Thursday, 14 September 2017

Dig This Old MG

I saw a repeat of Time Team yesterday on Yesterday.

(For non-viewers of British TV, I can assure you that that sentence does make sense)

Phil Harding was his usual, fun, self.
He is still going strong and still works with Wessex Archaeology.
He doesn't get a mention on this BBC story involving Wessex Archaeology though.
While excavating an old military site on Salisbury Plain, they dug up an old MG J2:
I'm not sure how they could tell what it was - it looks like a soap-box derby cart to me but this is how it probably looked half-a-century ago:
They can tell by the tyre patterns that it was last used in the 1960s.
So it probably wasn't Roman.
Still very interesting though - and a change from looking for flint or dinosaurs.  Maybe they should expand their search? - this could be down there somewhere:

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


Search for "nice cheese sandwich" on Google Images and you get lots of pictures of cheese toasties.

You do get some proper ones too though - like these ones:
So what piece of motoring journalism prompted me to look for cheese butties today?

This piece.

It's an Autoguide story about something that is probably the biggest thing to happen to maps in a very long time - and how Mercedes are getting on board with it.

Basically, someone has gone away and quietly divided the Earth into 3m x 3m squares and allocated every one of them a three word identity.  I have some in my front garden and even more in my back garden.  My property includes the words "boring", "slices" and "upset".

I'd love to know what algorithm they've used to allocate these words - and can they move them around?

For example, is in an industrial area in the town of New Tazewell, Tennessee - I'm sure a few supermarkets would pay to have that in the middle of their canned goods aisle.

Not all words are included of course.  The nearest they have to "Iver Child Bollards" is over.chill.billiards (it's in the bit of Angola that makes it look like a jigsaw piece)

location.location.location is in Russia.

The uses for this are incredible - imagine your ship is sinking at misspellings.appendages.history (for this covers the sea as well as land) - you could summon aid to exactly the right spot before you became a victim of The Bermuda Triangle.

Pirate treasure maps would be a lot simpler too.

This amazing tool is called what3words and can be found at or on the Sat-navs of upcoming Mercedes models.

And my phone.

Incidentally, nice.cheese.sandwich is near the town of Los Mantos in Northern Chile.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Iver Child Bollards

The title of this post ought not to make any sense.

But it does.
That is an Iver Child Bollard.  They don't look much less scary during daylight hours:
They have been placed outside Primary and Junior schools in the Buckinghamshire town of Iver to deter bad driving and people parking on the kerbs.  The Telegraph reported it here and the BBC have a short video about them here.
I'll bet a few of the pupils at these schools have nightmares after seeing them.
I think it is the soulless expression staring out, judging anyone who dares to drive a car in their vicinity.
Perhaps even more scary is the cost - they seem to be £5,395 plus installation.  Each!
Still, I look forward to seeing them feature in a Doctor Who storyline in the next couple of years.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Electric Rod

Not sure what Steve Darnell will make of this story.
Steve Darnell is the one who isn't Richard Rawlings.
Richard Rawlings owns Gas Monkey Garage as featured in Fast'n'Loud while Steve Darnell owns Welder Up as featured in Sin City Motors (or, as it is known in America, Vegas Rat Rods)

And one thing Steve Darnell loves doing is sticking huge Cummins Diesel engines into Rat Rods.

But the story, from Autoguide today, tells of Cummins producing an all-powerful, all electric Semi.  (Note that in this case we are talking about a tractor unit not a suburban house or the start of an erection)

Here it is:
and here is another type of semi - a small one:
Very neatly erected in its own way.
But I digress.
The Cummins/Aeos truck is challenging Tesla who are working on an electric truck themselves.  Autoguide claim that Cummins have got there first since they put out this tweet yesterday at an unveiling:
Very impressive.
Does this mean that Steve will now have sparks rather than plumes of black smoke coming from his creations in the future?
It's already been done with a few examples coming up if you Google "Electric Rat Rod" but I reckon he will end up doing one too.

I'd put some money on it if I could just think of somewhere in America where it is legal to gamble.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sex Plates

It is approaching September 1st which means that a new set of car registration numbers will be made available.

This means that a news organisation will do a report on numbers that the DVLA will hold back because they are "offensive".

