Thankful for the Tappets

What fine gentlemen. This modern day poet/prophet type guy wrote a song in which he sang this line, “They talk about a life of brotherly love, show me someone who knows how to live it.” Dylan. They lived it and Ray still does. They easily could have devoted their lives to making gobs of money, using their intellects, charm, humor, and determination to amass a fortune. No doubt. They had everything and more to achieve what so many of us crave to do. Instead, they took their considerable talents and invested them in you and me and everyone else, to give us some fun for free, to brighten our lives, to lighten the load each of us faces caring for our complex machines we rely upon so, for most of life’s daily challenges.

They were brilliant stars of soft, glittering white light
Reminding us- without pontificating or preaching
That loving one another is wealth and a lot of

And They Were Considerate Enough To Realize That Jerks Can Benefit From An Occasional Dope Slap!


Who said they were poor ? They found a niche and filled it ,lets hope another pair can come along . The local AM station has now added a young woman to the cast in the studio and the banter and synergy is unbelievable (from stodgy to light hearted )

They easily could have devoted their lives to making gobs of money, using their intellects, charm, humor, and determination to amass a fortune. No doubt.

They made MILLIONS. Besides cartalk (which probably didn’t pay much)…they were also had a syndicated column in hundreds of news papers in several countries. Ray still owns the garage…and when Tom finished his Phd he owned a consulting business for many years. I wish I had their financial problems.

I Was A Long Time Listener Of The Radio Show, Right Up Until My Local Public Radio Station Dropped It, That Is.

Devoted fan.
Many years ago, I so looked forward to the show that I bought a new dual cassette tape deck and a timer. I had it rigged up to my stereo system so that if I was not going to be home at show time, the recording would be waiting for me when I got home.

Together, they truly were a genius combination and gave me immense pleasure and something to look forward to every week. The laughs and puzzlers were terrific. I haven’t found anything to fill that void.

Yes, indeed, who said they were poor?

I said they could have amassed a fortune. If all they wanted was money, they didn’t come close to realizing their potential. A billionaire can be a cheap, self-centered, miserable, greedy pig and a poor man can be a cheap, self-centered, selfish pig. Neither one is rich. Both are impoverished.

Tom and Ray didn’t live to accumulate financial assets and material goods. They devoted their lives, their talents, their hearts to helping others. They were rich because of what they gave to you, me and everyone else.

I don’t think they would be any richer if they change their formula…In fact I think they’d be poorer. Their formula worked…and worked very well. I still listen to the reruns when I can. I read Rays column when I find a paper that has it.

I’ve long had great respect for their success in having created the lucrative entity they did, and all totally honestly and without hurting anyone. But it’s important to realize that this isn’t an altruistic enterprise. It’s business, a way of making a good living. They did what they did well and honestly.

Drinking coffee from my Car Talk cup after blowing the snow off the driveway. I do believe though that they reached a clientele that other car shows didn’t reach.

“I do believe though that they reached a clientele that other car shows didn’t reach.”

I agree. That’s because it wasn’t another “car” show. They were into puzzles that didn’t involve cars, tackled some of life’s philosophic discussions, made phone calls for listeners who were afraid to do it themselves, had their mother on the show, and Martha Stewart, too, if I recall.

Car Talk, the radio show was really about cars to the same degree that Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was an information manual only for motorcycle owners.

We keep the things interesting here by doing what they did. We go Off Topic frequently. The show was about cars and going off topic whenever something arose to steer it in another direction. Listeners never knew what was coming next.


I started listening to them before they were on our local PBS station. When I was driving over the road my work week usually started Sunday evening and I used to catch a middle of the night broadcast out of Boston on the AM dial. They were much better than music to keep you awake and entertained.

It amazed me how unfunny the deservedly short lived TV situation comedy show that was about them was. The writers clearly didn’t understand their appeal.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, @“common sense answer” Some of the most interesting discussions are the ones that go off on various tangents.

Anyway, Tom and Ray used to “brag” about ". . . now we get paid $20 per show. . . " I HOPE they made more than that. Hopefully they made money off the merchandise, and residuals from this website, at least.

I’m supposing the original point was along the lines of, they could have made a lot more money if they had left public radio for “commercial” radio, but they didn’t do that. I get the impression that the radio show was a side gig for them. . . . anyway, I HOPE they made some respectable money out of it at least. :blush:

I get the impression that the radio show was a side gig for them. . . . anyway, I HOPE they made some respectable money out of it at least.

The radio show was a side gig. Ray still runs the garage in Cambridge. Tom had a business consulting company after he got his Phd from Boston University. Their syndicated column in hundreds of newspapers probably paid them the most. Plus they did commercials…and lets not forget the voices they did for the movie Cars.

You know they opened a DIY garage, too?

“In 1973, Tom and Ray (Hey, that’s us!) Magliozzi of “Car Talk” started a do-it-yourself shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Hacker’s Haven. These were the days of car DIY so we thought, let’s open a garage where folks could do their own work and we’ll rent them the space and tools. Was it the brilliant million dollar Swiss bank account-worthy idea that we promised our parents it would be? Not so much. We felt so sorry for most of these DIY wrecks (and we’re not talking about the cars) that we ended up doing most of the work ourselves. At least it gave our dog Banjo a fun place to hang out.”

Who in their right minds (and without big hearts) would do such a thing?

"Thankful for the Tappets"
You bet! Besides the hours and hours I spent listening to car questions and discussions, I did thoroughly enjoy all the OFF TOPIC parts of the radio show.

