The Morris Minor That Could

Dec 19, 2015

RAY: The inspiration for this puzzler was sent in by Jerry Olhaver.

It’s 1954 and a giant hurricane has hit Cape Cod, leaving flooding in its wake. Cars sit underwater everywhere, waiting for a tow truck -- unable to start, unable to move.

Enter our hero, pedaling his bicycle. He spots his Morris Minor. Remember the Morris Minor? It was the great-grandfather of the modern Mini. His Minor looks as drowned as the rest of the cars, but at least the four tires are on the pavement. When he tries to start it, the engine cranks, but it won’t fire up.

He opens the hood and removes the spark plugs. They’re soaked with gasoline. He realizes why they’re soaked, because when he takes the distributor cap off, it’s full of water. Yet, in less than 10 minutes, unaided and using only what he has on his bicycle and in the trunk of the car, he begins a successful drive across the peninsula.

How did he do it?

RAY: What he did, in fact, was he drove his Morris Miner as if it were an electric car. Using the starter motor and the battery, both of which still worked even though they were submerged, he turned the key and actually shifted up through the gears. As he got moving he went from first, to second, to third.

When he came to hills, he would use the opportunity to coast. When he had to go up hills that were difficult, he would downshift where necessary. Considering how big the starter motor and the battery are in this little car, and how small the car is, he was able to drive all the way across the peninsula.

Pretty cute, huh? So who's our winner this week?

TOM: The winner this week is Jesse Dornstreich from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congratulations!

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