02 March 2007

The Internal Combustion Engine c.1879-2007

An internal combustion engineThe Internal Combustion Engine has coughed and spluttered its last, suffering from terminal indigestion triggered by that dodgy litre of petrol it bought at a supermarket in the South of England this week.

The Internal Combustion Engine was born of doubtful parentage in the late nineteenth century, although Karl Benz laid claim to it with his patent for a four-stroke engine. It was a large and greedy baby requiring constant feeding with petrol-based snacks and spent its youth roaming the countryside frightening women, horses and the people of Norfolk. Indeed, it was considered so dangerous that, by law, a man was required to walk in front of it waving a red flag – sending terrified Edwardians into the nearest chemist for a reassuring tincture of laudanum.

In 1913, with Henry Ford mass-producing his infamous “automobiles” built around the Engine, it was only a matter of months before millions were spending their last dimes on feeding the noisy, belching brat in pursuit of the American Dream of life, liberty, happiness and bigger engines, bigger tyres and bigger overdrafts.

Around the world, sensible, horse-drawn members of society abandoned their quiet lives in to become “travelling salesmen” – willing to work harder and further away from home to feed their mechanical off-spring and their need to cruise at 55 mph in the middle of the motorway regardless of the emptiness of the inside lane.

The Engine’s constant demands for attention played a part in the decline of organised religion as supplicants worshipped at a new altar, preferring to spend their Sundays tinkering with their beloved Engines before going for a nice drive in the country – spending four hours stuck in a traffic jam on the A12, arguing with their partner about whether they really should have taken that last left and stopping for a relaxing cup of tea from a thermos on the hard shoulder of the M25.

With the price of petrol being driven up by decreased stability in oil-producing regions that, completely coincidentally, had recently been invaded by forces looking to develop peace, stability and new oil exploitation opportunites, many owners were driven (literally) to find cheaper fuel for their voracious Engines and started frequenting supermarket petrol station forecourts, looking for a good two-for-one offer to keep the over-sized wheels of their 4x4s turning and possibly a microwaveable burger for themselves. The ill-effects of a lifetime of reckless combustion combined with a last meal of contaminated petrol brought about the Internal Combustion Engine's inevitable end as, bloated, unwieldy and starved of oxygen, it had one final seizure and rolled to a silent halt by the side of the road, out of sight even of a Little Chef.

The Internal Combustion Engine will be placed in an unleaded casket inside a Rover Maestro before being scrapped at St Clarkson’s Turbo-Charged Church of the Petrol-Head. It is survived by the bicycle, Shank’s Pony, Virgin Trains and irreversible climate change.


Jungle VIP said...

Yes good. Picture very interesting. Obviously a 60's car and one, I believe wot has been tuned to some extent. That carb don't look original do it fellow garage mechanics ?

Time was when a man could get 4 gallons and 4 shots of UCL "Redex" for an english pound. Reg, the garage man dispensed this into your tank and was
courteous to a fault.

Now its "silicosis", machine-made cappuccino and a delice de france cake, all dispensed by a lady called Alison who barely looks up from her keypad to mutter "got a necter card love ?


james higham said...

Do Little Chefs still exist?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Very good. Excellent bit about it contributing to the decline of organised religion! Do you think it contributed to the end of love affairs as well?!

The As A Dodo Team said...

Well, we can't comment on the internal combustion ending love affairs but we are assured by sources in the know that the back seats of the cars those engines drove have been responsible for starting many deep and meaningful (if often brief) relationships.