‘Every single car that comes through my hands gets the treatment,’ the father said. ‘They all have their mileage cut to under ten thou before they're offered for sale. And to think I invented that all by myself,’ he added proudly. ‘It's made me a mint.’

It comes from the novel Matilda by Roald Dahl.

I can't understand the sentence And to think I invented that all by myself.

What does it mean?

2 Answers 2


The specific phrase "To think that..." is an idiomatic phrase which basically means "Can you believe that...".


A further clue to what's described is in an earlier sentence:

‘These drills run at a tremendous speed,’ the father said, ‘so when I switch on the drill the mileage numbers on the speedo spin backwards at a fantastic rate. I can knock fifty thousand miles off the clock in a few minutes with my high-speed electric drill. And by the time I’ve finished, the car’s only done ten thousand and it’s ready for sale. “She’s almost new,” I say to the customer.

The father thinks he's the first person to have come up with the idea—at least with a drill. (It's not clear if it's the use of the drill that he thinks was originally his or the idea in general.)

Turning back the odometer on a car makes it seem as it if has had less mileage, and, therefore, is in better condition than it actually is. People will pay more for a car with less mileage.

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