Measure Me, Baby

Feb 05, 2011

RAY: This is from my history of automatic manufacturing series. And the pre-obfuscated version was sent in by Tom Paisley, but he would never recognize it now.

You may recall, some years ago I used a puzzler that asked if there was a part that first appeared on cars many, many decades ago that is still used on every car today, essentially unchanged. And the answer to that was the Schrader valve. Every tire has one. You put air in and it stays in.

Now I've been thinking about other parts and the distances between parts. And I was wondering if there's a standard distance on a car that is the distance from point A to point B that's the same now as it was 75 years ago.

I know it's not the distance between the brake and the gas pedal. I wish that were the case because sometimes you can step on the brake and end up stepping on all three pedals at the same time. It's not the distance between the ground and the bumper, that would be nice because when I try to park my pickup truck and your Fiat's behind me, I end up smashing your headlights. So it isn't that.

But there is a distance measured from A to B that has been the same on cars, on every car that's sold in this country, for as long as I can remember, maybe 70 years if not even more than that.

TOM: Very good!

RAY: And the question is, what is the one distance that has been unchanged for 70 years on cars?
RAY: Here's the answer. I'm sure it'll be disputed and create some tremendous gnashing of teeth controversy.

It's the distance between the holes that the license plate attaches to.
That's the same on every car and it has it. You got a plate from a 1940 car and you put it on your jalopy, and the holes will line up.

Do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Jack Nesbitt, from Dauphin, Alabama. And for having his answer selected at random from all the correct answers that we got, Jack is going to get a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division, with which he can get Car Talk's Field Guide to the North American Wacko.

RAY: Congratulations Jack!

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