In 1983, we bought a brand new Chevy conversion van. We comparison shopped in great depth and then went back to the very first dealership we had negotiated with. It was the best deal but we didn't know that until we looked further.
We chose the custom exterior paint, carpet, the captain's chairs and rear seat. We had a passenger chair located further back than usual to give BigEd the extra leg room he required if he was to be comfortable. We did like that vehicle.
We had it for a few weeks and I was the one who got to drive it to and from work because I worked much closer to home than J did.
I was on my way home to lunch one afternoon when the van took off, accelerating down 107 Avenue as if it needed to get there faster than I was willing to go. Brakes didn't slow it so I threw the gearshift into neutral and let it coast with the engine still roaring. While it was coasting, I turned the key to off and the engine obediently died. I turned it back on and it behaved normally. I drove it home and called the dealership.
We took it in for the dealer to see it the next morning. Of course it acted normally all the way to the dealer. The service supervisor told us he could not diagnose the problem unless it happened while it was there. He wanted a mechanic to take it for a test drive. The only thing we could say was go ahead.
We watched as the mechanic put paper over the carpet under his feet to keep it clean and drove off the lot. He was back within 7 minutes. It had accelerated with him on the Alton Road flyover. He shouted at the service supervisor that the d--n thing had nearly killed him.
They changed the upper carburetor and that did fix the problem. But I can still recall the helpless feel of the big vehicle roaring ahead on its own and not responding until I thought of throwing it into neutral gear.
What if I hadn't?