Peng Ruigao: Always Awake (Part 1)|The Thrilling on Wheels

【Introduction: My driving history has been more than half a century. Before I officially got my license, I got into the driver’s seat, when I was young, less than 20 years old. 】

Written | Peng Ruigao, Editor | Qian Lei

Outer suburbs: say it ahead

My family lives in the suburbs, thirty kilometers from the city center, on the side of the highway. To make a living, I have three modes of transportation: a car, a motorcycle, and a bicycle. If you add public transportation such as the subway, then a single trip every year is a lot of money.

As the age increases, according to the general saying, it should be “storage with guns”, sell the car, and live a peaceful life as a car. But so far, except for the motorcycle at home that was stolen by a thief, and I have not continued to purchase it, I have not dared to “clear the warehouse” for other cars, and I am even considering changing the car. The reason is that for decades, I have been inseparable from the car in life and even spiritually.

Speaking of which, public transportation is much more convenient now, especially the subway, which is almost unimpeded. When your car is still blocked like a snail on the road, the subway has long been flying dozens of kilometers away. Choosing the subway is the first choice for travel. But people like me live so far away from the subway station; go to the city center to run errands and need to transfer many times; especially, often take an elderly person in a wheelchair with you when traveling… Then you will Be aware: Public transportation still has a lot of restrictions. If you also want to turn the hustle and bustle into tranquility and the drive into enjoyment, then owning a car is simply the only way to get there.

Start: From Beijing Jeep

I have been driving for over half a century. Before I officially got my license, I got into the driver’s seat, when I was young, less than 20 years old.

The first to get on is not a car, but a wheeled tractor. High driver’s seat, open air, especially wide field of vision. At that time, the agricultural tractor did not need a license plate on the road, and it was driven on the suburban roads, but its driving principle was similar to that of a car. Therefore, when the commune brigade bought a “Shanghai brand” pickup truck, and I sneaked up to drive it, the cooperation between the clutch and the manual gear was no stranger to me.

A few years later, when I entered the driving school, I was faced with a Beijing Jeep 212. It was the first off-road vehicle produced in China. Our BJ212 is still equipped with a canvas canopy. If the canopy is removed, it is an open-top jeep. Looking at it, it will remind you of the scene of Chairman Mao inspecting the Red Guards (the inspection car that Chairman Mao rode in the summer of 1966, model Really BJ212). Several of our driving school classmates love this Beijing jeep and scrub it clean every day. The car looks shabby, but the displacement is not small, the displacement of the four-cylinder engine is close to 2.5 liters. The master said, don’t look at the BJ212’s forward gear only has three gears (there is a reverse gear), but it is a four-wheel drive, and the top speed can reach 130 kilometers!

That Beijing jeep, also equipped with a device called the “front axle”, left a deep impression on me.

What is a “front axle”? The master said, it is the abbreviation of “front drive axle”. That is to say, this Jeep’s usual power mode is “rear drive”. Only when the “front axle” is hooked up, the front and rear power can be used at the same time, then it is a real “four-wheel drive” Jeep. The “front axle” is connected when it is in use and disconnected when not in use. This is a very scientific way of power configuration. I like this configuration so much that when I wrote articles in the last century, I used the pseudonym “Maebashi”. I don’t understand why the Jeeps on the market later, such as off-road vehicles, station wagons, etc., are no longer equipped with “front axles”, but are permanently fixed as “four-wheel drive” (also called “full-time four-wheel drive”). Drive”)? It is found that there are only a few agricultural tractors, and the front axle configuration is still retained.

The driving career that Beijing Jeep started, heralded some kind of fate between me and Jeep models. Later, I drove several Jeeps, as well as the “pickup” that Jeep “studied with”, and I fell in love with this kind of car with simple appearance and real connotation. After 50 years old, I have updated my car several times, but there is always a jeep among the vehicles at home.

