OT: TCT Car Stories

Submitted by JeepinBen on December 22nd, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Seeing as basketball is not quite playing real games and the big football news is the hiring of an Awesome Dude (Also seeing as I work in the auto industry, there are only about 20% of the usual staff in the office and I'm bored as hell) I figured I'd bring back the offseason staple for today. Rather than just talk physical cars, let's open it up today to your best car story.

Did you and your dad (or mom, equal opportunity car fans here) restore an old Mustang? Did you hit your head and let your friend Danny drive vs. Craterface for pinks? Pulled over and get out of a ticket? Awesome road trip? Find VMax in your 1991 Jeep Wrangler (About 80MPH with the 4Cyl. And it was terrifying). Let's hear the best stories out there



December 22nd, 2015 at 9:43 AM ^

Agreed.  I remember reading that that original 3.0 yamaha motor was actually detuned down from 300 to 220hp so it wouldn't beat the mustang GT's.  Although, friend of mine who had a 91 SHO just like mine with just a K&N - beat my other friends 95 'Stang GT.  Fun "family" sedan - probably too much power for a 16 year old but I had some great times in it.


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:26 AM ^

I saw a white one displayed in front of my local Ford dealer and got car fever from it. Called about it and asked if it was a '90 and was told it was an '89. Thought about it for 10 minutes and drove over to the dealer and bought the car. That was one bad ass motor in those days. Probably the worst car I ever drove on snow. Too nose heavy, fat tires with minimal grip. That car started me on buying winter tires. I have always had a winter wheel set since then.

swan flu

December 22nd, 2015 at 10:17 AM ^

Very recently I went to start my 09 WRX after work, and when I actuated the clutch pedal it snapped to the floor and remained there. Found that there was a hydraulic fluid leak in the clutch master cylinder...

So I bummed a ride home and did some research. A new clutch master cylinder would cost me $175 and the quickest I could have it would be 10 business days. Fuck that noise.

More research into the design of the application clutch master cylinder. Turns out they incorporate this stupid damper valve because teenagers were dropping the clutch at 6000rpm and breaking drive shafts. This is a whole tangent in its own right but the design of the wrx damper valve is not great. It consists of two steel discs, a quad seal, and a snap ring. I find out that the inner steel disc ruptures from time to time allowing the fluid to bypass the quad seal through the broken disc.

Go to work the next day, remove the clutch master cylinder (shearing one of the bolts on the intercooler. Also it is snowing. Hooray!) disassemble the clutch master cylinder, find the ruptured disc, have the model shop guys cut a new disc for me with a plasma cutter, reassemble the cylinder, drill out the sheared bolt, bolt the intercooler on using a bolt and locking nut, bleed the lines, good as new.

A$175 part and $500 of labor saved. I fucking made part of my car.

Lou MacAdoo

December 22nd, 2015 at 1:48 PM ^

Yes you're correct. The shop is assuming that they must've overtightened them and is going to pay for the repair. Luckily my wife an I got AAA this year because I've used them twice now for tows. Still trying to nurse this bad boy with no car payment as long as it's feasible to do so.

M go Bru

December 22nd, 2015 at 10:18 AM ^

I drove my VW Rabbit to San Francisco and back from here in 2-1/2 weeks and put 7000 miles on my car at age 24.

Drove and took slides along the way (14 rolls @ 36), driving sometimes till midnight. Not wanting to set up my new tent in the dark for the first time, I would sleep in my sleeping bag under a picnic table with a tarp thrown on top.

Visited college friends in Minneapolis the first weekend, visited a friend in SF who I met when traveling in Greece the second weekend and attended two weddings and receptions with him on the same day. Partied all night long getting back at 6AM.

On the way visited Teddy Roosevelt NF (ND), Glacier NP (MT), Portland OR, my birthplace, Redwood NP, Yellowstone NP, Devils Tower NM (WY), Badlands NP (SD).

Had a bear run across the road in front of me when driving through Glacier NP in the rain. Got within 100 feet of Elk and Bison in Yellowstone NP. Got within 50 feet of a momma moose with baby when camping in WY. 

My most harrowing moment was driving along the Californa coast on US 101 at night ......in the fog! Visibility was maybe 100 ft. I was following the center line on the road religiously and all of a sudden it ...........disappeared! All I could say was O f---, O f--- ! Thank got the road was straight and the center line reappeared. I thought I was a goner.

While driving over the Golden Gate Bridge the fog rolled in. It was so eriee it looked like a scene from a horror movie!

I recall talking to two guys from NJ at a rest stop in NV one night on the way back. They were wrapped in their sleeping bags. I was clad in shorts and a T-shirt. I left them with the impression that all people from Michigan must be a human polar bears! 



