Thursday, 23 November 2017

Messerschmitts v Spifires

Just been watching an Episode of Chasing Classic Cars where Wayne Carini was at an auction where they were selling one of these:
...a Messerschmitt KR200.
 
Which is a slight coincidence because today's Autocar Throwback Thursday was looking at their old report on...
 
...the Messerschmitt KR200!
 
How big is your wife?
 
I only ask because, according to the review from 1957:
 
"at the back there is a bench which will hold a small wife and child, or a larger wife and a shopping basket."
 
Meanwhile, the interesting bit for me was that I would be allowed to use the reverse gears but if I only had a motorbike licence (they were more popular in the '50s) I would only be allowed to go forward.
 
However, I'd rather have a Spitfire myself:

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Puddled

We've all heard of Ford Door Protectors.

Well now you can get AMG Door Projectors.
You can fit them to any car in the current Mercedes range - even the more lowly ones.

What a naff, gaudy, pointless, show-offy piece of kit.

I really like them - I'm going to have to buy a Merc!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Confused.com

I was a bit confused by this headline.
It comes with this BBC story.
 
I took a screenshot in case they realise it is confusing and consequently correct it.
 
You see, to me, the headline is telling us that a woman in America sent some pictures of herself to her insurer when she should have sent them to her car.
 
In actual fact, she sent pictures of herself to her insurers when she should have sent pictures of her car to her insurers.
 
I hope that clarifies matters.

I've never heard of insurers wanting pictures of a car they plan on covering but I suppose it would prove that any claim made for side or front damage wasn't already there when they took on the risk - so it sort of makes sense.

It means they can GoCompare the pictures.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

1996 Honda Accord For Sale

The 2018 Honda Accord looks quite good in a the-front-radiator-grille-has-fallen-off sort of way.
But we won't be able to buy it in Britain.  In fact we haven't been able to buy a new Accord since 2015.  That sector of the market has been taken over by the luxury Germans on one side and the Mazda 5 and Hyundai/Kia i40/Optima on the other side.  You don't even see Mondeos on Ford forecourts nowadays.
 
Meanwhile, in the land where you can still buy a new Accord, a 1996 version is doing very well thank you on an auction site thanks to a very professional advert made by a professional film-maker.
 
The BBC report it here.
 
And here is the ad: 

It's a wonder nobody has thought of this before.

Oh yes, they did.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Balls to Bad Road Signs


This sign infuriated me recently.
Or did it?
 
No, I don't suppose it did really.   But the road layout it "helps" you with did.  It's like a big square roundabout on the edge of Swansea near the waterfront development.
 
If you don't go there often and you don't have a sat-nav it is a bugger to negotiate it.
 
But it would have infuriated this man for a different reason:
His name is Matt Parker and he dislikes the representation of a football so much that he started a petition (signed by 20000 people) to get it changed. The BBC have the story here. He is a maths geek and knows that a football made up of all hexagons, like the one on the sign, could not exist.  You need some pentagons.
 
Now I am a football fan and a maths geek. I could argue that this representation is OK because the roadsign is flat but that would be missing the point.
 
The Department of Transport say:
 
"The purpose of a traffic sign is not to raise public appreciation and awareness of geometry which is better dealt with in other ways.

If the signs were corrected, it would only be visible close up and not from the distance at which drivers will see the sign.

The higher level of attention needed to understand the geometry could distract a driver's view away from the road for longer than necessary which could therefore increase the risk of an incident."

But what about the distraction for drivers trying to mentally recreate a sphere from hexagons and realising that there is a fundamental error on the sign?

Meanwhile, for any Americans reading this - I would like to point out that the item in the picture that you think is a football is actually a rugby ball.  The football is the round item.

Here is a rugby picture for no other reason than I think it looks nice:

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Working Up Your Speed

The BBC report today that the Motorway roadworks speed limit could be increased.  It is currently 50mph.

There's been a study.

The tests took place at 60mph on the M5 between junction 4A and junction 6, and at 55mph on the M3 in Surrey between junction 3 and 4A.

The study found 60% of those who drove in the 60mph trial zone had a decreased average heart rate, while it was lower for only 56% of those on the 55mph journey.

Therefore, if they raised it to 100mph, there would be a decreased heart rate for 100% of those taking part.  (I have a Degree in Statistics)

But the heart-rates of the road-workers would be much higher.

That is the main issue here I think - the safety of the workers on these sites.  A union spokesman said: "Sadly, in recent years there have been several deaths of motorway workers and these changes will make their work even more dangerous. Already motorists frequently drive into coned-off areas. At increased speeds, it will make such potentially lethal accidents even more common."

However, many stretches of motorway roadworks look like this:
...without a worker in sight.  These are the places they can up the speeds - the workers can then bring with them signs reducing the speed limit when they set up in the morning.

Or would that be too sensible?

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dodgy Policemen

The BBC tell us today that "Humberside Police defends social media pictures of officers on dodgems."

This annoys me.

Not the officers.

Or the BBC for telling us about them.