“Little Sang”: Nickname for the first car

In my driving career, “Santana” has a very important place. The first car I drove after getting my license was the “Santana”.

This is an iconic brand of Chinese joint venture cars. The Chinese used to know only “Jiefang” trucks and “Hongqi” and “Shanghai” cars. When the car name “Santana” appeared, many people had a refreshing feeling. Many drivers also affectionately call it “Little Sang”. Although this car was “off the assembly line” in Germany at the time, it was indeed a new product for China, which had just opened up.

When the mulberry car manufacturing base was first established in Jiading County, Shanghai, the output was still very small. I was still working in a county agency in the suburbs. The county government car class finally bought two “Xiao Sang”, and everyone regarded them as treasures, and only the leaders of the county government could ride them.

As soon as “Xiao Sang” drove onto the county street, it attracted countless envious eyes. In the 1990s, when I was transferred to work in a city department, I often had to travel to the suburbs and counties, and the city gave us a “Little Mulberry” in gray. In my memory, the “Xiao Sang” at that time had the most beautiful appearance, running on the road like a shooting star.

Although the appearance of “Xiao Sang” looks a little older now, it has low fuel consumption, cheap car price, durable leather and many maintenance points, and has always been praised by the public. Over the decades, this old model has successfully crossed the century and has become the most classic low-end model among imported brands, which has always been popular. Despite the changes in the automotive industry, the Santana production line has been retained for the longest time. It is amazing that SAIC “Santana” can maintain monthly sales of more than 10,000 units for a long time.

I drove “Xiao Sang” and made many “firsts” of my own –

The first time on the highway;

The first time to run more than 100 kilometers per hour;

The first time to enjoy the car air conditioner; the first time to use the electric window lifter;


“Xiao Sang” opened my eyes and brought modernity to me. It was a milestone in my car career.

Hit a wall: the memory of checking the car ditch

Because I was sent by the public to learn to drive at the driving school, after I graduated and got my license, the office director gave me the “Xiao Sang”. I became a “clerk and driver” at one point.

During that time, I would go to the trolley class when I had nothing to do, hang out with the masters, and listen to them say which road is easy to drive, which place is convenient for parking, which district is easy to deal with with the traffic police, and which gas station has the best fuel quality… I also watched them lift the hood to clean the car, maintain it, add water, change the spark plug… There, I gained a lot of knowledge and learned a lot of skills. It can be said that most of my basic driving skills were taught by the car class master. Later, when I wrote a novel, the passages involving the life of the bureaucrat’s car class were exceptionally easy for me to write.

But this period was also my initial stage as a full-fledged driver, and I paid a lot for it.

At one point, the oil light on the dash came on, reminding me to change the oil quickly. I think, since the garage is so far away, I can do this little thing by myself, and it is not too difficult. I have seen how the car class master changes the oil a few times, and it should not be a big problem. So, I bought two bottles of motor oil and put it on myself.

There is a parking garage behind the agency building, and a car inspection ditch was specially built in the former fleet office. All the maintenance work on the bottom of the drill car is done here by the masters. This time I want to change the oil, I also put the car back into the inspection ditch, and it was easy to find the waste oil hole under the car’s belly. However, when I unscrewed the screw cap of the waste oil hole with a wrench in my right hand, and the waste oil can in my left hand was too late to pass it on, the black waste oil sprayed out all of a sudden, spraying me all over my face and covering my clothes and pants. Filled with dirty oil. Fortunately, there is no one around the parking garage, and the bathroom is not far away, and I have a set of underwear in my car. Otherwise, I would walk into the building in dirty oil, and I would have made a fool of myself in the office that day.

Another time, I also changed the oil. After the waste oil hole nut was screwed off, I was waiting to drain the waste oil, but I forgot to screw it on. As a result, two bottles of oil have been added, and the filling hole has not overflowed here. At this time, I suddenly remembered, and quickly got into the inspection ditch to grab the nut. But at this time the new oil has leaked a ditch, and the two bottles of new oil have almost been wasted. This time, I got my hands full of oil. That dark car inspection ditch once again left an unforgettable lesson for me.

