Garage and Roadside Essentials? Get On The Case!


‘Man off the Telly Paul Cowland is posing a worthy question this month. Can you really fit every tool a car enthusiast needs in one toolbox? Turns out that maybe you can…

As a telly presenter, classic car specialist and enthusiastic home mechanic, there are many questions that I’m often asked on repeat – and it’s invariably my pleasure to answer them. The standard is ‘Which classic car should I buy?’ ranging through ‘What are the best cleaning products to use?’ and increasingly so, these days, ‘What are my workshop/boot essentials for car tools?’

My answer for the first two seems to change with the wind, depending on the market situation, or the latest advances in cleaning tech, but as for the last riddle, I think I may have found a ‘go to’ answer.

I’m sure many of you will have the same requirement as me. If only there was a case you could grab, that had EVERYTHING you could ever need in one, neatly laid out package. Something that could fix everything from the kid’s bikes, through to completing the next service on your classic. Well, I have to say, with the 127-piece Mechanics Tool Kit, Draper has almost created the only case you’ll ever need.

Enter my man cave at home, and once you’ve reeled from the appalling state that it’s all usually in, you’ll notice the vast array of socket sets. Then there are the screwdrivers in their boxes, the pliers in theirs. You get the idea. This mish-mash of mismatched tools contains everything I’ll ever need to fix pretty much anything on two wheels or four, but finding the tool you actually need when you’re in a hurry? Well, that’s a different story – and it’s invariably always in the last place you check. And you already know about the missing 10mm socket, don’t you?

Trawling the Draper website the other night – as is my regular evening entertainment – I spotted the new Mechanics Tool Kit. 127 pieces of beautifully arranged tool art, this is clearly a blatant attempt by Draper’s designers in creating the chrome-vanadium equivalent of a box of chocolates. The problem is, they have succeeded!

Part of the Expert range, this perfectly placed array of car-fixing confectionery seemed to hold all the answers to pretty much any ‘fix-it’ problem you might have.  It has both 1/4″ and 1/2″ Sq. Drive 72-tooth reversible ratchets, with wonderfully comfortable handles. There are more pliers, cutters and screwdrivers than you know what to do with, plus a stack of spanners, hex keys, adapters, jointers, couplers and bits! That’s not the best bit though; the case it all comes in is a bit special – and joy of joys, it has proper metal hinges! I’ve lost count of the number of great socket sets that have made themselves less than useful after the plastic hinges on their case have broken.

It’s already proven itself to be the ultimate Dad-bicycle service set, I’ve done all manner of remedial jobs on a couple of my cars, and as for the next track day I attend, I reckon this, a trolley jack, torque wrench and a couple of impact drivers is all you’d ever need. The unalloyed joy of having everything you need in one, compact space cannot be expressed in mere words.

Really, the only thing I would add to this collection would maybe be a hammer or two. After all, when the finessed options have failed and the chance to engage ‘best practice’ has long passed, it’s the tool I often reach for.

And that’s the problem with tool kits, isn’t it? As soon as someone makes the perfect kit, you start to think of the things you’d like to add to it. But tool collecting is like car collecting, I guess! It never gets old!

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