Name That Part- Winter Olympics Edition

While Vancouver has had to import snow so that the amateur athletes have something to land on when suffering the agony of defeat, the eastern seaboard of the United States has been inundated with the white stuff. All that makes for some hairy driving conditions, whether you like to drive like you’re on the luge, or prefer the more cautious curling style. Sometimes it’s best just to stay inside, curled up with a good laptop and a bottle of absinthe to keep you warm.

That big Ford wagon up there has only a light dusting on top of it, and getting it out and on the road would take little more than a turn of the key and  a flick of the wipers. But being rear wheel drive, and sprung to take a load, when lightly burdened its slick surface handling could be considered entertaining at best, and insurance deductible-exceeding at worst. But until the early eighties, four wheel drive wasn’t available in anything other than butch trucks and the occasional esoteric furrin’ car. Most average-joes just had to make due with studded tires, chains, and sawing furiously at the wheel to keep their daily drivers from emulating Evan Lysacek on the way to work. Many a midwesterner, and east coaster handed down from generation to generation their trade secrets for driving in the snow. On many a death bed, the final words spoken are not repudiations of past sins, but instruction to feather the throttle and to always steer into the slide. And that brings us to today’s Name that Part. What does the Winter Olympics and tribal story telling have to do with the part below? Absolutely nothing, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t honor our nation’s amateur athletes with a little contest of our own, does it? I can tell you that is a part, and that it did originate from a car. With those clues, it should be pretty easy. So, there it is- what the heck is it? What did it come out of? And, most importantly, who will take home the gold in curling this year?!

Chewie, we're gonna' need a new plasma coupler for the Millennium Falcon.
Image source: [richardlewis.org]

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