Welcome back to Car Horror Stories, where we share your worst wheeled experiences. Today we have the worst test drive ever, how to turn a Jeep into rolling artillery, and why a Toyota MR2 makes a crappy golf cart.
Ever been on a test drive? Ever crashed a car on a test drive? Teeb works at a BMW dealer in England. Two of his customers once had a very bad day:
Hi there, my name's David. Nice to meet you. That's not my real name, because I like my job, and you'll see why I'm going anonymous in a moment. First though, I'm a car salesman. That's right, I'm the
enemy. We're one of the larger BMW dealerships in England. We're a bit different — we're here to make sure you get the car you want, and if possible we want you to pay less for it here than anywhere else.
As part of this, we're fairly liberal with our test drives. A few years back Volvo started doing "weekend" test drives at some of their main dealerships, where for the cost of a small returnable-if-you-don't-crash deposit you could test-drive a new Volvo all weekend. What did I learn? You can in fact fit an inflatable mattress into the back of a V70 whilst going at about 50 mph over a road that will, in half an hour, be home to hundreds of Subaru Imprezas on the Jim Clark tarmac rally. And yes, you can drive one past the BMW dealership where you work as long as you disguise yourself in sunglasses.
Anyway, in an attempt to retaliate, we now offer 24-hour test drives to some of our customers. If you walk in pimply-faced and with a sticker saying you've just passed your test, you're not going to be driving away in an M5. Sorry. On the flipside, if you look smart, have a clean license, and give us the impression that you're genuinely interested in buying a new (or used) BMW, then you're in luck.
This is all a long-winded way of getting to the point. You may have noticed that BMW started selling the BMW X6 in 2008. Actually, you can't not have noticed. It's the second-ugliest car on sale today.
Regardless, we had two set aside for test drives. Two of our favourite customers were in last weekend. One of them, Fred (not his real name), has been buying from us for over 30 years. Except for the last few, we'd seen no sign of him except occasional hilarious phone calls asking if that "nasty Bangle bloke had left yet". Since Bangle quit BMW in 2009, Fred had started returning, despite the fact all our cars were flame-surfaced. He got a 24-hour X6 test drive with no problems. I was just glad to get it off our forecourt.
The other customer interested in an X6 that weekend was Gid (again, pseudonym). I think he's a banker, judging by his cheap-looking suits. After checking his driving license (clean), he too got a 24 hour test drive. I'd dealt personally with both Fred and Gid, which meant they had my mobile number as a contact number in case of a breakdown (unlikely with a 3 week old car, but not unheard of). When a call came in from an unknown number, I expected something bad. I really wasn't expecting what happened.
It was Fred on the phone, sounding incredibly apologetic. He was only a mile or so from the dealership, and on a roundabout had lost traction on a large pothole that had turned into a puddle in the rain, and he ended up hitting another car. One of those "horrible new Mercedes tractors", he said. As I spoke to him, my mobile phone bleeped, telling me I had another incoming call. I promised to drive out to Fred in just a moment, put him on hold, and spoke to the second caller.
It was Gid. He'd had an accident and sounded fairly shook up. He was pulling out in second gear, had stalled (In an automatic? How?!), and something plowed into him. One of those "Audi whale-sized tanks", apparently.
Well, one crash, as they say, is unfortunate. Two starts to look like carelessness. I headed to Fred first. When I got there –- you might have guessed where this is going – I found what at first looked like a bomb had hit. There were trails of plastic and metal across half the roundabout, with shards of glass everywhere too. Fred himself was fine, although shaken. And what had he hit? Yep, Gid, in the other X6. Who was also fine, but whose demonstration vehicle now had an impressive X6-shaped dent in the side.
I couldn't help it. It was unprofessional, but I took cameraphone photos. Trying desperately hard not to laugh, I took the pics (for "insurance purposes", honestly), and introduced the two of them to each other. We took shelter in the 5-series I'd driven from the dealership and waited for the police. Both started to see the funny side eventually. Me? I was just glad that two more monstrosities had been wiped from the UK.
Oh, and as a postscript –- they both bought X6s in the end. It was something to do with their safety in an accident, apparently.
This one's from turbobrett. Word of advice: Set the parking brake. Or live near a golf course. Either works.
I was in my early twenties and my daily driver was an '87 Toyota MR2. I worked for an small HVAC company at the time and would stop first at the boss' house in the residential part of town to find out what job to go it.
Well, it was a cooler morning, so I left the MR2 running outside, parked on the street. After talking with the bossman for a few minute I came outside to find my car was gone! "It's been stolen!" I thought. But that couldn't be right, not in this part of town, this time of day. Not my p.o.s. car. As I stood there in astonishment, I could hear the MR2's distinct idle in the distance. I had neglected to set the parking brake because It didn't work. My MR2 had rolled away.
But where to? The car was nowhere in sight and the engine's hum was faint. The road dipped slightly in both directions. I chose one direction and began running toward the sound, fearing that I would find my car embedded in some poor grandmother's living room. I ran past cars parked on either side of the street, all of them unharmed. After running for two blocks, my car's hum grew louder, but it was still nowhere to be found. I came to a T-junction, looking downhill: no car. What the hell!?
Then I looked ahead. There was the little red MR2 in the middle of the fairway of the fourth hole of the city country club. It was surrounded by two guys on gigantic lawn mowers and another club manager on a golf cart. They all stood there, dumbfounded.
As I ran out to meet them, going around the small evergreen and fifteen-foot maple that my car had flattened, I owned up.
"Uh... this is my car." I say.
They didn't say much in reply. I left my name and number and said that I would pay for any damages. I asked how I should get it off of the fairway.
"Might as well go back the way you came," they said.
I got in and drove to the shop, erupting in laughter a few minutes after leaving the scene. They never did contact me regarding the trees I had flattened.
And finally, from CjalopC, a cautionary tale regarding Jeeps, water balloons, and mobile slingshots:
On the last day of school, I rigged the roll bar of my Jeep CJ7 with one of those two-person-rubber-band, mega-water-balloon slingshots. I had a defacto rolling artillery platform and we were having a grand ole time with it. A grand old time, that is, until I discovered the combined speed of the car plus aqueous airborne shell was powerful enough to shatter the windshield of an unassuming target vehicle. The driver was a friend and she wound up bloody with facial cuts from all the glass. She thankfully suffered no major injuries. I felt horrible and spent the whole summer mowing lawns to pay off the damage...
Yeah, that's not cool.
Got a car horror story you'd like to share? Embarrass yourself, get screwed over, or just plain do something stupid in a car? Email us your stories with the subject "Garage of Horror." We'll make you famous.