The worst place you've ever broken down..

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Greg MacLeman
Greg MacLeman's picture
Joined: 2014-03-03

Mine has to be Woburn Safari Park. My other half was upset that I never surprised her, so I decided I'd take her on an exciting day out to see the animals. Of course, I didn't want monkeys damaging her lovely new car, so offered to take my knackered old Austin Maestro instead. It was all going swimmingly until we entered the Black Bear and American Timberwolf enclosure. After crawling along for five minutes on the hottest day of the year the car inevitably boiled over, and we were left stranded while the modern traffic continued on the tour. 

We hadn't seen any animals up to that point, but as soon as they sensed a straggler left behind by the rest of the herd they started to move in through the long grass. We couldn't put the windows down so spent the next 45 minutes being stalked by bears and wolves in the baking heat until a park warden eventually came to our rescue, swooping into the meadow in a Land-Rover to drive off the baying horde. 

My next breakdown was with a friend on the Continent, but I'll save that one for later. 

Have you broken down somewhere worse?

Joined: 2011-06-01

Death Valley!

(Only joking - it was Scunthorpe, obviously).


andrew pain
Joined: 2014-05-23

Blackwall Tunnel northbound. Rush hour, sometime 1988. New Sierra died on me. Towed out by police after 15 minutes of immediately restarted... felt like a prize prat.

Died again a week later on M25 near j26, but I managed to coast onto hard shoulder. Waited 10 minutes and off we went again.

Dealer spent weeks replacing bits of fuel and engine management systems before problem went away...never was sure quite what it was.

Andrew Pain

Joined: 2014-02-08

Outside a meat rendering plant in France whilst returning in my open Lagonda from Le Mans.  The smell was indescribable and overpowering!  Fortunately the breakdown was only a puncture and we had the wheel changed in just a few minutes but the smell seemed to linger for days.

Joined: 2011-10-13

Milan ring road, June 1985, Sunday evening, just after the Heysel Stadium disaster, so Brits were deeply unpopular in Italy. Hot day, father-in-law's campervan lunched its head gasket. We got lots of abuse till a saintly guy stopped to help, called a tow truck and we were taken and deposited in a back alley behind a garage. We spent a very uncomfortable night unwilling to leave any windows open due to local feelings. Our spirits rose the next morning however when the garage opened up to reveal a small army of bronzed Italian mechanics, who lovingly stripped the engine down with spotless tools and equipment. Sadly there were no Bedford CF head gaskets in Italy, anywhere, so the repair took a while, but they really looked after us. Memorable.

Joined: 2014-06-29

I've got a good one! just three years ago, I broke down halfway up a very, very steep hill just outside Glen
Almond, Scotland. The road was incredibly narrow, and incredibly far away from
civilization and (you guessed it) I got absolutely no phone reception whatsoever.
I walked for about 6 miles in the baking heat until i found a lovely little
farmhouse complete with crotchety farmer and silent wife.

Once I was there, I called for help, waited the perfunctory two hours or so for the
repairman to turn up, only to find that he couldn't actually make his way to
our location, because his satnav didn't understand where we were, and no one
could give him proper directions from the main road....

A good long while later, he finally turns up, and promptly informs me that the
head gasket had gone (lesson learned; white gunk in the water tank is a bad,
bad sign) and I had to be towed out.

I think it was the combination of grueling heat and boredom that made the memory
stick with me for so long...I honestly can't remember another day that I hate
quite that much. I don’t think I'll ever buy a rover again either!


plastic penguin
plastic penguin's picture
Joined: 2011-06-14

Many moons ago I broke down in a contraflow on a busy dual-carriageway. That was pretty hairy to say the least.

nidugo's picture
Joined: 2012-09-01

Although I have broken down in some hopelessly isolated situations, the one that comes to mind was a breakdown at a city intersection because of the circumstances.

In the mid sixties I shared a Morris 1100 with my brother which was a recipe for disaster as we only had money for gasolene.  At the intersection of Yonge and Steeles in North Toronto the light turned red and my brake pedal went to the floor when a rusty line burst.  This was before dual master cylinders and a functioning handbrake cable was an option we had foregone, so it was a complete brake failure.  I hardly considered the expense of a tow truck, and decided to continue the midday, 46 km.  trip on city streets and highway to our home in Clarkson (now Mississauga).  I reasoned that if I could time all the traffic lights right on Yonge St. it would be nonstop to my parents driveway once I achieved the 401 highway.  It turned out that my reasoning was correct.

Nowadays with stop and go traffic this feat would be unthinkable, as a matter of fact the outcome would be a massive accident before I got across Steeles.  The next day my luck ran out on a short drive to a mechanic, when I encountered a train at a railway crossing, and had to use my last resort; the post which supports the crossing barrier.

MrBenovich's picture
Joined: 2011-04-12


Worst? Well, I was stranded on a slip road off the A40 by White City once in a Mercedes 280SL. Gloriously sunny day, and I was offered a 'lift' by an absolutely stunning brunette in a white convertible Bentley GT. As I am spoken for, I was unable to accept her generous offer. Damn it. What could be worse than that..?!

jagnut12's picture
Joined: 2011-05-10

Mine is a bit of a long story,so I will keep it short as possible.Back in the early my new company car a Fiat Strada 105 TC Abarth was delivered to my work,I drove it home approx 20 miles,that evening my Mother (now passed away) was part of a dance school,which was about 5 miles journey from home,so she ask could I give her a lift which I did and returned home.Around 9pm that evening the phone rang and it was mum asking can she be picked up ,at this moment I was in my comfy PJ`s and could be bothered getting dressed,so with PJ `s on a pair of shoes I set off for a short journey in my new 40 milers from new Strada halfeway betwween pick up and home I noticed the tempreture rise to boiling point,I got out of the car to see water pouring from underneath ,now those days mobile phones were not invented so had to walk to the nearest telephone kiosk to call the breakdown,had plenty of passes by giving me look and plenty of comments like...As she thrown you out of bed...a recovery man did collect me and the car  and I eventually returned home very sheepish....the Strada suffered from a broken water pump.

K Lucas
Joined: 2011-08-30

Back in the '70's, Houston, Texas, on a crowded freeway which was a bridge over another freeway, '67 Spitfire Mk II; We autocrossed the Spitfire and we had fitted a camber compensator.                      

I was driving (with young bride) in the middle lane, cars on both sides, front and back of me. Directly in the middle of the road ahead was a spare wheel and tire, fallen off a pick-up truck guessing by it's size (Common sight in Texas). I yelled out some obsenities and then declared "I have to try a yump!" That worked partially, since my oil pan / transmission hit the tire first. Then it took it's toll on the back suspension, tearing off the low spring of the camber compensator from the differential and left side, dragging under the car still connected on the right side. I was leaving a trail of oil now, with about a quarter-mile to the next exit. Rescue was calling a racing friend of mine to bring his trailer over and carry us home.

Repair was I put on a de-arched GT6 spring and a new oil pan. Could have been worse, but now it's just another story to tell.with GT6 spring