Gary J

How and old pair of underwear got me home..

OK - This one goes waaaaay back.

It was the summer of 1979 - I was fresh out of engineering school and working my first real job in Silicon Valley. The job was in Cupertino and we rented a house in Ben Lomond (about 15mi north of Santa Cruz) this meant that my commute was about 33mi of the sweetest section of Highway 9, in the Santa Cruz coastal mountains. Lots of twists and off-camber and decreasing radius turns.. A real joy to drive!

The '69 MGC was humming right along on my home from work, the top was down, and I was accelerating out of a delayed-apex right-hand sweeper when.. The accelerator pedal fell to the firewall and the engine settled into a disheartening idle.

Pulling to the side of the road, a quick check under the bonnet (AKA - hood) revealed a broken throttle cable.. What to do?

Being an experienced MG owner, and familiar with a leaky hydraulic clutch, I had a 1/2 empty tin of brake fluid in the boot (AKA - trunk) and an old, worn-out pair of cotton undies for use as a shop towel, should any of the Castrol-Girling Amber brake fluid spill on the new British Racing Green paintwork.

Well, lacking much else in the situation at hand, I wadded up the old underwear, stuffed it in the throttle linkage such that the engine would "idle" at about 2000 RPM, and proceeded on my way home at a sedate (but steady) pace, using the clutch and (manual) transmission to adjust my speed as required. The house we rented was at the end of a rather short, but steep hill.. but the low-end torque of the 3-liter inline six chugged up the hill without incident.

I still have that car, by the way, and make a point of taking it out on a weekly drive. In my on-board toolkit there may still be found an old, tattered pair of Fruit of the Looms - that helped get me home one crisp summer day, so may years ago!

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