This week it was the BBC's turn.

They use this depiction:
To be fair, rather than say they are offensive, they ask the question, Do these "suppressed" vehicle registration marks cause "upset or offence"?
The first looks a bit like "MURDER" and the second (and it took me a while to work it out) looks a bit like "NEGLECT" so the third one must be "NOGLMUM".
They claim that "NO MUM" has potential to cause offence irrespective of the numbers in between.  I'm not convinced that if you wanted to upset someone who had lost a parent that you would go to the trouble of transferring this registration to their car.
It may be more likely that the MUM, DAD and SON registrations are being held back to sell off at the next DVLA auction.
I'd like to know what will happen in two years time when ALL plates will be deemed offensive.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Does 200 Come With Fried Rice?

Chrysler 200 that is.
Looks like a local chip shop want to buy out Fiat Chrysler. 
You can't see that chip shop from space.  Various news sources have the story.  Here's what BBC Business have to say.
It would appear, though, that the Chinese are more interested in the Jeep part of Fiat Chrysler.
But they aren't ruling out a bid for the whole FCA she-bang.  If they'd gone for it last year, they could have got Ferrari too.
I chose the BBC story to link to because they picked up on something I had also thought - I can't see Mr.Trump being too happy with China owning a major US Car Corporation as well as a large chunk of the national debt.
Here's a Jeep toy that might make him feel better about it. 
As Mork would say...
Nano Nano.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Hoping To Clean Up

From this:
to this?
OK, let's step back a bit.
Not back as far as the very early 1900s when horse-drawn vacuum cleaners were "the thing" - but just as far as 2008 when Dyson - the vacuum cleaner and fan and blade hand-dryer company started by the chap in the second photo, James Dyson, denied that they were designing an electric car.
Fair enough.
But that was nine years ago and they didn't rule out working on battery tech for an electric car.
Anyway, skip back to May last year when Car Magazine told us that "Tech firm Dyson is secretly working on an electric car."
In fact, that's where I got that picture from.
Good, isn't it?
Anyway, skip forward to today, and Autocar announce that Dyson have now lured a THIRD important player from the car industry into their fold.  They announce that following on from Aston Martin product development director Ian Minards and Tesla communications executive Ricardo Reyes they have now got David Wyer, director of purchasing at Aston Martin.
This is the only photo they have of him:
I assume he's driving it.
Both Car Magazine and Autocar report that last year that an official government document read: “The Government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174 million of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering”.  And they both report that this document was quickly altered to say “The Government is providing a grant of up to £16m to Dyson to support research and development for battery technology at their site in Malmesbury.”
Well I for one, reckon that Dyson ARE working on an electric car - especially when I saw this: 

Monday, 7 August 2017

New Moaner

More of an "old moaner" actually.

But a very funny one.

He's recently put this on Instagram:
I refer, of course, to Jeremy Clarkson who in turn refers to James May in the photo.

If you can't see the text, it says "The only functioning member of the Grand Tour right now.  God help us."

Jeremy has somehow managed to contract pneumonia in Majorca.  Story Here.  New Moaner - pneumonia - geddit?  Never mind.

Meanwhile, Richard Hammond is still recovering from doing this to an electric supercar:
This may mean that the first couple of episodes of the new series of The Grand Tour may involve some slow driving in a Fiat Panda and the dismantling and remantling of a 1970s Goblin Teasmade.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

What Do You Call Your Nose Injury?

I only ask because Autoguide say that an unfortunate man in Birmingham has an unnamed nose injury.

Their story is here.

They refer to the Birmingham Mail as their source and the story does indeed exist, and probably originate, from there but their Website, like all the British local newspaper ones that are part of the same group, is so irritating with ads and videos that I'll not bother linking to it.

It does, however, include the excellent line:

"Ward End Fire later tweeted pictures of the wrecked convertible which had come to rest in front of bricks, wonky lamppost, rotting bread and a wheelie bin."

So what are they talking about?

