October 22, 2017

Impatience in Overdrive

• By John Chisholm •

Impatience has no reward. I know that. But when anticipation is overwhelming, I find myself impatient despite my best counsel.

Thirteen days ago I ordered an overdrive for my Land Rover. For a week before that, I plotted and planned the financing. I had to. Because no, they don’t give these units away.

Not that that would make any difference to the waiting.

There are a number of facts of which you should be aware. First, the so-called, ‘Series’ Land Rovers are wonderful old trucks. Mine is a 1959 station wagon, a Series II.

Second, they’re versatile but quirky and, by today’s standards, more than somewhat antiquated. Never mind. Somehow, despite all that, they’re endearing. Very.

Third, let’s face it; they’re slow. Oh-h-h, yes. Top speed is fifty-five miles per hour. Sure. That doesn’t sound too bad but remember, normally that speed is achieved only in freefall.

Following Isaac Newton’s formula, thirty-two feet per second squared, fifty-five miles per hour should be achieved within the second second. Actually, thinking about it, that can’t be right. It’s far more likely that the laws of physics have been suspended for old Land Rovers. It’s true. They simply don’t make it over fifty-five ― even in freefall. Downhill with a tailwind doesn’t do it, either. Trust me.

So, when an advertisement from The Global Roamer Corporation appeared in February’s Land Rover Magazine for an overdrive unit allowing a top speed of seventy miles-per-hour for old Land Rovers, I ordered one.

I’ve been salivating ever since.

I’ve disassembled the transfer case on my truck, preparing for the installation. The gasket surfaces are cleaned and ready. The studs, nuts, bolts and washers have all been wire-brushed, coated with Never-Seize and await reassembly.

I’ve ordered the specialized synthetic gear oil required for the unit itself.

I’ve researched the mechanics involved, counted, calculated and recalculated the resulting ratios. All of them.

It’s very cool. Because the overdrive unit mounts on the main shaft exiting the standard transmission it doubles the number of available gear ratios. Because the transfer case ― both high and low range ― also mounts on the back of that transmission, the available ratios are effectively doubled yet again. We’re talking 16 forward speeds with 4 in reverse.

Now do you see why I had to have it?

Have I mentioned that it hasn’t arrived yet?

Finally, I broke down. I called the factory yesterday. My voice quavered while querying, “Have you even received my order?”

Robin, the employee with whom I spoke, was very nice. She was understanding, too. Quite evidently she’s had to deal with large numbers of Land Rover owners. “Here’s your order!” she exclaimed. “Here’s our process tag. Let’s see.” Her voice brightened. “We’re shipping today.”

I thanked her, vocal chords strangling my words because, of course, that knowledge only makes my condition worse.

Sure, it’s on the way.

On the other hand, it’s still not here. Not yet.

I called our stock broker, seeing if purchasing shares in UPS would speed delivery.

He very much doubted it.

Damn!

Of course, there are other truths involved here, too:

I won’t use my Land Rover until next spring. There is no urgency required in the retrofitting. None whatsoever. Worse than that, the sooner the installation is completed, the quicker I’ll be hankering for May’s arrival. That’ll be the soonest I’ll be able to try out my new overdrive.

That’s right, this is still February.

In short, it’s crystal clear that impatience has no reward. None.

Believe me, I’m well aware of that.

So tell me, would you? Why doesn’t that knowledge ever make a difference?