Thursday, 29 December 2016

Merry Twixtmas

That's not a time for eating Twixes,

It is the time betwixt Christmas and New Year.

So here are a couple of nice videos to enjoy.

The first was what Americans were enjoying in the 1980s  which I can thank Car+Driver for pointing out.

The second is what we were enjoying in the UK at about the same time.  Probably not the first time I've linked to it - but it is one of my all-time favourite car ads thanks to getting Brian May on board.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

So THAT'S Where the Line is.

After the previous episode of The Grand Tour, I was a little surprised that there hadn't been any complaints about the sex-toy content of it.

Now we have some - only it is from the next episode and they are about Richard Hammond making a comment about how if a man eats an ice-cream - he is probably gay.

There has been a "back-lash".

I'm not on Twitter so I didn't notice it.

The BBC did.  But they were probably more miffed at his little dig about slowing down when he drove a Mustang past The Cenotaph.  The rest of the media also noticed it though, right from The Independent through to the Daily Fail.

The last time Hammond was in trouble was when he insulted the Mexicans - but that soon blew over when they realised HE WAS ONLY JOKING.

Just like in this case.

We all know Jeremy and Co. thrive on controversy - I'm surprised nothing has come up before this during the last two years of filming.  But the people making the most noise about this one seem to be those who don't know the show and certainly don't watch the show.  It's like Russell Brand, the Mexicans and every other Clarkson incident before and since.  I don't complain when Katie Hopkins spouts her latest piece of attention-seeking bile in The Sun - because I wouldn't touch it.  So she can say what she likes to people gullible enough to believe what it says in there.   If she does start to pollute things I would watch or read, then I would complain.

But let's do a quick unscientific experiment to see if eating an ice-cream:

- specifically a Magnum like they were talking about - could be construed as homosexual behaviour.  I shall use Google Images Search.

There are plenty of pictures of sexy women with Magnums, what if you look for "Man eating Magnum".  This is the first picture you get:

 Well, he doesn't look particularly gay, here is the second picture:
OK, well here is a Vauxhall Magnum, does that look gay?
No, of course it doesn't.  And neither does this picture of Magnum PI.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Not For The Children

I thought there would have been some complaints.

Clarkson and the boys messing about with sex toys.

It's not aimed at children but I know lots enjoy watching the show.  It's a safe bet that if it had been on the BBC, there would have been at least six phone calls and the media would have gone loopy.

I don't believe that "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" has an Amazon Prime subscription.

I suppose they might get one now they have read about it in The Sunday Express.  But then they won't know who they can complain to.  And they do enjoy a good moan.  The Express themselves were quite positive about the show although their readers don't seem to like it judging by the comments at the end of the article.

But that's Express readers for you.

The Telegraph were unusually favourable about the show too.  Maybe because they didn't let their Dance Correspondent write their review this week.

I did notice that the audience didn't get Jeremy's "Pass The Dutchie" joke en route to exploding his sex doll.  Possibly Musical Youth were not big in The Netherlands.

Talking of fake people you can use in High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes...
This BBC story amused me about police in New York State breaking in to a car after reports of an old lady being frozen to death left in a car overnight in minus temperatures.

It turned out to be a very realistic mannequin used for medical training pruposes - at least that's what the owner claimed it was for.  He was not best pleased.

"It is my understanding that the owner was incredulous that we took action in this matter," police chief L Edward Moore said in a statement. "He apparently was quite vocal and vulgar to my sergeant."

I did have a litttle sympathy for the owner.  But then again, why strap the mannequin in to the passenger seat as though it was a real person?  But then again again, I imagine the police would get called out more often if he was seen regularly stuffing an old lady into the boot of his car.

I do though, particularly like Chief Moore's message for mannequin owners:

"Just to clear the record, all citizens of Hudson should be put on notice that if you park your locked vehicle on the street on a sub-zero night with a life-size realistic mannequin seated in it... we will break your window."

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Posh Pronunciation of Porsche

Or at least, the correct version:

I've always pronounced it that way anyway, but, as Car+Driver suggest, maybe this is aimed at the Americans.

Now to teach them how to say Hyundai and Jaguar.

And Nissan.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Click Here for Free Money

There's a stretch of road in South Manchester that runs parallel to the rail tracks between Brooklands Station & Sale Station.

I once raced a tram up it.

And won.

If I'd received this email shortly afterwards I might have been worried...
...for a fraction of a second.

You don't get speeding tickets via email.

Plus, who's ever heard of a 25mph speed limit in the UK?