Here they are, by the way:
No, what annoys me is that they feel they have to defend themselves for what is, after all, just a bit of fun PR.

But The Sun doesn't see it like that.

The Sun claims that "residents were furious".

But, since The Sun is a pointless Tory rag read by thick people and most famous for its lies, I don't think Humberside Police have any need to defend themselves.

A spokesman for the killjoy Sun said the "newspaper" stands by its story.

He added: "We are happy with the story we ran and it speaks for itself."

They said that about Hillsborough too.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Cooking Up Something Interesting

A couple of Autoguide stories piqued my interest today.

The first was this.

Apparently, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse RS isn't very good.

I'd never heard of the Chevrolet Traverse (it obviously hasn't traversed the Atlantic Ocean) - but it certainly doesn't look very good:
Which is odd because it is basically just a slightly stretched 2017 Land-Rover Discovery without the off-road skills...
 ...or interior, or badge, or engineering.

And the Land-Rover looks OK.

Which brings me on to the other Autoguide story.  This tells of how Land-Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division have turned a Discovery into a mobile kitchen for Jamie Oliver - who I didn't realise had traversed the Atlantic Ocean.  He must have done so though because Autoguide seem to know who he is.

Apart from the daft looking hub caps, it is quite an impressive kitting-out job they've done.
I'd have been happy with just the toaster:

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Murray's Looking Mint

At least he is for someone who turns 94 in nine days time:
I speak, of course, of Murray Walker.  Although he does now remind me of Waldorf from Statler & Waldorf: 
It was good to see him so spritely and knowledgeable when interviewed today on ITV4 while attending the season finale of the BTCC at Brands Hatch.
 
And what a season finale it was.
 
My favourite, Colin Turkington (actually my favourite is Colin's team-mate Rob Collard but he was recovering from a nasty crash at the previous meeting in Silverstone) went into the first of today's three races slightly behind on points but miles behind on the starting grid.  The race went badly for him and it looked like he, realistically, was out of the running at the end of the race.  He then brilliantly stormed through to win the second race and was suddenly back in contention.  Unfortunately, he got knobbled by a bit of bad luck early in the third so the 2017 BTCC Champion is: 
Congratulations and full marks to Ash who has been consistent and raced like a champion - especially since he had an uncompetitive car for the first couple of meetings - and it's only his second season racing in the BTCC.
 
Meanwhile, his more famous team-mate has had a very poor season - as I discussed back in May.
 
While Colin and Rob's other team-mate has also done relatively poorly - as I sort of predicted back in November.
 
Meanwhile, this guy has had a pretty good season:
I know he looks like a stand-up comedian there, but he is Tom Ingram.  He won the Independent Drivers Championship and came third overall in the main championship.  Which is very impressive because he drives for Speedworks - which is a teeny tiny team.
 
Congratulations, Tom - definitely not a muppet.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A Lady in Saudi Can Soon Drive an Audi

Good news for the petrolhead ladies of Saudi Arabia.

There's plenty of petrol there.

Also, the Saudis are finally catching up with the rest of the planet and letting the ladies drive.  Cue sexist comments about more road deaths from ignorant comedians.  Also Islamaphobic ones from tossers, which are bound to dredge up this faked photo:
as opposed to this genuine one: 
The BBC have the story here.  (The Saudi women to drive story, not the Pasta-Colander one)  They hope the change in law will be implemented by next June.
 
I wonder if the Saudi Girls' Council had any influence on the decision?  Here they are posing for a photo:
Meanwhile, in other motoring related news from the BBC today, a man has had a toy traffic cone embedded in his lung for 40 years.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Prior Warning II

'Twas March 2015 when I published Prior Warning - A little piece on the musings of Autocar journo, Matt Prior.
I've just read his latest piece and it looks like there's a bit missing.  It seems to end a bit abruptly - perhaps you have to buy the mag to get the full story.  Fair enough I suppose.

It feels a bit short because the item is subtitled "We discuss why F1 isn't as exciting as it once was."

Unfortunately, the total actually said on the subject is, "The spectacle probably peaked when cars were at their noisiest and wildest and drivers at their most visible, which is why classic car racing is so popular, regardless of how tech-laden some racing series, contested by companies with cars to flog, have become."

That doesn't sound like much of a discussion.  Although I do like watching classic car racing.

The gist of the article is that sometimes, rather than look to the latest hi-tech solutions, the old ways are more than good enough having proved themselves whilst standing the test of time.

My example of this would be that, in the olden days, British people were encouraged to shoot Nazis rather than to read their crap in the Daily Mail.

What there is of Matt's piece is written well enough and he does manage to both use the word "eschew" and talk about tweed trousers.  Although he does also claim that there is such a thing as a "digital salt dispenser."

Ludicrous eh!?

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

nice.cheese.sandwich

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, good.food.prices is in an industrial area in the town of New Tazewell, Tennessee - I'm sure a few supermarkets would pay good.money 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  https://map.what3words.com/daring.lion.race 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."
 
Oooh!
 
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?

This:
Somebody has rented and crashed a Lamborghini Huracan Spyder.
 
Oops.
 
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.