Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Prior Warning

I read Matt Prior's latest article today.

No, not Matt Prior the mentor and very good friend of Kevin Pietersen:

I'm talking Matt Prior the Autocar writer:

He is basically talking here about how it is important that car reviewers don't get freebies or payments or little extra jobs from car manufacturers.  It looks like a dig at other car magazines - he specifically points to "one US car magazine is actually presenting a TV car advert" - I'm guessing he is talking about Car+Driver who do sometimes feature car ads - but only to comment on the ad or show a particularly good one but I've never seen one and thought that they were endorsing the car in question.

I got the feeing that Mr.P is trying to say how wonderful Autocar is compared with the competition.  Understandable given that he works for them.  I hope it isn't an indication that the magazine is struggling though.  If they are, I am not exactly helping because I only read their articles online.  The only Car mag I purchase is Top Gear and I don't pay full price for that thanks to my Tesco Clubcard points.

I then looked back at some other Matt Prior articles.  Back in February, he was saying "why the Autocar road test is so important."  He is extolling the wonderfulness of his magazine for finding a potentially fatal braking problem with the Suzuki Celerio they were testing.  It caused the car to be taken off sale while it was sorted out.

At this point I should point out that Celerio is a stupid name for a car.  It sounds too much like celery or celeriac - which I believe is related to the turnip.

The other Prior article which caught my eye was this one.  Probably because of the picture they chose to illustrate it:
Ironically enough,  it is a short article about the use of glamourous women at The Geneva Motor Show (and all other motor shows) that Matty P had recently attended.  He plays the feminist card - and gets a lively little debate going in his comments section.

At this point, I decided to see if I could find any suitably sexist material in Autocar.  I can't speak for the physical magazine (because I haven't bought one in many years) but online they look very clean.  Best I could find was from 1973:
So then I decided to look up the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in Google Images - and I found hardly any glamourous females adorning the cars.  The few women that did show up there had two things in common:  "Autoevolution" written across the photo; and virtually no way of identifying the car.
I think I'll use this photo when I advertise this posting on my Facebook page.

Autoevolution, incidentally is autoevolution.com, a Bulgarian based car site that I delve into from time to time - they tend to have lots of stories, sometimes interesting, sometimes trashy.  I can guess which way their Geneva 2015 coverage went.

Are they competition for Autocar?

I hope not - but I suspect so.  Let's see if Matt Prior can knock them for six.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

That Idle Lot in Westminster

And that's just the ones that turn up:
Actually this isn't a political story - it is one of two unrelated motoring stories that caught my eye on the BBC News Website this week - the newly revamped BBC News website.

Which I don't like.

It's not as good as the one it replaced.

Which I didn't like when that came about because it wasn't as good as the one it replaced.

And so it goes on - but then you get used the latest one and everything is good again.

Anyway back to the story - it appeared yesterday.  It's about how motorists sitting in their vehicles in Westminster will be liable for £20 fines if they leave their engines running if they aren't actually going anywhere.  I think I'm in favour of this - it is irratating to see exhaust fumes belching out of a parked car and the thought of fuel being wasted.  I don't see how they could police this rule though.

The taxi drivers aren't happy.  The article quotes Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA saying that the fines were "absolute tosh" and a public relations and money raising exercise from the council. He went on: "It is not going to do anything constructive to tackle the pollution crisis in London. When was the last time you saw someone idling in the city? It doesn't happen."

OK then, if it doesn't happen you've got nothing to worry about, have you Steve?

The other BBC story that grabbed my attention today was this one.  It is about how a group of descendents of Confederate soldiers wanted to have the following design on their Texas State licence plates:
This request was declined as it was deemed offensive to a large number of people affected by or ashamed of Slavery.

So the battle was taken to the US Supreme Court with advocates saying that banning it was in contravention of the First Amendment because it restricted their right to free speech.  The State argued back that licence plates are Government property and therefore not subject to the First Amendment.

I was intrigued to see how Fox News was covering this - expecting a lot of right-wing bile against the ban but after searching using the American spelling license, I was pleasantly surprised to just find a sensible article putting both sides of the argument.

I had always liked the Confederate Flag and didn't realise its associations until I saw The Dukes Of Hazzard movie.  The movie just didn't live with the TV series which was my favourite show as a child of the '70s & '80s but the real reason I mention it is an excuse to show this picture of the flag on the roof of the car:
Now, there are plenty of better pictures showing more of the flag - but they show less of Daisy Duke.