Decryption: an unspeakable danger

Because I have been hanging out with the car class masters, and humbly learn to drive and maintain a car from them, my “Xiao Sang” is very well maintained, and it is usually polished. My colleagues say that I am like that, even the masters Praise me.

But the bus is not so easy to drive. In addition to the precious car, the office leaders set many rules. Because of these rules, I still caused a lot of trouble with “Xiao Sang”.

Once, an office colleague and I went to a certain unit in Sheshan to do business, and we went to “Xiao Sang”. After finishing the work, I set out on the return journey and drove up the open road in the north of Sheshan Mountain. My colleague suggested to me to let him open a section of the road to practice his hands.

I hesitated. Arguably this is not possible. Because the leader has repeatedly emphasized that I should keep the car well and not allow it to be driven by others; if it is driven by someone else or borrowed from other offices, it must be approved by the leader. But I am facing an office colleague at the moment, how can I be so embarrassed? Besides, I also know that a novice who has just learned to drive will get itchy hands when he sees a car!

I just slowed down and let “Xiao Sang” pull over. When I changed into the passenger seat, I told him again: “Drive slowly.” My colleague said, “Don’t worry, I also got the license.”

He said he lit the fire. The action seems to be okay, but the accelerator is a little harder. I kept saying “slow down, slow down” and he kept saying “it’s okay, it’s okay”. Because of the open road and the lack of traffic, he quickly increased his speed to seventy or eighty yards.

Unexpectedly, there was a big turn ahead, but this guy didn’t realize that he should slow down. I can’t even call “Brake! Brake!” to no avail. Seeing that the car was about to hit the road tree, my colleague’s expression suddenly changed. At this time, there was another farmer riding a bicycle on the side of the road, hanging an iron basket, and swaying around. Our car was obviously out of control. Under the control of a colleague, “Xiao Sang” twisted and twisted for a while, then slammed the iron basket and knocked the cyclist over.

I shouted, “Something happened!” I hurriedly got out of the car, helped the farmer up, and asked, “How is it? How is it?”

My colleague also got out of the car. His face was pale, he looked at me blankly, and rubbed his hands on the side of the road.

Fortunately, this honest farmer got up from the road, tried that the bicycle was not broken, and checked that his hands and feet were not injured or bleeding, he patted his shirt and trousers and rode the bike away!

After I watched the farmer leave, the first thing I did was to check the “Xiao Sang”. I found that the side of the car was scratched a lot, and I was so distressed that I screamed, “Oops!” It’s alright, just go to the factory to make up for it.”

He will continue to open “Xiao Sang”. I took out my backpack from the car and said, “Go on, I’ll take the bus back.” He asked, “What are you doing?” I said, “Who dares to ride in the car you’re driving?” He smiled, Just handed the steering wheel to me.

When I returned to the office that day, and when I was going upstairs, he repeatedly told me: “This is the end of the matter, and the leaders must not know.”

More than 30 years later, the matter can now be deciphered.

(To be continued)

【About the Author】

Peng Ruigao

Member of the Chinese Writers Association, author of many novels such as “The Thief Ship”, “Oriental Dagang” and “Last Night Cuckoo”, and won two Shanghai Medium-length Novel Creation Awards. In the “Xinmin Evening News” opened the “Old Peng Kanche” column.

Driving experience: more than 30 years

Types of driving: Beijing Jeep, Santana, Mitsubishi van, Toyota van, Bora sedan, Mercedes-Benz C200 sedan; during his temporary employment at Yangshan Deepwater Port, he drove a large container truck. Currently driving a Subaru Outback wagon and a Lexus IS300 coupe.

(This article is the original work of “Heyan Reading Car” and cannot be reproduced without authorization)