Dan R 1973 Lincoln Continental 4dr Sedan

The dog's sacrifice: help for an overheating Lincoln

One warm day in the early 1990's I was commuting home from Gaithersburg, MD to College Park in my all black 1973 Lincoln Continental. Soon after getting on the Washington Beltway's inner loop, which as usual was snarled with traffic, my serenity was destroyed by steam wafting up from the front of the hood. Not a good thing- stuck in traffic, 15 miles from home, hot day, overheating on the Beltway.

I somehow managed to get over to the right lanes and exit at Connecticut Ave. The last thing I wanted was to be "that guy" whose car died in the middle of rush hour and screwed up traffic for hours. The steam was more persistent now and I knew I had to get the car off the road and investigate quickly. I pulled into the first street I could, a quiet residential area. After shutting the car off and popping the hood, I could see a pin hole leak in the radiator. Not a disaster, but would I be able to drive the car home, or was I looking at the dreaded call to the tow truck? (I am sort of proud of the fact that in all my years of driving old cars, not once have I been stranded.) I rooted around in the milk crate of car supplies in the trunk- one of the keys to not getting stranded- and found a can of radiator stop leak. However, there was no coolant or water jug. I figured I could put in the stop leak, but the radiator needed some more water. Figuring I could explain my predicament and rely on the kindness of strangers, I began knocking on doors to ask for some water. No one was home, or they didn't want to open the door for that guy with an old black Lincoln with the hood up in the street. I didn't have a container to use for water, and none of the garden hoses I could see were long enough, so I things weren't looking too good. At that moment I looked down on the porch of one of the houses, and there was a huge water bowl for the family's dog. I quickly thanked the dog for his sacrifice and took the dish over to the car and poured the contents into the radiator, along with the stop leak. And with that, my Lincoln and I made it home.

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