Somebody has rented and crashed a Lamborghini Huracan Spyder.
All we know is it was a 25-year old man and he has a sore nose.
But then, so does that Huracan.
It was on a Trading estate - somewhere that may be a bit quieter with wide roads as used by large commercial vehicles.
It was somewhere you might choose to go if you wanted to razz about at high speed in a 200mph supercar.
Can't imagine what could have caused this accident.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Government Powers - Off The Grid

This rather disturbing picture has been appearing on the Telegraph and the BBC News Websites a fair bit this week:
It is because the news broke that the Government is banning all petrol and diesel vehicles in 2040.
Except they aren't.
What they want to do is ban the SALES of all NEW petrol and diesel vehicles in 2040.
Like France do.
There may even be a clause allowing hybrids - like the Volvo story from last month.
And, given that this Government may not see the year out and that 2040 is 23 YEARS AWAY, I wouldn't be putting that dodgy pipe on my news website just yet.
It must be a library photo.  Here is another motoring-related library photo:
Meanwhile, Stateside, where they don't believe in climate change, they are still doing their bit for electric vehicles. Here is a story from Autoguide about a new all-electric ‘Sport Utility Truck’ from a  company I've never heard of before - Bollinger Motors - as in the champagne.  Meet the B1:
At first I thought it looked like the love-child of a Jeep Cherokee and a Land-Rover Defender.
And then I worked it out: 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Severn For Free

743 is a prime number.  Severn for free is what motorists will get to cross in 2018.

2018 is not a prime number.

I have driven across the Severn Bridge several times over the years but never paid the toll - because every time I've done it, I've travelled W to E.
That's West to East

or Wales to England - either apply - spooky eh?

You only have to pay the toll if you are travelling into Wales.  English people say you have to pay to get into Wales.  Welsh people say you have to pay to get out of England.

The exception is Welsh comedian Rob Brydon who says that once you pay to get into Wales, all of the rides are free.

Towards the end of next year, he won't be able to use that joke any more.

Because they are going to start charging for the rides.

Actually, they are scrapping the tolls.  The BBC report it here.  Hopefully good news for the Welsh economy.  But not the people who staff the toll booths.

Meanwhile, in Wales, a student (presumably Chinese although it doesn't actually say so here) has left his Citroen on an unfortunate couple's drive while he's flown out there for a bit.
He's left them the car and a cactus to look after.

There's no keys.  They can't move it.  They are also concerned that it's parked over a manhole - not sure that is much of a problem - I can't recall ever needing to get at the manhole on my drive.

He has promised to bring them back a present.  It had better be a good one or they should tell him where to stuff it.  Or the cactus.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Slippery Road Ahead

There's something fishy in the state of Oregon.
And it's all over the road.
A number of hagfish - aka slime eels - because they have a habit of producing lots of the stuff when stressed - have been involved in a road accident.  According to the Police, the driver, Salvatore Tragale, who is not a hagfish, approached roadworks and tried to stop.  One container flew off the truck bed and into the southbound lane, while the other containers spilled onto the highway.  The flying container hit one vehicle which then caused it and four other vehicles to be pushed into each other. There were no serious injuries to the humans involved.  Not too sure of the fate of the fish but their prospects were not good anyway as they were en route to becoming South Korean meals. 
The story is here - I found it on the Australian ABC News site although plenty of other news outlets closer to Oregon also had it.
As for Salvatore - e'll have to be more careful next time.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Infernal Combustion Engine

The new Honda Civic looks pretty spectacular:
That is going by Editor-in-Chief of Top Gear Mag, Charlie Turner's, comment that "...our cover story, where the battle for the hot-hatch heartland continues with the arrival of the fifth-generation Civic Type-R"
Ah, of course - it's the Type-R - that explains the spoiler.
Or maybe, while us subscribers to this fine magazine get our own covers, maybe we should also get our own welcome message from Mr.Turner.
In case you're wondering, that's an Aston-Martin Valkyrie not a Honda Civic.
Meanwhile, on Page 20 of the mag, we learn that Volvo's high-performance division, Polestar, will now be exclusively building electric cars.  Which is a shame.  But it also fits in with the big Volvo news from last week - Carmaker Volvo has said all new models will have an electric motor from 2019.
They were actually quite clever with their wording there.
My own car for example has several electric motors - at least one in each door.
They got the headlines though.  It plans to launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021 and a range of hybrid models.  But it will still be manufacturing earlier models that have only combustion engines.  And those hybrids will still have some carbon being ignited - so it is nothing more than an indication of the direction that the car industry is moving in.
Further illustrated by the story a day later that France is set to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.  No indication of what happens to internally combustion engined cars bought in France in December 2039 though - or those bought over the national borders that may get driven in to France.
I suppose they still have 22 and a half years to fine-tune the rules...
...and to come to some sort of agreement in Paris.  Probably not involving this foolish fossil...
who may well be personally adding to the world's fossil fuel stocks by then.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Slide Rules

I read something someone posted on Facebook this morning.

