The bodies used to die first – now it’s the brains

It never ceases to amaze me that there are two members of the register who, whenever I see them, are quick witted and full of life. They the wrong side of 65 and they both work all the hours and talk about retirement but I think secretly, they enjoy the interaction.

Sandy and I heard some very sad news about a good friend and member of another car club who had passed away recently and very suddenly. It does make you realise that it’s more about the life in your days than the days in your life.

It’s true that once we pass forty something, necks, backs, knees and ankles are on a downward slope. Whilst aches and pains increase and mobility slowly decreases, the mind, for the most part, remains active and alive, always seeking to absorb more information. The thing is, a few hundred thousand years ago we could only expect to live to forty something, so the gap between brain and brawn never manifested itself.

Using my sad, analytical brain, I have transposed this to the development of the automobile.

The well known, and documented achilles heel to all Zs is rust. Most Datsuns, including the S30 went to the scrap yard with engines spinning as smoothly as the day they left the factory surrounded by a body, that was only a few years old, maybe a decade, that was turning to dust. Rust was the one thing that could kill a Z, long before the electrics or mechanicals started to give trouble.
Now with the great advances in medicine, our body now remain intact and for some it is our minds that starts to fail. Similarly with new cars it’s quite astonishing how good they are at resisting the outward signs of ageing. Looking around at the average car now, see how a ten, or even a twenty year old car looks better, condition wise, than a five year old car built in the 70s or 80s. I have just bought a twenty year old car that is virtually unmarked for just £1k that should be OK for another 200,000 miles.

But cars are still being sent to the scrappy, only this time they are clean, even gleaming cars are being lifted by big hydraulic machines and end up as a cube. The big question is, what is killing cars now?

Scrap Yards are full of shiny things that appear to years of life left in them, and they probably have, if you’re prepared to spend more than the value of the car in replacing the item that killed it in the first place, which is, inevitably a failed ECU. This together with the continually falling prices of new cars make replacement a better bet than repair.

And whilst medical science is working furiously to address our own ECU issue trying to find a cure for dementia, I’m street wise enough to realise that this is a conscious move by the car manufacturers to ensure we keep buying new cars.

Therein, lies an opportunity to create pheonix cars.

If someone could create a ‘universal’ ECU that could replace the ‘custom ECU fitted to individual cars, without or with a ubiquitous engine and gearbox, together which universal mounts, then there are a whole selection of perfectly good donor bodies just waiting for them.

Specialist electronically controlled shock absorbers could be replaced by good quality analogue shocks and whilst a lot of car are canbus based, there is enough knowledge now to encompass those electrics as well.

Motor Manufacturers might not like this and might even say that their warranties might be invalidated, a big issue for ten to fifteen year old car.

Creating an industry doing what classic car enthusiasts have been doing for decades seems a great way to keep the modern car on the road, stop the stranglehold of major motor manufacturers and keep the skilled people who still know how to repair, in work.

Whilst we can still remember how to do it

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