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.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Pirelli World Challenge

Autoguide today are recommending that I watch the Pirelli World Challenge racing series.

It has to be said, it looks very tempting.

Their Website is here.

It also looks a bit confusing with lots of different classes of car competing - a bit like the BTCC used to be.

And what's with this "world" business - it's only in America.  I know the World Series has an excuse because it was sponsored by The World newspaper but this seems to be sponsored by Cadillac - the coverage at least.

The lineup seems very impressive, especially the GT3 class:
They have Ferraris... 
...and McLarens... 
...and Lambos and Audis and non-European stuff too like Acuras and Caddies.
And, like the BTCC, and unlike F1, the coverage is free to watch.
So I decided to give it a go...
Never mind, BTCC starts this weekend too and it looks like another brilliant season with SEVEN champions competing.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

UKIP on wheels

I did consider calling this post "Grumpy Old Men" and making some reference to Clarkson & May but I think the UKIP similarities are more apt.
UKIP are basically elderly Conservatives who have fallen out with their constituency parties and gone out alone.  Some of these then fall out with UKIP and go out further alone - quite funny really and I do like the way they split the right-wing vote in a Tea Party sort of way.
But let's get this back to cars - specifically F1 cars. 
The elderly conservatives here are Dietrich Mateschitz, Bernie Ecclestone & Ron Walker.
I recently read this interview Dietrich gave to the Austrian newspaper Kurier and I didn't understand a word of it - presumably because it isn't in English.  However, someone at the BBC could understand it and explained it to Andrew Benson who wrote this article for the BBC F1 Website.
The gist of the interview is that Dietrich is unhappy with the way F1 is being run - especially the new rules about the engines and engine-noise.  He is also unhappy at his Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix for fuel flow issues.  Anyway, he is so disgruntled that he is talking about pulling his two teams (Red Bull & Torro Roso) completely out of F1.
Yeah - right.
Meanwhile, moving from an Austrian to an Australian, Ron Walker is chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and is also unhappy with the noise (or lack of it) from the new engines.  The Telegraph report this here.  The story continues in The Independent here.  There is much threat of litigation for breach of contract. Tracks are saying they will pull out because the new engines do not provide the noise (and therefore excitement) that was paid for.  Ron & Bernie are old chums so are probably both very publicly arguing for the same thing (we know Bernie hates the new engines) to wind up the FIA.  Sort of playing UKIP to the FIA's Conservative Party.
Ronnie is also threatening to drop F1 and switch to Indycar Racing.
Yeah - right.
None of this affects me after I gave up on F1 years ago.  But, even so, what's so bad about racing cars that sound like goats?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Shopping Car(t)

I don't often get directed to the "femail" section of the Mail Website.  But that's where I found myself reading this story.
I'm surprised that with the huge publicity and marketing resources Tesco have at their disposal, that I've not seen this elsewhere but I'm sure it will be turning up in every ad-break on all commercial TV channels very soon.
Basically, Tesco have taken an ordinary car and covered it in their grocery products to promote their latest money-off fuel promotion.
It is a working car but I have to question the road-legality given that its headlamps are saucepans.
Also, given what its seats are, I wouldn't fancy driving it very far... 

After studying the short video in the article, I eventually ruled out it being based on a Vauxhall Corsa and decided that it started life as one of these:
I don't know if The Mail are in league with Tesco, or with the car's designer, Anthony Farquhar-Smith - both seem to be getting a good, free ad.
So what next?  A Morrison's Minor or That's Mazda Price!