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Gus Wilson's Model Garage
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Life & Times - Page 88

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 THE AUTHOR   CHARACTERS  BACK TO THE BEGINNING  LIST OF STORIES

GUS'S PREMIERE    SHOP   DEMEANOR    FAMILY    HEART   IS GUS REAL?    FRIENDS    REGULARS    JOE 

Popular Science Monthly - July 1955   p88

The Life and Times of Gus Wilson            Scan of original article (pdf format)

(continued from page 87)

are usually noisier, and as there are more parts in the valve mechanism, there is more to replace when things wear."

Henry is glutton for information about controversial issues.  "Do you think four-wheel brakes are safer, Uncle?"  "Don't worry your head over four wheel brakes.  I've fixed a powerful lot of brakes, and as far as I can see there isn't much in this four-wheel business as compared with one real good pair of brakes on the rear wheels.  Four-wheel brakes are fine in theory but but durned few of the outfits that I've looked over were working right, and on the low-priced cars I'm inclined to think that the disadvantages just about make up for their advantages."

(Readers distressed by this suggestion of old fogeyism should remember that in 1926 four wheel brakes were a battleground among Detroit authorities, too.)

Gus tells Henry to "stay away from the accessories.  All you need-at least to start with-are front and rear bumpers, a rear view mirror, a windshield wiper and a spare tire!"

Tender heart. Though the years did not age Gus Wilson, they did soften his didactic tendency.  He still lectured patrons mercilessly, but no longer backed them into a corner with brandished incivilities.  It became evident that there was a tender heart beneath the gruff harangues.  Occasionally high drama justified an exception, as when he saved John Ensley from a monoxide death: "Ensley stirred feebly. 'Where am I?'  he murmured. 'You came darn near not being here at all, you crazy dumb-bell!' snorted Gus. 'You haven't any more sense than a billy-goat!' "

Though brusque, Gus is by no means obtuse about personal relationships.  Once when a woman crashed resoundingly into a parked car in front of the Model Garage, he displayed a perceptiveness unexpected from a bachelor:

"Seems to me it isn't all your fault, Mrs. Barnes.  In the first place I notice that you haven't any cushion at your back, and as you are not as tall as your husband, you can't reach the pedals properly or push them hard enough.  Then it's always bad for a man to teach his wife how to drive.  No wife like to play the dumb-bell before her husband, so she won't admit she doesn't understand everything he tells her the first time.  She makes mistakes.  He becomes impatient or sarcastic and the war is on."

Yes Virginia.  Persistent readers have occasionally pursued the question of just how real is Gus, anyway? (Probably some of them were, as children, the kind of tots who axed the cuckoo clock to see what the little bird ate.) To calm their anxieties, the magazine twice (1)  (2)  ran articles...(continued on page 202)

 

ARE GUS & JOE REAL PEOPLE?   (AUGUST 1930)   ( JANUARY 1938)

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