I'm quite intrigued by how these scammers are targetting their victims though - do they have a list of email addresses for the Sale area?  Or do they just send them out randomly knowing that someone will click on the link so that they can prove that they were actually in Dundee at the time of the alleged offence?

I learned about this one because I follow the brilliant Hoax-Slayer Website via Facebook.

Specifically, here is their take on this scam.

Now, talking of Facebook scams...

  • Nobody is giving away a new Range-Rover, Christmas Hamper or R.V. - look up like-farming on Hoax-Slayer.
  • No Muslim shop assistant has ever refused to serve anyone in uniform - these are lies made up by right-wing morons such as Britains First.
  • 95% of people won't fail to name a band with an "A" in their name - unless the listeners to Radio W-SNOT in Boston are particularly thick.
  • You are not a genius if you can answer 9 out of 10 questions.
  • Clicking on a particular link won't make your jaw drop.
If any Facebook article tells me to share it - I never do.

By the way, if you've asked me to post something to my time-line for an hour - I did that, it's just you didn't happen to be logged in during that hour. And we all know which people will do that - they are the ones with true hearts / are true friends / really care etc.etc.

So next time, you read something unbelievable on Facebook, don't believe it - check it out! 

Unless it's Nigerian money-laundering.  Those are real.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Flat Out

...which is something you can't be when there are sleeping policemen around.
And when I say "sleeping policemen" - I mean speed humps and speed bumps.

This is the type I encounter the most:
Having a decent sized car, I can generally straddle the bump with minimal disturbance.

So I don't tend to slow down so I don't cause extra pollution.

Aren't I a good citizen?

The BBC are carrying this story today about how Councils are being urged to redesign their humps and bumps to reduce the extra pollution they are causing.

Nobody is actually saying how though.  Surely the pollution problem is due to people driving slower then quicker then slower again?

But isn't the whole point of the speed bumps to get people driving slower?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said "smooth" driving would cut air pollution, linked to 25,000 deaths a year in England. 507 pedestrians or cyclists were killed in the whole of Britain's roads in 2013 so the removal of speed bumps must be a no-brainer!  Amazing what you can prove with statistics.

I'd rather that the Councils spent their speed bump budgets on fixing pot-holes - that way, money would be going on preventing further damage to car suspension rather than causing it.

Meanwhile, I don't believe that this is an undoctored picture:

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Countdown Is Over

Carol Vorderman is dead.

Actually, she's very much alive and rocking it in the jungle and planning a round-the-world solo airplane trip.
She just pretended to be dead in the opening show of the opening series of


As did a couple of actors who I wasn't sure who they were.  I didn't recognise them and Jeremy mumbled their names but I'm glad we didn't have quarter of an hour listening to them talking about their latest projects.

So what did the BBC think of the show?

They just told us what the critics thought of the show.

So what did the critics think of the show?

They really liked it.  They described it as "filmic" which I don't reckon is a word.  Perhaps I could ask Countdown's Susie Dent.
I wish.

So what did I think of the show?

I thought the opening sequence went on a bit long - but I suppose that added tension and expectation and the show did last 70 minutes to make up for that.

I didn't see the point of the fight sequence - could have done without that.

Not sure about the new "Stig" - I think he may be a Trump supporter.

And I thought overall that the whole thing was...


Much as I like LeBlanc, Harris & Reid, the chemistry between Clarkson, Hammond & May is unparallelled (is that spelled correctly, Susie?)  I think the BBC need to rethink Top Gear now, admit defeat, and turn it back into a car show.

With a bit of careful juggling of free trials and having a couple of weeks break in the middle of the 12 episodes, I could possibly see the lot for free - but worst-case scenario is it costs me £11.98 - a price I'm willing to pay.  I've sorted the numbers so it's no conundrum. (more Countdown references in case you've no idea who Vorderman is)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A Posher Version of Poundland

In Poundland, everything costs a quid.
So, presumably in Grandland, everything costs £1000.

Which is excellent value for a large SUV.

And mustn't be confused with Granadaland - which is where ITV used to tell us that we lived if we happened to reside in the North-West of England.

Or Grandstand - which where the BBC used to show us Rallycross on a Saturday afternoon.

Here is the latest press release from Vauxhall.
They don't say so, but it looks like the Zafira is on its way out.

And the Meriva is going to be replaced by the Crossland X.

And the Mokka is going to be replaced by the Mokka X.

They don't say why they are putting kisses after the names.

