I once owned an Austin America, a British Motors Corp. car based on the Austin 1300 that was sold in the UK. It was the most fun car I ever owned but, like many British cars of that era, it was not terribly reliable.
One day I was driving down a country road and the engine started running very roughly. The car also started losing power. I stopped the car, got a road flare out of the trunk, and popped the hood to see what the problem might be. It turned out that the fuel line had disconnected itself from the carburetor, and the only reason the engine was running at all was that the leak was dumping the fuel onto the exhaust manifold. The heat of the manifold vaporized the gasoline, forming a mediocre, but slightly usable, fuel-air mixture. It was amazing and frightening.
I immediately moved back about 100 yards, and silently thanked myself for not lighting the road flare before I looked under the hood.
After I regained my composure, I put the steel fuel line back into the hose that connected it to the carburetor, and tightened the worm-gear clamp. I was back on my way in no time, none the worse for wear.
This entry was submitted by Lynn Grant and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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