10 Best Tools of All Time
Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; its never been there when you need it. Besides
there are only 10 things in this world you need to fix any car, any place, any
- Duct Tape - Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss
Army knife in stickum and plastic. Its safety wire, body material, radiator
hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more in an easy to carry
package. Sure, there's prejudice surrounding duct tape in concours
competitions, but in the real world, everything from LeMans winning Porches
to Atlas rockets use it by the yard. the only thing that can get you out of
more scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.
- Vice Grips - Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling wire
twister, breaker-off of frozen bolts and wiggle-it-til-it falls-off tool.
the heavy artillery of your tool box, vice grips are the only tool designed
expressly to fix things screwed up beyond repair.
- Spray Lubricants - A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors,
alternator, and other squeaky items. Slicker than pig phlegm, repeated
soakings will allow the main hull bolts of the Andrea Doria to be removed by
hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is the infamous
little red tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross eyed
(one of the 10 worst tools of all time).
- Margarine Tubs with Clear Lids - If you spend all you time under the hood
looking for A frendle pin that caromed off the petal valve when you knocked
both off the air cleaner, it's because you eat butter. Real mechanics
consume pounds of tasteless vegetable oil replicas just so they can use the
empty tubs for parts containers afterward. (some of course chuck the
butter-colored goo altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike
air cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a
time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
- Big Rock at the Side of the Road - Block up a tire. Smack corroded battery
terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop noisy know-it-all types on the noodle.
Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs the raw banging power of
granite or limestone. This is the only tool with which a "made in
India" emblem is not synonymous with the user's maiming.
- Plastic Zip Ties - After 20 years of lashing down stray hose and wiring
with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked up version to
the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking mass of
amateur quality wiring from a working model of the Brazilian Rain Forest
into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. Of course it works both
ways. When buying a used car, subtract $100 for each zip tie under the hood.
- Ridiculously Large Standard Screwdriver - Let's admit it. There's nothing
better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting or mutilating
than a huge flat bladed screwdriver particularly when weilded with gusto and
a big hammer. This is also the tool of choice for all filters so insanely
located that they can only be removed by driving a stage in one side and out
the other. If you break the screwdriver --and you will just like Dad and you
shop teacher said--who cares if it has a lifetime guarantee.
- Bailing Wire - Commonly known as MG muffler brackets, bailing wire holds
anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's not
recommended for concours contenders since it works so well you'll never need
to replace it with the right thing again. Bailing wire is a sentimental
favorite in some circles, particularly with the MG, Triumph, and flathead
- Bonking Stick - This monstrous tuning fork with devilish pointy ends is
technically known as a tie-rod-separator, but how often do you separate
tie-rod ends? Once every decade if you're lucky. Other than medieval combat,
its real use is the all purpose application of undue force, not unlike that
of the huge flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal
panel or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick. (Can
also be use to separate Tie-rod ends in a pinch, of course, but does a lousy
job of it).
- A Quarter and a Phone Booth - See tip #1 above