I was watching Jimmy Fallon the other night, (US talk/chat show host) and he had asked people to Tweet their worst car stories. Some of them were pretty funny but, in my opinion, not a patch on some of mine. I drove a succession of second hand cars between the ages of 21 and 26 (when I finally got a decent company car.) Let's just say those cars made for an interesting life.
The first time I ever drove long distance was from Newcastle to central London (I know, very brave) in my 21st birthday present - a 2nd hand Ford Escort. Smooth eh? I dropped a friend off at her university, and was to pick up my Bristol university flatmate about half a mile away in South East London. Unfortunately, the first friend omitted one set of lights and one right turn in her directions. Four hours later, via Finchley (north London for those who aren't familiar) I eventually made it to my flatmate's house in Brockley. (No cell phones in them days.) The clearest memory of the incident is having some difficulty seeing through the tears after about three hours.
Same car, different friend, out one night watching a college band in a pub. When we left, I reversed the car at an angle to get out of an extremely tight car park. Completely did not see the two-brick high perimeter "wall" of the car park and managed to get one back wheel over it. The wall was just the right height that I couldn't simply drive the car forward to freedom. After some minutes of head-scratching, burning tires and generally achieving very little, my friend had to go back into the pub, tell four complete strangers (big burly men) what had happened and persuade them to come out and lift the back of the car up. Which they did. Lovely chaps.
Then there was the Renault 5 whose driver side front window disappeared down between the door panels if I slammed the door too hard. I can't actually remember how I was able to wind (yes, wind) it back up but I must have, because it happened over and over again. Reenee (the car's name) did vindicate herself completely by accommodating about 8 students the day my friend broke his leg. Why we all thought we had to go to the hospital with him I don't know.
Or the time I set off to drive in terrible ice and snow and a friend of mine, being helpful, got the de-icer from the back of my car to spray on the front windscreen. Only went and sprayed some sort of oil, which we didn't realize until I turned the wipers on and smeared it all over the entire windscreen.
Or the Alpha Romeo AlfaSud, which was like s**t off a shovel when I pulled away from lights but alas, had a very hard time stopping due to extremely soft breaks. I eventually sold it to a friend who, for some reason, thought it would make it to the South of France and back. It didn't.
Then there was the time I was the designated driver of friends in Highgate one Saturday night. Needing petrol/gas, I pulled in to the nearest BP and one friend, (drunk, obviously in retrospect) offered to get out and fill up. Then on we went, until the car started getting slower and slower, eventually coming to a graceful stop somewhere in Highgate Village. Nothing to do but leave it and come back tomorrow morning. Which we did, called the AA (Triple A in the US) - to be told that my idiot friend had filled it with diesel. I think we drained the tank and flushed it down the drain in the street but I can't be positive because apparently that would have been highly inappropriate if not illegal.
And finally, the piece de resistance, the time I picked up my car in from its MOT (roadworthiness test in the UK). It was a sunny day and I wound (yes, still winding) the window down to get rid of the garage/shop smell. Driving along, a large truck/lorry approached me. Didn't really think anything of it, until I registered the awful smell of burning hair. Then bits of my hair started falling in front of my eyes. I screeched to a halt and started frantically bashing at my head. (No one around at this point, thank goodness.) A cigarette butt flew into the back seat, setting off visions of my car blowing up like something in a Bond film. The fag by that time was out, but my poor scalp had a small circular, bald burn mark right at the front where my part was. Yes folks, it could only happen to me - the driver had flicked his ciggie out the window at precisely the time I passed him, and it sailed straight through my window and into my hair. Good job I wasn't wearing hairspray is all I can say......
Anyone care to contribute a worst car story?