Elise in the Ditch
Posted by kernelbob on December 14, 2008
Yarj! I drove my Elise into a ditch last night!
The Emberex Holiday Party was at our house last night. I always park the Elise at the end of the driveway so people can find the right house. (The car’s a celebrity, after all.) After the party I got a ride to the end of the driveway to get the car.
It was raining (or maybe snowing) and cold, and the Elise was all fogged up. I couldn’t see forward at all, but it’s my own driveway. How lost could I get?
Not very lost at all, as you can see. I was only about ten feet off the intended trajectory. As soon as the front wheel dropped, I stopped and tried to back up, but there was no traction at all in the mud.
So I left it there. The partygoers partywent around it on their way out, and I pondered overnight how to get it out. (How could I sleep? My Elise was in peril!)
An Elise is lightweight, and that means flimsy. It is not designed to be towed from behind. There’s no frame at all behind the engine mounts, and those aren’t accessible without removing body panels. So I decided to grab it by the wheels, keeping the handbrake locked so they couldn’t turn. I rationalized that on the slick mud, drag would be minimal, and and the load on the wheels wouldn’t be as high as it is in normal use.
It snowed all night. The next morning, I got out the tractor. I positioned the tractor behind the car with the blade down low. Put tie-down straps through the wheels. The idea was that the straps wouldn’t touch anything except the wheels. I was almost successful in that, but put the driver’s side strap on backwards.
Watch the video. It’s only 45 seconds. I shot it standing on the tractor while pulling the car out. I stood on one foot while operating the tractor’s pedals with the other. The video color is FUBAR – the car’s orange, not irridescent orange-green.
Anyway, the plan worked famously. The driveway was still slick and snowy, so I left the car there for a few more hours. This afternoon I drove it back to the garage without further incident.
BTW, see the two fence posts in the last photo? Last night, through the fogged windshield, I saw the one on the left but thought it was the one on the right.