What’s The Most Daunting Roadside Repair You’ve Faced?
I can tell you the exact moment I began to realize that cars aren’t invincible. It was after a fun Montreal Grand Prix weekend years ago with my dad, his Porsche 914, and during the roughly eight-hour drive home after the festivities. Having a weak-sounding ignition and/or a dead battery was par for the course with this car. The starter failing at a strip mall we’d only stopped at to ask someone where we were was not.
In most any vehicle, I’m sure the procedure to access the starter, gently tap its heat-expanded brushes back into place, and limping to a service point (or home) is a relatively painless procedure. The mid-engine 914, however, with Satan’s Own Engine Tin and a ride height set for Swabian roads had to have its left side pushed up onto a curb before any ‘fiddling’ could begin.
After a few calls, a local Volkswagen mechanic was found, starter replaced, and our journey resumed. It was relatively painless—and helped I was too young to be of much meaningful help.
It certainly wasn’t as difficult as replacing, say, one of the belts at the front of a Citroën SM’s engine. They’re essentially ‘locked’ in place by a forward power take-off shaft to run the hydraulics…which are connected to the brakes, which are bolted inboard to the transmission, there’s steering bits mixed in…it’s probably not a side-of-the-road job.
Unless: you do what many owners have done: when the engine is out, it’s common for extra belts to be slipped over the shaft so that when one fails, a replacement is ready to be used in its place.
What’s the most daunting roadside repair you’ve completed?
Photography by Federico Bajetti & Afshin Behnia