Cars and beer often go together in the garage. Rare is the man who hasn’t enjoyed a cold one while fixing his car, or after, or even before if facing a particularly Herculean task. With this in mind, Ran When Parked has compiled a non-exhaustive reference guide of beers to drink while dealing with miscellaneous automotive problems.
If you’re into air-cooled Volkswagens and live in the U.S., you might be tempted to make a run down to Mexico and get yourself a late-model Beetle. There are debates over the overall built quality of the later Mexican-built Beetles but they remain desirable nevertheless. Now, there are really no two ways to say this: importing a late-model Beetle is not quite legal. If you play your cards right, your new daily driver is a 2001 Mexibeetle with a 1965 title. If you don’t, your Ultima Edición has been impounded and you are frantically browsing the Yellow Pages for a good lawyer. If the latter is applicable, we recommend taking a break with a Negra Modelo, brewed by the same folks who make Corona in Mexico’s Distrito Federal.
Your neighbor unexpectedly calls you one afternoon and says that his Peugeot J9 is broken down. You head over and see that the o-ring that helps hold the clutch line in the master cylinder disintegrated, the clutch line dropped and all the liquid poured out. “I know you’ve done a lot to the van lately, but do you mind fixing it one more time?” Word from the wise: Peugeot doesn’t make that o-ring anymore, Peugeot doesn’t even know what a J9 is, but an o-ring from the fuel filter of a diesel-powered current-model Renault Espace works fine. After spending a good thirty minutes explaining to the guy at the parts counter that you don’t have an Espace title that he can feed to his computer but you simply need a fuel filter, and after a long hour of bleeding with a generally useless helper, go to the fridge and grab a Bourganel, a delicious nougat-flavored beer brewed in the Ardèche region of France.
Picture yourself driving a 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano Verde. It’s the most powerful Milano sold in the U.S. and was brought over in tiny numbers. It’s one hell of a car, but simple it ain’t. After a lengthy conversion from ABS to non-ABS that involved two parts cars, your timing belt tensioner fails and the belt skips a tooth. Luckily the engine is not damaged, but it’s time to shell out more cash for parts. There are two types of tensioners for these cars, both arguably faulty – one is the original Alfa unit, a spring-loaded tensioner, and the other is referred to as a Zat tensioner, an oil-fed tensioner. The Alfa unit has a tendency of breaking springs and the Zat tensioner, which was developed by Tom Zat as an improvement over the Alfa tensioner, is known for leaking oil. While you ponder which tensioner looks less like a game of Russian roulette, have yourself a Messina, one of the better-known beers brewed in Sicily.
Mercedes w123s are some of the toughest cars ever built, it’s almost impossible to argue against that. Unfortunately, like just about every car from the era they rust fairly well. Some claim that the later cars are better rust-proofed than the early cars; that’s true, but it doesn’t mean the later cars are particularly well rust-proofed, either. Worse yet, the weather stripping on these cars is notorious for drying out and letting rain in the car. If the situation goes unnoticed, the water forms a puddle in the floors and eventually leads to a rust hole. Inspecting the rust damage on a well-used w123 is the kind of situation we mentioned earlier that warrants a beer before and after. We suggest you start out with an Oberdorfer Weissbier, a white beer brewed in Bavaria.
Let’s say your 1978 Cadillac Eldorado’s temperature gauge gets unstable and you start getting whiffs of burnt coolant coming from under the hood. You pull over and realize your water pump has a leak. Luckily, this is the kind of car you can easily find parts for at just about any auto parts store, so go to the nearest for a water pump and coolant and limp the car back home. Before you dive into the well-like hole you more commonly refer to as your engine bay, make sure you have some good ol’ Milwaukee-brewed Miller on hand – don’t forget to make it a tall boy if you’re buying Utah-spec 3.2% beer.
Disclaimer: Ran When Parked does not condone drinking and driving, alcoholism, underage drinking, or the government’s cash for clunkers program, for that matter.