"It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…"
One of my favorite OFF TOPIC events was when the annual The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners were announce and discussed. It was great listening while Tom and Ray tried to read the entries without cracking up laughing so much that they couldn’t get all the words out.

To this day I read the The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners and get a real laugh.

If you’re not familiar or have forgotten, here’s the 2015 winners:

Thanks CSA. I’m going to check it out as soon as I’m done here.

One of the reasons I like these guys so much is they remind me of my dad. He was genuinely nuts, brilliant, hilariously funny and from the same area and the same era.

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris

Non impediti ratione cogitatonis

Depok Fonnzerelli

"And I will tell you about my defining moment. I was driving – I lived in Cambridge at the time – I was driving from Cambridge to my job in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and I was driving in a little MG. It weighed about 50 pounds and on Route 128 I was cut off by a semi and I almost, as they say, bought the farm. And as I continued my drive, I said to myself, if I had in fact bought the farm out there on Route 128, how ticked off would I be that I spent all my life – that I can remember at least – going to this job, living a life of quiet desperation. So, I pulled into the parking lot, walked into my boss’s office and I quit, on the spot…

I became a bum. I spent two years sitting in Harvard Square drinking coffee. I invented the concept of the do-it-yourself auto repair shop and I met my lovely wife. None of which would have happened if I had been using my left brain.

My second great defining moment came also showing the power of the mantra, unencumbered by the thought process. I was having an argument with my lovely wife one day. I mean how can you argue with such a wonderful person. Well, left brain people do that because all they can think of is: this is an argument. This person is over here and I am over here and I am going to use every ounce of logic and skill that I have so that I can win this argument, and my wife says to me, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Holy shit, says I! [LAUGHTER] I wanted to be happy. So now I have reached nirvana and my brother and I can help you to reach it. If you want to repeat after me, unencumbered by the thought process. Say it." unencumbered by the thought process unencumbered by the thought process unencumbered by the thought process unencumbered by the thought process unencumbered by the thought process unencumbered by the thought process Non impediti ratione cogitatonis Non impediti ratione cogitatonis Non impediti ratione cogitatonis

Finally, summarizing all their best advice to the new grads they agreed, “others among you may have charted a course or had one charted for you that you know is wrong. And you may feel some creative energy coursing through your body. Don’t ignore it. If you feel the urge to create and discover and do something that will bring you fulfillment and happiness, do it now while you’re young. You will never have more energy or enthusiasm, hair, or brain cells than you have today.”

TOM and RAY June 4, 1999 MIT commencement address

or On Achieving Nirvanna

Well, Tom’s radio persona was that of a slacker. All those jokes about how he’d rather sit in the park drinking cappuccino and smoking cigars instead of working, all those one liners from Ray, “Don’t come to work too late, or you might pass yourself in the hallway on the way out” "We don’t let Tom get near the customers cars anymore. . . " but I guess someone who’s a slacker doesn’t successfully get a PhD. I’m sure it was an “image” played up for comic effect on the show. . .

I’m not a highly educated man, but I’ve always been quite vague on what exactly does a “business consultant” do, besides gettin’ paid & stackin’ paper? Back when I worked at Caldor over 20 years ago, I spoke with a woman they retained as a “consultant”, and she described her job to me like this: “I come to a store (the company pays my travel costs, meals, and lodging), look at the layout, merchandising, and staffing, compile a list of recommendations for improvement, submit a copy to the store manager and fax another copy to corporate, and as soon as the front door closes behind me, they go back to what they were doing before I got there.” Of course maybe that’s why they went out of business. . . :open_mouth:

Even at my current employer, which has been in decline for many years, they’re always bringing in high-level managers from other, “successful” parts of the company to observe and consult on what we can do to improve. So far this has resulted in such innovations as removing the coffee machine from the employee breakroom, checking employee lunchboxes on the way IN as well as on the way out, free t-shirts and coffee mugs with the new company motto, and promoting all employees to “associates”. Do they really need a busload of 6 figure V.P.'s for that?

P.S.- On the other hand, I guess it takes real talent and brains to pull off being a “consultant”. You get to stay in nice hotels, eat nice restaurant food, go visit companies and play “Captain Obvious” and get paid fat checks and have all your expenses paid, and if any of the companies later go belly up, you’ve got plausible deniability. Of course I’m exaggerating for humorous effect. . . I’m sure all the more educated posters will chime in later to explain why I’m completely wrong … . :wink:

No ,I think you are spot on ,I never could figure out what a "consultant " did either(about on the level of the bankrupting CEOs-though without ,the horrendous expense and Golden parachute "
While owners would sometimes heed my advice ,I was never credited and they liked to think their place in the hierarchy was because of their "smarts " .I finally learned to let them "stew in their juices "

For my regular job, I’m a peanut butter taste tester. On the side I volunteer as a medical consultant. I advise patients visiting their OBGYNs.

Hmmm. Consultants are to help organizations implement the latest management fads (anyone remember all the MBO consultants?). Then when the fads change, to undo the original fad, and implement the new fad. Works very well in public education where the latest fad is white privilege.

In the hand truck plant when I was just a summer worker, they hired a consultant to come in and re-organize the wood shop work flow. Had a lot of ideas to improve things. Then as soon as the guy left, the old school shop foreman put everything back the way it was and things ran just fine, the way they always had.

One of the most ridiculous phases we went through with one commander was “shared leadership”. It was essentially putting managers and supervisors on the side lines and letting the hourly folks run the asylum. Hee hee hee, total chaos.