The Blackstone Valley, RI -
Baby-boomer Doug Jacobs works tirelessly to help his fellow car and
motorcycle enthusiasts. The
problem, as he sees it, is that when a classic car or motorcycle
experiences an electrical
problem, the wiring diagrams they are forced to turn to can be more
work than the wiring. These
diagrams appear to be made for people who have never heard an
optometrist say "reading
The 11” x 17” Color Wiring Diagrams from Prospero's
Garage were specifically created for car
and motorcycle enthusiasts who,
because they've crossed the four decade mark, can't read
tiny factory wiring diagrams.
The type is small and the factory or other after-market diagrams
are rendered in black and white,
while the car’s wiring loom exists in Technicolor.
"I'll be the
first to tell you, it wasn’t that big a problem 25 years ago when I got
in this business," says
Doug Jacobs, proprietor of
Prospero's Garage and once factory trained BMW motorcycle mechanic.
"It's not that the factory
wiring diagrams, or diagrams from aftermarket repair manuals have gotten
just guys in their 40s and older can't read these things."
the size of a diagram is great for older guys, but even more useful to
the classic car or
motorcycle enthusiast of any age are three other
features of the wiring diagrams from Prospero's
Garage – Color, Legends and
"Color. That's really one of the hardest things for
the shade tree mechanic. All those black wires
run together into a mess of
electrical spaghetti. The factory manual will say a wire is supposed to
'N/LGN’*, but what does that mean to the typical guy who does this for
fun? So I always use
the same colors on the wiring diagram that you see
on the wiring loom. It doesn't require
translation." *(brown wire
with a light green tracer).
“Legends – or Lack of Legends. Every
component on our diagrams are labeled right there on
the page. Anyone whose done any
electrical de-bugging will tell you – tracing your way through
the wires, only to have to turn
back four pages to find out what component numbered “142”
actually is – well, it’s
infuriating. You’ve lost your place and now you have to hunt back
the mess to find it again.”
“Lamination. Big problem –
if you’re working on your car or bike, your hands are probably dirty.
If you’re using your original
copy, you can bet it’ll be useless after one or two sessions. Other
make 20 copies of the black and white version so they can throw
the dirty copy away. Ours are
laminated and are, essentially,
permanent. Just don’t wrap it around a hot header pipe.”
have been brisk at British car shows, motorcycle rallies, through
enthusiast groups on the
Internet, and through online
sales channels such as E-bay.
The wiring diagrams from Prospero's
Garage first started out as something to help out Mr. Jacob's
friends. "A lot of guys I knew
had recently acquired BMW Slash 5 motorcycles. A lot of them
needed help re-wiring. So I
obtained some factory diagrams, and reworked them so they could
be usable." Before long, he
began supplying them to other BMW motorcycle enthusiasts, and
various BMW car club members.
the popularity of their diagrams spread, Prospero's Garage started
wiring diagrams for many classic Swedish, British,
German, Italian and Japanese cars, BMW and
Harley Davidson motorcycles.
They are working constantly to expand the line – often the biggest
constraint relates to sourcing
the factory diagrams they use for source material. New offerings
for 1960’s and 70’s American
muscle cars are in the works, as well as an ever expanding line of
European & Asian classic
sports cars – and even classic Toyota Land Cruisers and Ford Broncos!