Friday, 28 December 2012

Driveways (or Ways to Drive Daily Mail Readers Mad)

The Mail are throwing some shocking statistics at us today. Apparently "The number of households with four or more cars has soared by 51 per cent to nearly half a million over the past decade."

So now "Families with four or more cars now account for nearly 1 in 50 of all households"

Scary eh? That means we are now down to just over 98% of households that don't have four or more cars. And given that some of those with four or more cars will be Richard Hammond, Wayne Rooney, Chris Evans and the like - I don't think we should be panicking just yet.

So it's another non-story from the Mail with a picture that bears no relevance to the non-story:
Those children aren't old enough to drive, let alone clog up the driveway with cars. The driver is, I think, a man. It's hard to tell from that photo but the front-seat passenger is definitely female. I can't imagine the Mail would be promoting a lesbian family scenario so I'll assume it is a bloke. Why am I bothered about the sex of the driver? I'm not really, except the bloke who wrote the article seems to be blaming the increase in the number of working women and, therefore, women drivers for the extra driveway congestion.


Some of The Mail readers' comments are just as daft but, to fair, the daftest ones are receiving the most red down-arrows and the least daft are receiving the most green up-arrows.

The dubious one I have picked out is from K.Sera of London who tells us, "I have Range Rover, Maserati and several motorbikes in my garage, but I usually walk or hop on the tube. Taxis for nights out. But if I need to drive somewhere, I know I have transport. So, despite having several vehicles, I hardly drive. When I had just one car, years ago, I used to drive all the time."

Assuming he's telling the truth (which I don't) why mention it if he only has two cars?


Anyway, this is nothing new. Even back in the 1970s, your average Daily Mail reader was being disturbed while trying to enjoy a quiet Sunday morning washing his Austin Maxi:

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

How to Drive (...Telegraph Readers Mad).

Part 2 of what promises to be an amusing series of articles appeared in The Telegraph motoring section today.

Ed Cummins, a 25-Year-old Telegraph journalist is learning to drive.

He writes about it in an amusing way - at least I find it amusing.

Some others do not.

Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

I don't think he is being particularly honest about his lessons - he is playing it for mild comedy - which is fine by me - but some Telegraph readers don't seem to appreciate it - it's probably the same lot who complain about Alexei Sayle writing for The Telegraph. As I've mentioned before, I love the fact they get wound up.

The first comment, by someone calling himself cpf99, is actually very constructive making some good points about how Ed could have made more of modern teaching techniques and he also makes the obvious point that Ed is probably getting a freebie here in return for plugging The AA Driving School.

After that, though, it's the usual Telegraph-reader-who-doesn't-get-the-joke fodder and one deluded person called steveleeoflondon who wants us to believe that "When I was 10 I watched my dad carefully all the way to our holiday destination and worked out what the pedals did and how the gears work etc. When we got to the other end I asked him if I could try driving on the half mile long private road which formed part of our destination. I jumped in, adjusted the seat then drove using all the (4) gears, stopped, did a three point turn and drove it back and parked it. Easy."

He'll probably tell you he went on be World Rally Champ and taught Lewis Hamilton how to drive.

That's Telegraph readers for you.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Rolling Around in The British Countryside

This video has turned up on a couple of sites recently including Autoguide who use the lovely word "hoonage".It shows a Rolls Royce Phantom being thrashed about the countryside.

Nobody seems to know the story behind this - like who owns the car, who owns the land and who is driving.

Whoever made the video has gone to some trouble to pixelate the number plate. But not a very good job. With a bit of squinting and freeze-frame - and the knowledge that lots of Rolls Royces numbers start with HX - and the fact that it is a newish car (only 2500 miles on the clock) - it is quite possible to work it out. Especially if you put it into a car-check site like to confirm the vehicle make - I did and it came up with "a Rolls Royce Phantom Ewb Auto (4 Door Saloon)" so I'm quite confident I got it right. An earlier attempt came up with "Optare Solo Bus" but that was before I'd remembered the HX bit.

I'll not publish the number plate for a couple of reasons - one being that this could be a chauffeur having a bit of fun with his boss's motor - another reason being I could have got it wrong and coincidentally managed to find the number plate of ANOTHER Rolls Royce Phantom Ewb Auto (4 Door Saloon).

