Right, I've been working away for the last couple of days and I got a phone call from my daughter yesterday to say that her car wouldn't start. She's not good at explaining stuff but I got the impression that the fault was with the starter motor, either being stuck or not getting power to it. Not being able to describe what a starter motor looked like, I suggested that she put the car in a low gear and rock the car backwards and forwards a few times to see if that released the starter motor. It ended up that she went back to the car, tried the ignition key one last time and, as luck would have it, it started so there was no need to do anything else. Later in the day she had the same problem but somebody looked in the engine compartment, didn't touch anything and the car started again. Same thing happened this morning - you get the gist. Anyway, as she leaves work tonight, the car wouldn't start. So she sticks the car in 2nd gear, lets it roll backwards down a hill and flips the ignition on. (If you've been paying careful attention to the words, you'll have noticed that the technique is a little bit, shall we say, unusual). The result was a loud bang beneath the bonnet and on looking inside the engine compartment she noticed (to use her words) that the engine had blown up with broken bits of engine lying all over the place. After returning home, I went to have a look at this (now) heap of junk, expecting to find a gallon or so of oil coursing down the road. Instead, I find that the top of the air intake had blown off. I know it's the air intake because the top of the butterfly valve of the carburretor is clearly visible. The car's a Clio btw. Piecing together the bits of information, I suspect that what happened was that the engine tried to run backwards and with the timing not being intended for such an action, the exhaust was sent through the air intake, the pressure being too much for the plastic housing. So, Question 1. Is my assumption of events plausible? Question 2. Is it likely that there's more damage hidden away as a result of the big bang? Something that could render her pride and joy BER? Question 3. Would driving the car 4 miles from its present location to home without the top on the air intake cause further damage? Obviously, the carburettor would be sucking in air that hadn't been through the air filter but driven gently for a short distance... If the responses are favourable, I'll disconnect, clean and reconnect the electrics to the starter motor and hopefully get the thing started, then it'll be a trip to the scrappy for a large bit of doubtlessly expensive plastic.