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.