This could just be a rich playboy (or girl) but then he (or she) could be illegally churning up the land.

It could also be a case of someone borrowing Daddy's car.

Or maybe Rolls themselves have done this to get people on the Internet talking about their cars.

No - that would never work!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Take Your Penguin To Work

This drawing (for it is only a concept) of a very short underground train carriage is a Rinspeed Micromax.

You will observe that it has plenty of room for a driver, three passengers sort of standing up, a baby-buggy/wheelchair/shopping cart and a penguin. Not sure why you would want to take a penguin but that definitely looks like Pingu in the front there.

This concept will be appearing at The 2013 Geneva Motor Show and the story is covered by most of the online motoring press including AutoGuide and who advise you to "Stand up and strap in" - kinky!

Needless to say in a modern-day Car Show concept - it is all electric and, given it's obvious commutey taxi-cab urban madate, that is the sensible powertrain to be using.

For those not familiar with Rinspeed - they are not a Belgian Dishwasher manufacturer - they are a Swiss vehicle design-and-manufacture outfit. They have produced many vehicles usually taking a familiar product of a mainstream manufacturer and upgrading it - or coming up with a completely new take. Here is one of my favourites:
Pity it's called the ZaZen - daft name.

To learn more, check out their Website or look at their Google Images.

and if you don't want to pick up a penguin... could always grab a Taxi...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

I Don't Want a Porsche

If you were offering to give me one, I wouldn't say no. And I don't dislike Porsches - in fact I quite like some of them. In fact I quite like a lot of them.

But I've never really wanted one.

I've always been a bit scared of the 911 with its engine-sticking-out-the-back-which-really-screws-with-the-handling design which was fine for the Beetle but dodgy for anything that can achieve motorway speeds. Now I know that Porsche have added loads of stability trickery and suspension cleverness over the last 150 years that the 911 has been evolving and it is allegedly a lot tamer and safer to drive nowadays but why not just move the engine?

I have never liked the Boxster - it looks like two fronts of the same car welded back-to-back. Especially the early ones - especially with the hood up.

The Cayenne is just an SUV with a 911 front and the Panamera looks like a 911 stretched-limo.

So, if I was forced to pick - I'd go for the Cayman - the halfway-house between the Boxster and the 911. It looks good - it looks fun - and the engine is in a sensible mid position.
Top Gear Magazine and most of the motoring websites have been making a fuss of the new 2014 (what happened to 2013!?) Cayman as presented at the LA Auto Show lately. Here's the story from my favourite site. It includes a video presented by a Loyd Grossman soundalike.

OK, so maybe, just maybe, I nearly want a Porsche.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Deer, Oh Dear!

This is a couple of stories from America.

I'll get the "Oh Dear!" bit over with first because that is the saddest bit.
This is a corruption of a Smart Car on display at the The L.A.Auto Show.

It is called the Smart forjeremy. The story is in Car+Driver here.

Unfortunately, the Jeremy it is for is not Jeremy Clarkson - I would truly love to see his take on a Smart. No, this Jeremy is Jeremy Scott - a fashion designer I have never heard of who has designed fashion for people I have heard of - like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Apparently, those things at the back that make it look like an Indian Chief's head-dress are supposed to be wings.

They light up.

Oh yes, and the car is electric-powered.

Anyhoo. The better story from The States today is from Fox and is about this device - no, it's not a see-through i-Phone, it's a deer deterrent called "The Deer Deter". So why would you want to deter a deer - they're quite cute aren't they?

Indeed they are, but if you were a highway with fast moving traffic going along you, you wouldn't want these cute creatures getting splattered and generally causing accidents by wandering onto your tarmac when there's a car coming now would you?

Of course you wouldn't. So you put these up along the roadside and when they are activated by a passing vehicle's headlights, they emit a noise and strobe effect that stops the deer in its tracks until the vehicle has passed.

Oh yes, and the Deer Deter is electric-powered. Solar in fact. The noise is harmless and also means it will alert blind deer.

What do you call a deer with no eyes?


Monday, 26 November 2012

It's a Steal!

What would you rather steal, a Prius or a Land-Rover?

Would you?

I wouldn't steal either - I'm not a car-thief!

