Thursday, 28 November 2013

Electric Dreams

I don't suppose many people dream about a G-Wiz:
Who would want a horribly put-together non crash-tested little quadricycle?  But people do dream about a tiny 2-seat electric car that looks quite similar to it - The Enfield 8000:
This is not an Enfield Thunderbolt as the BBC headline writers want to call it in this article today - it is an Enfield 8000.  An Enfield Thunderbolt is nearly a motorbike made by Royal Enfield which has nothing to do with Enfield Automotive who created the (properly crash-tested) 8000 back in the '70s.  The motorbike is actually called a Thunderbird.

So who does have electric dreams about this car?

The BBC article tells us that Radio 4 presenter Peter Curran has bought and restored an Enfield 8000.

Fifth Gear presenter Jonny Smith is converting one into a Hot-Rod and has been for some time now - you can follow his adventures here.

Meanwhile, in this interesting Independent article from 2006 we learn that Dave Woodbury, an entertainment agent based in Bournemouth has owned his since 1978 and had three of them at one point.

Next week, wet dreams:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

404 Error

Actually, this is a 405 Error.  The Bristol 404 is smaller than the 405.

I'm not sure I should be commenting on this story because the Mail say "Sorry we are unable to accept comments for legal reasons."

The Evening Standard of London, from whom they admit they got the story, seem happy enough to take comments though.  Maybe they have better lawyers.

The story is actually about a lawyer - and, like those commenting within The Evening Standard, I have little sympathy for him.

Basically, the lawyer has bought one of these, a 405 saloon, for £20K...
...with the intention of paying £153K to Bristol for turning it into a 405D Drophead Coupe - ie one of these:
...with the addition of automatic transmission for good luck.

This was particularly bad luck for all concerned because it appears that Bristol don't have the expertise to perform these alterations.

So the lawyer took Bristol to Court for breach of contract (Bristol say they didn't sign any legal documentation) and the judge agreed with the lawyer.

I was always told that a verbal contract "wasn't worth the paper it wasn't signed on".

The lawyer is asking for up to £300K.

Not sure why, he's only shelled out £50K so far and I guess he still has the car.

The Evening Standard article contains a basic error as well that carries through to The Mail.  I thought it seemed strange that he would buy a car of which only 43 were built and then want to radically change it.  So I checked on Wikipedia.  Yes , I know - but I reckon this page was created by a car-nerd so will be right. 

There I found the 405 saloon picture that the Evening Standard had used plus the two pictures I have used

and I also found out that it was the Drophead Coupe that only 43 examples of were built - he was trying to create a 44th example.

I hope he doesn't get awarded big money - the decision will be next year but one of the reasons that Bristol no longer have the same expertise is redundancies after recovering from this.

Now, I wonder if anyone would be interested in turning a Peugeot 405 saloon:
into a Peugeot 405 coupe: 
Bet that wouldn't cost £153K

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Fifth McGann

Everyone knows the four famous McGanns.

Paul, Stephen, Mark and Renault.
Paul is being particularly famous this week seeing as how he is the 8th Doctor Who.

But as well as an eighth Doctor, we have a fifth McGann:
Porsche McGann (although the spelling has been changed for artistic reasons to "Macan") tell us that the new Porsche Macan, as debuted at the LA and Tokyo Motor Shows is going to be the smallest Porshe SUV ever available.  Porsche have got Maria Sharapova to model it for them.
I like Maria Sharapova.
I don't like tennis but I still like Maria Sharapova although I'm not convinced  by this photo of her. 
Her proportions seem wrong.

And so do the car's.

That photo comes from the Forbes site, specifically the work of Hannah Elliot.  I've already decided I don't like Hannah Elliot - maybe I'm jealous that, to quote Hannah Elliot, "I cover the fun stuff: Fashion, Cars and Culture" although, having said that, I have no interest in fashion or culture.

But back to the Aussie site.  It states that, "The Porsche Macan, measures 4699mm in length, 1923mm in width and 1624mm in height, making it 146mm shorter, 16mm narrower and 82mm lower than the Cayenne" - and here's the Cayenne:
Which is where we get back to proportions.  On a car this size, those size differentials make no difference - 14.6cm shorter! - under 6" in real money! - this will look exactly like a Cayenne - the only real difference is that this car utilises VW's new MQB platform so will be cheaper to engineer.  They should just call it a MkIII Cayenne and be done.
More of a Macan't than a Macan.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Clarkson et le Hamster Sont Interdits

I'm surprised not many sites have got this story.  None of the major newspapers have it, just a few motoring websites.

The story is this one:
It is from a Clarkson article so it will be in The Sun or The Sunday Times.
It will be hidden behind a paywall online but I wouldn't want to read either publication anyway since they are part of the odious Murdoch empire.
The gist of this is that Clarkson & Richard Hammond have been fined for speeding in France and banned from driving there for three months.
Being me, I am suspicious that if this happened, that it was just a publicity stunt for the DVD they were filming that will be out "just in time for Christmas" - the DVD that gets mentioned in the stories of the incident.
If it was though, it hasn't worked - yet.  Maybe it's just that nobody at The Mail has noticed it up to now.
They were doing 140kph in a 90kph zone that they claim to have thought was a 130kph zone.
There's no mention of James May - I guess Capitaine Lente would not have made that mistake.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Titchmarsh Borgward

There's two words you wouldn't expect to see together.  In fact I'd never heard of one of those words before today.

This is a Titchmarsh:
While this is a Borgward:
The former is a gardener turned TV host who I had heard of while the latter is a German car I had never heard of.
Alan Titchmarsh contributed this piece to the Telegraph motoring section this weekend about how he prefers to travel around in old cars.  He says that after passing his test, he "took to the roads in an assortment of cars that were owned either by my father or the plumbing firm that he worked for: everything from a Borgward Isabella to a Ford Capri."
That got me researching Borgward.
They seem to have existed from the late '20s to the early '60s when they went bust after producing a very large number of vehicles including trikes and trucks - I really don't understand how I could not have heard of them.  Were they not imported to the UK?  I don't know.  However, a quick visit to the UK Borgward Drivers Club website reveals plenty of right-hand drive examples, some on British plates.
Maybe we'll all get to hear the name in the future though.  The grandson of the original Herr Borgward has started up a new automotive company, called Borgward AG.  Their website uses lots of management-speak - but these days, they have to.  They use the word "revival" a lot - I hope they succeed - this project deserves to do better than the Maybach revival but even Mercedes money couldn't make that work.  I think it could be a long time before a popular UK TV gardener called Alan can go out and buy one to tootle around Yorkshire in...
...a long time before we see the Titchmarch Borgward.