I bought a new toolbox this year, a full Halfords Industrial stacking system in black, with a Byzantine drawer system in which everything has a place and there's a place for everything. It is lovely, but I'm trying not to use it right now.
In preparing my 1960 Triumph TR3a for next July's Liége-Brescia-Liége rally, I'm trying to assemble a set of tools fit for most jobs on the car that can be carried in the boot - along with fuel cans, jacks, spare wheels, bits of wood and oodles of spares.
What of clothes for this 10-day, 2,000-mile extravaganza, you might ask? Or elegant hats and shoes? Hum, haven't given much thought to those. Space in the tiny TR (registered JHU 637 and nicknamed YooHoo), is at a premium; if it doesn't help keep the car running, it stays at home.
In the Fifties and Sixties a longer version of this rally, which drove down the leg of Italy before turning at Rome, was one of the great European car-breakers along with the Monte Carlo, Tulip and Alpine rallies.
In his comprehensive road rally primer, Rally Manual (1960), Richard Bensted-Smith makes the following observations: "There are rallies which are car-breakers and rallies whose appeal is less easy to define. The character of Liége-Rome-Liége has never been in any doubt; it is hard on the car and one great big grind for the drivers. In fact its indisputably marathon nature gives it a human interest, and inspires personal endeavours, which must be unique."
Mind you, things were very different back then. Covering massive mileages with little sleep combined with fiendish navigation and time-keeping challenges, success on these marathons de la route could establish a reputation for reliability and glamour for a car manufacturer.
Crews went through it, though. BMC works drivers Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom won the 1960 Liége-Rome-Liége in one of the most famous big Healey 3000s, registered URX 727; aside from breakdowns and service stops, they drove for 96 hours straight.
Triumph TRs were one of the most popular entrants in these events. Under the company's then competition manager Ken Richardson, cars were prepared for these endurance rallies at which they proved surprisingly successful. Works cars made their competition debut on the 1954 Mille Miglia and motor trader Johnny Wallwork won the RAC International Rally the same year in a TR2.
By 1955 TRs were being raced and rallied around the world, with Ken Richardson taking fifth place in that year's Liége-Rome-Liége - in 1957 Bernard Consten took his TR3 to a very creditable third place on the same event.
In 1958 the Royal Motor Union of Liège came up with a foreshortened event for cars with engines of less than 500cc. Crews left Belgium on a Thursday evening and travelled all night through Germany, crossing the Alps via Austria, then heading east through the Dolomites into Yugoslavia, via many of the most notorious loose-surfaced mountain passes.
They didn't stop at Ljubljana, turning around and driving back through the Dolomites via the Stelvio Pass and thence south to Brescia. The tiny cars were parked for five hours in parc fermé, where they couldn't be worked on, and the crews had a rest - although that was mainly illusory since none of them arrived on time.
Then they drove north up the Gavia Pass and down the Stelvio, over the Alps, through Austria and Germany and back to Liège, arriving on the Sunday evening. It was more than 2,000 miles of flat-out driving, averaging well over 30mph through three nights, in tiny cars with engines as small as 250cc.
In 2008 Malcolm McKay ran a retrospective of this Liége-Brescia-Liége rally, which was highly enjoyed by crews (I drove a Fiat 500 Abarth) and since then he's leveraged his map-making and route-finding work by re-running the event for Jaguars - and this year it's the turn of Triumphs.
Hopefully my 2.2 litres, four cylinders and what amounts to a seven-speed gearbox means that YooHoo is going to be more comfortable, but it won't be by much.
In the meantime there's a horrible amount to do. At present transmission maestro Peter Cox is going through the overdrive gearbox, the propshaft is being renewed and the clutch will be replaced before the car is delivered to Glen Hewett at Protek Engineering in late January.
I'll keep you posted.
• If you've got a Triumph - or any other car eligible for such fabulous events - and aren't too keen on sleep, have a look at www.classicrallypress.co.uk/