Slippin' and Slidin'
RAY: Now here's the answer, believe it or not. Here's a Volkswagen bus that's transmitting too much torque--it's hard to believe--to the wheels, to enable him to negotiate this steep, icy grade.
TOM: It's like, if you tried to run on the ice, you'd be on your butt in two seconds. But, if you walk very, very slowly...
RAY: But he couldn't transmit a small enough amount of power to the wheels to walk, that's right. So, what he did is, he opened the back and he pulled the coil wire off so the engine wouldn't start. He got back in, and with the thing in first gear, he turned the key--and all that worked now was the electric motor that would ordinarily start the engine, but he was using the electric motor to take him up the driveway in first gear, albeit slowly, but not slowly enough. And he crept up the driveway with just enough torque to get him up without slipping at the top.
TOM: The equivalent of walking gingerly on the ice so you don't fall on your butt, as opposed to running on the ice, where you would.
[ Car Talk Puzzler ]