Monday, 19 June 2017

For Richer, For Poorer

There were a couple of interesting Autocar articles published this week that I quite enjoyed until I read a comment that made me feel quite cold.

The first one was this one.

It is a story about a company called "Flying Spares", based near Nuneaton which basically recycles discarded Bentleys and Rolls Royces to supply spares all around the World.  Most of the business is shipping new or remanufactured spares but they do also source many off the vehicles that they have there too.
Not sure what that 66 plate Bentayga is doing there though. I wonder if they will actually cater for newer Bentleys given that they are now part of VAG so will have a completely different set of spares to Rollers.
I know I love wandering about a scrapyard - that particular one (not that they call it a scrapyard) would be particularly fascinating.
The company was started out of a Portakabin by Ben Handford and his wife, Lucy and is now turning over close to £10 million per year.
Another entrepreneur who started small (in a barn in fact) is Tim Earnshaw, who owns Windrush Car Storage which is what the other article is about.  It is a storage facility for luxury cars and a Metro.
The article begins, "They call it ‘the Batcave’ because of the amazing cars it contains, and because you could be standing within two feet of it and not know it was there.
I can’t tell you precisely where it is except that it’s in an underground car park in central London, shielded from view by thick walls."

It seems to be under the Westfield Shopping Centre.

It costs £480 a month to store your car there and it will get cosseted including regular running.  I hope they aren't charging the Metro owner that - it will be costing more than the car is worth just to store it.  They do have a cheaper facility in the Cotswolds where they charge £270 a month.  It would be worth driving from London to there just for the savings - but then again, money is not going to be an issue for the people using this service.
Could that be a Bugatti Veyron under that sheet perhaps?

Then I read the comments at the bottom of the story.

Someone using the name voyager12 said "The city where cars are better looked after than people."

Now I love cars.  That's why I was finding it so interesting reading these articles.  The first article is fine - it is about helping people - enthusiasts - to keep old luxury cars on the road at a budget to be enjoyed.  The second article though is about helping obscenely rich people store luxury cars that will very rarely be driven.

The location is nice and handy for Kensington.

Kensington where there are many luxury properties laying empty while their rich, usually foreign, owners are abroad somewhere for most of the year.

Kensington where, at the latest count, 79 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire.  They were there because they were poor - because that was the best social housing that could be found for them.  If it is true that the block was covered in dangerous cladding because it was more attractive to look at then someone needs to go to prison for a very long time.  But if it is true, we know they won't.

Now don't get me wrong, I've no problem with Tim.  He has found an excellent way of bringing some foreign money into our country while he provides a unique and useful service.  It's just a shame that (and I know I'm making a big assumption here) I suspect that most of his client base will think more about their cars than about people.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Amazon Primed to Sell Cars in the UK

Allegedly, you can already buy a new Fiat 500, 500L or Panda through Amazon in Italy.

I can't find any evidence of that actually happening though.

Autocar have the story here.  It looks like it will be Fiat Chrysler Group cars they'll be flogging though.

Hope they've got a big drone.

If it was to have been used cars, then they should have been thinking Volvo:
(That's a Volvo Amazon)
Now they just need some way of publicising the venture to lots of people interested in cars. Can't think how they may go about that...

Friday, 2 June 2017

El Nombre del Coche

Buenos Días.

According to Autoguide, Seat are opening up the naming of their new model to the general public.

It's going to be an SUV slotting into their range above the Ateca which isn't a bad-looking car despite being an SUV:
There is  certain samey-ness to most SUVs nowadays - mainstream manufacturers all seem to be concentrating on different sized cross-overs.  Which is boring.  But people keep buying the things so I can't really criticise the business model.

Anyway, Autoguide announce that the new car won't end up with the name Carry McCarface.  This is a reference to the Polar Research Ship The RRS Sir David Attenborough currently being built up the road from my house.  That ship may have been called Boaty McBoatface if the general public had got their way.

But they didn't.

And Seat insist that their cars are named after Spanish places so it's not an issue.

And when they say "above the Ateca", they don't say if it will be a replacement for the Alhambra (which is more of a people-carrier) or it's going to fit into the range between the two.

I've checked the map and, depending on which route you take, half-way between Ateca and Alhambra is a small place called Buendía.  Which means "Good Day" - a very positive name for a car.

Or they could go for a little town to the South-West of Pamplona.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Motoring Offences

Ok, so what's the worst motoring crime?
  1. Driving while using the phone.
  2. Locking two children in the boot.
  3. Driving at 4TIMES the speed limit.
Two of these are pretty serious.

What? Only two of them?  Surely I can't be serious?

Well I am serious and don't call me Shirley.

Let's take them in order.

1. Driving while using the phone.
We have this story today from BBC News.  UK police caught almost 6,000 drivers using their mobile devices while driving in the four weeks after March 1st.  The significance of that date is that it was then that penalties for being caught were doubled plus any newly-passed drivers caught would have their licences revoked.  It looks like this is still not enough of a deterrent.
2. Locking two children in the boot.
Another BBC story - this time from yesterday where this woman,
Tori Castillo allegedly locked her 5 and 2 year old children into the boot of her car in Utah, USA while she went shopping.  She is facing child abuse charges and the children are now with their father.
Which brings us onto the not-so serious story about the chap convicted of...
3. Driving at 4TIMES the speed limit.
Fox News have this story.  The guilty party was one Walter Arnold and he committed the offence in Kent, UK.
He was driving this very car here: 
The constable who arrested him estimated he was doing a speed of approximately 8mph in a 2mph zone.  Actually, the entire country was a 2mph zone back in 1896 when this happened.  The article describes 2mph as "a little quicker than the average speed of an ambling cow."

The constable was on a bike but I reckon if he'd just upped his walking pace a little he would have still caught him anyway.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Platonic Love

 Plato hasn't been saying much this year.
This probably isn't too unusual.  However Jason Plato also hasn't said much.
This is unusual.

He is normally quite outspoken.  But then again, he's normally doing very well in the British Touring Car Championships.

And this year he isn't.

As I type this, we are currently two races into the Oulton Park Round and Plato has finished 12th and 11th.

He's been blaming the boost regulations.  But that doesn't explain how his team-mate Ash Sutton finished 3rd and 1st.

So Jason has also been blaming this:
He reckons his car has never been fully straightened out after looking like this after crashing at Brands Hatch earlier in the year.
There are four cars in that team and Plato is the senior driver - surely they could have put his number on one of the other cars.  Mind you, I don't envy Warren Scott, the team manager:
It can't be easy having to deal with Plato but I also feel a little sympathy for Jason too - as he pointed out today (now he's finally talking) - it is him who is the front-man for the team and it is him who is having the awkward conversations with the sponsors and money-men.  Although it is also him who flew in to Oulton Park today after attending Pippa Middleton's wedding.  So maybe his life isn't too bad at the moment after all.
However, the real star of the day at Oulton is this young man:
18-year-old Billy Monger.  Five weeks ago, he was involved in a horrific crash while taking part in a Formula 4 race at Donington Park.  He lost both his legs.  His maturity, is attitude, his cheerfulness are amazing.  He wants to race again.
I have no doubt he will.