According to The Mirror this week, the Land-Rover Defender is the most-stolen car (in Britain at least) in terms of numbers stolen per number on the road.
They quote a survey by Swiftcover Insurance which shows Land Rovers, Audis and BMWs are more likely to be targeted by thieves than ordinary family saloons, despite having state-of-the-art security. The Swiftcover bloke says, "Given that luxury vehicles are usually alarmed, well protected and parked in affluent neighbourhoods, it’s surprising that they’re still so likely to be targeted."

No it isn't.

Just about all cars produced this Millennium have alarms and immobilisers so if you're going to go to the trouble of nicking a car you'd best go for one you can sell for big money or razz around in at high speed trying to escape the cops. Which brings us, quite neatly, to the subject of the least-stolen cars. Swiftcover don't tell us what they are...

...but Fox do.

They have this story this week quoting The National Insurance Crime Bureau or NICB for short. The NICB throw the following dodgy numbers at us: Of the 1.2 million Prius cars (that's a very big number) sold since the Year 2000 (in America at least), only 2439 have been reported stolen. They say this is one in 608 vehicles (I calculate it as 1 in 492)
They go on to say, "Even more incredible, 96.7 of the stolen cars were recovered, leaving only about 80 unsolved cases over the past 12 years." - that is incredible - especially the .7 - it would actually mean that 2342.3 of the cars were not recovered. I think a per-cent sign is missing from their story.

The NICB spokesman agrees with the Swiftcover person - "the above average income level of Prius owners could play a role, as the cars are often kept in safer neighborhoods and under better security" - they don't agree on the spelling of "Neighbourhoods" though.

I'd have thought that it was more to do with the fact the Prius is only really going to appeal to the environmentally friendly joy-rider.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Q8 should follow on from Q7.

Q8 was a funny, surreal, comedy sketch show from the 1970s starring Spike Milligan.

So was Q7.

Q8 followed on from Q7.

Audi have a huge car called the Q7.
It's too huge really - especially for the Chelsea Mums who like to drive it - but that's their business. Audi have now signed off the Q8 which will be hitting our streets in four or five years time. Car magazine have the story together with this mock-up:
Car&Driver also have the story together with this mock-up:
To be fair, both magazines credit the same artist, Christian Schulte, with the rendering so I guess Chris has done OK out of the deal - especially as all he has done is morph a BMW X6 (stupid) rear onto a standard (boring) Audi front - a sort of luxury German cut-and-shut. He's also changed the number plate slightly for the two different customers!

The speculation is that the Q8 will be a Cross-over SUV based on the A6 or A8 rather than an even-bigger Q7. I wouldn't want to see either, especially if it turns out as daft-looking as the X6. Hopefully it will only attract people who already own Audis - I don't want even more individuals driving 10cm from my rear bumper on the motorways.

Now, apart from being confused with a '70s TV show, this new car will also need to avoid being mixed up with Kuwait, a Middle-Eastern state famed for starting the first Gulf War by getting invaded by Iraq.

This oil-rich state should do well supplying fuel to power the big Audis.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Sacré Bleu! - le Maire de Paris est un Bouffon

If that title doesn't make any sense, blame Google Translate, it's meant to follow on from my Post from 12 months ago entitled "The Mayor of London is a Buffoon". His Parisian counterpart, according to, wants to ban cars built before 1997 from the city centre of Paris.
This is the chap - Bertrand Delanoe. I'm surprised Fox News haven't picked up on this one yet - it's a good excuse for some Socialist-bashing.

Now, I'm not a fan of old French cars - I'm not particularly a fan of new French cars either - but this is flippin' ridiculous.

and why 1997? This will exclude some servicible Clios, 405s and BXs - and that's just picking on the French manufacturers. The proposal would also outlaw pre-1996 trucks and delivery vehicles from travelling inside the A86 motorway that surrounds Paris, as well as all motorcycles that are more than 10 years old. Motorcycles! They last longer than cars and pollute considerably less.

Bert says “This is for our citizens. It’s a public health battle and we’ve been fighting since 2001 to try and make the air here more breathable.” Except this will affect 3% of cars in Paris and we would assume that those affected will just have to buy younger cars so the overall gain will be small. Whereas the financial effect on, presumably the poorer, car owners will be proportionally great - especially if they can't sell their old cars on to other Parisians. The only upside I can see is that you will get less of these
clogging up this:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Electric Car Racing

Caught this story in Autoguide today about McLaren supplying "electric engines" to a new racing series called Formula E.

