When Things Go Wrong Behind the Wheel


PART ONE – Five Cars..who wants to go on a Road Trip?

Here we go again! Or maybe here we stop…again. Anyone who follows me (that’s not a bad idea…follows me…in a car….close behind) anyone who follows me on line knows that last summer I had to leave the Audi in South Carolina, rent a car to get to Florida, rent a truck big enough to tow a car carrier to get the Audi back to Maryland where my trusted mechanic Jeff took the Golden Beast off my hands for cash.

More recently Sade took my trusted Dodge Stealth to West Virginia on the Friday before Memorial Day, or at least tried to do that, when the clutch went DOWN to floor and stayed there… in bumper to bumper stop & go traffic on the main highway out of Baltimore to points west. After securing a rollback to remove my vehicle from the side of the road, and calling a dozen rental car agencies, we were forced to settle with a Cargo Van to get us to our destination. We picked up the Stealth a week later in a four-hour round trip 48 hours before we left for The “FLORIDA COLLEGE TOUR”. We used Sade’s 2013 Hyundai Sonata for that adventure. A wise choice.

So…when we were heading to New York, Long Island, New York for my 50th High School Reunion in Cold Spring Harbor we had to decide what vehicle to take. Sade was remaining home, so she needed her car, and we didn’t need to add any more miles on the only vehicle that can comfortably seat more than two (2) people. (FYI: Toyota Tacoma: Feet on floor, knees bent 90 degrees, back –straight; Stealth (knees under your chin in the back seat); Jag (no legs below the knee) 280-Z (No knees, no legs, no butts, no ifs, no seats). Fortunately it was only Coletta and I, so two would do. Stealth: Coletta was nervous after the Memorial Day Massacre, so she was anxious about trusting it again. Truck: Not exactly what you take to a 50th High School Reunion unless your name is Kid Rock. Z: 213,000 miles, 42 years old…need I say more? Jag: Currently in the shop to try and turn off the dash lights that go ON and OFF and read: ABS Brakes!! And VEHICLE STABILITY!!

After a week at Lester’s, he could not get his laptop to read the onboard computer. My brakes were working fine, though the ABS was working even on a dry road and easy braking. You know, that rumbling sound and vibration you feel on a wet road, or icy road? I was getting this “pedal feedback” on dry road braking. Marty suggested I not take it, I was conflicted about taking the Stealth with its new hydraulic slave cylinder that fixed its pedal problem (Coletta was nervous) or the Jag with no problems other than lots of false error messages on the dashboard and a shaky pedal. I drove it around town, it seemed fine and between the Stealth a rather standard vehicle, versus a candy-apple red Jaguar XK8 Convertible….50th Reunion….I went with the Jag. I would come to regret that decision. Tune in later for PART TWO – The Verrazano Narrows Bridge.


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