Story Summary [Start the car with the gearbox in the 1st gear without stepping the clutch pedal]
Date [between 1992 and 1993 – I was 8 to 10 years old]
That day I decided to test whether the parking brake or the engine would win the fight.
My goal was to validate that the car would never run if the parking brake was on.
Test Approach: Acceptance test for the parking brake feature.
The result: PASS – brake wins.
The lessons I’ve learnt: never do this far from home or you will get in trouble.
Description of the experiments:
I was a pretty hyperactive kid who loved to spend his time inside a car, pretending to be driving. I was also very close to my grandfather Ewaldo, who would let me do almost everything I wanted.
One day I went with him to a club where he usually would play cards with this friends. I told him I wanted to stay inside the car to listen to some music. So he left me inside the car WITH the car keys and stayed there inside the club playing cards.
(By the way, the car was a 1988 Ford Del Rey Ghia, which used to be my granpa’s favorite model. He was very fond of Fords, specially this model.)
Half an hour passed since my granpa left the car. I was there “driving” the car for quite a while, so I got tired of just pretending to be driving that car without any engine sound.
And there comes Evil Leo’s ideas…
What if I turn on the car
and step the gas pedal
and turn the steering wheel
and turn on the air conditioning
and play with the power window buttons…..
Well, I started doing all that and it took about some 15 minutes to turn out to be boring.
(Oh, I forgot to mention a few important details…since then I was really up to learn cool things, and driving was something very cool to me. By that time I already new a car should not be started without putting the gear box in the N position OR stepping on the clutch pedal, cause if I did so the car would run. There was no Poka Yoke device to avoid the car from moving, or at least trying to move)
Ok. I knew the car would run if I didn’t disengage the clutch or put the gear box in Neutral. But what I didn’t know was the effect of not doing at least of these things, PLUS leaving the parking brake activated. And that was the perfect time to give it out a try.
That was the sound I heard first time the key was turned. The engine already started loosing the war. Parking brake wins round one. And, man that sounded so funny that I started to laugh and got so glad to have new findings to report to my granpa.
So I tried again and again and again…and after about 6 tries I heard the following sound when attempting to start the engine…
TÉC TÉC TÉC TÉC TÉC
Woops…that was not expected. The engine does not sound like this, I thought. I had no idea what that sound would mean.
So I tried a recovery scenario – tried to start the engine using the right way to do so, but heard the same sound.
And there comes granpa with his happy face. And he sits, says hello, and tries to start the car.
TÉC TÉC TÉC TÉC TÉC
He asked me what I did and I said I was just playing with the car.
Then he tried twice, got out of the car and started talking to the guy that was in the club entrance. I SAW the guy telling him that he saw that little boy starting the car with the gear on.
So there comes granpa back shouting some german words I will never forget…
“Kleine sch–sse junge was has du getan” – Something like “you little sh-tty boy, look what you did”
And he went back inside the club and a few minutes later he got back with 3 other fat men. He sat on the driver’s seat and the other 3 guys pulled the car to make it start…
That day we went home and I learnt so much German!!!
But besides the new German words that I added to my vocabulary, I also learnt that the engine is started by a little electronic motor, and this motor uses a lot of power from the battery. So when the car runs out of battery it won’t start, and that was pretty common in the south of Brazil back in the 80’s, when they came up with those Ethanol engines without cold start mechanism – you would make your car run out of battery just by trying to start it. I’d call it a suicidal car.
And that TÉC TÉC sound is this engine starter device not being able to turn the engine due to a low battery situation.
Last thing I remember is that I was gounded for two days.
About the title: Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks