In two days, two feet of snow will fall on my place of residence. I will be out in my weedy little rear-drive car, making the most of it. But driving in the winter isn’t always a powerslider’s paradise.
Everyone who told you that you never use math when you grow up was lying. I used math just the other day to figure out some awesome shit: if it makes sense for me to rent a shipping container as a garage for my crappy ass old car.
Well, the Baja’s broke again. But after so many breakdowns, this one doesn’t even bother me. Let me tell you why.
It was supposed to be an easy fix.
What are you doing reading this website! There’s car repair you should be doing!
As a person who has crashed a number of cars in a number of situations, let me tell you that I have never found a better way to wreck than in the snow.
It all started with a bent pushrod tube a few months back.
You can tell it's going to be a cold winter here in Nebraska. The wind is thick with it, sweeping across the cornfields. It all matches pace with the dotted white clouds, running way out to the horizon line. And I'm sitting in a stripped and caged Super Beetle, two carburetors about to roar away behind me.
I have long been a proponent of owning old and classic cars, that life isn't so bad driving what the rest of the world might think of as a clunker or an old jalopy. I was wrong.
It's hard to describe what it was at first. A cough? A hiccup? A stutter? The engine misses a beat on the highway back from the Lime Rock Historics and I shut the engine straight off and coast to the shoulder. A few hours earlier, an old man had died at the wheel. Now, why am I here?
It all started with a long drive from New York City to West Virginia.
"It's tippy-er than I thought it'd be," Wyatt says. It's unclear if he means that the car turns in faster than he expected, or if the car feels like it's going to roll over. I get the sense he means the latter.
I looked over my shoulder and all there was was darkness. Sheet rain was falling and the road was only slick where it wasn't flooded. I was just cresting a mountain up on New Hampshire state highway 16, and Death was riding in the passenger seat.
[Here we see a wild Baja Bug far outside its natural desert habitat. This vehicle was spotted in the Pennsylvania forest near the running of the STPR round of the Rally America championship. Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove]
Did your car's engine just explode? Did your truck have a critical axle failure? Don't worry, as the world's greatest mechanic, I can repair it. Why? Because I just fixed my car's headlight, ALL BY MYSELF.
The loop, the Autobahn that takes you to 300, starts with a street always clogged with traffic.
I close the door and take a step back. Thick black smoke is coughing out of the back of my car, staining a pile of snow behind. I'm in an impound lot in some town I don't know the name of, my car is sagging to one side, and it's shaking pretty bad at idle. "See?" I pronounce, not without a great deal of bitterness in…
[Here are a couple mechanics hanging out and eating mangoes after work at Willets Point behind my car, yesterday. The city continues its plan to close up all these people's shops to fix up the Mets' Madoff losses.]
You can now sign the "Petition Gawker to petition Jalopnik to petition Raphael Orlove to release part two of his Baja Bug story." Get to it right here. Come on people, Obama's not going to read this without your help!
There are few moments of my life I wish I had on video, but the time I nearly ran over my own headlight was one of them.