"The juice, the precious juice, was hidden in the vehicles..."-Feral Kid
The Road WarriorIf you've been reading this column regularly you might already know I have a Road Warrior thing going on with fuel capacity. Low fuel capacity is my one regular criticism of new cars, and my cars get auxiliary fuel tanks where possible. Now, when Sunoco Ultra 94-octane gasoline hit $3.40 per gallon here in Dingledorf, Pa., back in late August 2005, it was time to start thinking about my own personal Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Right off the bat I started looking for a good way to safely store a hefty quantity of gasoline-a quantity that would give me at least one tankful of fuel in my car, and several for my motorcycle. Then, by chance, I happened across the Handy Gas Caddy. I was at Lime Rock Park racetrack in rural Connecticut for the Rolex Vintage Festival Sponsored by BMW, perusing the pit area, when I naturally stopped at the Bimmer area. There, under a tent, was a motorcycle technician fueling one of Jean-Pierre Goy's stunt bikes using this cool fuel container on wheels with an integral hand crank. Interestingly, the container appeared well-worn.
"This thing has to be 30 years old; it's been here longer than any of us have," said the technician, referring to the BMW Motorrad crew in attendance. "Not only that, the hand pump works in both directions-you can use it to siphon fuel out of a tank, too. We use it all the time." BMW of North America using a major shop tool that isn't made in Germany at a price rivaling the gross national product of some third world countries? This merited further investigation.
I've seen lots of hand pumps, but I've never seen one that works in both directions. The Handy Gas Caddy was a sure candidate for european car's Tool of the Month right then and there, baby. The only question was, could you still buy it? A quick Internet search revealed that Handy Industries is still located in Marshalltown, Iowa-smack dab in the American Heartland, where quality craftsmanship endures. I ordered one immediately.
The Handy Gas Caddy, part number GC-30, holds 30 gallons of the fuel of your choice. It is made in America, epoxy powdercoated, and still uses a bi-directional hand pump. It has a drain hole to remove water and contaminants that may accumulate over the years, a 0.5-inch clear fill hose with an anti-static grounding strap, a two-inch filler neck for bulk filling, and semi-pneumatic wheels and tires. The unit itself also has a ground wire and a fire-screened vent and fuel gauge assembly. Fumes do not escape the Handy Gas Caddy, so it is safe for indoor storage. Obviously, common sense is required when storing gasoline indoors-keep the unit away from ignition sources, and if you're welding in the same space, best to simply roll it outside the shop until you're done sparking on metal.
Minor assembly is required, and you'll need some Teflon tape for the threaded parts. The only fault I could find, as is often the case, was the hardware. Specifically, the bolts included for securing the handle to the Gas Caddy were 30mm, a good 5mm too short. I substituted high quality metric 6x35mm bolts, two lock washers and two nuts from the shop bolt bin and it was a done deal. The Caddy retails for around $450.
My Strategic Petroleum Reserve now totals about 100 gallons, including what is already in my cars and motorcycle.