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"Here in my car", said 80s pop hero Gary Numan, "I feel safest of all". He obviously never shared the same stretch of road as me, then. Automotive tales of mirth and woe, please.

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 12:34)
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This question is now closed.

Does anyone else think
that the Fiat Multipla looks like a grinning hippopotamus?
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 22:41, 5 replies)
White 1979 GMC Sierra
My favorite vehicle to date. My dad got it because Pres. Reagan used to chop wood for exercise and he thought that was a great idea, so he bought a truck to haul wood. It had an 8-track tape player, tan vinyl seats, and a three-speed on the floor transmission with a granny gear. My dad cut up the post for a street sign and made side rails even with the cab roof to hold the firewood.

Some favorite memories. Putting it in granny gear (a super low gear) and walking beside it on a straight track through the desert for miles while hunting jack rabbits. I just chugged beside us and we could get water, new shells or take a sit when tired.

Coming down out of the mountains at speed, hitting a huge bump and watching my brother's shotgun float in front of us until we hit with a boom. (wrecked the alignment on that one: cost my dad two new front tires, which wore out unevenly, plus the alignment. He mentioned he must have done it during a wood cutting trip. To my dishonor, I never admitted it, though I believe he knew and was only telling me to give me a chance to fess up. Cowardice). Went back and measured - airborne 25 ft. from start to finish.

Popping the clutch with my brother and his friend Kurt in the back and watching Kurt bowl around the bed while my brother and I howled with laughter. Kurt was apparently too slow and did this several times on the ride home. Was funny over and over.

Climbing hills in the granny gear that 4-wheel drives couldn't get up.

Pulling more than one friend out of ditches; moving everyone I knew during high school; camping in the bed over multiple weekends; listening to my dad's Elvis' Greatest Hits ad nauseum; watching my friend Greg break his nose during a drive in the mountains because he refused to wear a seatbelt.

Went to my younger brother after I got a Ninja 600. He had the misfortune of having someone hit it who had a car exactly the same bright, schoolbus yellow color as those posts they put by the gas pumps to make sure idiots don't hit the pumps and blow everyone up. Neither did nor I bought his story.

Rest in peace faithful steed!

Length? 194.5 in
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 22:31, Reply)
I don't drive.
But I have shagged in a Fiat Uno where I narrowly avoided getting a gear stick up my ass. Don't think it really counts as an answer though.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 22:24, 6 replies)
Freeway? Fuck!
So a few years ago, I'd learnt to drive. Had just broken up with the boyfriend at the time and as he wouldn't leave the apartment, I spent a week sleeping in my new 1986 Buick.
A friend found out I was pretty much homeless, and her dad had a room available in my price range. Woo! But he lived 20 miles away. You can only get there on the freeway (motorway).
Not done freeway driving.
The next day after work, I hit the on-ramp, put my foot down and yelled "Geronimoooooo". Freeway driving is piss easier than round town.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 22:21, 1 reply)
So many stories...
... and here's another. Early 1980s, my friend John drove a shit-box piece of tin. It was white is all I remember about it. That and driving through St. Albans with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five singing "White Lines", and him banging one hand on the roof and shouting "get off the roof, monkey!"

I don't think his father would have trusted him with anything more capable, and wisely so. John once phoned a mutual friend to say that his car was making one hell of a noise and he thought that the rear suspension was shot. Turned out he'd been driving on the grooves at the edge of the A5. Friend was not best-pleased to have a 90 minute round-journey, just to tell him to drive where he's supposed to.

John and I once passed a car on a roundabout. We were driving around the roundabout, while the other car was teetering on some under-carriage location, both wheels off the ground and spinning slowly. I have no idea how it got there, but as we carefully drove past, I bade John to slow down. As we drew level, through the open passenger window, I hollered "you can't park there, you know!" at the top of my lungs.

Dunstable, I think it was. Or maybe Hemel Hempstead. If it was you, I'm sorry. But you did give me a laugh.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 21:52, Reply)
I was once in a car that ran over a dog...
It felt not unlike a small speedbump. Except for the noise.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 21:35, 1 reply)
Here in my was car
I was coming down the A10 in Enfield nearing the right hand filter into Southbury road, in an old Ford Capri, took the filter, which was red and i'm 1st to go, the car stalls, and the starter motors fucked, start pushing when light goes green, unbeknown to me, someone helps from behind, the car speeds up, i cant jump in and it ploughs into the railings opposite, much to the merriment of a bus load of kids at the bus stop, wot did i do, fucking walked off and left it stuck in the railings, that was in the days when you didnt bother registering or taxing motors, actually insurance was luxury back then.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 21:33, 1 reply)
So many stories...
... here's the first, and by chance the most recent.

