Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Hush Has Fallen Over the Fleet

With only one of our Corvairs in use the past couple weeks, the odds were in my favor that it would be a quiet holiday season. In fact, it was. Ringo’s only misbehavior came courtesy of a flat tire. Ariel and I swapped a good tire and wheel from TwoTone and they were good-to-go again.

This reminds me of one of my little quandaries: what's the clearest, most concise way to refer to a tire and wheel assembly? In the previous paragraph, I wanted to just type, “swapped a good tire,” but I felt the need to elaborate, so I added the words “and wheel” to the phrase. However, it is perfectly clear, even to my engineer’s ear, to just say, “changed a flat tire,” and trust that my audience would never believe 1) I’d demounted the deflated tire from its wheel and mounted a replacement right there on the side of the road, and 2) I'd exchanged one flat tire for another flat tire. I guess it would have been easiest if I’d just said, “The only fleet maintenance during the last two weeks was changing a flat tire.” The automotive world has drive train (engine-differential-transmission) and air cleaner (which includes the air filter cartridge and a bunch of sheetmetal), but they’ve never come up with a word or two signifying the rolling thing consisting of a metal wheel with a rubber tire mounted around it and filled with air. What about “rolling stock?” Nope; that doesn’t work for me. “I swapped rolling stock” is too vague regarding plurality or lack thereof. I guess I could try to introduce a completely new word like twerk (Tire Wheel – get it?) to the English language, but given I’m not Miley Cyrus and I’m already trying to get Websters to recognize scramble-do (your hair-do when you get of bed in the morning – feel free to spread that one around), I’m reluctant to take on another quest. But I digress (or have I actually double-digressed).

Now for something completely different. ‘Tis the season to share your resolutions (I will be less of a curmudgeon) and plans for the upcoming twelve months, so here are my plans for the fleet. TwoTone will get a real name as well as plenty of attention. Given the glacial-rate at which Mikhaila and I are proceeding with her sedan’s roadification, I’m hesitant to use the word complete in stating my intentions for that car, so I’ll just say I hope we can get her on the road. Ariel will be replacing Ringo with a modern vehicle as her daily-driver. She insists, though, that she wants to keep her ‘vair, so I don’t see any reduction in the size of the fleet. It would be really nice if Victoria and I could get Luna drivable, but she is so busy and we’re still not sure what that car truly needs (in addition to the convertible top installed) to be a reliable road-goer. Finally, Glinda. Visions of a 140 HP engine and a 4-speed transmission have been dancing in my head for quite a while now, but I’m afraid those grand plans will not be executed in 2014. Too many demands on my precious time and our tight budget mean the best I can hope for is a rebuilt Powerglide and a re-seated windshield. The tranny rebuild needs to be completed before May 24th since that’s when the next track day has been scheduled by the NECC (Northeast Corvair Council) at the brand-new New York Safety Track. Click here to go on a tour of the track. Looks fun, even for an automatic.

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