As we reported in our last blog, we hit a bird in Virginia with the SS509 Nova project just before we picked up I-95 a few miles from North Carolina. From past experience, I can tell you this is usually bad luck. I knew a guy who hit a gull that flew in front of his car at the strip when the car was going about 108 mph. Feathers flew everywhere and you could hear it from 1320 feet away.
In our case, the revenge came at our next gas stop in North Carolina. We checked the oil, cleaned the feathers from the radiator and, in general, made sure the car was fine. I topped off the fuel cell, ran inside for a potty break, and got some drinks for the road. It was Dan Foley's turn to drive, so I hopped in the shotgun seat. He turned the ignition key.
Not a sound. Ugh. Tried again. It cranked a little. All the battery connections were good and I knew from checking the gauges that the alternator was charging OK. I nice man in a late-model Mustang GT offered us a jump. I looked in the trunk. We had enough tools and stuff to rebuild the engine, octane boost in case we got bad gas, a floor jack, etc. But no jumper cables.
Naturally, the store attached to the station had everything from Coke to condoms, but nothing automotive related. Frustrated, Dan turned the key. The Nova fired right up. Seems like our starter got heat soaked during our long stop. It was never a problem again for the rest of the trip, but it sure gave us pause every time we stopped for fuel!
In our haste to get the car into the low 10-second zone at the track, we never bothered with some of the more mundane aspects of the car. For instance, it had a dash full of Auto Meter gauges when we got it, but we never set up the speedometer. Since the speedometers in all my cars are inaccurate, I took the simplest way out—I downloaded a free speedo app for my smart phone. Speed Box works off the GPS and gives you the precise speed you're traveling. As a bonus, there's also an odometer, which made the painful task of figuring our miserable fuel economy a piece of cake. As you can see from the photo, we went 72 mph in honor of our ’72 Nova.