Living in Boulder, Colorado, has much to recommend it. The weather is (we're at 5300 ft) for the vast majority of time, damn near perfect, and even in mid-winter, when it snows, it rarely lasts more than a day or two. The catch is that immediately to the west of the city begin the Rockies, rising fairly steeply and consistently to 10,000ft, peaking out at the odd 14,000ft summit. Snow stays up here a lot longer, and it snows a lot more frequently.

Couple of weeks ago we were coming down off the mountains in the wife's all-wheel drive Town & Country soccer-mom mobile, and the local plod turned us back; a bad multiple-vehicle accident had blocked the road, and we'd have to take a different route. Off we toddled, just as the snow started to fall. We were about 8500ft, and there was still snow on the ground. New snow falling. Graded and gravel road, not asphalt. Nightmare. The Flatlanders were also out in force - people who haven't got a clue how to drive in conditions like these. Shit-box pieces of tin, so lightweight that on standard tyres they couldn't negotiate a mild incline, and gracefully pirouetted down the hill, engine racing, wheels spinning, until they came to a stop against a tree. A huge Ford Expedition (seriously, it's freakin' huge) losing grip and fishtailing up the hill (I saw him a little later, pulled over and putting on snow chains).

But my favorite is this. Good lady wife lived in upstate New York for many years; a place so cold that the US Army moved their cold-weather training there. From Alaska. I lived in Norway and Sweden for a while (though I remain a loyal citizen of the UK.) We're no Flatlanders, and know how to get through. Low gear, low speed, stop for nothing. 20mph all the way, we're doing great.

From behind, at ramming speed, comes a twunt in an LR3. He overtakes at, I'm guessing, between 40 and 50mph. Gestures at us in a non-too friendly manner. Not 5 minutes later we pass him, huge skid-furrows in the snow leading to the vehicle, front-end concertina-like, in the ditch. He was standing alongside it, scratching his head, wondering how to get it out. As we passed, I waved at him in a very friendly way. I must say, he had a very poor attitude and got quite angry.

25 minute journey took 4 hours. But we made it home without incident.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 21:12, 1 reply)
My only car crash.
Driving home from Wales - My good friend Tim (real name) was fairly new to driving, but that didn't explain the moment of madness when he floored it coming off the motorway onto a left turn sliproad.

Time did indeed slow down and the conversation was thus:

Me: 'You're going a bit fast aren't ya?'

Tim: 'Erm?'

Me: 'Tim?'

Tim: 'I can't slow down!'

Me: 'Tim put the fucking brakes on!'

Me and Tim: 'Arrrgh'

The car amazingly avoided TWO concrete ballards and a tree stump, we came off the bend onto some grass, hurtled up a slope and skidded for about sixty feet onto some grass and stopped inches away from a large metallic post.

Only when i got out (after much swearing) to check on the damage, did i realise we had stopped UNDER a cctv tower with cameras pointing in four directions. I quickly checked that the car wasn't fucked and went over to see if Tim was okay.

Me: 'Tim what in the name of shitting Crikey did you do that for?'

Tim: 'Sorry i was having a day dream!'

This was almost too much to deal with. The crash, the shouting, the huge skid, the casual nature of my driver and potential killer and the almost certainty of being arrested withing seconds, considering we had ALMOST destroyed a very expensive looking CCTV tower.

THEN... A metallic voice to my left shouted 'Can you get off the forecourt please!'

What the hell? I looked around and for the first time noticed that we were literally thirty meters away from a very busy looking petrol station with dozens of witnesses of us crashing through the undergrowth , up a slope and amazingly not dying.

We sheepishly got back in the car, reversed a bit and then drove off.

Not my finest moment.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 21:02, Reply)
Got rear-ended on a roundabout in Oxford last January.
One of the worst experiences of my life. Well, the actual incident wasn't, it was the argument with the loss adjusters and 11 month wait to retrieve the £500 excess I had to pay in order to have my car fixed at a reputable body-shop and not the fucking rip-off merchants the insurance company put me onto.

Anyway. Pulled up at a roundabout, some guy behind me clearly not familiar with breaking, I get hit, clearly his fault. My bumper is completely buggered, not a scratch on his car. Normally I'd be pretty pissed off at the guy but I really couldn't stay angry at him for long. Turns out it was his girlfriend's mum's car which he was supposed to be "looking after" while they were on holiday.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 21:01, Reply)
A shagged out Beetle
Was my first car. My brother had one when I visited him in the states and it came with a wonderful book 'How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive : A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot' It was written by an old hippy called John Muir, beautifully illustrated by Peter Aschwanden.* It's written so well that by the time my state side trip was over I was in love with those cars.

