How fixing broken BMW’s made me whole
In Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic, Rob Siegel shares his secrets to buying, fixing, and driving cool cars without risking the kids’ tuition money or destroying his marriage. And that’s something to brag about considering the dozens of cars, including twenty-five BMW 2002s, that have passed through his garage over the past three decades.
A geophysicist by day and self-professed car junkie in his free time, Siegel explores his passion for cars with unflinching honesty and offers a unique window into the Car Guy mind. For over 25 years, Rob has written a monthly column called “The Hack Mechanic” for the BMW Car Club of America’s magazine Roundel. Along the way he reflects on the genesis of his fascination with boxy little German sedans, the miserable Triumph GT6+ he owned in college, rebuilding the engine of his wife’s VW bus in the kitchen of their first apartment, how cars affect family dynamics, and why men really love cars. And in showing how cars have repeatedly been the conduit for deep human connections in his life, Siegel reveals his controversial theory that beyond their greasy fingernails, gearheads are actually intimate, caring creatures. Siegel also explains why, in a world over which we have so little control, the act of diagnosing and painstakingly fixing broken cars can be immensely therapeutic. Just don’t ask him to fix other people’s cars!
With a steady dose of irreverent humor, Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic blends car stories, DIY advice, and cautionary tales in a way that will resonate with the car-obsessed (and the people who love them).