They aren't electric engines, they're "motors".

Formula E had completely passed me by. Autoguide had covered it briefly in August but I'd missed that somehow. It will be an FIA fully sanctioned race series but it doesn't start properly until 2014 so I suppose they have a bit of time to get the word out.

They do have a Website but there isn't much on it - just some twitterings and a couple of annoying videos. And the reason they are annoying is a reason why this sport may not catch on with spectators - the racing just sounds wrong.

Hopefully batteries will have improved by 2014 because the current (ha current - electric - geddit?) plan is that "there will be 10 teams and 20 drivers for the 42 cars, as two cars will be needed to complete a one-hour race because of battery life." Either that or have some very long extension cables - or use the Top Gear Dodgem Car solution.

Until then, we can make do with these electric McLarens which don't sound too different to what we'll have in 2014.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


No, not Fox News for once. Although they do cover this story, unusually for them they go with a headline that immediately reassures. Maybe they are still reeling from Obama's success so haven't got back to their vitriolic best yet.

The headline that grabbed my attention was in and reads "Toyota Prius joins Fisker Karma in Hurricane Sandy fire troubles"

Their story seems to add fuel to the fire (intentional pun usage) of the worries that electric cars can spontaneously combust.

Fisker have had a few issues with car-fires in the past which pleases the right-wing, Fox News watching, Oil-Industry tycoons but these have been identified and resolved.

Not sure if these non-electric ones have been yet although I have heard glue may be at fault.

Anyway, the caradvice site refers back to The New York Times home of this brilliant quote: “We can’t be certain exactly what happened at the port,” Russell Datz, a Fisker spokesman, said in a telephone interview. “But we think being submerged in 13 feet of saltwater had something to do with it.”

These latest fires do not seem to be connected to the fact that Fiskers and Prius's (what is the correct plural there?) are electric or hybrid so restraint is needed. Otherwise, this brilliantly eloquent man needs to get on the case:
I found him on the Car&Driver site when I read this excellent article which coincidentally mentions electric car fires and Toyota. I'm not sure why he has a European number plate in his picture but his rant is perfect - I could easily imagine Lewis Black coming up with it - and if you don't know who Lewis Black is, look him up on YouTube and prepare to hear some swearing.

So, in summary, don't park your electric car in the sea and, most of all, as the great Clive Dunn who passed away yesterday would say, "Don't Panic!! Don't Panic!!"

Monday, 29 October 2012

A Real Sports Wagon?

This looks a lot more exciting than the Kia Cee'd Sportswagon I was reading about in my latest Top Gear Magazine this morning. Kia's car is the latest in a series of estate cars from various manufacturers made to appear more exciting by being given slight variations on the spelling of "Sportswagon" as a sobriquet.

The photo comes from today's Autoguide story about a Volvo Racing Estate Show-car.

I'm seriously hoping that this is a pre-cursor to a Volvo entry in next year's British Touring Cars Championship - following in the footsteps of MG as a Chinese-owned European car-maker wanting a bit of sporting publicity. We need more manufacturer teams in the BTCC and the paint-job chosen for this car pays homage to the Volvo 850 estates that competed in the BTCC during the BTCC hey-day of the '90s.
The show-car has a 2-litre engine so sticking a turbo on there would fit in perfectly with the NGTC Regulations currently used in the BTCC.
So come on Volvo, let's see those wagons roll!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fox Speculate On Killing President

Killing Lincoln to be precise - This is a car blog after all.While I'm sure Fox News will continue to character-assassinate President Obama, this story of theirs today is about Ford possibly killing Lincoln. This is on the back of earlier this year when they (and then I) reported about a Lincoln MKZ show-car literally smoking and back in 2010 when Ford announced the end Mercury.

All that Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of marketing and sales would say is "Stay tuned!"

Now President Lincoln was killed in Ford's Theatre while President Kennedy was killed in a Lincoln. See the Ford link? But then again, President Ford survived his own presidency and lived a very long life afterwards.

Quite a fusion of coincidences to focus on there.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Americans Are Interested in Vauxhall

Or are they?

