The worst car I ever had was a red, 1970-ish Audi. It wasn’t enough for that car to spend more time in the shop than taking me to school. This car was an over-achiever in the realm of lousy cars. One night, I swear it tried to kill me.
My dad thought that our old Dodge station wagon wasn’t reliable enough to get me to & from the university I attended in a near-by town, so he looked around for another car for me. Unfortunately, what he managed to dig up was the Car from Hell. At least the Dodge (a.k.a. the Queen Mary) had both. For a very short time, I was stuck driving the Car from Hell, well, when it wasn’t in the shop.
One evening, I saw Halloween 2 with her & her boyfriend. After being scared out of my wits by the movie, which included a scene of the killer popping up in the backseat as the driver looked in the rear-view mirror, the very last thing I wanted to do was drive myself home, but I had an early class the next day. I took a deep breath, got in the car, & bravely drove home.
The first five minutes was fine, but then my imagination started taking over. Just as I was telling myself it was all in my head, the windshield wipers started up. Oh, did I mention it was not raining? I couldn’t do anything to shut them off, so I did my best to stay in control. It was only ten more minutes until I reached home. Once again, just as I had almost talked myself out of a full-blown panic, I started to smell smoke, but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Normally, I observe speed limits on city streets, especially at night, but this time, I was so scared, I just floored it home, doing my best not to look in the rear-view mirror. Despite how fast I was going, those were the longest ten minutes of my life.
The next morning, the car was still doing the same thing, except this time, I could see where the smoke was coming from-right by my feet! In this day before cell phones, I had little choice but to drive to my dad’s office & see what he could do about it. The smoke & smell got worse, though, & I began to worry. Fortunately, I passed by a fire station, so I stopped the car, got out, & rather calmly (in light of the circumstances) informed one of the firemen “I think my car is on fire.” I’m sure they’re still telling that story at Fire House #2.
Sure enough, there was some sort of short in the electrical system. The fireman did something (I didn’t care what) that made the car stop what it was doing. I don’t recall if I got to school that day, but I do remember that a very short time after that, my dad bought a VW “It” car, the one they came out with after the Beetle, & that car, despite the fact that it was uglier than sin, turned out to be one of the best cars I ever had.