Dick Hunt's Blog

January 11, 2013

Four By Four In The Auto Industry.

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 9:19 am

Four By Four In The Auto Industry.
by Dick Hunt, January 10th, 2013.

For many it spells Traction. The first time I heard about it was when my younger brother, Bill Hunt was a very young manager of a Cattle Ranch right up against the Banff National Park in Western Alberta. He had just used a Dodge 4 by 4 Truck to pull a Young Black Angus Bull across the Red Deer River to safety at the end of a steel cable on the back of the truck. The job was accomplished with no damage to the Bull or anyone’s pride. Very soon after that we bought a war surplus Wyllis Jeep for use on our home Ranch in the Ribstone Hills in East Central Alberta. Then Ruth and I bought a 4 by 4 Jeep Station Wagon for our personal use. That unit served us very well on the Ranch for four years until we left the Ranch and Ranch life when we moved to Saskatoon to enable me to study for the Anglican Ministry.

One of the accessories I bought for the use of the Station Wagon was a one inch by twenty foot Nylon tow rope to use to pull other vehicles out of mudholes and ditches on our country roads. I spliced a steel hook in each end. I was able to back up close to the other vehicles, attach the rope and then gun my motor in low gear and suuuuuck them out of the mess, without the driver feeling any stressful jerk. The rope would stretch as much as four feet and never damage the other vehicle. When we moved to Stettler, only fifty miles from where I was born to Minister there, we traded the car in on a Chevrolet Biscayne Station wagon and didn’t need the tow rope any more. I sold it to the Owner of a Esso Station to use as a tow rope when called upon to help motorists. He made good use of it. Until someone stole it out of his Jeep!

One of the ways I wasn’t making traction was in trying to establish a happy friendship with the Esso Station Manager. The first time I filled my gasoline tank, he was very surly and uncommunicative. I resolved to keep buying his fuel until I could discover why he was so angry with his new customer. It took nearly a year to solve the mystery. The break came when, as we were going into the station to “pay up’, a light aircraft was circling over the town and I said,”boy, I wish I was up there”. He turned to me and said, “do you fly?” I said ”yes.I do.” He slapped his hand in mine and said, “Great, so do I”. That immediately removed the blockage that had kept us in separate worlds. I learned that my clerical collar reminded him of a bad encounter he had experienced with a Minister when he was a teenager in which he was very embarassed at what the minister had said to him in the presence of his young friends. Sometimes we are stalled because we don’t know how to release the brakes.

Whatever it is we are using, it is most important to know our limitations and always be ready to learn. Had I plunged in with my friend Don before we found a common denominator, the last state of our association would likely have been worse than the first. As it was, we enjoyed a great friendship, lasting until now and still warm. There is a parallel in the use of 4 by 4 vehicles. Four Wheel Drive is not a form of magic, but a tool for those who realize it’s limitations. I have witnessed many accidents suffered by those 4 by 4 drivers who press the limits of speed and safe handling of their vehicles by overdriving in unsafe conditions. It is easy to fail to learn that all four wheels can skid at once and many drivers learn the hard way, with all four wheels ending up in the ditch, facing upwards. Don was a great learner and became a fine Christian.

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