The water temperature’s what I’m most concerned about.
Turns out that’s wrong. What I ought to be worrying about is fuel expansion and vaporization. But there’s not a needle for that, so I watch the rising water gauge like a hawk, ignorant of the fact that fuel is pumping out through the filler cap at roughly the rate it normally goes in.
We take a lot for granted these days, but 37 years ago, when the Escort XR3i was new, driving up to the summit of an Alpine pass was to be approached with trepidation. I forget that. It’s 35ºC at the base of the Col du Galibier today, the Escort makes it to within 200 vertical meters of the 2,642m summit before the misfiring begins and I stutter into a convenient layby.
Had I been having fun? Conventionally, no. One hundred and three horsepower, a full turn of unassisted lock required at every one of the innumerable hairpins and a point-blank refusal to idle made it at once slow, sweaty, and awkward. The others arrive to commiserate, a stream of increasingly youthful, increasingly potent machinery.