J.A. M Cobra

Duct Tape to the Rescue

In 2003, I flew to Chicago to meet my long time high school friend Gregg Dorner, a car guy who owned a very special 1965 Cobra replica. Not a fiberglass cheapo-kit monstrosity, but an all-aluminum, hand-built monster with a proper 428 cubic inch big block and racing blue livery. Our plan was to drive to Detroit for the Woodward Dream Cruise being held the next day. After filling the Cobra with a belly full of Premium, we filled our own bellies at Superdawg Drive In on Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. which, in my humble opinion, serves the finest rendition of the Chicago hot dog. But I digress.

While performing an "Italian tune up" on Dundee Road prior to final embarcation, we were (actually Gregg was) pulled over by one of Wheeling, Illinois' finest, who unfortunately for us, had no sense of humor.

After collecting the requisite citation, we hit the road to Detroit.

Halfway there, we came upon the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, which only added to the day's karma. We jousted a bit with it at speed, but soon realized that Mr Wiener was in no hurry as we were. A few hours later, we entered metro Detroit at the intersection of M-14 and I-275. We wondered why traffic was gridlocked. The answer was the Great Blackout of 2003. Little did we know that we had enter the Twilight Zone of no power and a pre-apocalyptic preview of life without electricity. We broke away from the crowd and detoured to the first exit east of I-275. Newburgh Road. That was when we noticed the Cobra's temp gauge approaching its red line. Red lines are great for tachometers, not so much for temp gauges. We turned off the engine and yours truly pushed Ol'Shel for 100 yards, then pulled into a gas station.

Raising the hood, we found that the plastic cap to the expansion tank had turned to a soft, gel-like substance. Hmmm. What to do?

Luckily for us, the kind Middle Eastern proprietor of the Mobil station had a roll if 3M duct tape that he sold us at market value. I proceeded to affix the tape in wide. crossed swaths, covering the gaping maw of the Cobra's expansion tank. The question was: would it hold, resisting Newtonian forces of pressure and temperature that would allow us to actually drive a 450hp roadster? Only a road test would tell.

Voila! Success!

We drove the remaining 10 miles home without incident. When we arrived home, my University of Michigan daughter asked incredulously "Dad, you mean you actually fixed something?" That really hurt. A lot.

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