Monday, 30 May 2016

3 Is The Magic Number - Unless You're Talking about the Number of Wheels on a Car.

Of course I watched the new Top Gear last night.

So did a lot of other people.

And a lot of people have given their views on it - including Fleet Street people.

The guy in The Independent didn't like it much.  I did enjoy his writing style though.  Unusually for The Telegraph, their reviewer didn't hate car programmes.  But, over all, he reckoned it could probably do better. The Guardian didn't bother reviewing it so let their readers do it instead.  Guardian readers are not known for having petrol running through their veins so, not unsurprisingly, they gave it a general thumbs-down.

Which brings us around to me.

I thought it had its moments.

Not too many of them though.  The Corvette/Viper shoot-out could have been done just as well without the shooting bit.

And the road-trip to Blackpool just didn't do anything for me.

Top Gun pukey bloke and the Blackpool Lord Mayor were both quite good.  And the cinematography was up to the excellent standards of Clarkson Top Gear.

But something was still missing.

Apart from "The News" which was always one of my favourite bits of the show.

Which brings us to the comedy rule of three.  Here's the Wiki explanation of it.

They need Eddie Jordan or Chris Harris in the studio and on the road trips so that two of them can always pick on the third.  Then, as the chemistry between them kicks in, we will have a good show - like, The Goodies or Last of the Summer Wine which, let's face it, Clarkson, Hammond & May were definitely turning in to.  Having said that, I am noticing that Chris Evans appears to be turning into Foggy Dewhurst:

There was no sign of Jordan, Harris or Rory Reid - Reid being the one worrying me most simply because I had no experience of his work.  I needn't have feared though - he turned up on Extra Gear on the BBC iPlayer (or BBC Three if you are being pedantic) in a little 25 minutes after-show alongside Chris Harris.  It included a comedy guest (Chris Ramsey) and "The News".  I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed Top Gear.

Still no mention of Jordan - who I used to enjoy being the grumpy one when appearing on the BBC F1 coverage with Martin Brundle & David Coulthard - rule of three again.

So, still early days, give them chance to gel and let's see what we end up with.  I'm not convinced that the writing is as sharp as Clarkson's - although there were a few good bits like, "We got custody!" and maybe Evans needs to calm down a bit.  Whatever happens, I think TG has a future (as does GT - Clarkson and Co have a name at last) - even if it is with Harris & Reid.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

My Wife Drives a Small, Darkish Blue, Japanese-Badged Car

So does The Prime Minister's now.

Several news outlets had the story this week.

Of Samantha Cameron's car, not Mrs.Metro's.

Here is ITV News covering it.

Here is the accompanying picture:
Oxfordshire used-car dealer Iain Harris sold Mr.C a Micra for £1495. There is no mention of Mrs.C being present.  Or having had a test-drive.  Or having had any say in the matter whatsoever.

When my wife bought her small, darkish blue, Japanese-badged car she researched what she wanted, test-drove it and negotiated the deal.  And used her own money to pay for it

Now there could be the rub - Sam Cam got a free car!  But, not wanting to sound ungrateful, if the Prime Minister was buying me a car - I'D WANT SOMETHING BETTER THAN A £1500, SECOND-HAND MICRA!

Sam Cam is supposed to be a modern, intelligent woman - surely she can choose and finance her own transport.

It looks like one of these:
So it is at least 6 years old.

And a Micra!

I'm not sure of Dave's car-buying skills either. The article claims he spent half an hour inspecting the car.  But this seems to have just been checking if the brake-lights worked.  Is buying a used car a way showing he is a man of the people?

Like supporting West Aston Ham Villa United.

I'm guessing it is a British-built, Japanese-badged car.  Although as a Bremain advocate, maybe he should have gone for something French, German or Italian.  At least it is Tory blue.  Maybe, as an image-conscious politician, there is more to think about after all.

And maybe he should have just let Sam Cam go out and choose her own car.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

What Has Jason Siu Got Against Tesla?

And who is Jason Siu?
Well the chap with the glasses is Jason Siu but I doubt if it's the same Jason Siu to whom I refer.

No, the guy I'm on about is the one who wrote this Autoguide article yesterday.  It is entitled

"About 12,200 Tesla Model 3 Preorders Have Been Canceled"

Yes, I know it's American spelling, but then Autoguide is an American car site.

About 4000 of those 12200 turned out to be accidental duplicates.

The http address of the story spells "cancelled" the UK way.

But that's besides the point.

No, the point is he is really catty about how many pre-orders of this futuristic yet relatively affordable car have been cancelled.  He says, "We’re not quite sure what’s more surprising: The fact that there are still 373,000 Tesla Model 3 preorders, or that only 8,000 people have canceled."

Maybe he shouldn't be surprised.  After all, on April 5th this year, he gave us this article.

That was entitled,

"5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hold Your Breath on the Tesla Model 3"

That gave a series of reasons why we should doubt the availability of the Model 3 and even its reliability.
My only real problem with this car is its front end.  It can't be just me who looks at that and sees this:
Anyway, that article by Jason was published just two days after this one - interestingly entitled

"6 Reasons Why I Put Down a $1,000 Deposit on a Tesla Model 3"

What!?  He's one of the people who has pre-ordered one!