My dad came along when I went looking for one. I wasn't sure about the one we finally decided to see but he checked it over and said it was fine. I handed over £500 and we towed it back home.
It took about a month to get it through the test, we were working on it outside in winter. I learnt to weld, use bodge, replace shocks, brakes and brake lines, how to fit plugs, set points and tune an engine and lots more besides.
At one point things got heated and I asked if he knew it would be so much work. he said 'yes, but if we didn't buy that one we'd only end seeing another dozen of them all in the same state'

When we finally got it on the road it was still in a state. It didn't look pretty, the heating system was shot so I had a flexitube running from the rear compartment to get some warm air near me. I had to balance the times I locked the doors by using the knob or the keys to prevent the mechanism failing, lots of little foibles.

Unfortunately one day, a lady pulled out in front of me leaving me no option but to hit her. I nearly managed to stop, there was a slight mark on her bumper but my car was deemed uneconomical to repair. The claim took several months to sort out. My insurance had sorted me out with a hire car on daily rate until the money came through. I was due up in court to settle the claim. I had my suit all prepared when I got the call that they had folded. Somehow my £500 wreck was now valued at £1500. £200 pounds of parts and I was back on the road and got another few years out of it. I finally gifted it to my brother when he finally returned from his travels.

The book and the lessons I learnt from working on that car with my dad has meant I've had a car into a garage once to be fixed in 15 years.
Oh and that £25-£50 for protected no claims/legal cover? well worth it!

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:55, Reply)
Street Cred Car
My dad lives in a really scummy area in Yarmouth, where every house is broken in to a few times a month. Surprisingly, he doesn't get broken in to as much as his neighbours, and I asked him why.

"They know I drive an old Skoda." He said, "They figure, anyone who's mad enough to drive one of them is too dangerous to risk robbing."

EDIT: This was shortly before he showed us the easiest way to get into the car- not using the key, but by taking the door off.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:54, Reply)
I once had a Nissan 300ZX.
It was bright red, had T tops and was a very quick little thing. It wasn't a Corvette, mind you, but when I hit the gas it did push you back in the seat a bit.

One day my girlfriend and I were approaching a bridge, passing a line of traffic, and got to a point where the traffic merged into one lane. As I was already going pretty fast I decided to floor it and duck into the open space at the front of the line.

Unfortunately the guy at the front of the line had his customized HONDA ACCORD and was determined that he wasn't going to let me in. He dropped down a gear or two and floored it, his engine screaming like a constipated Siamese, determined to beat me to the bridge in his super fast HONDA ACCORD.

I'm not stupid. I hit the brakes and let him go flying on ahead of me. And as he shot across the bridge I noticed that his exhaust was turning denser blue, meaning that he was burning oil and coolant.

At the next traffic light he was turning left and I was going straight, so I got to pull up next to him. The driver was a kid, probably around 19 to 22, a pudgy little fellow in aviator sunglasses. His chubby cheeks were puffed out and he looked like he was about to burst into tears as he sat there with his ruined engine, glaring at me as I laughed just as the light turned green.

I wonder if he felt it was worth it.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:35, Reply)
Seeing as last week was a youtube fest
I thought you might like to watch this:
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:32, Reply)
Husbandthefirst and I used to own a couple of Karmann Ghia's.
Absolutely beautiful cars, they are.

One of them was a bit of a beater which we bought for $1000, so we decided to do it up.
At one point, he was trying to replace the ignition switch, and was fumbling quite badly at it and getting more and more pissed off.
Finally I ambled over to see if I could "help".

He was not pleased when I pointed out he had the manual for the wrong year.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:30, Reply)
One night driving through downtown
I was on a small street in something of a back neighborhood in a rather run-down area. I approached an intersection and waited at the light to turn, and as I did so I noticed that the vehicle that pulled up on the other side of the intersection facing me was very large and had unusually large and oddly shaped headlights. But, being night, I couldn't see any details because of the headlight glare.

When the light changed the vehicle crossed the intersection and I got a good look at it.

It was the Weinermobile.

I was still giggling an hour later when I got home.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:19, 2 replies)
My first proper car
Having had a Fiat Panda, 1969 mini, rover 214, Honda civic, Mk 2 Golf GTi and then a lumbering Honda Accord; about a year ago my wife came into some money and for my 30th birthday she said, "yo can have £10k to buy a car".

Aye aye - but then there were condition. 4 seats, blah blah. So I settled on a Mini Cooper S. At the showroom, I pay up and then the bombshell - "ok sir, although your car is on the forecourt, your payment has gone through and we have all the paperwork done, you can have your car in 4 weeks". WTF... we were going on a family holiday for 2 weeks the day before it is "ready". So, after 6 weeks, we come back from holiday in Devon a day early.

Drop the wife off, jump on the bus into the Sytner garage and a rush in...