Maybe it's to help sell the Vauxhall Insignia SE to the dogging community.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Musical Cars

I often see this car on the M53 Motorway on my journey to work:
Well, maybe not that actual car - because the one I see has number plates and (I hope) is road-legal and it isn't being driven by Andrew Jordan.  But it does look the same - including the full livery, the Jordan stickers and the roll-cage.

I guess it has something to do with Pirtek, the main sponsor, having a site at Ellesmere Port - a place that, if you pronounce it with the right accent, may sound like a beach resort somewhere exotic (like Jordan for example) but, in fact, isn't.

Anyway, Andrew is in the news today - BTCC News that is.

He has switched team.


I first noticed him in 2011, when he was in his very early twenties and having his first taste of success.

Since then, he won the whole British Touring Car Championship in 2013 - which is why the car above is carrying the Number 1.

He wasn't as successful in 2014 so, for 2015, he switched to the cars run by Triple Eight Racing who had previously had great success with Vauxhalls but were then running MGs without much success.

So, in 2016 he switched team - just as the MGs improved.  He was now with Motorbase as Mat Jackson's team-mate in Ford Focus STs.  I add the "ST" to avoid having to use the plural of "Focus".  He finished eighth overall (in a tightly contested contest) and won the Independent Drivers Title so was in a strong car that he had got more and more used to during the year.

So now he's moving to West Surrey Racing and their BMWs.

I refer you back to my first ever post on this Blog.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Admiral Not Being Admirable

This what a female admiral looks like:
Her name is Michelle J Howard.

This what an actress playing an admiral looks like:
Her name appears to be Lucy Barker.  She appears in the annoying adverts for Admiral Insurance.

I suppose their logo could be interpreted as male or female since I'm sure most Navys would insist on the hair being concealed under the hat:

But it can't just be that which makes our Admiral admiral look unbelieveable.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only piece of nonsense produced by them lately.

We also have Admiral First Car Quote!

Which supposedly links your Facebook profile to your car insurance quote so work out what sort of driver you will be.

By the way, here's my new Facebook Profile picture:

My hobbies involve driving slowly on Sundays and good car maintenance.
Facebook do not like this idea - and, as a lot of news outlets (including the BBC) are saying, they have blocked it.  I don't blame them.

Admiral's Q&A on their website has an interesting question and answer today:
 I hope they're not too embarrassed by all this.
(In case you are not a lepidopterist, that's a Red Admiral)

Monday, 31 October 2016

Droning On Even More

I had trouble believing the story I reported two weeks ago.

I have more trouble believing this Autocar one.

Maybe it's just a Halloween story designed to put the wind up us.

It is another Uber drones story.  Except these ones are big enough to carry people around. Full marks to their marketing department for all this coverage.

But it couldn't actually happen could it?

Then again - Uber does mean "above".

Friday, 21 October 2016

Barnacle Bill... what you have to pay to get one of these off your car:
The L.A.Times seem to have got this story first.  They use the word "scofflaws" which is excellent.  The scofflaws in question are people who park their cars illegally and would previously have experienced a Denver Boot (or wheel-clamp as we tend to call them on this side of the Pond)

The new device is being trialled in a couple of U.S. cities and basically uses a strong suction force to obscure enough of the the windscreen to prevent driving.

It is safer for the enforcement officers because they aren't spending a long time kneeling at the side of the road and it is less hassle for the victim because it can be released wirelessly as soon as they pay. got the story next and also used the word "scofflaws" proving how good that word actually is.

New York Post came next.  They quoted the first two articles but dropped the word "scofflaws" in favour of calling the device "a yellow monstrosity."  Fox News then came along and just republished the NY Post story.  I guess the NY Post is another Murdoch mouthpiece.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Britain, and sorry if you don't like the language - I think it's funny:

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Droning On

I'm not sure I believe this story from Car+Driver.

It comes with this picture:
And it is reported by several sites so I'm going with it's true.

Apparently Uber (the taxi people) are using Drones in Mexico to display messages to drivers stuck in traffic jams.  The one in this picture translates to, "The city is for you, not for 5.5 million cars."

They seem to be nagging messages - I'd have gone with one of the following:
  • money generating advertising messages like "Cheap power tools at Home Depot - this week only"
  • pro-Uber messages like "Share an Uber to cut down on the number of cars here"
  • useful messages like "This tailback lasts for 2km and is due to an idiot driving into a lamp-post"
It doesn't say who creates the messages or where the drones take off from.  Do Uber drivers carry a drone, a piece of card and a marker pen with them?