The April 5th article starts with "Nearly 300,000 people have paid a $1,000 deposit to reserve a Model 3, but the big question remains, can Tesla deliver on its promise?"

He doesn't point out that he himself was one of those nearly 300,000 people!

Maybe he wasn't.  Maybe his cheque bounced.  Maybe his wife told him he couldn't have one after all.

Who knows?

But, whatever the reason, I don't think Tesla will be getting any Car of The Year Award votes from Mr.Siu.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Dead Good

I'm liking this billboard picture from Toronto, Canada:
Autoguide had it here.

The Website is here.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

I Do like a Wooden Dash

Not sure about a whole wooden car though:
Although it does look quite funky from the side:
This is the Toyota Setsuna, a concept car launched at Milan Design Week

It includes a clock that reads up to 100 years to mark how long you've owned it although it may feel longer since it only does 28mph and it's range (for it is electric) is just 16 miles.

It is made of Japanese Birch and Japanese Cedar which just sounds a bit classier than carbon fibre or magnesium/aluminium alloy.  Mind you after 100 years and a couple of coats of Dulux Non-Drip Gloss it may not look so good.  Rust should not be a problem although I suppose woodworm could be an issue.

And what happens if it is involved in an accident?
 I don't think Halfords have a carpentry department.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Lighter Side of Car Crime

At least if you're not the owner of this Range-Rover that is:
Today's BBC story is here.  I seriously hope that whoever owns this is a love-cheat.  It's not even an ordinary Range-Rover - it's a Revere Range-Rover.  If you haven't heard of Revere (like I hadn't) they are one of these up-market tuner/bespoke customiser companies a bit like Overfinch.  The story first started trending on Twitter.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the BBC ran with this story.  It also involves Twitter.  It is about a car thief being disturbed while trying to perpetrate his crime.  This caused him to leave behind his bag.  This bag contained a balaclava, a glass hammer and a couple of packets of popular cheesy snacks.  Cheesy snacks that look a lot nicer  in real life than in this picture tweeted by the investigating police officer:

I have to say, I definitely prefer Quavers to Wotsits but since both appear in the picture, I'm sure the officers enjoyed them whilst also taunting the criminal on Twitter, first offering them back, then admitting they had eaten them whilst extracting his DNA from the balaclava.

Police with a sense of humour.

I like that.

I also like the New Zealand Police who have taken part in the current "Running Man" Internet challenge craze (Nope, never heard if it before tonight) whereby they dance to a particular track and then challenge others to do the same.

Here's their very good effort:

And they then went on to challenge several Australian Police Forces plus the NYPD and the Isles of Scilly Police.

The NYPD responded thusly:

But why pick on the Isles of Scilly Police?  After all, the Isles of Scilly are a very small group of islands off the Cornish Coast at Lands End.

Well their response is probably a clue:

I note that the gauntlet has been laid down by for a dance off with us. I also note that they can draw on a supporting cast of thousands of officers and staff whereas we have a modest team of five and occasionally a cat. Our combined age on this small rock in the Atlantic (including feline years) is over 300. Ours is not to dance or body pop ever since the thespian PC Mat 'Flashdance' Collier left these shores several years ago. When we do so, we now do levity in the medium of cake.
We wish NZ Police the very best with their recruitment drive. It certainly is a remarkable career even if you have to do it upside down dancing on the ceiling.

Sgt Colin 'Dad Dance' Taylor

And their Facebook page is well worth a like.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Feeling Congested

Where in Australia is this?
Everyone seems to driving Volvos...

...on the wrong side of the road.

Then I spotted the sign on the far side of the road, "ULLEVI MOTET"

Ah, the picture has been reversed and that should read "IVELLU TETOM".

But hang on, that doesn't make sense either and the E and L's would need to be backwards.

So I looked up Ullevi Motet on Google and found we were in Gothenburg, Sweden.

That would explain the Volvos.

I probably wouldn't have given this article in Australian car site a second glance if it hadn't been for that photo.  It is about New South Wales using V2I (vehicle to Infrastructure) technology to turn traffic lights green for large commercial vehicles (lorries) travelling about Sydney.  It's all about reducing congestion and pollution in the city.

Sounds very much like my story last year about the same technology being used for patient transport ambulances.  So it comes with the same problems and associated risks.

The commenters on the story keep talking about the M4 motorway which again made me question the Australian-ness of the story given that the M4 is the motorway here in the UK that links South Wales to London.

But apparently there is another M4 motorway in New South Wales.

I think that road should be called "New M4".

But it isn't.

Perhaps Sydney should be looking at the other end of our M4.  The London Congestion Charge seems to be a more effective method of controlling traffic.  The BBC asked if it was working back in 2013, ten years after it was introduced. The concensus is good although it does seem to depend on who you talk to.

Meanwhile, over in Paris, they are going for the shutting off roads to traffic at certain times option.  Successive mayors have been implementing these prohibitions for a while now - I criticised one back in 2012.  The BBC cover the latest score there today.  Here's a picture of it looking more Australian: