Growing up, my family was never into mechanical “stuff.” By the time I was twelve, however, my older sister knew I was interested in cars. For Christmas, 1975, she bought me a copy of “Fixing Cars—A People’s Primer” by the legendary San Francisco Institute of Automotive Ecology. The group was a Bay Area group of hippy-ish types who helped keep each other’s cars running. This comb-bound book was a plain-language, everyman’s repair guide that focused mostly on routine maintenance and simple repairs, not the impossible engine swaps and wild paint jobs of typical hot rod magazines. But it was chock-full of humor and had an irreverent, semi-counterculture vibe that was sure to hold a young man’s interest long enough to learn something about how to actually work on brakes and engines. Forty-five years later, I still have it. Much of the advice and information is outdated in the age of EFI, CANBus and ABS brakes, but it still gives the reader a clear “you can do this yourself” message I love. I still flip through it from time to time, and it always makes me smile. Thanks, Sis.
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