Friday, 22 October 2010

Save The Panda

No, not either of these types of panda.

No, I'm talking about the good old-fashioned Police Panda Car, originally black and white (hence the name) although the ones I remember were always turquoise and white. Some police forces would buy a white car and a turquiose car and simply swap over the doors to get something like this...>Mind you, I always preferred the "Jam Buttie Cars"...These were used for higher-speed work where the pandas stuck to towns. I typed "Jam Buttie Cars" into Google Images and as well as that rather excellent Triumph 2500, up came a picture of Norris from Coronation Street - my favourite Corrie character since Blanche died but probably not relevant to this post.

Anyway, why am I rabbiting on about Police Cars?

Because of this article today from BBC News. It states that all UK Police Forces will now use the same livery and only buy vehicles from Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot or Hyundai for panda-ish work. Then from Volvo, BMW and Audi for high-speed work and finally from "Jaguar, Iveco and VW should forces decide they need other types of vehicles including motorbikes, vans and armoured VIP saloons." This excludes the Japanese and the Italians so I guess there'll never now be a Fiat Panda Panda Car. With the exception of Hyundai, most of these vehicles will be built in the EU so that's a good thing and presumably, these manufacturers have done the best deals to get the sort of mass-volume sales national police vehicles will provide. so it's a win-win.

Well almost.

No Italian choices does prevent us seeing one of these on British roads...

Thursday, 14 October 2010


OK - I take it back! What I said last week about how Ford should be leading the way in new designs.According to Auto Express today, this is Ford's new City Car, or "Ka" as they like to brand it here, or "Kak"* as I like to call it. My first thoughts are - it looks quite a bit like a StreetKa...
A StreetKa named "Desire?" I think not - I could never desire one of those - there is no way one of those could ever look good.
OK, I'll take that back too. However, that doesn't detract from my initial problem. My second thoughts on seeing the car, probably unfairly, were that it reminded me of an old Isetta Bubble-car:

It's not clear from the article or the photo if the new Ka (assuming it will be called a Ka) is a two or four-seater - I'm guessing a four-seater but you'd have to all be very good friends in there.

The current Ka hasn't really hit the public's imagination - possibly because it was a joint venture with Fiat and their 500 which seems to do a much better overall job of being a good small car. So this time, they've gone back to new radical design. Will it be case of "The Emperor's New Clothes" like "Roger and Val Have Just Got In" and like I felt the original Ka was?

When that was launched, I remember thinking how ugly that was too - I particularly disliked the grey plastic bumpers which invaded the whole front and back of the car. All the motoring journalists raved about it though. The general view of the general public was women loved it and men hated it - the women must have won out though because it ran from 1996 to 2008.

*Scouse (and maybe from other bits of Britain too) word meaning "excrement"

Friday, 8 October 2010

Attack of the Clones

This morning, as I often do, I clicked on Autocar Car News. The coffee hadn't quite kicked in so, looking at these accompanying pictures, I thought the first two stories were going to be about Hyundai and Mitsubishi.

Only problem is, the first picture wasn't of a Hyundai i-30 like this one...

...but, in fact, the new 2011 Ford Focus. What on earth are Ford playing at? They are supposed to lead the way in design.

Similarly, Audi seem to be copying Lotus in copying Mitsubishi as I reported a while back.

Or is it me?

I often say things like "Doesn't that woman in Tescos look like such an actress?" or "Doesn't that policeman look like your Aunty Maud?" and I usually get the same response...


Monday, 4 October 2010

Some Say... ...He's Joined Fifth Gear

Bit naughty of Channel 5 this. It seems to be a well-hidden secret - well hidden from me at least - but there's a throwaway comment in this story about why the judge let him publish his identity. That throwaway comment states that Ben Collins will be making his Fifth Gear debut during this Friday's first edition of the new series. There's no mention in the Radio Times or, right now at least, on The Fifth Gear Website. There's also no clues about the presenter line-up - will someone have to make way for him?

It could make for an interesting dynamic if he knocks Jason Plato out of a BTCC race at Brands next week costing him the Championship!