as I had parked all notions of any sort of road trip whilst we are navigating our new normal. The basic plan was a take on the ‘Sea to Shining Sea’ style route beloved of Cannonball Run fans and to do the run from the east coast to the west – Cleethorpes to Liverpool via as many of the best driving roads we could cover in two days. Steve would be in his ’94 Volvo T5 estate, me in my Porsche 944 2.7 Lux.

Taking on board my advice to give the car a good going over before a road trip, Steve booked in a decent service, tracking and some other bits and bobs to make him feel better about the idea as up to now the furthest it had been was 30 miles down the road to Caffeine & Machine in Stratford Upon Avon.

One box ticked – my 944 was in fine fettle as only being a year down the line from a £10k ‘refurbishment’ and ready for the trip. Having driven the 944 down to France the year before my confidence was high. Too high as it turned out.

Fresh from being utterly overjoyed that the rear heated screen worked (small victories) on a quick trip to Sainsbury’s to get vital supplies, the driver’s side windscreen wiper decided to exit stage left as I pulled back onto the drive. As it was dark, raining and my mood had changed from ‘running a classic/retro car is THE best thing’ to ‘would the neighbour’s mind if I burnt it to a crisp on the drive’, I left investigating the issue to another day.

Now, I’ve used the phrase disappearing down a rabbit hole a few times in my life, but my use of this term to describe the process of diagnosing the issue, finding out how to replace the faulty item and then having a go at it, surely must be the aptest example of falling down said rabbit hole.

This is where having a mate called Steve who has a large drive, garage and most tools known to man comes in very handy. Full of enthusiasm to resolve this issue, not at my normal spend rate of £65 + v.a.t per hour but using my own labour, myself and Steve set about the 944 with a collection of tools. I must admit the look on Steve’s face when he asked me if I had a Haynes manual for the car and I replied that I was just going to remove the bolts and screws I could see and take it from there, is something I won’t forget.

The wipers and the big bolts topside were already off, and a nice German fella with subtitles on YouTube had informed us the blower unit housing had to come out to enable the big holding down bolt to be accessed. Via 16 screws, four of which (bulkhead side obviously) had rusted and rounded off. Not a problem – Steve had the fancy bits you can use to drill out screws. I soon discovered the process of drilling out the screws of the 944 blower unit cover was not as easy as the video on Instagram. At this point, thoughts of perhaps paying £65 per hour isn’t that bad an idea along with a match and a gallon of unleaded flashed through my mind.

But I then remembered the tool of choice for such events from my days as an apprentice way back in the ‘’90s. The number 1 screwdriver – AKA a big hammer. And a chisel. Five minutes after deploying the Number 1 all the screws had been ‘freed’ up along with a few bits of the blower cover. And when I got that off that’s when I found out the cause of an issue the 944 has had for years, and also again had ideas of being an arsonist.

Since I have had the 944 it has blown randomly hot and cold with no control to the air temperature what so ever. Suddenly before my eyes lay the problem – the flaps that regulate the air mix have rusted and terminally fallen apart. Again the rabbit hole deepens like a sinkhole. A quick call to my 944 guru confirms that it’s a rebuild if you can find a decent used set up worth using. And now it’s all apart there’s no point putting it all back together.

On the positive side, I now had a project for the winter, on the downside my repair of the wiper system had gone from four hours of mine and Steve’s time to a couple of hundred quid plus an open-ended adventure. I headed home, tail between my legs with a new wiper less look to my 944 which was great, until it rained on the way back.

Not to be beaten, me and Steve decided rather than doing a retro/classic road trip we would do it in our wives’ cars, Steve in his wife’s John Cooper Works Mini and me in my wife’s 218 M Sport. Auto. Also the rolling lockdowns had curtailed our route and the west coast was out of bounds. So from ‘Two men Sea to Shining Sea in their retro classics’ to ‘Two men travelling from Cleethorpes to Macclesfield in their wives’ cars’ - as straplines go I suppose it’s better than ‘Middle aged man burns Porsche on drive’.

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