SOMETIMES the silliest things can fail on your car…
It may be a fuse, that takes out the radio, or perhaps an electrical component which stops it from starting in the morning. One thing you don’t expect it to be is a silly little nut. In the case of my beloved Alfa, this is what stymied me yesterday morning.
We had a nice day out planned for the ‘Sud – it was to spend the day at the NEC, taking pride of place on the Crystal Clean stand, being valeted as showgoers watched, using Mothers’ products. They had promised me they would make my Alfa look like a “new car”, and I was looking forwards to seeing what they could do with my Harlequin Alfa.
So, off we went – my son and me in the Alfa, happy to buzz up the M6 at 70mph.
Then it happened…
A clonk from the right hand side. The steering goes light. The car turns left. I turn right. Nothing happens… We’re heading towards the barrier now, and life seems to slow down. Looking back now, I can remember the chain of events in frame-by-frame clarity. The realization I’m a passenger, my going for the brake, and pushing for all I’m worth.
The wall coming closer…
Speed is being shed, I’m trying to steer and brake, but I now know with no steering, it is a case of WHEN we’re going to hit the wall. The wall is CLOSE now, and we’re slowing, but it won’t be enough. Then a miracle – a BANG from below, we’re briefly launched into the air, and the car subtlely changes course… And then we stop.
From the warmth of the crew cab, we look back
and see the affected wheel tuck under at a
mad angle when he steers it onto the flatbed.
I get out and survey the damage. And there’s nothing to see. No dents, no smoke and the tyre is in one piece. Obviously the kerbing just before the wall has saved the car from a scrapey incursion into the crash barrier. Amazed at our good fortune, I realize we must have had a big suspension failure, so I call the AA… only a trailer will sort this.
Once the patrol man turns up, it soon becomes obvious, my front suspension is completely wankered. From the warmth of the crew cab, we look back and see the affected wheel tuck under at a mad angle when he steers it onto the flatbed. Ahh well. C’est La Vie and all that…
Undeterred, we get home, I grab the keys to the Vitesse Sport Coupe, and Crystal Clean get their exhibition car for the day, while I bite my nails about the state of my Alfa.
Today, I found out the cause of my incident – the nut that holds the suspension strut to the inner wing has dropped off. My trusted mechanic puts it all back together, and by this afternoon, the Alfasud is good to go once again.
It’s amazing to think how close we came to tragedy, and all for the sake of a silly nut – and I don’t mean the one behind the wheel…
Be careful out there.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
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