A Boat on the Side

Fanfare for the Commer Van

In early 1963 I bought an old Commer van. It was all I could afford and while it was ragged, it was basically sound. Later that year I saw an ad in a magazine for “Spitfire jet Igniters” a revolutionary new kind of American spark plug guaranteed to dramatically increase performance, give much better mileage, smoother running, easier starting and longer engine life. Too good to be true? Well yes, but naive young art students are easily swayed. I bought a set at around twice the price of Champions. To my lasting surprise they delivered – they transformed my old van – their powerful bursts of plasma really did the job – I was getting at least 10% better economy and I was almost burning rubber as I accelerated out of my parents’ driveway. Shuttling 16 comatose students home from a party? No problem – power to spare. After over 25,000 miles the engine was still smooth and reliable but the gearbox was falling apart and the papier-mâché repairs to the rusty bits weren’t fooling anyone – she had to go. My friend Andrew said “you’d better get those plugs out of there.” I replied “no I’ll just get a new set for my next bomb.” Having bought a “new” van I wrote to the makers for a new set of Igniters. No reply. I phoned them – disconnected. I rang the magazine that had run the ads – “no, sorry, no trace of them.” I gave up.

Fast forward forty years and Greenfire Jet Igniters are featured on the ABC New Inventors programme and a small article on another jet igniter “inventor” appeared in Nexus magazine. Both now missing in action. Last I heard Bosch had bought out at least one of them. Issues of corporate greed and criminal stupidity aside, would it not now be a cleaner, safer, saner world had every petrol engine on the planet since 1963 used 10% less fuel, ran smoother, quieter and lasted longer? The implications are staggering.

Last night I watched a DVD of “Who Killed the Electric Car” and I almost wept tears of impotent rage. How dare these selfish corporate murderers and callous, corrupted politicians ruin my home, my planet? Who can stand up to them?

Written 2007 – what’s new?

What can we do?

1. Watch “Capitalism A Love Story” and weep.
2. Dry your eyes and buy one of our Sienna electric boats.

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