The Shuddering Porsche

May 03, 2014

RAY: This was sent to us by e-mail from John Zumsteig. He says it’s based on a true story. One crisp fall morning a man brings his Porsche into his mechanic's, saying that he couldn't drive it more than 20 miles an hour. At that speed it developed a horrendous shudder. The mechanic, being busy as usual drinking his morning coffee, tells the driver to drive his car into the shop but he couldn't look at it until later that day. When the driver returned that evening, you can probably guess the next thing: the mechanic reported that they couldn't reproduce the problem. They had taken it on a test drive, and the car ran perfectly. The next morning the driver returns with exactly the same complaint. Again the mechanic puts it in the garage and spends his morning drinking coffee and over-billing other customers. Again, the driver returns that evening, and he has the same story. “We drove it…”

TOM: The car was great. It was perfect.

RAY: “That thing ran great! What's the matter with you?” He handed him the bill for a hundred bucks. The third morning the driver returns. Same story: at 20 miles an hour, the car starts to shake itself apart. This time the junior assistant deputy fledgling mechanic, Crusty, hears the story. He asks a question. He says to the guy, did you buy new tires this summer? The guys says yes, I did.

TOM: Wow.

RAY: Crusty says, I know what's wrong with your car.

What was Crusty’s diagnosis?

RAY: The hint was of course that he asked if he bought tires in the summer, and of course the guy did. And what happened when he bought the tires is that one of the tires had water in it, as is often the case. The tire got mounted with the water in it, and when it was put on the high speed balancer and spun around, the water, because it was a liquid, got evenly distributed and got balanced...

TOM: With the rest of everything.

RAY: Right. Now we fast forward to the first cold morning. I think I said it was a crisp fall morning. Because it was a crisp fall morning, that water froze and made a chunk of ice that now made that tire so unbalanced that the car really would feel like it was shaking itself apart when you tried to drive it. It would be so unbalanced, you wouldn't be able to drive it. Of course sitting in the warm garage all day, it melted and reverted to its summer state.

TOM: And who might our winner be?

RAY: The winner is Halden Babcock from Rockford, Michigan. Congratulations!

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