Appently, a decision on the confederates' licence plate is due at the end of June.  Meanwhile, a quick Google Images search for funny licence plates caused me to put together this little collage:

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Some Say... ...He Doesn't Like Clarkson

Quite a clever headline in this week's Radio Times.  The subtitle is "The Stig gives his verdict on Clarkson"
Actually, The current Stig maintains his usual silence.  The original Stig admires Clarkson's style and thinks the show could not continue without him while making a reference to Last of The Summer Wine - which is a comparison I have myself considered on more than one occasion.  The second Stig clearly isn't a Jeremy fan but reckons that the show could continue without him.

In case you're wondering what I'm wittering on about, surely you must have heard the news by now about the rest of the current series of Top Gear being cancelled/postponed after Jeremy hit a producer on the show?

This story is worldwide!

Here is some of Australia's coverage.

And here is someone I feel very sorry for:
This is Oisin Tymon, the producer that Jeremy allegedly (or dare I say "actually"?) hit.  This guy has done nothing wrong.  It looks like he encountered a tired and emotional (usually a euphemism for "drunk") Jeremy who was knackered after a days filming and wanted some food - food that the hotel did not provide at that late hour.  So Jeremy took it out on this producer.  This producer is now getting all sorts of threats because the show is off the air possibly never to return.

This isn't Oisin's fault, it is Jeremy's!

Maybe Jeremy is now struggling to keep the show fresh after 13 years and it is getting to him.  It was Jeremy that reported the incident to the BBC hierarchy and Jeremy, in his newspaper column last week, who made a speech about dinosaurs having had their time.  That's a shame because I want the show to continue - and I want it to continue with Jeremy.  I did consider signing the Keep Jeremy petition that must be apporaching the million signatures mark by now but when I visited the site I decided that Guido Fawkes and his readers don't seem to be very nice people so I opted against being a co-signee.

If Jeremy cannot be persuaded to stay (I don't envisage a sacking) then I agree with Stig II that the show could go on without him.  Obviously speculation has begun with the not-too-serious suggestions of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, my favourite Vladimir Putin and Jeremy's nemesis Piers Morgan.

A more serious suggestion would be Jodie Kidd - she still seems a bit stilted on The Classic Car Show but she would bring a fresh new dynamic to the show stood alongside James & Richard.

Failing that, I'll do it.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

I Drive a Green Car

It's a V6 2.5 litre all-wheel-drive Jag - but it is green:
I know it's a bit blurry, but that's because it is on Google Streetview.

It also goes faster than "the majority of EU national maximum speed levels"

Which means that the Green Party want it off the road - along with just about every other car that is currently on the UK roads.

Six Green Party members have noticed that this may not be a vote-winner.

Caradvice.com.au alerted me to the story here.

Which prompted me to check out The Mirror story here.

Which prompted me to check out The Green Party's own Website for their Transport Policy.

And sure enough - it is in there - it is well-hidden but it is in there:

"TR310 Vehicles would not be permitted for road use that had the ability to travel at greater speeds than the majority of EU national maximum speed levels."

Now I could be in favour of this...

...if it meant that the majoirity of EU national speed limits were raised to 200mph - the M6 Toll Road is a bit like that now - although it is mostly Zafira Drivers who speed along there for some reason.

But what I suspect the Greens want is for us all to drive around in slow cars.

Perhaps something pre-war - with rubbish brakes and rubbish fuel economy and rubbish passenger-crash-zones and horrific emissions.  They don't want to ban that, but they would ban a Smart Fortwo II 0.8 CDi:
To be fair, I also wouldn't mind that being banned - but that's for different reasons.

The Greens' transport policy looks like war on the motorist.   There are 570 paragraphs and it includes the word "holistic" which is never a good thing.  It also advocates a lot of  "public awareness campaigns" to tell us why what we are doing is wrong.

Believe it or not - I am environmentally friendly -  I cycle and I recycle - a bit - and I don't use my car for unnecessary journeys - but if the Greens want to try to engage with me, they are going to have to be a lot more understanding of the modern world and the fact that people can get a lot of enjoyment from cars and driving.  The world looks very dark under the greens.

Dark green.

Like my car.