Most of the American sites I follow are very interested in the Vauxhall Cascada - they are even showing photos of right-hand-drive cars with British Number Plates.
Although the Google images that stood out for me when I searched were this one of the Cascada's early predecessor, the Vauxhall Cavalier Convertible:
and this one apparently of a Singer Cascada:
I remember Singer cars from my youth but don't remember one that pretty - actually - I'll take that back - the later (1970s) Singer Rapiers were nice. Singer were part of the Rootes group who eventually found themselves under the ownership of PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

But I have digressed somewhat. Or have I?

The reason that America is so interested in this Vauxhall is that it may well get re-badged as a Buick Regal over there. Here is the Fox News story on it.

The Buick Regal, of course, should not be confused with the Reliant Regal:
Vauxhall, or as it is known in the rest of the World, Opel, is GM's loss-making, European arm - hence the interest in the Cascada being the new Regal soft-top. The GM accountants, however, are more interested in the loss-making part of that sentence - and a possible solution has been mooted this week. This Autocar story covers it quite well. It talks of a possible merger between Vauxhall-Opel & Peugeot-Citroen although GM would only own 30% of the new organisation.

I don't like the sound of this - it sounds more like a take-over and given the model-range overlap would probably lead to some factory closures - and probably not in France.

The article states that "According to Automotive News Europe, this tentative plan is said to have been one of a number of ideas being considered by the management teams of PSA and GM, including selling Opel outright to PSA or GM buying PSA’s automotive division"

I guess it will all come down to whether or not the Americans are interested in Vauxhall.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Classic Car Rescue

Since Channel 5 lost Fifth Gear to Discovery UK, they have obviously needed something else to fill that gap and they have come up with Classic Car Rescue.
It's on a Monday evening at 8pm (9pm Channel 5+1 Time) We are now half-way through the series.

In this Blog, I will review the show in the style of…the show. You will read me giving my opinions of the bust-ups and the work that goes on in restoring some classic motors from the past, turning them from barely scrap value to (literally) prize condition. I will comment about how Cockney mechanic Bernie Fineman has teamed up with Canadian Car Salesman Mario Pacione (no, I hadn’t a clue about him either) to buy and restore classic cars such as the E-Type Jag and an MGB GT. I’ll also tell you about their very contrived arguments and apparently catastrophic set-backs.

I was fully aware of Bernie Fineman from his previous work on Bangla Bangers and Chop Shop, London Garage – a couple of Channel 4 series where he was teamed up with a Bangladeshi designer so that they could have very fake arguments and produce some impressive-looking motors. I had never heard of Mario Pacione and wouldn’t be surprised if Bernie hadn’t either before he was teamed up with him to make this series.

This series is definitely more of the same except the arguments seem even more fake.

Each episode starts with them deciding what make of classic car to restore – so far we’ve had an E-Type, a Porsche 911 and an MGB and next week, it’s a Mustang. Once the car has been decided upon, Bernie will go out and about and try to find one. First, he will succeed in finding one that is a complete mess that the seller wants far too much money for. Bernie will then succeed in finding another one that is also a mess. He will then buy that one at a price that either he or Mario is not happy with. We will then be told how much it will cost to restore the car and that, to keep down costs, Bernie’s team of mechanics will be given a very, very short time period in which to do it.

Both partners will go out and source some spare or replacement parts from some local Cockney and/or Asian characters. Would it be wrong to call this ethnic group Cockasians?

Then it’s time for a near disaster followed by one of the partners (usually Mario) doing something really stupid and the other partner shouting at him, then storming off.

Next we get the good bit of the show – a look at the actual restoration work interspersed with a few interesting facts and figures about the history and manufacture of the featured car.

Now it’s time for a break – this Blog is sponsored by Adrian Flux Insurance – at least I wish it was – I could do with the cash. After the break, I’ll tell you about the door-slamming and how a posh bloke will value the car at more than was spent on it. There’s also a chance to win a copy of the finished Blog.Adrian Flux – for all your insurance needs – I’d like them to sponsor my Blog now please.

In the first part of this Blog, we learned that Cockney mechanic Bernie Fineman has teamed up with Canadian Car Salesman Mario Pacione to buy and restore classic cars. We know Bernie buys a classic car in need of much work and gives his team a very short timescale to complete it. Some parts will have been purchased and Bernie will then have had a contrived argument with Mario and one of them will have stormed off, slamming a door very loudly behind him.

