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Curmudgeon it up if you like, but the second season of Top Gear America has just launched Sunday night and it was, for lack of a better term, “gut busting.” I really do feel sorry for people who are in the either/or camp of Top Gear. Honestly you can have both the Brits’ and the Americans’ motoring show and not die of shame. No one is checking ID at the door, really folks; it’s cool.

So I sat down to watch the first episode of season 2 and I find that they have broken away from the British format and elected to go with something a little more fitting to their styles. No “Jessica” in the credits, the studio is outside, and the production value upgrade is noticeable. Plus, the three hosts’ personalities are already coming through on camera a load better this year.

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Is it bad that sometimes I see the “solutions” to problems on There I Fixed It and they seem logical to me? In this case I look upon the tractor/car mashup and think, sure, dude didn’t want to get rained on.

If that extra battery that’s hooked to the side near the front runs the A/C and is blowing cold air on him, or perhaps powering the radio or a heater — I begin to see big reasons for doing this conversion.

Of course, looking at the open back end I also support the “I just think it would be funny to put a car on the tractor” mentality as well. But mostly, I’m thinking rain shield.

And You Think Your First Car Was Bad [thereifixedit]

 

I arrived a little early this year to my parents’ house on Father’s Day because my dad had cut some limbs from the large tree out front. He’d freed them from the tree with a bow saw, as he has done since before I was born. This year, however, I brought the Alligator Lopper with me. After we separated all the wood we wanted from what we didn’t, we had a lot left over — as you can plainly see in exhibit (A) pictured above.

We hauled the leftover foliage from the front near the street to the backyard brush pile of the three-acre plot in one trip. Was this a big deal? To be honest, yes and no.

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The bond between driver and car often falls into the “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand” category — however, it’s a very rare driver and vehicle that make it 82 years together without interruption. That’s just what Allen Swift did.

In 1928, Allen Swift, Springfield, Massachusetts, received a new 1928 Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster from his father as a graduation gift. Over the years, he put 170,000 miles on it, and drove it until October, 2005, when he died at the age of 102.

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When I scored my new Family Truckster four years ago, I knew the types of abuse I’d be asking it to put up with. I routinely tote screaming, active kids and their friends to practices, games, and events. I’ve led many a family road trip across the mighty United States Interstate system. I’ve hauled the foulest-smelling goalie gear known to youth hockey. I’ve loaded the Truckster to the brim to support my mother-in-law’s craft show hobby. And I’ve used it to retrieve mulch, haul pavers, and transport bikes and dogs. So I knew I’d need to protect the cargo area, but didn’t want to shell out the $100-$150 for an OEM part. Thus a cheap alternative: rubber floor mats.

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I thought this had been proven a while back, but apparently whenever the price of gas goes up, truck drivers seem to get this fever about the tailgate and its position and/or attachment to the truck. From the first week I bought my truck to now, almost everyone seems to have a different way for me to “save gas” with the bed of the truck.

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A reader turned us on to this Gizmodo find: a seriously scary-looking trike powered by two Bosch power drills. The kicker: The maker claims it tops out around 18 MPH — with the pilot lying head-first about a foot off the ground.

I’ve seen (and made) plenty of crazy projects like this, but what makes this one stand out to me enough to mention here on Toolmonger is the workmanship. Click through to the site and check out the sweet chain/gearing setup that hooks the two drills together as a drive system. That’s not your average, ordinary kludge. Nor is what appears to be some seriously well laid-out tube fabrication and welding. The steering mechanism is pretty sweet as well: a computer-modeled and CNC milled “spline-shaped joint” that allows the rider to steer with his or her whole body.

Granted, this isn’t exactly practical transportation. But I’m fascinated by the handiwork.

The “EX” [Nils Ferber]

 

Spring time for many folks means getting the motorcycle ready for its season of service. There are, of course, the hardcore folks who’ve been riding all year ’round in snow and winter’s wrath — however, most of us choose to hang it up in the winter. For us, de-wintering the bike is on the to-do list.

The cover comes off, the dust settles, and sitting in front of you is what used to be a running vehicle, now a two-wheeled dust collector. The battery goes on the charger and hopefully the fuel-stabilizer you loaded into the tank months ago is doing its thing. So now what?

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With a new truck parked outside the shop, I took the opportunity to reorganize my vehicle’s toolkit. As I shuffled things about, I found I needed different types of storage for the truck, so I began repacking with newfound efficiency. What you are looking at here (above) is the most useful thing the Craftsman Li-Ion bag has done since we destroyed all the tools that went in it a while back.

Another repurposed item was this sweet DeWalt magnetic storage box, which I found will hold an entire 40-piece socket set and still clip shut with no issue.

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Chuck likes to say you could piece-part an entire Jeep from JC Whitney if you were so inclined. This is most likely true from what I can tell. Only slightly lesser known is the vast selection of truck accessories they have on tap.

My new (to me) Ranger had a bunch of small dings and scratches on the top of the bed, as one might expect from a truck that was used like one. I could of course let that go, as it really doesn’t hurt the value of a truck in Texas — however, a set of bed rail caps were a much better solution.

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