Dr. Crankshaft - An Unauthorized Biography
Pitman Babbitt Crankshaft was born in a pleasant valley between Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City, sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. Little is known about his parents, although it is reasonably certain that his mother was a female and his father started Second Chance Garage a year before Pitman's birth.
At an early age young Pitman displayed a deep interest in all things mechanical. By his teens he had constructed an automobile using various discarded tractor parts, belts, pulleys, and his grandmother's old corset. The car didn't run very well, but Pitman was hooked on the automobile hobby for life.
Pitman B. Crankshaft was a good student and entered a course of study in mechanical engineering [and storm door repair] at the University of Southern North Carolina at Toast (population: 16). He earned his PhD with his dissertation: "Perpetual Motion, More or Less" and graduated Magna Cum Loudmouth after seven years of study, one of which was spent finding a place to park.
While at college he specialized in crypto-analysis. He invented the counterpart of the "enigma" code machine, calling it the "enema" which played an important role in analyzing the true meaning of the deciphered text. He then embarked on a short-lived racing career, driving the last running example of a 1949 Hudson Indy car. Unfortunately, he was disqualified because he ran the track in the reverse direction. In the 1950's he was involved in speed trials at the Bonneville salt flats, but was eventually asked to leave because he kept asking "Where are the pepper flats?"
Pitman doesn't discuss his activities during the '60s and little can be confirmed about him during this time. It was during this time, however, that
he met Mrs. Crankshaft (nee Missy Sparkplug). Missy shared Pitman's love of cars and it was said that they spent most of this time traveling around the country by car.
In the '70s, Pitman and Missy settled down and Pitman went to work for his father at the Second Chance Garage. During this time Pitman specialized in car restorations and he developed his encyclopedic knowledge about many, many different vehicles.
During the 1980s (until his retirement in the 1990s), Pitman's reputation as an automotive expert spread. He went to work as a part-time consultant for the short-lived Putnam Motor Corp. and helped with the development of the Putnam "Banshee", with it's unusually configured V-9 engine. But he only would commit to a part-time position, because his true love was his restoration work at the Second Chance Garage.
Doctor Crankshaft, as he was now known, earned distinction by discovering and restoring many classic cars including the world's only surviving example of the Smedley La Tourette, a British car built in the early 1920s, made entirely of knotty pine. All other Smedleys were either destroyed by termites or made into American's rumpus rooms in the late 1950s.
Today the Doctor lives just outside of town, but not too far from the Second Chance Garage. He is widely respected for his automotive knowledge and mechanical expertise, although he can be crabby and disgruntled on occasion, as his friend Dabney readily affirms.