Local take-aways could use them to get food orders, deliver the food and take the money - if you're stuck in a jam, you don't want to go hungry now, do you?

Or, if you're just bored in the jam, you could always do some shopping:

Sunday, 9 October 2016

A Crushing Blow

If you happen to use the underground car-park in a certain block of flats in S.E.London, you'll have had a shock when you came to get to your car today.

I say "today"- I read this BBC report from today but it doesn't actually say when the event happened.

It's a strange one.  A water pipe has burst causing polystyrene insulation under the floor to expand, raising the cars until they were damaged by the car-park roof:
You wouldn't think polystyrene would be that strong.

I spent ages trying to work out what this car actually is.  It's obvious from the badge that it's a Ford and I've finally decided that it's an Explorer.  It was particularly unfortunate that it was a tall car parked under some pipework - the Fiat 500 next to it looks like it might have got away with it.

The article goes on to say that if any of the cars were removed too hastily it could result in a gas explosion.

An interesting engineering problem.

I wonder who will be paying for this damage - I bet there's no wording in motor insurance policies about vehicles being crushed by rising polystyrene.

Meanwhile, this chart shows rising polystyrene prices:
It is the bit at the end - and it is just Chinese polystyrene prices.  Following plant closures in April, production of polystyrene has been reduced, tightening supply and causing prices to rise. Increased demand for high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) in particular further supported the price rise. However, despite lower production rates and rising production costs, coupled with high demand, prices still remained down 20% year-on-year.

It's amazing what you learn when you put "rising polystrene" into Google.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Car+Driver Feature Something I Own One Of.

Is it a Renault Alaskan?
No. While a tough Renault pick-up is slightly intriguing, it wouldn't inspire me to buy one.  I don't think they are on sale yet anyway.

So, is it the Mercedes GLC43?
Nope, I can honestly say I have no interest in that whatsoever.

No, what it is that I own one of, is a Commodore 64 - like this one:
Only less grubby.  But I have the cassette player rather than the more sophisticated Disk Drive that this one boasts.  Car+Driver feature it in this story about a Polish car workshop where they claim it is still being used to assist in balancing driveshafts.

I would like to believe that it is a true story and that it is a recent photo - the mobile phone in the picture looks quite old but if they are still using a Commodore 64, why would they bother with a 21st Century phone?

Plus the glasses look like an old-person's spectacles.

I enlarged the picture and put some of the screen text into Google Translate - it came up with the following phrases:
  • keep the number of influential blanking vibrations
  • measurements of the masses without trial
  • The test mass plane
So I reckon it is legit.

Not that I even know the basics about aligning Polish driveshafts.

But I could help them with the BASIC.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Parking Row

I keep giving Audi free adverts.

Because they are brilliant.

First there was the Spocks one.  But they've taken it off YouTube so to see the vid, you'll have to watch it on someone else's channel.

Then, we recently had the "Are You Being Served?" one.

But now we have the one that they plan to show during the US Presidential debates:

Or, to see it forwards, someone else again has provided this.

It won't be easy to trump that.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Her Name is Rio...

...and she's based on a Triumph Dolomite Sprint.

It's a Panther Rio.  I've never seen one in the flesh before - but it was one of the first cars I saw at The Manchester Classic Car Show.
Although I didn't see any actual Dolomites.  There were plenty of other Triumphs there though including TR6s, TR7s, my favourite Stags and even an Acclaim.

There were also plenty of excited dads like me wandering about telling their bored children why various cars were very interesting or had been owned by their ancestors.

As well as a car based on one of my former cars, there was also a green Jag estate a bit like I drive now - only much classier:
Having said that, I did spot this:
Now that may be in much better nick than my own car, and a few years younger, but it would imply that my car is a classic.

It isn't.

I suppose that this Porsche 914 is a classic - but it is clearly the Boxster's grandfather and I dislike it for the same reason that I dislike the Boxster - you can't tell if it's going forwards or backwards.
 There were a few cars I'd never heard of before  - like the Rochdale Olympic:
The Rochdale owners club had two and a half of them on display:
 Then there was this Berkeley:
I had to look them up on Wikipedia.  If what it says is correct, they seemed to have a large model-range considering they only lasted from 1956 to 1960 when they went bankrupt.  This model, which looked a bit lonely and ignored, looks like a Berkeley Foursome - 20 were produced and it had a tiny 492cc engine.

They did have some modern cars too.  It was difficult getting near the Tesla:
It was near the Tesla that I was handed my "goodie bag" which turned out to contain an issue (No 348) of Classic Car Buyer - and nothing else.  I shouldn't complain because it retails for £2.50 and the carrier bag will be worth 10p too.