December 22nd, 2015 at 10:15 AM ^

was actually on a bike. Bicycle that is, circa 1985. I was late getting from a summer (high school) makeup class at Washtenaw Community College to a job on 4th ave. Was flying down Liberty past the Michigan theater on my Miyata 10 speed and visually registered the 3-way stop sign just before I went through it full speed. When I stopped at a red light at 5th, I turned around to see who was honking at me. It was a cop - he clocked me at 42 mph going through that stop sign. Yup, got a ticket for that one. Totally worth it for the story!


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:20 AM ^

In high school I had a '96 Jeep Cherokee. Me and my friends were extremely immature, like most highschoolers, so we'd do immature things when I'd drive them to school every morning. One interesting feature of that Cherokee is that the hose for the sprayer for the rear windshield wiper would often slide off. When this happened, the hose would spray straight back onto the car behind us, which we thought was hilarious. One morning it was working to perfection, but the guy behind me was not in the mood. He followed us all the way to school and got out of his car and yelled at us. That winshield washer fluid must've really messed his car up.


This is the kind of car story you were looking for, right?


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:23 AM ^

My dad used to race one of these (Triumph TR3) in the early 60's in sports car races with Roger Penske, Dan Gurney, Mark Donahue:

He used to park it in the back yard.  My brother and I were little and we used to sit in it and play "race car".  One day we decided it needed "gas".  We went into the house, got a bucket full of water and poured it into the gas tank.  Oops.

It took a major effort to get the thing all cleaned out and running again.  I don't think it ever ran right after that.

I can talk about it now in 2015, but I'm pretty sure it took nearly this long for my dad to get over it. 


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:54 AM ^

More like simultaneously.  Those were SCCA sports car races in the North East.  They would race multiple classes at the same time on the track.  Those guys were in faster classes so you were not competing with them for the same trophies, but you were racing side by side with them (for the 5 seconds until they blew by you).

They were the fist wave of sports car guys that made it big at Indy, which was unheard of at the time.

Gurney had an amazing career as a driver and owner.  Way under-rated and under-publicized in my book.  Without a doubt, one of the foundational legends in all of motorsports.


December 22nd, 2015 at 11:23 AM ^

Yeah I need to.  I've been to most of those tracks, but as a spectator.  He was done racing by the time I was in middle school (amateur racing and kid expenses don't mix well).  

He wound up being chairman of the NE Penn. Sports Car Club of America for a while.  The NE PA SCAA would run races at tracks like the infield road track of Pocono, Hillclimb races at Fleetwood, Dureya, Weatherly, and Giant's Despair, and even ice races in the winter.

There was always some kind of car racing thing going on when I was growing up.


December 22nd, 2015 at 11:51 AM ^

Several years ago I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with the late David E. Davis, Jr., legendary automotive journalist and long-time editor of Road & Track and Automobile magazines. He knew Gurney well, and I'm sure he also knew Penske and Donahue. To say that Davis was a larger-than-life character is an understatement. I adapted the '59 Caddy photo to a fake mag cover in his honor after he died:


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:25 AM ^

My second fall in Columbus Ohio hanging out with friends at a bon fire sipping on Peach Schnaaps and Vodka from a wine skin...  Enjoying the whole scene until the Woody Hayes impersonator (there was always one of those at a gathering in the '90s) learns I am a Michigan fan.  Sipping turned to drinking as I listened to all the great Michigan jokes they have in Ohio...

Jump to the end where I projected my stomach contents directly into the passenger side heat vent of my 1992 Mitsubishi Galant GTi


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:40 AM ^

I was hit by a car 3 times. The first was the worst: I was 5, riding my bike in the middle of the street. The driver of a Volvo was doing 40. I lost.

At 16, I thought it'd be cool to put a Holley carb on my mom's 1978 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Turns out, that's a pretty dumb idea.

I inherited that Oldsmobile while at UofM. The floorboards rusted out so you had to rest your feet on a cross member of the frame. Convenient for spitting chew. Not so convenient during Winter.

My step dad did everything 1st class. When it was time for a new car for his brand new wife and her 4 kids grown kids, he decided on a gold Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance limosuine. Not a bad way to pick up chicks.

For a couple years I owned my own little used car business. In an effort to keep overhead down, I was forced to learn how to work on my own cars; brakes, motor mounts, fuel pump, power window motors, etc. I am proud of learning to do that on my own without any training whatsoever.

I had a 1978 Volkswagen van sitting in my dad's house in California while I was living in Ann Arbor. I leant it to a friend who took a trip to the west coast after graduation. Really wish I had that van now. haha


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:40 AM ^

Police chase down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston in 1983. My friend Pinhead worked for Hertz moving cars around at Logan Airport, from which he stole cars and left them at strategic points in the city so he always had a car available. One Saturday night, Hertz had evidently caught on and supplied some plate numbers to the police, we were leaving a partyreally drunk and high driving up Comm Ave to another party when the sirens went on behind us. Pinhead floored it and was out-racing them - he was a fantastic driver after all that practice in the airport fields - but some cars ahead were blocking the road around a bridge, so there was no way out. "Fuck it, I'm not going to prison" Pinhead said, and hit the brakes pulled the wheel and did a 180. Whereupon he drove straight at the now 3 police cruisers giving chase, 2 Boston and 1 BU. It was a game of chicken at probably close to 100 MPH. There were 6 people in the car, I was in the middle of the back seat, I remember telling myself "in this seat I at least have a chance of surviving". The police cruisers broke the chase, one of them crashed into the side of the bridge. Pinhead drove into the Back Bay area and ditched the car and we all ran in different directions. We all got away but he would eventually go to prison when they caught up with him. 