That's not unusual - I often do that.

It asked me to share it to 15 other people.

Also unfortunately not unusual - I've posted about that sort of thing before.  It irritates me and makes me immediately suspicious of whatever it is that they want me to share - which in this case was a plausible warning about using cruise-control in the wet causing aqua-planing.
In this case it was an unnamed woman who had wrecked her car - of course there was no link to an actual story of it actually happening.
The article argued that a slipping wheel would cause cruise-control to think the car wasn't going as fast as it should be so it would accelerate to compensate.
Yes, I can see that - I'm still not sharing a Facebook article that tells me to share it though - there's still something fishy going on.
It's like those Posts that tell you to Copy-and-Paste their text onto your own Timeline - DON'T SHARE!  I eventually found out what that was about -  it has two benefits for the Scammer:
  • It's harder for Facebook to delete 20000 copies of an article rather than one article with all its shares.
  • It allows the Scammer to include an easily Google-Searchable phrase in order to identify 20000 gullible people.
Anyway, I did a bit of digging on this rainy aquaplaney thing.  I found this most excellent piece by Joe Kenwright on which not only describes where cruise-control came from and how it works but also why you shouldn't use it in the wet and also why the Post I read this morning is complete and utter nonsense.
So, if you want to make wet motorways a safer place - share my article far and wide.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Pick Up Lines

I've said it before.

On more than one occasion.


Today we have this one:
It's from this Autocar story about the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.  You can't tell anything about the car/pick-up thingy from that picture - least of all the big news that IT IS A DIESEL!
Actually that is quite big news for America because, apart from Sin City Motors' Steve Darnell, nobody in America likes Diesels.
And what's with the 2019 model year? - it's still 2017 for goodness sake!
And how are you supposed to tell from that picture that it's a Diesel anyway?
Ah - apparently this bloke with the Michigan State T-shirt and the blurry face is using a Diesel pump.
Anyway, I have a scoop here!  This is an exclusive picture of the 2020 Ford Fiesta under testing at the Nürburgring

Monday, 19 June 2017

For Richer, For Poorer

There were a couple of interesting Autocar articles published this week that I quite enjoyed until I read a comment that made me feel quite cold.

The first one was this one.

It is a story about a company called "Flying Spares", based near Nuneaton which basically recycles discarded Bentleys and Rolls Royces to supply spares all around the World.  Most of the business is shipping new or remanufactured spares but they do also source many off the vehicles that they have there too.
Not sure what that 66 plate Bentayga is doing there though. I wonder if they will actually cater for newer Bentleys given that they are now part of VAG so will have a completely different set of spares to Rollers.
I know I love wandering about a scrapyard - that particular one (not that they call it a scrapyard) would be particularly fascinating.
The company was started out of a Portakabin by Ben Handford and his wife, Lucy and is now turning over close to £10 million per year.
Another entrepreneur who started small (in a barn in fact) is Tim Earnshaw, who owns Windrush Car Storage which is what the other article is about.  It is a storage facility for luxury cars and a Metro.
The article begins, "They call it ‘the Batcave’ because of the amazing cars it contains, and because you could be standing within two feet of it and not know it was there.
I can’t tell you precisely where it is except that it’s in an underground car park in central London, shielded from view by thick walls."

It seems to be under the Westfield Shopping Centre.

It costs £480 a month to store your car there and it will get cosseted including regular running.  I hope they aren't charging the Metro owner that - it will be costing more than the car is worth just to store it.  They do have a cheaper facility in the Cotswolds where they charge £270 a month.  It would be worth driving from London to there just for the savings - but then again, money is not going to be an issue for the people using this service.
Could that be a Bugatti Veyron under that sheet perhaps?

