The theme of my A to Z Challenge posts this year is "Blogging Buffet." In celebration of recently posting my 1000th blog post, I am revisiting posts from the past. This post originally published on March 29, 2013.
In November 2002, our family ventured out to watch the recently-released movie, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." The kids loved seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the big screen. For John, though, the most thrilling part of the show was the realization that he had owned a flying car.
John got a job at age 14, working construction. He saved his money for the major purchase on every teenage boy's mind--his first car. When he was 15, he saw an ad in the local newspaper: "TONKA TOY, '62 Ford Anglia, $150." John had no idea what a Ford Anglia looked like, but the price was right. He answered the ad, and found the emerald car hidden in tall grass in the backyard of the seller's house. The seller took one look at John's eager expression, and promptly dropped the asking price to $50.
John's dad drove the car home. It spewed thick black smoke, but it made it. John and his dad spent countless hours restoring the cute little car. It came with the original 980 cc. engine, but John replaced it for one with a little more umph--a Ford Pinto 1.6 liter engine. He cut apart an old car fender to weld on patches to the Anglia's fender. He re-painted the exterior (coincidentally choosing the same color as the car that appeared in Harry Potter.)
When he purchased the car, the odometer read 34,253. Though he drove it all through high school and college, he never put a mile on it. Neither the odometer, nor the speedometer, nor the gas gauge worked. (Remember that fact--it will factor into our story later.) Despite all of John's hard work, he still managed to have (in his words) "lots of mechanical adventures." The radiator went out once. The clutch went out twice. The alternator fell out. The headlights went out while John was driving in the mountain canyon, so he drove home by the light of his turn signal. The heater did not work. Neither did the shock absorbers. The car had no seat belts, and (by design) the front seats entirely folded forward, basically becoming a catapult in the event of a crash. Oh, and let's not forget the time that the steering wheel came off while John was driving! (Fortunately, he was in the driveway when that happened.) The starter motor (which, according to John, was actually two motors spliced together with JB weld--whatever that means) worked only sometimes. (That terribly fractured sentence also foreshadows the story to come.)
Yesterday, I stated in my random fact #4 that I had pushed a Ford Anglia uphill on the side of the freeway. Here's what happened:
It was an exciting, mid-April day in 1987. John and I had just finished our finals at BYU. John was just days away from graduation, and a week after that we were getting married. We were moving our things from our separate apartments to his parents' house, where we would be living after our wedding until John got a job. John was driving the Anglia, and I was driving the "new" car--a puke-green Dodge Colt, that took a quart of oil with every fill-up. (It did, however, have seatbelts and a heater, my two requests.) As we approached "Point of the Mountain", John pulled over to the side of the road. He had misjudged how much fuel was left in the tank, and had run out of gas. I drove John to the gas station, he purchased gasoline and a gas can, and I drove him back to the Anglia. After adding gas to the tank, though, we still had a problem: how to get the car started. Remember, the starter motor didn't work reliably. John usually parked on a down slope, so he could easily push-start the car. However, the car had run out of gas while climbing the mountain. Though I was experienced in driving a stick-shift, I was not skilled in popping the clutch. So, John needed to be the one inside the car, and I got to be the one to push the car. There I was, single-handedly (well, I did use both hands) pushing John's car uphill, trying to work up enough speed so John could pop the clutch and start the engine. Meanwhile, John yelled out the window, "Faster, Kristi, faster!" I don't know how we did it, but we got the car started.
If I had known then that the car could actually fly, it would have been so much easier--as long as we avoided the Whomping Willow when we landed!
What are your memorable car stories?
Thanks for little challenges that make such great memories!