December 22nd, 2015 at 12:29 PM ^

I didn't see him again for 30 years. In 2013 at a holiday party in NYC hosted by an old Boston friend, I heard his unmistable nasal whine and saw the scraggly shoulder length blonde hair and the gaunt meth cooker/addict look and said to myself OMG. He looked at me and without hesitating, 30 years later, said "oh yeah, you were in the back seat. Fuck I did time for that." 


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:48 AM ^

My car for college and my first few years of work was a 1978 Mercury Zephyr with an anemic 4-banger and 4-speed manual with no tach. You just shifted by the level of racket under the hood.

Anyway....somehow, water got into the throttle linkage during the summer or fall. It's the first real cold morning of the year and I start her up to head to work. I get to the main road and put my foot down to generate every bit of power that feeble thing could generate. I get near a light and move my foot to the pedal and the engine is still at full whine (not wail). That's when I learned that brakes really can override the motor. I did come to a stop, but now I'm completely freaked out. I release some brake pressure to move away from the light thinking I need to go somewhere, right now, to get this fixed. Right then, the accelerate returns to idle. The ice had changed back to water because the engine warmed up. So, that entire winter, I learned how to work around the problem. I'd get an occasional scare when I started rolling too soon or pressed the pedal down too hard, too soon, but I survived. I sold the car in the spring.

After that experience, I totally understood why Audi was telling people they were confusing the gas and accelerator pedals during their unintended acceleration event in the mid-80s.


December 22nd, 2015 at 12:40 PM ^

Similar story but I was able to get my foot under the gas pedal and pry it up, right until that time where the metal ball on the throttle cable popped out ot the socket in the pedal. Had to reach down while moving to grab the throttle cable with my hand.

Cars in the 1960's and 70's were interesting, I don't hear those kind of stories any more.


December 22nd, 2015 at 10:58 AM ^

I drove with my buddy from LA to Traverse City in a Miata. It was like Project Gemini, but alot of fun. 

The Miata did *not* like the high altitude of summit county. 

East German Judge

December 22nd, 2015 at 11:05 AM ^


My first car was a late 70's VW Rabbit - no kidding.  Bought it used, always in the shop, but had a manual sunroof which was handy as it had no a/c.  Put a good Clarion stereo in it and it got stolen and then was really smart and put an even better Alpine system in and it also got stolen.  The damage to the dash was so great that the insurance company totaled the car.


December 22nd, 2015 at 1:13 PM ^

I'm assuming it's just a cost ratio thing. I got in a literal fender bender in a car worth like 2.5k about 10 years ago, and it likely would have cost $1500 to replace the minor pieces that were damaged so they just totaled it out. Car was still drive-able so I was confused too, but I assumed that was the reasoning.


December 22nd, 2015 at 11:45 AM ^

My first car was a 1991 Jeep Wrangler, soft top, half doors. Had a radio stolen out of it. Rather that do what my friends did - use your thumb on the back side of the zipper to unzip the window and then reach in and unlock the doors - the thief used a knife to cut through the half door. They cut into a $200 door skin to steal a $50 radio.

(Half door)

Being in high school, I used packing tape on the window and rewired the stereo. The rewire was a good learning experience.


December 22nd, 2015 at 11:54 AM ^

My first car as a 1969 Impala. 

My story is my friends Dad went deer hunting and my friends 1972 Nova went in the garage and we pulled the engine and rebuilt it before his Dad got home.  He wasn't happy, but the car was running and much faster.   

I had some other interesting cars

1968 firebird, 1967 Bonnieville(had a trunk big enough to hide Jimmy Hoffa 6 times)

1972 delta 88 and 1975 Caprice from Florida - rust free retiree cars.  


December 22nd, 2015 at 12:01 PM ^

When I was 10 I wanted to wash this brand new bad boy and help the old man out. Unfortunately I was an idiot and use Spic n Span and totally stripped the wax job. I thought my dad was going to kill me. And for about 30 seconds he would have if it weren't for my good 40 time. He then stopped swearing and started laughing, and maybe crying. Soon he was teling all his friends about his son like I was a sort of freak show (there is a Bill Cosby skit similar to this).

I spent the rest of the summer working on the car fixing it until it looked good as new. Later summers were spent mastering Bondo techniques.

I got the last laugh. The back seat was a big as a twin bed (as was the trunk). When I was 16, I would sneak that car out on dates and perfected my "night moves". Worth every drop of summer sweat.