"ok sir, sit down. Someone reversed into your car in the car park yesterday. It is now in the workshop and will be ready in about a week".

To be fair, they did lend me a new cooper S works until it was ready, which I ragged for a week, never letting the revs below 5k.

I love my mini, and the extra years warranty they threw in for free cause of the accident..
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:17, Reply)
In Oxford one day we saw the Inspector Morse car.
Apparently you could pay to have your photo taken beside/in it.

We touched it and ran off.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:07, 4 replies)
Not a car, but a bike
I was the ripe old age of 16 - I'd had a motorbike before, well, a Puch Maxi 50cc when I was 8 that I used to trot around the garden on.
All the cool kids at school were getting 50cc bikes, and of course, I too wanted some of that. I couldn't be doing with the 30mph crap though, so when the chance came up to purchase a second hand Honda Wetdream 250cc for £100 quid, I jumped at the chance. I say I, but I mean we. I couldn't afford the grand sum of 100 quid, so I went halves with a mate of mine from school. Quite an odd affair really, we bought it from a copper who simply said "Are either of you two old enough to even ride this thing...?" We both, sheepishly replied in the affirmative. He shook his head and said, "You didn't buy it from me, ok?"

As the new proud owners, we took it back to my house and were giving our new acquisition a good clean and polish, when Daz (mentioned in other QoTW) turned up.
"What's that you two have got there then?"
"New motorbike."
"Oh yeah. So...can I have a go then, or what?"
"yeah, ok."

Daz jumped on and said, "Ok...what do I do?"
"What do you mean, 'What do I do?'"
"What do I do, how do I make it go forward?"

So, I started it up, showed him where the clutch was, how to put it in gear and most importantly, where the brakes were.
He was precariously balancing on it, and gingerly riding up the road, with the pair of us holding the back bars and running alongside. When he wanted to turn around, he'd get off, I'd get on and turn it around for him and point him in the right direction.
After a few goes of this, he grew bored.
"You got a bash-'at?"
"Go and get it then, I want to drive round the block and up the road a bit."

We got the bash-'at.

Daz rode off up the road.

After about 20 mins of waiting we got a little bored, so walked to the local Chinese takeaway and got some chips, as we strolled across the carpark to the takeaway we heard the most almighty bang.
"Ha, there goes Daz", says my mate.
"Ha ha, yeah, right." Says I.

We get our chips and go back to the garage. A few minutes after we'd eaten them, a whiter-than-white Daz comes running into the garage, crash-helmet in hand screaming, "Help. Help."

God only knows what our faces must have looked like, but it turns out Daz really did need help. He'd smashed the bike into the front of a Vauxhall Cavalier so hard that he'd pushed it into a Toyota Celica behind it and broken all it's lights as well as completely caved the front of the first car in.
He'd luckily been thrown over both cars (how bloody fast was he going???) and had landed on someone's front lawn. He'd got up, tried to push the bike away in a hurry - leaving it in gear, he couldn't understand why it wouldn't move when he pushed it; such was his inexperience.
We three ran back to where the bike was and miraculously, no-one had even budged from watching Eastenders and we had a clear getaway.
We took the bike back to the garage and all three of us set about it with spanners and screwdrivers - "It couldn't have been us Ossifer, this bike is in bits..."
I eventually had the forks fixed (they were bent to nearly right angles), but the bike never handled properly again, and indeed ended up with my thigh being cracked one day when I turned the corner, but the bike didn't...but that's another story, involving a friend of my dad's and, unsurprisingly, Daz. Again.

Daz never rode another bike, and still hasn't.

My dad, being of that persuasion, got the job of putting both the damaged cars back in working order. I only recently told him that happened (some 20 years after the event), and demanded my commission.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 20:05, Reply)
hot rock boomerang
was smoking resin in the back of my mate's car somewhere on the Msomething (rebellious, I know) - flicking the ash out of the partially opened window led to a large hot rock blowing right down my fucking earhole.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:51, Reply)
Humping in Northumberland
Many moons have passed over the teepee since I owned a 1302s Beetle. This was not yer ordinary shopping car but a fast tuned 1600 with trick suspension. Going North up the A68 to Edinburgh, I realised that me Mum was nodding off in the front seat. I accelerated hard up one of that road's exciting dip and hollow sections until we reached a steep brow at about 70 mph. I shouted "Yippee" and when Mum opened her eyes all she could see was sky. I didn't know Mums knew those words . . .
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:34, Reply)
Porsche gets nicked by cops in a skoda
that subject line these days would not make the back pages, but back in 1982 that was something. My mates uncle owned a Porsche 911 Turbo - in flame red and a big black spoiler, sort of stood out a bit. Anyway we were on our way to work when he flew past us, "there goes uncle" says my mate. Next I saw this Skoda Estelle in my mirror - usual Skoda jokes started until that is I spotted not only the blue flashing light in his window but the fact he too was passing us at great speed. a mile up the road there was the Porsche at the side of the road with the Skoda behind it, it's driver casually writing out a speeding ticket.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:20, Reply)
Too many to remember...

