Bob and the Miracle Car
RAY: Here's the answer. Bob was driving a diesel.
When the lights go out and the windows and radio won't work, it matters little to the diesel, which has no ignition system. It's igniting the gasoline not with sparks, but with the heat of compression. It can run all day long without electricity.
The hints were there: the clattering engine went far between fill-ups, an anachronistic relic, etc.
TOM: No lights. Even the ALT light went out!
RAY: Yeah, that's pretty bad, if you don't have enough juice for that little light.
TOM: If this had been a real car, the buzzards by the side of the road would have taken care of him a long time ago.
[ Car Talk Puzzler ]