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#1044: The Mysterious Man in White

Original Air Date: 10.30.2010

   Best Moment

Description: 
This week on Car Talk, we've got a roadside repair story to beat the band. It involves a dead Camry, a remote mountain top, and a mysterious stranger, clad in white from head to hubcap, who did nothing more than say, "Just start the car." Meanwhile, Jenny in California wonders if over-revving an engine can cook a catalytic converter, and if not, should the accusation destroy a relationship? Also, a Grand Cherokee develops a bad case of flatulence; a '58 Lincoln with a brake pedal problem prompts some thoughts on Tommy's wardrobe; and, how much do you owe a friend who spent a few hundred bucks trying to fix your car... but succeeded instead in setting it on fire? All this, and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

Review this Show | 20 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

What apparently confounding feature of the atomic watch turned out to be not so confusing, after all? Find out!

Last Week's Puzzler

Two police officers trained their flashlights on a car, looking for evidence that it had been driven the day before. One of the officers said, "This car's clean. It wasn't involved in a robbery." What did the officer see? Find out!

Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share life lessons that were learned a bit too late.

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Show Review - 1343

by Anonymous

Show Review - 1345

by memchip

It's not clear what area of Utah the caller was visiting when the incident occurred but Dugway Proving Ground is within 100 mi of Salt Lake city. Testing of an electromagnetic pulse generating device would cause the described problem if it they were within proximity. If the white knight was a researcher involved with the test he would know their car was disabled and why. The caller didn't go into detail about the type of clothing the white knight wore- could it have been a lab coat?

Show Review - 1348

by jkavery

I wonder if electromagnetic radiation (for instance from a radar) caused the car to stop near the top of the mountain in Utah? One time when I was driving past the Naval Air Station going into Key West, the engine of the Dodge Caravan rental car cut out for about a second. I blamed it on the radar - the car never had any other problems during the week-long trip.

Show Review - 1352

by happyone

Show Review - 1367

by Anonymous

Show Review - 1336

by Anonymous

its a four wrench show with Tommy on extra happy juice

Show Review - 1337

by genlin

Love it!

by Anonymous

I'm not much of a car guy but I love tuning into your show. You guys are fricken' nuts and I love it! I'm surprised how much I smile & laugh throughout the show. Thank you guys & NPR for the education and comedic value your show offers.

Vapor Lock

by robertwaz

The woman on the mountian misspoke (to be polite here) about the engine not turning over. It would crank but not start and had vapor lock. Vapor Lock is less common these days with the higher fuel-line pressures fuel injection but still possible at high temerature or altitude with ethanol blended fuels - (especially if she hadn't yet filled up with the local low octance fuels). The white night took off when he saw the husband. This is his vavoite pick-up spot.

Favorite Moment: see above Also liked the list of things you learned the hard way - but can only remember the blow gun one - What werew the others?

The Man in White

by Johnlim

You have overlooked the obvious answer--a UFO! The hyper-drive (Dynaflo?) interfered with the car electronics. Once the engines shut down, or the craft was away, the earthbound unit goes around telling people they are crazy...just start your car!

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Life lessons learned the hard way

From getting a tattoo to using a blow gun, important life lessons you should know.

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