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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.

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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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white knight

by jrfezziwig

Two theories are interesting but don't fit. (1) the Mormon temple theory - I have traveled routes between Utah and Virginia many times to visit family, and there is no place where a Mormon temple, a remote mountaintop, and cross-country route coincide. I'd discount that one. (2) the Dugway hazmat suit theory - Dugway is many miles from any cross-country route and there are no mountains in the vicinity, let alone remote high ones. Plus, no one would leave Dugway and get in his car still wearing the hazmat suit (I think). Rhe guards would probably shoot him. I don't know what it was, but there are two things I'm pretty sure it wasn't.

White Guys all Over

by CT Scanner

Regarding the issue of the proximity of a Mormon temple to where the car broke down and the stranger dressed in white was seen - there doesn't have to be a temple near the area. Mormons living almost anywhere are assigned regular days periodically to travel to their nearest temple, even if it is hundreds of miles away. Most people wear a suit and change into white in the locker rooms, but some do drive there wearing white. No beard? Then he wasn't from heaven

Favorite Moment: When Ray said he loved his brother but he had his head up his. . . or what that what Tom said - or does it matter because they would both have been right?

Wrong intro blurb

by umrcop

Great show. However, no mysterious man in white - or - overheating catalytic convrter - etc. etc. I wanted to hear about the man in white!!

The man in white is not supernatural!!

by Caramia

Interesting story....but since it took place in Utah, the guy was a Mormon who was either on his way to or returning from a meeting in a Mormon Temple where ALL members are required to wear solid white from head to toe. This is one of the least bizarre. I am not Mormon, but I live in AZ and since I taught in Mesa until I retired, I found it useful to know as much about their practices as possibe. AZ is a heavily Mormon state. Their religion also promises them that all guys will be gods of their own planets when they die. Hmmm...maybe you two should convert:-)

Favorite Moment: I enjoy all of your shows even though I know nothing about cars...it's your wit and intelligence!

Man in White

by genlin

Great story. The mysterious man in white wasn't a mystery at all to me. Your caller most likely was helped by someone who was a volunteer worker at a nearby Mormon temple. Your caller can find an online list of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) temples in Utah and see which one was closest to where their care broke down. The gentleman in white was most like traveling to or from that temple. Normally the white clothes are not worn outside the temple because workers and patrons are instructed to wear Sunday best to the Temple and change into white when the get there.

Personally & Strongly Believe is a Gurdian Angel

by Bhaskar27

It was very interesting this morning.. I was listening to Car Talk. I was thinking that I should post something on my FB wall about CarTalk and I was not sure what that would be.. So, I pulled into a gas station, pumped the gas (took approx 20 min) before I got into my car and started to listen to CarTalk... and the first caller I heard was about this Mystery Man ... I said to myself, ah! ah! i got a topic .. Anyhow, making the long story short.. I personally and strongly feel Universe Runs on certain principles, one of them being 'what you sow so shall you reap, but, many times over'. If you have sowed a seed of good, good comes back to you in abundance.. and vice-versa... One important question that could have been asked to the lady is 'what do they do for living or what are other social activities they do?' that could have provided an answer about the Mystery Man.. The couple obviously must have been very helpful and doing lot of good service to the community. I am sure many people Blessed them in their heart... So, the Universe is watching all these things and the rescue comes to you when least expect and desire the most... It could come in any form... you say 'Guardian Angel' or you can give any name you want.... They are indeed wonderful couple...

Favorite Moment: Great Show

spooky Camry

by fmfmedic

Great puzzler! I got the answer though. Wiring harness at engine. change of climate can cause intermittent disconnect at connection. Also, some fuel pump relays can fail when you hit a bump, and reset themselves in about 10 minutes. Both have happened to me.

Favorite Moment: When he was babbling on about nothing in particular while trying to think. It made no sense at all! And the brothers' comment "He's my brother, and I love him, but he's got his head up his....never mind!"

The man in white - Government Agent?

by jeepcj5

Funny and informative? Sure, if you like conspiracy theories. Why did our intrepid radio show hosts not point out the obvious? The government is out in the Utah desert testing EMP devices on unsuspecting tourists.

Favorite Moment: This sounds like Amelia from Charlotesville was hit by an Electromagnetic Pulse. The effects would be exactly the same, and it would dissapate over time. Hmmm

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?

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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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