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Friday, 17 February 2012 13:39:54 Europe/London
The internet has been buzzing for the last few days with pictures of a wood burning stove installed in a car. While the pictures are great, this video is even better!
Why Install a Woodburner in a Car?
The man behind the story is Pascal Prokop, a 38 year old living in Mettmenstetten, Switzerland. It all started when the heater broke in his 1990 Volvo 240 - no laughing matter in the bitter cold of an Alpine winter. While most of us would deal with this problem by getting the heater repaired, Pascal Prokop thought it made more sense to install a woodburner in his car instead. Out came the passenger seat and in went a woodburner complete with a chimney through the car roof.
No Seriously, Why Does a Car Need a Wood Burning Stove?
My first thoughts about this (at least once I stopped laughing) were to wonder whether our good Mr Prokop
- Had too much time on his hands?
- Anticipated ever having a special someone who might want to sit beside him in the car?
- Was a little bonkers?
If you dig a little deeper the whole thing doesn't seem quite so mad after all. Apparently fixing the heater in a Volvo 240 is a nightmare of a job (although almost certainly easier than ripping out the passenger seat and replacing it with a woodburner). And the cold snaps which turn into a national crisis in England pale into comparison to the worst a Swiss winter can offer. I'm not saying I'm convinced it makes sense to put a woodburner in your car, more that I accept the possibility of it making sense somewhere in an infinite universe. My knowledge of Swiss German is limited to guessing it's probably the German-sounding language the Swiss man was speaking, so I don't know what Pascal has to say for himself on the video. But I like to think he was talking about how his job requires him to spend all day driving round inspecting snow-laden trees and waving at everyone he passes, making an in-car woodburner every bit as essential as a steering wheel.
Don't Try This at Home!
According to MSNBC Pascal Prokov built and fitted the wood burning stove himself, then went through official channels to get an operating permit from the Swiss authorities. I'm not sure how Swiss bureaucracy compares to the delights of UK regulations, but I can't imagine such a contrivance getting the official seal of approval over here! But just for a moment let's play with the idea of something like this hitting the UK roads...
- Should you avoid driving through Smoke Control Areas, or drive through them faster to avoid getting caught belching out wood smoke from your car?
- Would the police view refuelling while driving as better or worse than talking on a mobile phone?
- Would twoccers be more likely to steal your car because it makes it easier for them to burn it out when they've finished joyriding?
- Would boy racers install fake wood burners in their hot hatches to make them look faster?
- Would stretch limos be fitted with jewel-encrusted woodburners to give them that extra bit of bling?
- Would the cat enjoy being taken to the vet if riding with a woodburner was part of the deal?
World Record Wood Burning Stove
Pascal Prokov has been awarded a world record for being the first person to install a wood burning stove in a car. I'm pretty sure he's entitled to a world record for getting most attention for installing a woodburner anywhere in the history of the world ever. However I have my doubts as to whether he is a true pioneer or mere proof of the power of social media. I once met a musician called Howling Chris who travelled Europe in a woodburner-equipped van little larger than a Volvo 240. If you see him tell him to give the World Records Academy a call...