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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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Black Mini MNB 671P #3
This car was out to kill. This time it wanted the blood of two souls.

Driving home one day with the girlfriend riding shotgun the radio casette player started to pop and crackle and the dashboard lights started to flicker.

A few moments later and the engine took on a rather irregular note.

Not coming from Alabama I immediately ruled out alien abduction so pulled over to see whether things would settle down, which they did.

Resuming the journey a few miles down the road and the symptoms started again, except this time the girlfriend looked behind and noticed quite a lot of smoke coming out of the rather miniscule boot.

Pulling over sharply and dashing round I carefully opened the boot and received a facefull of smoke.

In those old Minis the battery was in the boot covered by a flimsy piece of what looked like laminated cardboard. It had come loose and the metal petrol canister I had in the boot had found its way across the + and - terminals causing it to short circuit.

Quite impressively this resulted in 2 perfectly round and very charred holes burned right through the canister where the terminals were.

Good job I'd run out of petrol the week before (us crazy kids) and the can was empty.
(, Thu 29 Apr 2010, 9:25, 1 reply)
Something similar happened to my sister-in-law's Mini
Her piece of quality cardboard had gone missing, which proved problematic when a spanner in the boot bridged the terminals and started throwing sparks at the bag of charcoal briquettes. Fortunately, the sparks didn't fully ignite them, just leaving them smouldering gently. Instead the full force of the sparks was directed to the boot floor, cutting through with all the alacrity of a thermic lance on a bullion vault.
(, Thu 29 Apr 2010, 10:03, closed)

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