Years ago when I was just getting into working on cars a good friend convinced me to buy a MG midget. The car had been sitting, but was complete and $500. He taught me how to do some basic maintenance, and after a few struggles, we got it roadworthy. We did some cooling work, brakes, and set the carb float. I eventually managed to get it past emissions inspections and we claimed victory.

The next weekend my good friend had planned on visiting a mutual friend of our who was autocrossing an old volvo 140. We figured, let’s take the MG! It will be a good road test. The 100 mile trip down should be easy, and then maybe we could even autocross the midget.

The car made it out of town, and then started stumbling. We were able to pull off the freeway and onto a side street before the car died and wouldn’t start again. We worked on it for a while with some tools we brought. We cleaned some debris out of the carb float bowl, and managed to get it going again. Sadly, when I did the cooling system work, I didn’t reinstall the whole shroud on the radiator. After gathering up our tools from the engine bay, my buddy set his hand down above the radiator to reach for one last tool. The engine was running. The shroud was missing. He put his hand down on top of the fan.

Instantaneously there was blood. A lot of blood. I freaked out, he went into shock. We ran into a car dealership right next to where we had stopped. They had no idea where the first aid kit was. Thankfully, they did know where the nearest hospital was, 20 minutes back in the direction we just came.

Those were the fastest fifteen minutes I ever drove in that car. The hospital was able to clean everything up, and after surgery my friend ended up with a gnarly scar and loss of feeling in one finger. I never even considered autocrossing that car again. I drove it for years afterward, but always thought of that moment everytime I opened the hood. (And on a british car, you open the hood a lot.)