The nipple on the radiator failed, the big radiator hose fell off, and prodigious clouds of steam came from the car while gouts of green antifreeze spilled on the ground.
Needless to say, the car did not pass the emissions test, even though the car clearly had lots of emissions.
I went to a nearby auto supply store and got a screwdriver, and more antifreeze, hoping to at least patch it together. At the auto parts store I learned my debit card had demagnetized; I paid cash. I tried getting the hose back on, it wouldn’t go, so I had to have the car towed home. In the process, I saw how the nipple had broken off. The remnants weren’t in the hose. In other words, it had already failed and the hose — which was new — had been jammed on the remaining fragments in the hopes that it would hold for long enough.
Talking with the tow truck operator, it turned out he was from my old home town, Pueblo. In fact, we have about a million mutual friends and acquaintances, and in fact had probably met a few times — he’s about 13 years younger than me, so it wouldn’t have been often — and that he had been to the family music store many many times. He gets the car home, and looks at my old Mercedes’ body damage. He also does body work, and thinks the body damage can be repaired relatively easily. A commercial body shop would have charged me something like $3000, which was more than the car was worth, but he was very hopeful of doing it for much less. Since the best option I’d had so far was selling it to an auto salvage, that seemed good — either I’d have two elderly Mercedes, or I could sell one and probably net a lot more than I would have gotten from the auto salvage.
Got home, and after the tow and everything I had $2 in cash and a debit card that wouldn’t work, not that I could get to an ATM machine anyway — I live more or less out in the country. This was on Wednesday the 3rd.