There was the Green Renault 5 that wouldn't go in first gear - Green, until my 'friend' helpfully painted it in black tar. In hot weather you could peel bloody great strips off of it. There was the MkI Calalier that you had to start by pressing a door-bell on the steering column. Many a colleague thought it was funny moving it about in the carpark at lunchtimes so that I couldn't find it after work! Bastards.

Then, of course, there was the Ford Cortina MkIII (with the square headlights). Clutch slipped like a bastard and the steering had a mind of it's own. That poor car met it's maker on a a long straight road coming out of Canterbury in the snow. It simply couldn't make it up the incline without the clutch slipping so badly it started to roll backwards.
As I managed to pull it off the road and into a lay-by, realisation dawned on me that perhaps this was this car's last journey. *I calmly got out, walked to the passengers side, opened the door, carefully removed the glovebox (with my cassettes in it), and gently tapped the door with my foot - which went straight through the bodywork and into the car itself.

Now, this in itself wouldn't have been such a bad thing, however, the reason I was travelling back from Canterbury was because at the time I was seeing a girl who lived close to the Uni - as she was attending the uni in the daytime. I say seeing, but in hindsight it appears that I was her taxi driver - instead of money, I would receive wholly unsatisfying sex and painful blowjobs as payment.
Anyway, we'd have a bloody great big row, and me, being around 17 years old, decided to act like it and teach her a lesson by taking my TV, Video player, Tape Deck etc.... that I was lending her all the time she was living away from home, and put it in the car. The fact that after I put it in the old 'tincorner, I then had to push-start the thing - on my own - I could hardly go back and knock on the door and ask for a hand could I? - should have given me a hint of things to come.

So, there I was, stranded on a dark, long road in the snow (did I mention it was snowing - '89 or 90 I think, probably the biggest snowfall for bloody years), with a broken car incapable of getting me home, one TV, one video player, one tape deck and one bloody mammoth Jumbo acoustic guitar!
I piled it up in order of size and trotted off happily into the moonlight**
This being the days before mobile phones, I seemed to remember a phone box around 2-3 miles of where I was, so I headed in that direction. OF course, you know what's coming. It wouldn't work at all when I got to it - nothing, no dial tone nothing. By this time, my bloody arms felt like they were about to drop off and my legs weren't feeling much better.
Eventually after about another 2 miles, and what felt like 2 days of trekking though the Artic, I could hear a high pitched whining of, what I could clearly recognise as a Datsun Sunny (yes, I actually was THAT geeky - I could tell a Ford Fiesta 1.1 from 2 miles away).
I didn't really give it much thought, however, shortly after this, sure enough a Datsun Sunny comes round the corner, and in it was Daz, my mate from School.
He pulls up and says, "Wanna lift?"
Did I want a lift???!! Christ yes!

I asked him what he was doing along that road - as it was quite some distance from both our houses, and he calmly replied, "Coming to pick you up."

Apparently, and this was verified by his mother at a later date, he had fallen asleep after getting home from college, but woke up around 8pm with a nagging feeling that something was wrong. Eventually, something told him that the something wrong had something to do with me and became so nagging that he had to get up and do something about it. He'd driven to my house to find nobody in, and then drove aimlessly about looking for me or my car, until he happened to simply drive up alongside me.

Bear in mind, this was not a road he had any reason to believe I was on. He told me that at each corner he'd say to himself "This is stupid. I'll just go to the next bend and if I don't see him I'm turning around and going home." - He'd get to that bend, then say the same thing again, and so on and on.

This wasn't the only time this would happen. Shortly afterwards I remember waking up in the middle of the night, and seeing as I was a 'secret smoker' in those days, I crept out of my parents house at around 3am and went for a walk (read: fag). Sitting on top of the phone box at the end of my road was Daz. I said "What you doing up there at this time of night?", "Waiting for you." was the calm reply as he toked on his roll-up.

Bloody weird - especially as neither of us believe in any of the paranormal shite, but there you have it.

