So before we owned Thor, we owned James. James was a Nissan Patrol and early in his life we wanted to see if he could swim.
As the story goes, we were pottering around our property getting bored, so decided to take the new (3 months old) toy for a spin. Beema, Toyota Prado, joined us.
Now, for context, we regularly potter around in the forest, the roads are reasonably well kept and sometimes we don't even need to worry about putting the car into 4WD (although we normally do - another story to come here).
Anyway on this day, sometime in July, we headed to the ford and on checking the water levels decided it probably wasn't the best choice of crossing and perhaps we should head the 150m upstream where we could cross without concern. So, Beema turned around and headed back down the track.
But, as we jumped into the car, a look passed between driver and passenger and without a word being spoken it was decided that James would be fine, let us not waste time turning around, surely we can cross. So, putting James into gear (yes, a manual) we headed straight towards the ford.
As we hit the water, a steep entrance, and the water started to rise, we looked in the back seat at the 18month old and 3 year old strapped in, and began to question the logic of this decision.
The water rose quickly, now over the bonnet, and the cabin became deathly quiet. As we headed towards the ramp on the other side, the water now on the windscreen one could hear every lap of water as it rose to the bottom of the windscreen, to a quarter way up the windscreen, and as our front wheels hit the far bank the back wheels began to float, yes, float.
The front wheels tried to grab the bank, they spun. Driver and passenger began 'jumping' in their seats (because that would help?!?!). Beema, still on the other side of the water, was watching in horror, passengers jumping out, driver yelling at them to get back in so they could speed to the other side, via the easy route, ready to pull James out before he floated downstream.
Front wheels spun again and again, in the meantime the back of the car was being pushed downstream, and suddenly traction. The front wheels grabbed and we were being pulled out of the water. The back wheels grabbed and we were out the other side.
The quiet panic that had affected the car, suddenly turned into manic laughing, the kids in the back (no idea what was going on) burst into guttural giggles. And Beema who had by now crossed the waterway was ready to give James and its passengers a solid ribbing for trying to give them a heart attack.
Now, as we know, there are some mechanical risks when a car is drowned. On returning home we thought it might be prudent to check the car out. And would you believe the differential breathers hadn't been connected property and so we had to change the oil ... otherwise everything appeared fine ... carpets were dry, motor washed and working ... yep, all seemed in order.
Until ... about 2 weeks after this little experiment to see if James was up for a swim, he became quite smelly. You know that smell of stale water. Investigation found carpets were dry but with pressure the floor mats felt more like a water bed. Lifting the carpets found that there are small holes under the rubber mats that allow water to seep under the mats.
Anyway, it was at this point that we discovered the amazing versatility of hair dryers and after an full day of targeted airflow James began to smell delightful. As an added bonus my old hairdryer now lives in the shed and my new hairdryer has all kinds of fancy functions.
A wine around the campfire was definitely required that night and the story has entered the folklore history pages.