Gas Spy eye
FuelTracker.com Home Divider1 Gas Spy Login Divider2 Become a Gas Spy Divider3 Crude Reality

RAC Breakdown: An alternative to AAA in the U.K. and Europe

Recently, an estranged relative (emphasis on “strange”) suggested shipping "Georgia," my 1966 Oldsmobile to Europe for some high-speed touring, and then eventually selling the vehicle at a profit as an exotic American muscle car.  It's a bizarre idea, and I was a bit leery of it for several reasons. 

First, when driven properly (i.e. as in the way it is supposed to be driven)  a ‘66 Olds only gets about eight miles to the gallon. Right now gas hi-octane costs about $8.50 per gallon in Great Britain, plus the cost of boosters for the original high compression engine, which is rated for 104 Octane.   Second,  my Cutlass is an aircraft carrier size convertible made for American freeways.  It was built with the premise that the sheer weight of the vehicle would "pull it through corners" so it wasn't designed for nimble handling on narrow alpine roads.  Third, with old cars, things don't wear out, they just break, so my biggest concern is getting parts for a 45-year old  vehicle. Even getting parts in the U.S. has been a challenge, so the probability of finding parts in Europe is an iffy proposition at best … as is the prospect of  being stranded in a 3,300 pound vehicle on narrow European roads.  So my fantasy of skylarking across Europe in my antique Olds, and then selling it at a ridiculous profit will probably remain a dream for now, but I did find an interesting solution for addressing the issue of unplanned breakdowns.   There is a company called RAC Breakdown that specializes in helping stranded motorists in the United Kingdom and Europe for about $40 U.S. a year. And unlike its American counterpart, AAA, RAC's service technicians are focused on repairing the vehicle where it broke down, not on towing it to the nearest garage.   According to their Web site, one out of five vehicles needs to be towed for service, but 80% of the time the vehicle is repaired on the road.

It is doubtful that RAC could fix my Olds on the spot (they probably have metric wrenches), but at least they could tow it!

Allthough on second thought, their trucks look rather small.  Oh well. Europe, my family, and the Autobahn will just have to wait.