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This is a question Pointless Experiments

Pavlov's Frog writes: I once spent 20 minutes with my eyes closed to see what it was like being blind. I smashed my knee on the kitchen cupboard, and decided I'd be better off deaf as you can still watch television.

(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 12:00)
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Mad Max has much to answer for.
Near the start of the second film, our hero brings the interceptor to a halt by selecting reverse gear whilst the car is still moving forward. The car slows dramtically with the rear wheels spinning wildly in reverse.

This got me thinking.

There was no danger I was ever going to try this in a car I actually owned but I do get issued hire cars reasonably often and sooner or later I'd get one that was rear wheel drive (I figured there was a high chance of death if the wheels you also rely on for steering were spinning in the wrong direction). As it happened, after a few front drive cars came and went, a 2.2 litre manual Vauxhall Omega hoved into view. The test could begin!

Ever mindful of the consequences of doing this act on a public road, I elected to use one of the vast car parks that serve as employee parking for the industrial estates so numerous in my current place of residence. The test was to be conducted as follows;

Traction control switched to OFF, Car to proceed forward at 60mph in fourth gear before I stepped on the clutch and brought the gear round in a savage U shape through the protective gaiter designed to prevent you from putting the car into reverse whilst going forward. Then step off all pedals and keep the car pointing in the right direction whilst it thundered to a halt.

Essentially this is what came to pass.

The word "essentially" is important however as there were some facets of the experiment I did not anticipate. The first is that the revs do increase rather substantially once the clutch is lifted- the car had been doing 2800rpm at 60 in 4th- This increased to "Vauxhall" some way past the little "7" on the dial in reverse with the clutch off. The second is that having ceased to travel forward, the car accelerates violently backwards whilst you strive to engage neutral. This leads to the third problem- the car wasn't coming out of reverse. Eventually neutral was selected (and by selected I mean was acheived by sitting on the back seat and violently kicking the gear lever) again after which reverse was no longer an option on this particular Omega. Furthermore, a series of warning lights suggested that the engines brief foray into the upper echelons of its design envelope had not been without incident. With a heavy heart, I did what any man has to do at this point.

By which I mean, I drove it to Tesco and into a parking space. I then called the hire car company told them their car had inexplicably failed and I was stranded and very disappointed. They proceeded to apologise and send an upgraded car as soon as possible. I noted with as straight a face as was possible when the chap from the agency came to collect it he cheerfully informed me that this was happening quite a bit with the Omegas and it was a source of confusion to both the company and Vauxhall.

So there you have it. It works for Mel Gibson but is less lastingly successful in a car park in the UK.

Length?- two pretty substantial rubber lines would have greeted the workers on the monday.
(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 15:24, 5 replies)
...don't ever grow up.
(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 15:34, closed)
"This increased to "Vauxhall" some way past the little "7" on the dial"

Lovely turn of phrase. Had me giggling for ages. Have a woo.
(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 15:38, closed)
RIP Vauxhall...
(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 15:52, closed)
I am crying with actual real tears of laughter now

Have another click :)
(, Fri 25 Jul 2008, 8:47, closed)
This tends to work better in cars with fuck off great big V8s
and rev limiters
(, Fri 25 Jul 2008, 18:09, closed)

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