A call to superstar mechanic Walter Wong (of Right Solution Inc.) often ends, not with you driving over to his shop but with a variation of the prognosis “Go to Pep Boys…” or “Go to the hardware store…” or maybe “Go into your kitchen…” Advice like administering low doses of Pepto-pink power-steering fluid, as directed, bought me a whole year on a slowly disintegrating 1987 Saab 900 whose odometer had frozen at just more than 206,000 miles. But when the hood-release cable snapped off in my hand, I begrudgingly went to Walter for what I feared to be the beginning of the end. He met me outside his shop for the quick diagnostic drives that are the norm for each visit: We bounced down the alleys near his Venice Boulevard shop, he listening intently to the car’s low growl while reciting the next few chapters in my Saab’s life story. I waited while he changed the oil, and when I returned to the car, he was grinning. Leaning into the driver’s seat, he demonstrated the functionality of a locking vice-grip wrench he’d attached to the cable so I could pull it open. A man who works miracle-grade repairs on temperamental Swedish automobiles really loves the beauty of a simple DIY fix. No charge for the wrench. 8664 Venice Blvd., L.A. (310) 666-2406.
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