Then I read the comments at the bottom of the story.

Someone using the name voyager12 said "The city where cars are better looked after than people."

Now I love cars.  That's why I was finding it so interesting reading these articles.  The first article is fine - it is about helping people - enthusiasts - to keep old luxury cars on the road at a budget to be enjoyed.  The second article though is about helping obscenely rich people store luxury cars that will very rarely be driven.

The location is nice and handy for Kensington.

Kensington where there are many luxury properties laying empty while their rich, usually foreign, owners are abroad somewhere for most of the year.

Kensington where, at the latest count, 79 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire.  They were there because they were poor - because that was the best social housing that could be found for them.  If it is true that the block was covered in dangerous cladding because it was more attractive to look at then someone needs to go to prison for a very long time.  But if it is true, we know they won't.

Now don't get me wrong, I've no problem with Tim.  He has found an excellent way of bringing some foreign money into our country while he provides a unique and useful service.  It's just a shame that (and I know I'm making a big assumption here) I suspect that most of his client base will think more about their cars than about people.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Amazon Primed to Sell Cars in the UK

Allegedly, you can already buy a new Fiat 500, 500L or Panda through Amazon in Italy.

I can't find any evidence of that actually happening though.

Autocar have the story here.  It looks like it will be Fiat Chrysler Group cars they'll be flogging though.

Hope they've got a big drone.

If it was to have been used cars, then they should have been thinking Volvo:
(That's a Volvo Amazon)
Now they just need some way of publicising the venture to lots of people interested in cars. Can't think how they may go about that...

Friday, 2 June 2017

El Nombre del Coche

Buenos Días.

According to Autoguide, Seat are opening up the naming of their new model to the general public.

It's going to be an SUV slotting into their range above the Ateca which isn't a bad-looking car despite being an SUV:
There is  certain samey-ness to most SUVs nowadays - mainstream manufacturers all seem to be concentrating on different sized cross-overs.  Which is boring.  But people keep buying the things so I can't really criticise the business model.

Anyway, Autoguide announce that the new car won't end up with the name Carry McCarface.  This is a reference to the Polar Research Ship The RRS Sir David Attenborough currently being built up the road from my house.  That ship may have been called Boaty McBoatface if the general public had got their way.

But they didn't.

And Seat insist that their cars are named after Spanish places so it's not an issue.

And when they say "above the Ateca", they don't say if it will be a replacement for the Alhambra (which is more of a people-carrier) or it's going to fit into the range between the two.

I've checked the map and, depending on which route you take, half-way between Ateca and Alhambra is a small place called Buendía.  Which means "Good Day" - a very positive name for a car.

Or they could go for a little town to the South-West of Pamplona.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Motoring Offences

Ok, so what's the worst motoring crime?
  1. Driving while using the phone.
  2. Locking two children in the boot.
  3. Driving at 4TIMES the speed limit.
Two of these are pretty serious.

What? Only two of them?  Surely I can't be serious?

Well I am serious and don't call me Shirley.

Let's take them in order.

1. Driving while using the phone.
We have this story today from BBC News.  UK police caught almost 6,000 drivers using their mobile devices while driving in the four weeks after March 1st.  The significance of that date is that it was then that penalties for being caught were doubled plus any newly-passed drivers caught would have their licences revoked.  It looks like this is still not enough of a deterrent.
2. Locking two children in the boot.
Another BBC story - this time from yesterday where this woman,
Tori Castillo allegedly locked her 5 and 2 year old children into the boot of her car in Utah, USA while she went shopping.  She is facing child abuse charges and the children are now with their father.
Which brings us onto the not-so serious story about the chap convicted of...
3. Driving at 4TIMES the speed limit.
Fox News have this story.  The guilty party was one Walter Arnold and he committed the offence in Kent, UK.
He was driving this very car here: 
The constable who arrested him estimated he was doing a speed of approximately 8mph in a 2mph zone.  Actually, the entire country was a 2mph zone back in 1896 when this happened.  The article describes 2mph as "a little quicker than the average speed of an ambling cow."

The constable was on a bike but I reckon if he'd just upped his walking pace a little he would have still caught him anyway.