Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Restoring the Faith

We seem to have a plethora of car make-over/restoration shows on UK telly at the moment.

We have series 2 of Channel 5's Classic Car Rescue on a Monday night.  We have ongoing Wheeler Dealers on Discovery.  Quest are repeating Chop Shop, London Garage on a Thursday and we have a new entry from Channel 4 on a Sunday namely, For The Love of Cars:
This features Philip Glenister and "internationally renowned car designer" Ant Anstead restoring classic British cars.  I put that bit in quotes because that is how Channel 4 describe him - I'd never heard of him before and he does seem to be an extremely competent mechanic/car restorer - not too sure about the relevance of his design qualifications though.
Ant gets on with the actual restoration work while Phil becomes DCI Gene Hunt with ever-varying amounts of stubble and goes out to have adventures and meet people and groups with stories to tell of whichever vehicle is up for restoration that week.
Week one saw the Escort Mexico in the picture above - the best bit was the look on the face of a Liverpool Police Officer who used to drive one in the '70s.  They were interviewing him for the series in a back alley somewhere on Merseyside and he suddenly heard the siren approaching of one of the cars in the fleet he used to use.  He got to drive it again and meet up with a '70s car-thief too.
Week two was the Series I Land-Rover where Phil got to meet a Landie enthusiast who you wouldn't want to meet down the pub and another who you definitely would - they even named the restored Landie after him.
Next week it's the Triumph Stag - really looking forward to see what they do with my favourite classic.
Classic Car Rescue, which I did a bit about Series 1 on, has changed a little bit.  There are still the silly, contrived, badly-acted arguments but I think there is a little more actual car restoration being shown.  The final valuation now comes in via "classic car expert" Paul O'Neill.  I put that in quotes because Paul O'Neill is an ex-Touring Car Driver who does the Twitter bits during the BTCC Coverage and is the brother of a Spice Girl.  I'm a big fan of Paul (him being a Scouser helps) but I've never heard him described as a "classic car expert" before.
Bernie Fineman's previous show, Chop Shop, London Garage is probably the nearest to what I think of as the original and best show like these, American Hot-Rod which I posted about back in 2011.  These two shows are more make-over than restoration but enthralling viewing to me.
According to wiki though, American Hot-Rod wasn't the first - Wheeler Dealers is older - and still going strong.  I love Wheeler Dealers but it's quite rare that I get to watch it because it is on Pay-TV - this is surely a prime show for Quest to take on?
Anyway, I hope as many of these shows continue as possible for many years into the future when one day they will be restoring Nissan Jukes and Citroen DS3s.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Jurgen Klopp has said he isn't interested in taking over the vacant Manchester United Managerial post.

But his brother Clippety might be up for it.

That joke, courtesy of Chris Evans, leads me into this story from Fox.

It is about a proposed electric vehicle that would replace the horse-drawn carriages that take tourists on rides around Central Park in New York City.

One big problem is that it looks vile:
The prototype was commissioned by NYCLASS, a group advocating for a ban on carriage horses because they say it's inhumane to have the animals working in an urban environment.  Now, I read "NYCLASS" as "NYC Lass" - ie a girl from New York City but I strongly suspect that they are "NY Class" but I'm afraid that vehicle just doesn't look classy - it looks huge for one thing - not conducive to a romantic trip around the park.
It has been dubbed the "Horseless eCarriage"which is what may be needed if the NYC Mayor and NYC Lass get their way.  There may well be good arguments for banning horses from the middle of Manhatten - I don't know, but it will be a shame if this is what replaces them.  I suggest something smaller and maybe more like the electric cars of a hundred years ago - Columbia Victoria anyone? - not to be confused with a Crown Victoria, of course, which is just a big car that is used to take tourists around New York.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Don't look in the Mirror!

Actually, you should regularly check your mirrors when driving - I'm talking about the online Daily Mirror motoring section.

I have never been a regular reader of it anyway but there would sometimes be an interesting Quentin Willson or Richard Hammond article in there.

It's been a while since my previous post so I took a look today to see if there was anything there I could post about.

It looks like they've given up:
The headline story is an advert for personal injury claims thinly disguised as an article about driving in the Easter Holiday traffic.
Then you get to the rest of their stories:
They are very few and far between - and getting fewer and further apart - April 9th, March 20th, March 16th.
They are interspersed with more personal injury "advertorial"s such that there are 6 advertorials to just four real articles.
And there is no sign of Quentin Willson.
It wouldn't be so bad if the adverts were not for personal injury advice - I hate personal injury lawyers - they are leeches who cause insurance premiums to be so high.
I have deleted Mirror Motoring from my Internet favourites.
Something to reflect on there.
Nice little joke at the end - pity I used it before really - I hope that doesn't reflect badly on me.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Camped Out

This seems to have been going on for ages.

But it has finally happened.

The last VW Kombi (or original style Camper Van) has rolled off the production line in Brazil.
To mark its demise, VW have produced a fine farewell video called "Last Wishes".

I know it's a bit schmaltzy but it is also quite enjoyable.  I wish I could work out which actress is doing the narration though.  She is obviously British and sounds very familiar.  The official blurb states that the narration is by "the van itself".  Yeah - right.

The video is done from an "I'm about to die" point of view so, to lighten the mood, here is my favourite comedian, Milton Jones, showing us around his VW Camper:

The modern-day equivalent, the VW Transporter is very square - both literally and in the way that the hippies who drove Campers in the 1960's would use the word.  Could VW have not gone down the retro route like they did with the Beetle?  Possibly, they did come up with the Bulli concept a few years back:

Although, that is a bit smaller and a bit more electric.
You may wonder how Australian travellers are now going to get around Europe.
Well, given the average age of the Campers being used by them today, I think they will just carry on running and running.
No worries.  No flowers.
Apart from in your hair.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Take Your Classic Car to Work Day.

I like Chris Evans.

Not in a sexual way, of course.

I'm also quite jealous of him.

He is the same age as me (give or take 6 months) and has a successful broadcasting career and considerably more cars than me - even if you take into account my Scalextric collection.

He also has the power, through presenting Britain's most popular breakfast show, of declaring days as being "National Whatever Day".

As one of his listeners, I have been following with much interest and anticipation, the announcement and run-up to today - his "National Classic Car Day".

MSN announced it here but most of the media hasn't covered it.

Maybe that is why I haven't seen many classic cars during my 22 mile commute to work this morning and back home this evening.

This morning, I spotted a 1980's Daimler (the one with the rectangular headlamps).  This may or may not have been taking part in National Classic Car Day.

This evening, I spotted a 1980's Porsche 911.  This may or may not have been taking part in National Classic Car Day.

This lunchtime, whilst strolling back from the local Spar with the beef barm I had just purchased, I spotted a yellow Triumph Dolomite.  This may or may not have been taking part in National Classic Car Day but it excited me anyway (not in a sexual way) as all Triumphs always do.

So, overall, I don't think there has been a big take-up - at least where I've been on the England-Wales border today.

However, there are several nice pictures on Chris' Facebook page including this Dyane being modelled by Chris' Radio 2 colleague Alex Lester:
...and of course this Triumph Dolomite: 
So now I'm excited again.
But not sexually.
Well.  Maybe just a bit.