Very few people realise just how good the Stromberg is. One of those very few is Brauer. He knows, as he invested a large portion of his student fortune in one at The Rand Easter Show one year (or was it the Pretoria Skou?).
We watched a demonstration in fascination. I mean EVERY time the good honest salesman hooked in the Stromberg the engine ran sweetly and WHENEVER he unhooked the Stromberg it spluttered and farted. Brauer was SOLD. He just KNEW this was the answer to his faded-blue Cortina with faded-black linoleum roof’s problems. Instead of taking it for a long overdue service and changing the oil, water, filter and spark plugs, he would sommer just fit a Stromberg. What could possibly go wrong go wrong, and who could doubt this:
Here’s an email thread that sparked the discussion of the amazing Stromberg phenomenon:
2015/08/30 Steve Reed wrote: Re: Fat takkies
Further proof that nothing stays the same. From our youthful past, it was always a “given” that the back takkies would be fatter than the front …Specially if you have the windgat version. Now the Audi RS3 has em 2cm fatter in the front than the back if you have the windgat version.
Really…I am getting too old for all this. Do they have to mess with everything?
Me: Yep. Because they can . . .
I remember the mindset change I had to undergo when diesels started getting status. Ditto when auto boxes started making more sense than manual? Had to quietly swallow a few ‘definite’ and ‘absolute’ statements made in ignorance!
One of my fascinations has been looking up when the first ____ (whatever) was ever fitted or used in a car.
First electric car – 1881 in France
First patent for seat belts – 1885. But still not compulsory when we grew up and STILL not compulsory throughout the USA today. Politicians in many states wouldn’t dare vote for such a law!
First petrol-electric hybrid – 1899 Lohner-Porsche Mixte
First modern hybrid car – 1904 Auto-Mixte (Belgium)
First four-wheel drive car – 1910 Caldwell Vale
First 8-speed manual – 1931 Maybach DS8
First diesel engined production car — 1935 Citroen Rosalie
First automatic transmission – 1939 Oldsmobile Hydra-Matic, also the first 4-speed automatic.
First trip computer – 1958 Saab GT750
and so on – almost always WAY before I would have guessed !
Brauer: A glaring omission has been noted from your ”when was it first fitted” list:
THE FAMOUS STROMBERG
Do you recall how I had Alan Saks (the great car fundi) going on this one . . ?
Me: I do. Didn’t we see it some show or other? A great demonstration. If it had been a religion I’d have converted. I would be a Strombergie now.
Who would think Pretoria would have a skou!? What is there to show?
So Alan was not an all-knowing deskundige after all?! Even HE could learn a thing or two?
Brauer: The one and only Pretoria Skou. ca 1976. Alan had driven my Cortina a few days prior and was subjected to the stop/start lurching. He had many remedies and suggestions. I obviously thanked him for his advice, BUT ALSO ENLIGHTENED HIM re: THE NEWLY PURCHASED SOLVER-OF-ALL-CAR-PROBLEMS . . . THE STROMBERG. Remembering the “God-ordained” visit to the Skou and that Stromberg stand where we witnessed the justifiably impressive presentation of a product that should have outstripped Microsoft in sales.
To which he chuckled and shook his head in disbelief. I hauled it off the floor behind the driver’s seat to show him. I remember a few choice expletives . . “complete f…ing piece of sh-t” etc etc.
So that weekend I started installing said Stromberg, which involved a rare opening of the bonnet (a procedure I normally advise against to any motoring enthusiast). For starters (no pun intended), after glancing at the oil coated sparks, I thought that while the bonnet was open I might just clean the sparks and set the gaps. Before removing the Stromberg off it’s familiar position of lying on the floor behind the driver’s seat I thought I’d take the Cortina for a spin to see if it still could go after my risky DIY service.
Shit a brick . . it flew! (“why the hell didn’t I do that long ago!?” rolling through my thoughts as the apparently turbocharged Cortina used our sedate suburban streets as its new-found race track).
After getting back home I parked the car and almost forget what I’d started . . THE STROMBERG.
I quickly installed it on-line on the main spark lead and couldn’t wait for Alan’s visit that arvie. Chucked him my keys and said he should take the Cortina for a spin to see if he could tell if the Stromberg had made any diffs . . . The rest is folklore history . . he was stunned into silence, well for at least 3 minutes – but a Saks record nevertheless.
Steve Reed chipped in: You will laugh out the udder side of your face when you read these glowing endorsements. I think I am going to buy one online right now.
Me: Brauer, you forgot to put in the most important feature of the Cortina: The colour. What colour was it?
(I read about a popular radio talk show in the States: Two brothers had a “Car Experts” show. People would phone in and ask about the problems they were having with their cars. Long technical details of what the clutch and carburetor and shit were doing and where the smoke was coming out of etc etc – and the one brother would ask “Tell me: This Corvette of yours: What color is it?”).
It was light blue.
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