We then see the conclusion of the restoration including the paint-job and the electrics. This is very reminiscent of American Hot-Rod and the whole series does have a strong American Hot-Rod vibe. Which is good. Mostly.

Each episode ends with a professional car valuer turning up in his BMW 850 and telling them what he believes the restored car to be worth. It’s been a respectable profit each time so far. The production company then presumably buy the car and give it away to the winner of an expensive-to-enter competition.

So, it’s a case of enjoyable car bits, and very irritating fake bits – like American Hot-Rod. Now, if you would like to win* a copy of this Blog, just answer this easy question and transfer £1.50 into my bank account:

What is Bernie Fineman’s surname?
C: £1.50

*Terms and conditions apply – the main one being that this isn’t a real competition.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

X Marks The Ugly Spot

I was following a BMW X6 the other day.
I still think they look stupid.

And when I say "following" - I was behind it in traffic - I don't associate myself with anyone daft enough to own one.

Maybe it's something about cars that have names beginning with "X".

Autoguide today have this story about the Volkswagen XL1 testing in Spain. They use this still from a spy-video:
It is a diesel hybrid with a 2-cylinder engine so it sounds absolutely awful in their video but it looks beautiful in the picture.

So what about my argument about X cars being ugly?

Well, I give you how the car is meant to look:
That is pig-ugly and the only real difference is the covering of the rear wheels - a bit like the McLaren X-1 which features on the cover of this month's Top Gear Magazine.
Note the X name. It was built by McLaren as a one-off for a very rich, and presumably blind, customer.

Which brings us back, rather neatly, to BMW and their X1:
Quite ugly, although the earlier incarnation looks OK in this Top Gear story from 2009...
...although that may have something to do with the bikini.

Now, regular readers of my Blog will know that I, myself, drive an X car - a Jaguar X-Type.

This is clearly the exception that proves the rule.

If I was on television right now, I would turn to a side-camera, shrug, and say, "No, I don't understand that saying either."

As a child of the '70s, I like my cars to be big and square and I love the looks of my car even if some people think the X-Type boring. Mind you, designer Paul Smith (turn to side-camera and shrug in an "I've never heard of him, either" sort of way) was obviously inspired (or commissioned) to come up with this:
Enough said, I think.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Left, Right?

Back at the start of Summer, I posted about Alexei Sayle becoming a motoring correspondent with The Daily Telegraph.I think I don't particularly like his motoring writing - his latest piece, on the Paris Motor Show, is quite short and quite vague. It does, however, really wind up a small number of Telegraph readers who like to vent their spleen in the comments section. This amuses me very much and I enjoy their annoyance.

I have made the point myself in the past that the better motoring columns tend to be found in the more obnoxious right-wing media - Fox News, The Telegraph and The Mail.

But, then again, I hadn't really looked in the left-wing media.

So I took a look in The Mirror.

I did find two of my favourite correspondents, Richard Hammond & Quentin Willson. But overall, it is quite a disappointing site and very rarely updated - it's had the same couple of stories including one about an electric car called "The Lightning" on its header for at least three weeks now - and some very intrusive advertising.

Socialist Worker doesn't appear to have a motoring section.

I think they should.

Now, who on Earth could they possibly get to be their star guest motoring correspondent?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Family Affair

Caught this rather nice article in the online Telegraph this week. It came with this very cheesy photo:
It's about BTCC driver (and reigning champion) Matt Neal teaching his twin sons, Will & Harry, to drive now that they have turned 17.

William and Harry!!

I hadn't though of him being a Royalist. I also hadn't thought of him as being old enough to have kids old enough to drive. He's only about my age!

His sons will have an excellent teacher and it looks like he is trying to keep their feet on the ground including some professional lessons as well. I'm not as sure of the car choices though, a sporty Corsa and an old Beetle with no seatbelts. The former will cost a fortune to insure and the latter has no seatbelts.

I've not mentioned the BTCC much this year - but I haven't missed a race and they have been just as exciting as every recent season. I've not watched any f1 meanwhile and am not missing it in the slightest.