* may have been extremely angry instead of calm.
** again, see above.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:18, 3 replies)
in which my mate's wife gets a frosty reception
about ten years ago, i was coming back from skelmersdale with my mate ronnie in his car. it was mid december and bitterly cold, so we'd both bought coffee from the drive-thru. it kept us warm for a while, but about 3 miles from home, i started to feel a very familiar pressure in the bladdery regions. "ron, i need a wee," i said. "don't worry," says he, "we'll be home soon, you can hold it till then, can't you?" i believed that i could.
unfortunately, we then hit a very large traffic jam. it was about a mile and a half to the end of the motorway, with nothing moving very far at all. half an hour later, we'd got about 300 yards and i'd got desperate. "ron, i REALLY need a wee." "just hold it," he replies, "i think the traffic is starting to move."
20 minutes later, the traffic actually does start to move and i thought i would make it.
then i felt it. i was going to sneeze. now, i don't know how it works for men, but if a woman needs a wee and sneezes, there's very little you can do to stop yourself weeing right there and then.
i sneezed. i weed. i almost died of shame. ronnie put a brave face on it, but i knew he was very annoyed.
ten minutes later, i was finally home. hiding my shame with my handbag, i leapt out of the car and ran home to change. i fervently hoped nothing more would be said about the whole unfortunate affair.
the next morning, i got a phonecall from an hysterically laughing ronnie, who had just dropped his wife off at work. as she climbed into the very cold car, she'd asked "ron, why is the passenger seat frozen?"
he didn't have the heart to tell her.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:17, Reply)
Car stereos or "girls must be stupid"
Once the 12 year old BC was sitting on my friend's front lawn and two girls came by who he knew and they stopped to talk to us. Now, being interested in girl types, but never really having a non-stuttering conversation with one, this was a big deal, even though they were not that attractive.

While in the midst of what I'm sure was a fascinating visit, a huge muscle car went by, like a GTO or a Duster, with 8-track tape player blaring Foghat or Blue Oyster Cult at high volume.

Out of the blonde girls mouth came a statement that I still ponder to this day: "Guys with loud stereos are so HOT!"

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:17, Reply)
What ho.

On our way home from particularly enjoyable days shooting at a chum's estate, Gibbons, the driver, was making good time. The new Bentley is a belter. Never thought I'd say that about a Kraut car. Arf! I was enjoying a glass of Louis XIV Remy when Gibbons brought to my attention to one of those horrid Italian sports cars at the side of the lane. "Good lord!", I exclaimed. My chum Nigel's head was out of the bally window facing downwards and he was is obvious distress. "Pull over Gibbons", I ordered the driver, who pulled up behind the Lambporkqueenie or whatever the damn thing was called. Poor old Nige was screaming with pain. "My beck's gorn ite end my trisers are stuck under the blasted pedals", he complained. Well as I drew closer to take a look, see if a chap could help out a chum in need and all that, I noticed he was not alone. Underneath him in a state of undress was Lady Ribena Farquar-Smythe who had completely flipped. She screamed at me, "Get this farking oaf orf of me at once". Gibbons had realised what had happened and I had not. I must say I was rather puzzled by this ruddy odd affair. Gibbons explained, "I think what has happened sir, is the lady and gentleman have taken the opportunity to *ahem* have some hany-panky and the gentleman would seem to have slipped a disk in his lower back thus preventing him from dismounting her ladyship sir". "Good lord! I exclaimed, "What on earth are we to do?"

It must have been almost an hour and no matter what we did, we just couldn't budge poor old Nige who was stuck firm. Well this really was a bit of a pickle, just moving him an inch made him scream out in pain.
After a little longer there was nothing for it. We had to call 999 and get help. First on the scene was the police. Two young traffic officers who were finding it extremely difficult to contain their laughter. I must say it was a sight. Poor old Ribs, stark bollock naked and in certain discomfort and Nige with his big red hairy arse facing the windscreen. Arf! Oh really, I shouldn't laugh. Nige is a jolly good chum. Pfft. Next to arrive was the fire brigade who upon inspection of the incident, also found it hard not to laugh. Eventually after the novelty had worn orf they decided the roof would have to be cut off. Two large firemen approached the car with this huge pair of hydraulic cutters and quick as a flash orf came the roof and the powerful beam from the fire engine's beacon illuminated poor old Nigel's arse making it almost glow. Arf! No matter how they tried they still could get Nige out of the car and a crane was called for. About 20 minutes later it arrived and the driver managed to attach a rope to the body board the fireman and ambulance crew had managed to get underneath him. I was rather hoping for a small plop as they undocked but alas it was not to be. Lady Ribena covered herself up very quickly, wrapping her fur coat around her body. I must say I was rather impressed with the thatch. Quite some bushy dirty hair on the lass, I have to say. The poor this was obviously traumatised by the whole sad event and was screaming. I went over and tried to calm her down. "Don't worry Ribs, it's all over now and Nigel is going to be just fine." She was still frothing at the mouth and cursing loudly. "Fuck Nigel! Fuck fucking Nigel! I'm not worried about that cretin. I'm just thinking what my fucking husband says when he sees his new car!"

