Upon leaving my sister’s house late on Thanksgiving night, I found myself with a drained battery. I had stupidly left not only the keys in the ignition but the ignition itself on earlier in the day after showing off the trafficators. Fortunately I had a battery charger in the trunk and it really doesn’t take much to start the car, so my sister, brother-in-law and I went out into the cold night to try charging the battery enough to get the car going. After several attempts the car still didn’t have enough power to start as the battery was completely dead. Rather than mess with jumper cables, I decided to try and crank start the car which is something I had never done before on any vehicle. Fortunately I had recently seen a web site showing the proper way to crank a car – palms up. I turned on the ignition, inserted the crank and gave a pull, then a second. I pulled the choke out, then cranked a third time and the car came to life!

Crank still in hand, I raised my arms in victory. Quite unexpectedly I heard applause and cheering from a crowd of people down the street. I gave a wave and laughed as I cleaned up the charger and extension cords. Then, just as I was packing it all in the trunk, the car died. It may have had too much choke. No problem, I was excited to crank the car again anyway! I cranked it until I broke out in a sweat and just couldn’t get it started this time. So swallowing my pride I decided jumper cables were the best way to go.

Of course the car started immediately so we put away the cables and moved the donor car. I said goodbye again and turned on the headlamp switch.

Nothing happened.

These cars don’t charge until the engine has sufficient revs to get the generator going so I had no power to the lights. I decided I would simply drive the car and have faith the lights would remain on so long as I was at speed. So off I went in the dark, but as I hoped, the lights brightened with more engine speed and that’s how I drove the 40 miles home.