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Did you know that old Rolls-Royces had trouble with runaway automatic gearboxes too?

Your tragic emails about runaway automatics reminded me of a true incident, circa 1960. A friend had a wealthy uncle who had an automatic Rolls-Royce. One morning he drove out of his garage but stopped when his wife called him to the telephone. He left the Rolls ticking over still in ‘Drive’. As it warmed up and the oil thinned, the revs rose a little and off it went down his drive that terminated in two massive stone gateposts. My friend gasped and said, "Did it run into the gateposts?" Uncle Billy replied, "No! Luckily Hilda had left her Jaguar in the drive and it ran into that." How the other half live.

Asked on 2 November 2010 by WP, via e-mail

Answered by Honest John
Lovely story. Many thanks. And perhaps time to de-confuse readers about the 10 million dollar payout from Toyota to the family of a California Highway Patrolman whose Lexus crashed at 120mph after the accelerator pedal apparently got jammed by the carpet. This was an out of court ‘goodwill’ settlement, with no admission of fault, so sets no legal precedent. It is entirely separate from the 58 sticking throttle pedal incidents over which Toyota was legally exonerated.
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