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.


Friday, 19 August 2016


Sorry, that should read "Model S".

This story from Autocar today makes it look like Ford are being a bit cheeky.

It reports on how Ford are planning to get into the electric car segment using the name "Model E" - including a rival to Tesla's Model S.

In fact, according to that article, Ford blocked Tesla’s attempts to trademark the name "Model E" back in 2013 leading to Tesla then choosing the Model 3 name for its forthcoming entry-level car.

But, then again, Ford could have laid a claim to "Model S" too if they had wanted to - after all, they were using it 109 years ago:
This was a precursor to the more famous Model T - which I reported on in 2014 challenging a Tesla Model S to a race from Detroit to New York.

That article included this picture that I really liked:
And now this article gives me an excuse to publish another picture of a model that I really like.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Portable Cash Machine

On the day Donald Trump joked about having Hillary Clinton shot (and let's be honest, that is what he was joking about), his favourite TV News Channel was reporting a speed camera design that is allegedly bullet-proof.  Here is the Fox News story.

And here is our own Sunday Times article that they nicked it from. (but since they are both owned by Rupert Murdoch I don't suppose it really matters)

And here is the offending device:
It looks a bit like one of those generators you see towed behind trucks that come along to dig up the road:
Especially when you hear that the camera has wheels that are retracted when in situ for security purposes.

And this generator is painted yellow which is what the camera would have to be if used in the UK.

But I can't help thinking that this inconvenience could be easily fixed with a bit of duck-tape.
And so could the speed-camera.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

High Flyer

The BTCC are clamping down on driving standards.

It says so here

If you're wondering why, then you probably didn't watch the races from Snetterton weekend before last.

Here's Hunter Abbot in Race 3:
His car got launched into the air from the starting grid, did a couple of sideways somersaults, got hit then flew into a TV camera gantry knocking it over.  I watched that live, including the cameraman jumping clear as his perch was toppled.

Fortunately, or miraculously, nobody was injured.

Obviously the race was stopped.  So was Race 2 after another mega-crash on the opening lap.

Here's the ITV News Report - make sure you watch the video.

The video goes on to say that it was a good day for the Silverline Subaru BMR Team - and it was - although their boss, Warren Scott received a verbal lashing from Motorbase driver Andrew Jordan via the TV cameras for his driving standards in Race 2 where the two clashed.  They were both given verbal warnings from the Stewards for the incident so it'll be interesting to hear what they have to say this coming weekend for the next rounds at Knockhill.

There will be a bit of a shadow over Knockhill (and I'm not talking about the Scottish weather) after the sad death last weekend of the first ever British Touring Car Champion, Jack Sears who won in the inaugural year of 1958 and again five years later.  He was 86 and actively involved in the sport right up until the end.

It's a while since I've mentioned the BTCC - which is unusual because it's a damn site more exciting than F1.

And when I say "exciting" - I usually mean for the right reasons - not the crashes.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Lego Landie

Pistonheads had this story yesterday about a proposed new Lego model - the Series III Land Rover Defender.

It has been designed by a father and son partnership, Terry & Ben Fisher and looks brilliant.  The detail is very impressive.
It looks a lot better than quite a few more famous recent Lego car models such as the Beetle & Porsche 911 but I suspect that that is due to the fact that a Defender is square - like Lego.
It needs 10000 votes to go into production and mine was number 5983.
It is a slight faff to vote for it because you need a Lego ID but it can be done from here where you will also learn a bit more about it.
There have been a few rumours lately that the Defender could be back from the dead and I suspect this isn't what they meant but it'll do for now.