Not too sure about this Mini Hatchback.
It's very clever and all that but the proportions looked all wrong.

Never mind, this makes everything good again:
Check out more pictures here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Local Car Reviews for Local People

I stumbled upon a car review show today.

It felt like Top Gear...

...during the 1970s.

It was on local free TV (financially struggling Bay TV in Liverpool - not to be confused with new local free TV channel Bay TV in Swansea) which I thought was a bit endearing imagining a couple of Scousers driving around the locality talking cars.

But as I watched it, I noticed that they weren't actually saying anything bad about the cars - in fact, if they couldn't say good things, they just said neutral things and factual things.  It wasn't as bad as a full-scale infomercial but it was irritating.

It reminded me of the local restaurant reviews in our local free newspaper.  One restaurant was so impressed with their review that they added it to their Website.  But the reviews are a complete waste of time because the paper has obviously been paid for some advertising and the reviewer gets a free meal for two.

So I did a bit of digging on the show - iCarReview - it was lucky that The Apple Corporation didn't copyright that name for their car reviews.

They have a Website which is linked to the Website of Car & Driving who sponsor the show and seem to be some sort of resource for car reviews and footage.  The show is obviously not made in Liverpool and it appears on other local free TV stations like this:
I'd not seen the third presenter there but no matter how the first two aspire to be like Jeremy (but then don't we all?) they seem to come over as a cross between William Woollard and Alan Partridge.
Come on Bay TV, if you want a car show, I'll do it - and I promise not to punch the producer.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Antiseptic Cars

That phrase would, to me, imply boring cars.

Put that phrase into Google and it asks you if you meant "antiseptic cats".

Google Images just gives various pictures of antiseptic products - mostly with pictures of the Disney Pixar Cars characters on them.

However, this concept car, which offers "surfaces that hands will touch the most often are made of antiseptic material" looks far from boring:
It's not often that you see a futuristic concept car with Polish number plates.

But then again, this is from a Polish company.

It is an electric car with a range-extender engine.  The Autoguide article that pointed me in the direction of it claims that they intend to actually build it in limited numbers.

Which implies that it doesn't exist as of yet.  They say "A full-size prototype will debut at a major international auto show in the future and the sedan is slated to enter production after 2018."

I hope it does - I do like it, even if it doesn't have a front passenger seat - instead it has a mobile office/spa thing going on:
Those antiseptic surfaces look like veneer to me - they'll need antiseptic furniture polish.  If that comes with the car, it'll be Polish polish.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Hot Wheels

I've never seen Days of Thunder.

So I didn't know who Rowdy Burns was when he was mentioned in this Car+Driver story.

It is about the overnight theft of 192 wheels and tyres from the cars in a Texas car lot:
I guess they aren't big on locking wheelnuts over there.

The article also mentions "Robin Reliants" - I guess I should be impressed that Americans have even heard of the Reliant Robin, even if they can't get the name right. They do some sums in the article too:

Considering the approximately four-hour window that the police figure it took to perpetrate the crime, that’s a theft rate of one wheel every 1.25 minutes. And the thieves removed nearly 1000 lug nuts in the dark. Whoever the perps are, clearly Rowdy Burns needs to hire these guys.

Hence the Rowdy Burns comment - I had already decided Christian Horner would be interested in them.

The article also makes the very good point that they must have been packing plenty of spare battery packs for the cordless impact guns that were used in the heist. Imagine trying to do that using a wheel brace or with cables trailing all over the place.

Now the thieves have to try and sell the wheels on knowing that the Police will be out looking for them:

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

World "Put Your Mercedes on its Side" Week.

Mail stories on consecutive days.

Sunday brought us this one from America.
A woman taking a test-drive did this.  I suspect it was an automatic and I suspect she decided not to buy.  It's probably a GLE or a GLS but given Mercedes naming conventions it could be anything.

The cause of Monday's crash was a cat. Here's the story.
It involves our own Radio 1 DJ, Nick Grimshaw and a G-Wagen.  The BBC Newsbeat story is much better than the Mail one since we learn more about the cat:

"The cat's fine. It sat there for the full two hours while I was out in the street,"

"The cat met the police, the cat met the fire brigade, the cat watched me make a call to insurance to organise someone to pick the car up."

The cat's views on SUVs were not reported but it is interesting that people buy them thinking they are safer than ordinary cars but they are more likely to topple over.