The silliest Breakdown story Ever...
Just before Leek, on the way back from Buxton in a Jago Jeep Kit Car...
This is the VERY car this event happened in. Though the occasion was around fifteen years prior this photo was taken.
First, let me tell you about the car. It was a Jago Jeep owned by a good friend of mine - Andy. You could tell he'd been driving it, because he was always red-faced and stinking of fuel and burning clutch whenever he climbed out of the cockpit. Originally it was an open top car. Not a convertible, he didn't actually purchase a roof, until a year after owning it. It also had no heaters, unless you count glowing wires and small electrical fires as heaters...
Andy's infamous 'Jago Jeep'
To maintain this car you really needed, not a Haynes Manual, but a Haynes library. It had parts from Jaguar, Volvo, Ford, Vauxhall, Austin... And many more. When passengers riding with Andy enjoying a spirited drive, you could guarantee three things. 1 - A terrifying ride, where you' d almost constantly feel like you're in mortal danger. 2 - A three course meal of flies, bugs and bits of grit being thrown up off the road. 3 - Having to stop at least twice to sort out a small electrical fire in the car.
Believe it or not this was Andy's Daily for a number of years!
The Jago went through a number of engines, usually from Fords. At the time of the worst breakdown, it had an Escort 1300 crossflow I think, and a Sierra 1.6 waiting to go in next. It was a cold November night, with a touch of frost on the ground and thick, soupy fog in the air. I'd been to Taekwondo in Buxton and for an after-training drink and was on the way back. Andy was driving of course.
On the way back past the Three Horse Shoes Pub, the car started spluttering a bit. I asked Andy if he thought everything was okay and he simply dismissed it. Please bear in mind it was around freezing at this point. It began spotting with icy, cold rain, forcing Andy to drive one-handed so he could shield his eyes from the rain. The lights on the car were pretty awful too. Seeing where we were going presented something of a challenge. Getting there presented an even greater challenge as the engine started spluttering even more. When we actually got within sight of the White Horse Pub, on the outskirts of Leek - the car ground to a halt.
We were both frozen to the bone and dripping wet with nowhere to shelter and in a car which basically appeared to have seized up. Next thing you know - bonnet up and we're both peering at the engine, looking for a sign of what's causing the issue. (To be honest I was just ducking my head under to get out of the rain - it was the only shelter for miles!) Eventually Andy cheerfully pulled his dipstick out and nodded understanding. 'Yep, I've ran out of oil.'
I looked at him, gobsmacked. 'Ran out of oil? How? Weren't you checking it?'
'Oh I knew I was low and going to run out soon. Thing is, this engine is on it's way out and I didn't want to put any more oil in a dying engine.'
My jaw dropped. 'So why didn't you change the engine?'
'Well, I thought I'd get every last mile out of this one first.'
So basically he was cruising around, KNOWING he was going to run out of oil at some point. His defence was that he had RAC and would ring them up. A mobile phone call later and YES! The RAC are on their way... However, as you can guess they weren't going to be there in 5 minutes. It was actually about 3 hours, of standing or sitting in driving rain, shivering, teeth rattling together and actually wanting to die, while we waited for the RAC.
Now Andy was never bothered about the cold. I think at the time he was only wearing a T-shirt, he was always one of those people that seemed to just generate heat. It didn't bother him much. Personally I had about the most miserable, uncomfortable 3 hours of my life. It all seemed rather pointless.
Eventually the car was almost written off. Andy hit a wall at speed (Thankfully while I wasn't in it!) and flipped the car upside down onto it's roof. He was fine but the car was a wreck. He eventually rebuilt it into what you see in these pictures, but he never fitted a fuel tank. This car ran, but only with a 2 litre pop bottle of petrol under the bonnet.
He's still got his Q-plate Jago in his garage and may restore it and put it on the road again someday. Though somehow I doubt it... If he never puts it back on the road well... That would mean the world was a safer place!