1928: A motor track was constructed from the Persian Gulf through the foothills of the Zagros to Gach Sārān, where, in that same year, oil was discovered in large quantities.
The rugged road and sizzling temperatures were too much for most vehicles. Engines overheated and took hours to cool. Only one lorry could overcome the terrain and the heat; while the others panted and wheezed, this particular vehicle barely raised a sweat as it climbed the steep slopes.
The inexplicable was only explained when an oil company supervisor demanded to look under the lorry’s bonnet. The driver had placed half a water melon over the carburettor, and the juicy flesh kept it just cool enough to cope with the extreme conditions.
Source: Henry Longhurst, Adventure in Oil: The Story of British Petroleum (1959), pp. 62–3