£20. That’s all it cost to get a brand new car. You might have read in the magazine that the world’s sweariest gearbox guru fixed my 5-series' gearbox. It wasn’t quite as simple as that because he is the busiest bloke in the world and with just the one ramp you have to catch a ‘slot’. So when he called and told me to get there in twenty minutes, I wasn’t going to make any excuses.
Being a guru, of course, he doesn’t live anywhere normal or even locatable by sat nav. After twenty minutes of driving blindfold and listening to a replay of his instructions on the cassette deck I found myself in a cowshed in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. It was very Dickensian, complete with Bob Cratchett-like assistant, who darted underneath my car and took a plug out of the gearbox and watched in amazement as nothing dripped out.
Yes, I’d been running on empty for some time, but no lasting damage was done. My 525i sucked up the oil hungrily and since then I’ve had shunt-free gearchanges. I wanted to take a picture of my motor on a ramp but they said if I did they would have to kill me. Then feed me to their pigs. And they weren’t joking.