Don't some chaps get into some jolly silly scrapes?

Pip Pip.
Captn Horatio Clutterbuck Hood-Butter III (Ret)

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:16, Reply)
Indian death vessels - aka the bus.
Travelling with the ex mrs a few years ago across India, i was nearly killed in a number of horrible ways (con men, packs of wild dogs, wild monkeys and a scooter crash amongst others) - but nothing came close to the nerve shredding tension of hurtling down a mountain on an over-packed rusted death machine, with shit brakes in the baking delirious heat.

Because my girlfriend thought it would be cost efficient (which it was).

Now imagine most of the journeys consisted of the driver flooring it, narrowly missing pedestrians, cyclists, rikshaws and other vehicles.... Sometimes we'd be travelling through the baking deserts and roadtracks for literally fifteen hours. The odd sight of another crushed up, burnt out bus lying discarded at the side of the road did nothing to cheer me up.

The mountain journeys were even worse though, as there was generally only one traffic lane, which meant on more than one occasion a near-miss with another bus travelling towards us became commonplace.
Also, in most locations the Indians didn't really bother with crash barriers, instead they believed that a little dangling Ganesh figurine would bring them the luck we needed on the road - all good for the believers, but this atheist wanted a little bit more protection against the prospect of tumbling hundreds and hundreds of feet down an isolated and extremely rocky mountainside, inside a sardine tine death trap.

Oh, and combine all of the above with a crippling case of diarrhoea and you might just take a glimpse into what wakes me up at night with cold sweats and vietnam style flashbacks.

Great days.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 19:02, Reply)
The Mongol Rally
The object of the Mongol Rally is to get from London (or Barcelona or Milan) to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, in a car with an engine capacity less than your kettle. That’s not just a funny turn of phrase, it’s absolutely true. There are two fundamental rules – you must raise £1000 for charity, and your car engine must be less than 1200cc (although exceptions are made for vehicles of significant comedy value). Gumball Rally? Pah! In this rally, there is no backup, there are no pit crews and there are definitely no supercars. In this age of international air travel and package holidays, even adventure tours are tightly controlled affairs where things rarely go wrong, and your wits and resilience are never really tested. Top sportsmen, seasoned travellers and successful businessmen will tell you that your greatest achievements come when you truly challenge yourself. Therefore, it is obvious that driving thousands of miles in a car spectacularly unsuitable for the job will constitute the greatest achievement of all mankind ever.

So, a bid to actually inject some adventure into this spectacularly boring, conventional and insipid life I lead, I spent a month last summer driving from London to Ulaanbaatar in a Fiat Punto. I booked my place on this rally before even passing my driving test, I was that desperate to do it. On the way, we had many great moments, scary and fun, made friends for life and friends for five minutes, experienced different cultures, people and more fucking bureaucracy than I can possibly describe.

Highlights included:
1) Getting lost for several hours in just about every city we went through. In L'viv in Ukraine we got stopped by some police curious about our car. They gave us directions and were very surprised to see us driving past again ten minutes later.
2) Having a massive party in Klenova castle in the Czech Republic with about 1000 other ralliers.
3) Getting a speeding fine in the Czech mountains (96kph in a 50 zone... whoops) which we still haven't paid.
4) Doing a 22-hour journey from Krakow to Kiev including the wonderful sight of seeing someone face-down in the road, skull open, dead, with a motorbike broken in half, bits and pieces all over the road and his helmet about 50 feet away.
4) The Mamaev statue at Volgograd, and the accompanying Stalingrad Memorial.
5) Cracking our sump on a rock in Kazakhstan. After several hours of trying to fix it in a Kazakh farmyard we gave up. Two of the other guys went to the nearest town to find a towtruck - which they did. They got us on the back. We asked whether we could get in the cab with the drivers. They said no, there's only two seats, so get back in the Punto and put your foot on the brake... after a rather hair-raising journey we got to a garage at about 12:30. The tow guys took all ten of us out for a meal and when we got back to the garage at 3am the car was fixed! Total cost: £100. Try getting that sort of service in Britain.
6) Losing a card game the night before and having to wear chicken suits all day.
7) Finding wild-growing weed all over Kazakhstan (never uploaded these pics though - my grandparents might have seen them!).
8) The Russian border guard being very perturbed by our powdered milk. Hint: Don't take white powder across the border if you can help it. Or look horrified and quickly go "moo, moo!" if you can't.
9) Having our spare tyres and wheels nicked at the Mongolian border.
10) Driving through some of the most beautiful, unspoilt, remote scenery in the world.
11) Dust trails!
12) Our car eventually dying halfway through the Gobi Desert. Its final resting place.

