Vapor lock is not a romantic term. Perhaps it could be, but in this case it isn’t. It’s what can happen to an antique car when present day fuels vaporize in the components that are too close to a hot engine. the carburetor needs liquid gasoline, the engine won’t run on vapors. It won’t even start. It’s most likely to happen when you stop the car so there is no air flow. then the starter cranks and cranks but nothing else happens.
This begins as most good stories do, with a mental lapse. I forgot that crossing the Gobi desert last summer, I opened the engine compartment when we stopped, to let air in. So we took an afternoon break and now we were stranded in Nowhereville staring at a sign that said, Welcome to North Carolina.
The plan was to drive 300 miles to Amherst, Virgina to have lunch with our daughter Lilla and Chad then return. It was a shake-down run before the Trans-American rally. It was hot, but when the car didn’t start, vapor lock didn’t immediately occur to me so I pulled out my tools and checked the spark. That was fine. Pumped and pumped the accelerator, poured our drinking water on the fuel carrying components, and cranked, cranked, cranked. God, that is one good battery!