The BTCC last weekend was at Rockingham and much rain caused much sliding off but there were no major disputes - unlike last year when this excellent picture was taken:
I don't usually credit the pictures I find on the 'Net but this is worth a link and a mention of Life Exposed Photography as this picture perfectly captures Matt in full-on anger mode where no other picture of the incident I've found does.

Here, Matt is launching himself at Jason Plato after a serious shunt in qualifying. Good! - we like some passion in our racing drivers. Jason is wisely keeping his helmet on given that Matt practises martial arts and is considerably bigger than him. Meanwhile, their dads are in the picture trying to make sure it doesn't get any worse.

A very un-cheesy photo - but, then again, racing-driver Matt Neal will be nothing like family-man Matt Neal - I hope! And it looks like it is family-man Matt Neal that Wills & Harry have as their driving instuctor.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

X-Ray Specs

Actually, that's a very misleading title - there aren't any specifications out for the Lada X-Ray yet - it's still a concept.
It looks OK, in a brown Renault Koleos-ish sort of way but, then again, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a fair bit of Renault involvement in this car. The BBC Website has this story/video today where Lada's new British-sounding designer, Steve, is shown telling us about the new ideas including the "unique" X shape at the front of the car that makes me think Vauxhall.
This story is on the back of a short one in The Telegraph a couple of days ago about how the last Lada Classic (or "Riva" as we'd call it) has finally rolled off the production line after 40 years. According to that article AvtoVAZ, who own Lada, said this week "it would now concentrate on making newer Lada models such as the Kalina, Priora and Granta."
These do not look good. I wonder if anyone's told Steve.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Worst Time to Have a Heart Attack is During a Game of Charades

That's my favourite joke from this nice (for once) Daily Mail story.

The story is how the management and staff of Westgate multi-story car park in Leeds are cheering up their customers with amusing quotes, sweets, competitions and, mostly, with jokes displayed in the stairwells.

The Mail, being The Mail, has to comment that some of the jokes are politically incorrect - something they are very much in favour of - and seeing as how they don't seem too politically incorrect, I can quite happily live with too.

Lots of the jokes are in the style of (or nicked from) Tim Vine and Milton Jones - two of my favourite comedians. But another favourite comedian, and Lionel Messi look-a-like, Canadian comedian Stewart Francis, is the one who I reckon is being mostly plagiarised.

The joke in the story about the '70s Karaoke Bar is one of his - as is this one which they haven't used but I just like:
"Standing in the park, I was wondering why a frisbee looks larger the closer it gets...then it hit me"

The most relevant one though is this one of Tim Vine's:
"Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels."

Sunday, 9 September 2012

'03 Ford For Sale

1903 that is.Fox News have the story of this Model A Rear Entry Tonneau (presumably the forerunner of the Mondeo) coming to auction with a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 - and it only cost $850 when new.

Pistonheads, meanwhile, are reporting on another item up for auction - the Dunlop Bridge from Donington Park.I won't be bidding because I already have the Scalextric version - I don't need the real thing.

Besides, it doesn't include the metal framework which you would need in order to walk over it! Apparently that was scrapped when Donington were doing all the work to upgrade when they were getting set for their ill-fated venture into hosting the British Grand Prix.

A venture that proved to be a bridge too far.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tiffany Dell


Oh, you mean Tiff Needell!

When he first appeared on Top Gear many moons ago, I thought they were calling him Tiffany Dell.

Today, I have learned that his name is actually Timothy!

He doesn't look like a Timothy.

The more disturbing news is how I found out that his hame is Timothy - it's on the Discovery Channel UK Website under "Meet the Team" for the new series of Fifth Gear!

Whilst looking on the MSN Cars site today I found a preview for the new series of Fifth Gear.

And yet Channel 5 have been plugging a new series with this photo:When they put up that photo and the news of the return of Fifth Gear, I guess they didn't realise that Discovery UK had done a deal and would actually be showing it.

It is disappointing for me - it means that it has gone over to pay-TV like f1 did so I won't be watching it - at least not until they start showing repeats of it on Quest or Dave or, dare I say it, Channel 5!?

And should it be called "Fifth Gear" now? They called it Fifth Gear when it evolved from Top Gear and moved to Channel 5. Now it's moved to Discovery it should be called "Searching for a Gear" or "Finding the Right Gear" something to do with discovery anyway.

The good news is the return to Fifth Gear of Jason Plato - if that's his real name.