Oh... and having forgotten arguably the two scariest moments...
13) getting caught in a lightning storm in the middle of a field in the Ukraine. We'd set up camp and were watching the pretty forks happening on the horizon miles away, having a beer, blah blah, hmm, the wind's getting up innit? Oh, the lightning's getting nearer... oh FUCK IT'S COMIN' RIGHT FOR US QUICK PACK UP SHIT SHIT CRAPFUCK. We didn't sleep much. I think the closest fork hit the ground about 200 yards away.
14) We stopped in a bar the night after the lightning. Had a few drinks and swapped stories. Planning to sleep in the cars in the car park, and the owner turns up at closing time. We have fun! His friend then turns up. His friend is not as fun. His friend starts being aggressive. His friend makes a phone call and is still being aggressive. The night is not as much fun any more. A large car then turns up and four large Russians get out. We take this as our cue to leave. We pack up even quicker than we did the night before. We drive off, drunk, down pitch-black roads in a country where the drink-drive limit is zero and the prisons are not exactly hospitable. A car overtakes us, swerves and brakes. We fucking panic, swerve round as quickly as possible and drive off again. It overtakes AGAIN, swerves AGAIN and brakes AGAIN. We are now convinced that someone is trying to kill/rob/rape us and we swerve and drive off in an even greater panic, turn all our lights off and try to lose them. We succeed, park the car, and wake up in a rubbish tip.

Length? 7000 miles or thereabouts. There's more details on our team website including a vague route map, and a geotagged map along with hundreds more photos on my Flickr page for anyone who's interested.

PS: If anyone insinuates that I did this because of Jack Osbourne I will murder your spouse, your pets and any pot plants you might have.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 18:37, 11 replies)
Better all round
My car was written off in a crash in Edinburgh back in February. As my insurance company managed to get the other guy on record admitting liability, I was given a golf GT as a courtesy car, followed by a VW passat. Both 2.0 diesels, both on '08 plates, both worth over ten grand. I'm twenty. My car was worth £550. I had the golf for three weeks, and the passat since then. By my calculations, I've cost the other guys insurance company well over £5000 on a car worth £500 just because they are determined not to pay, despite being without a leg to stand on.

Admiral (my insurance company) have been great through the whole thing. Actually, I'd rather not give the passat back... it's nicer than anything I can afford.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 18:30, Reply)
My first car was a 1977 Toyota Corolla.
To say that it was a stripped down little crapbox would be an insult to crapboxes everywhere. It weighed about as much as I do, had a tiny motor that would have looked right at home on a lawnmower, didn't have a radio, and was painted the same unfortunate color as Guilden's Spicy Brown Mustard. It was a two-door, but otherwise it looked a lot like this.

It was originally bought by a girl whose father was determined that she not spend one extra dollar on her first new car, so it was the Super Economy version. It had a manual choke, a stick shift, had more plastic inside it than Pamela Anderson, and a rear wheel drive for extra excitement in the snow.

Despite all of this, it turned out to be unkillable.

The beauty of having something so absolutely stripped down is that if anything goes wrong it's easy to fix. The clutch slipping? Well, instead of a hydraulic clutch it had a cable held in place with a C-clip so you could basically yank on the cable and reposition the clip to adjust the clutch. The radiator cracked? You could easily get to all of the bolts, so I replaced it with one that I scrounged out of a junkyard. The door smashed in and the seat ripped? Off to the junkyard I went.

I drove that car improbable distances, though terrible weather, over logging roads and other bad conditions, and it chugged along like a patient old mule. I put bags of sand in the trunk during the winter to give it some semblance of traction, and learned to slide through turns like the Dukes of Hazzard.

One night as I was driving along an expressway I decided to ride in the slipstream of the trucks that were roaring along there. For those who don't know, if you get right behind a lorry you can get into the partial vacuum they cause when they push the air out of the way. You have to stick close to them, but if you do this the fuel efficiency of your car increases dramatically. In my case it about doubled as the car was so light. I spotted an approaching tuck in my rear view and swung out behind it.

The only problem was that it was going somewhere close to 90 mph, so when I did this my car was sucked in like a plastic bag.

I pushed in the clutch and coasted, and was being pulled fast toward his bumper. I put it back in gear and let out the clutch, and the car made a sound like a furious cat trapped in a box. The entire car was shaking and I realized that the rust that held it together wasn't going to survive this, so I hit the brakes and dropped out of the slipstream.

A bit of research later I found out that that particular car had a governor on the transmission that limited it to 80 mph max. Had I stayed in the slipstream the transmission would have probably been spread out over a couple of miles of highway.

But, like a good old pack mule, it forgave me and served me for another three years before I sold it in favor of a VW Dasher diesel. I hear it ran for another couple of years after that.

Not bad for a $500 junker.
(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 18:19, 2 replies)

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