Went for a drive in our '64 E-Type OTS on Weds, July 3rd, along with my wife, and my friend Jeff and his GF Julie. We drove up the coast from San Francisco, on Hwy 1, ending up, around 4PM, at Chimney Rock, which is just South of Point Reyes Lighthouse. That’s where the trouble started…
Just as we were pulling into the parking lot, my engine suddenly started running on 4 cylinders! Cylinders 1 & 6 had no spark whatsoever (obviously, my car has EDIS). I tinkered with things, which accomplished nothing. Clearly, either the coilpack or EDIS module had died, after 15 years of flawless service. We were, literally, in the middle of nowhere. NO cell service, and the nearest auto parts store was in Petaluma, 45 miles away. And 45 miles of mostly windy, bumpy, low-speed two-lane roads. We thought “Maybe we can make it on four cylinders…”. Well, before even getting out of the parking lot, two more cylinders went missing. I can tell you right now, an E-Type with a two-cylinder engine does NOT make for a rewarding driving experience!
So, Jeff and I left the women with the car, and got into his car and drove to Petaluma, hoping to get both a coilpack and EDIS modules. NOBODY had the EDIS module in stock, and this being July 3rd, NOBODY could get one before Friday, the 5th. So we bought a coilpack, and crossed our fingers.
After 3 hours, we made it back to the parking lot, and installed the coilpack. To no avail. So, clearly the EDIS module had crapped out. Now we had a real problem. My wife and I left Jeff and Julie with the car, and took Jeffs car, to search for a cell signal, so we could call a tow truck. On the way, it occurred to us that there WERE a few “Historic Ranches” along the way, that were working ranches, some of which had actual people living there. We pulled into the first one that looked in inhabited, and knocked on the door. A very nice fellow named Jared answered. We explained the situation, and he invited us in to use his land-line phone. To make a VERY long story short, after 3-1/2 hours(!) on the phone to both my wifes “roadside assistance” provider and our insurance company, we were told by both “we can’t help you”! Neither could find ANYONE who could send a tow truck. Jared then said “My wife might know someone”. He called his wife, then called her friend, and in 10 minutes, we had a tow truck on the way!
Back to the parking lot, and out dead car, and Jeff and Julie. It was now about 11:45PM, frickin’ COLD and windy. We assured them all was in-hand, and sent them on their way back home to San Mateo. We waited. The tow truck showed up a little after midnight. The driver was great - he loaded the car, safe and sound in RECORD time. Less than 10 minutes after he arrived, we were on our way to Petaluma. When we finally got cell service on the outskirts of Petaluma, I used my phone to make a reservation at Motel 6, and the tow truck dropped us, and the car off, getting the car off the truck in under 5 minutes! It was now 1:45AM.
After a somewhat sleepness night, we got up at 6AM, walked two blocks to IHOP for breakfast, with LOTS of coffee. We returned to the motel, explained to the desk clerk about the dead car, and asked if we could leave it there for, perhaps, 2-3 days until we could get the new module. They were ok with that. We then called an Uber to drive us North. up to Santa Rosa airport, to pick up a rental car (a lovely, brand-new Hyundai Kona). We drove the rental car down to Concord, to spend the 4th with our son, his GF, an her family. While in Concord, we call the auto parts store near our home, and ordered the new module, which they would have Friday PM.
On Friday afternoon, we picked up the part, drove back up to Petaluma, and installed it. The engine fired up up instantly, and idle perfectly. We drove two blocks to a has station, filled up both cars, then headed North to Santa Rosa to return the rental. But, uh-oh! The engine ran perfectly… Up to 2000 RPM, at which point it started missing and bucking like a bronco! Clearly, the new module is DEFECTIVE! And there isn’t another one to be had ANYWHERE in the area. For lack of anything else to try, we drove surface streets to the nearest parts store, and bought new spark plugs, and wires, but they too made no difference.
Jeez! Give me a break! So, since we were limited to ~43 MPH, we decided to drive surface streets to my sons house on Concord, which would take ~2 hours. We arrived there about 11:30PM last night. Left the car in his driveway, and drove back home. As soon as the parts store opened, I ordered ANOTHER EDIS module, which will be here this afternoon. We will then drive back up to Concord, about two hours, and install that, and, God willing, finally drive the Jag home.
I can’t feel TOO bad about the car dying, given that in 21 years, and almost 50K miles, we’ve driven that car all over the state, and this is the FIRST time, it has failed to make it home.
And, along the way, we met a few really nice people. When we were sorting out the original problem, there was a fellow in the Chimney Rock parking lot in a small motor home. He thought I looked cold, and insisted on giving me a jacket to wear. While my wife and I were off making phone calls, and Jeff and Julie were waiting in my car, this guy was talking to them, and even made them hot coffee. He refused to leave until our car was loaded onto the tow truck! We’re all going to get together and by him dinner one of these days. And, of course, Jared let us hang out in his house, use his phone, and play with his adorable 3 year-old son for 3-1/2 hours. Most importantly, he is the one who found us a tow truck, when the people we PAID to do that for us failed us!
Keeping my fingers crossed the new module gets us going again later today…