The Big End

I had a very random thought today: What is a car’s Big End exactly?

My childhood was dominated by my father perusing his maps and then attempting to drive down various pot-holed roads, always in a vehicle completely unsuitable for such ambitious pursuits.

And each off-road adventure always resulted in my mother clinging onto the dashboard as the car bumped and banged along, crying, ‘Slow down! You’re going to DAMAGE THE BIG END!’

One particularly daring foray down a farm track ended with a large bang, the engine cutting out and my mother uttering the ominous words: ‘I think the Big End has gone’.

It hadn’t, of course.

But now that I come to think of it, I’ve never heard anyone else mention The Big End.

In the 16 years I’ve been on the road, I’ve dealt with faulty fan belts, flat batteries, someone SAWING off my wing mirrors…

But I can’t recall a single mechanic shaking his head gravely and saying, ‘I’m terribly sorry, Miss Palmer; there’s a problem with your Big End.’

All I know about The Big End is that it’s very serious.

In my mother’s own words, ‘If your Big End goes, nothing can be done…’

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