Thursday, October 02, 2008


Just a couple of spots.

A gaggle of Range Rovers, some guys with guns and I wasn't even scared for my life. Thats the countryside for you.

A very nice Capri, it was well Ray Doyle. 

Coincidentally my out fit was pretty 45 too (wooly cardigan and check shirt), the guys in the Capri were tres impressed. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Waiter/Restaurant Manager/Motoring Journalist

I work in the restaurant industry. I am a waiter, I sometimes like to call myself a restaurant manger but I am not really sure how true this is. I like the idea of owning my own restaurant but I don't want to be a waiter or even restaurant manger for the rest of my life. This is not because I think I am above the job it is just that I think I would prefer to be a Graphic Designer so my degree wouldn't be a bit of a waste. Then if that fails I think I would prefer the job of a truck driver/recovery guy, I am not sure really where waiter/restaurant manager/owner of a restaurant would come. Anyway, when I read a review of a bad restaurant by AA Gill in the Sunday Times' Style supplement it makes me think I can do so much better. I probably can't but this would still please me as I prefer Mr Gill when he is being scornful. 

So what would my plans be for a restaurant of my own? (Should there really be a question mark there? (not there, I know there should be one there) I know I am asking a question but it is to myself.) Well the menu would consist of a medley of meats and very little vegetables. Cow, pig, sheep, deer, pigeon, partridge, pheasant, Gordon Ramsay would all be available dead, cooked and ready to eat. There are lots of other plans but the one most relevant to this blog is my valet service. I would chose a person with impeccable taste in cars (I may have to wait until someone can clone me) so that anyone who appears in a Porsche Ceyenne or Chrysler 300c will be ignored and told to (in a partronising police officer way) to "move on." They will then make way for guests in Land Rovers* and Lotus Carltons who will be greeted with open arms and impeccable manners.

If I couldn't be cloned then I would have to come up with a pretty concise list of acceptable cars. It would also have to include modifications to cars which knock them off the list or revive otherwise hideous cars and make them allowable. Or I could just do the job myself. Either way it brings my nicely to a question which I am asked regularly "What car should I buy?" (Just to clarify: I have been asked this question once but I read articles by motoring journalist that say that they are asked this question a lot and been as I like to think of myself as a bit of a motoring journalist I feel I should say it) What cars should I recommend? If I didn't recommend cars and people didn't know what to buy my fictional and completely imaginary restaurant would go the same way that my invention for a sweet flinging attachment to my quad went, down the shitter! With this possible disaster in mind I have come up with a list to aid you all in buying cars that will allow entry to a meal at my restaurant (I don't have a name... yet). 

I have limited my list to only new cars, just so it isn't too huge. I have stuck to price brackets and have limited my suggestion to just one car per section. I have started with a minimum figure of £10,000 not because I am some sort of snob and think cars under £10,000 arent worth having. What I do think though is that you should buy second hand, you can get a much better car than a new one. For example: a second hand Mini is about the same price as a new Fiesta and after living (trying to, in the Fiesta's case) with both I can assure you the Mini is the better option.

£10,000 - £15,000

Fiat Panda 100hp

A Fiat 500 in far less flashy packaging, its quicker and the ride has been compromised because they fit harder racier suspension, ace!

£16,000 - £20,000

Renaultsport Clio 197

The spiritual successor to the Williams Renault Clio. I would go for the Cup version, its the stripped out version and because of that it is cheaper and so doesn't even fit into this price category.

£21,000 - £25,000

Land Rover Defender

For this kind of money I would go for my favourite of the range, the 110 Double Cab Pick-up. The added bonus of this is that you can avoid the SVX (Land Rovers misguided attempt to update the Defender, thank the lord it is "strictly limited edition.")

£25,000 - £35,000

Lotus Elise

I would go for the R model, the reviews said supercharged S model was a bit to... calm.

£36,000 - £45,000

Vauxhall VXR8

It was a toss up between this and the Jaguar XF, this won because you can't get the XF with the V8 unless you start encroaching into Range Rover money and its a bit too dull when compared to a Vauxhall. Well its not just any Vauxhall I suppose.

£46,000 - £60,000

Land Rover Range Rover

It has to be the TDV8, see my review.

£61,000 - £85,000

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

What else? And in Autocar's recent 0 to 100 back to 0 it was qucker than Aston's range topper the DBS by almost 3 seconds.

I have decided to stop there as I couldn't bare the responsibilty of influencing purchases with that kind of money involved, £85,000 though is just fine.

* I mean all cars that carry the Land Rover badge but Range Rover Sport.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

As per usual I am bulk blogging, I went to get some photos developed today so you have a couple of weeks of vehicles.

These weeks include my holiday to Italy. Two car museums, one holiday; only the Beaumonts.

Quite possibly the wrong film (definitely the wrong film) but good old Jessops saved my ass yet again.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh yes, finally ITV have done the decent thing; you can now watch all that ITV 4 gold on their "catch-up" service. The Champions, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Saint and of course 45 and 37* in all their glory!

"Cover Me"

The BBC really ought to catch up and get The Avengers onto the iPlayer.

*45=Doyle 37=Bodie from The Professionals, but you didn't need me to tell you that did you?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I Hate To Say It But...

Recently in the news there has been lots of supposedly responsible people making ludicrous comments. One of these people was Mrs Iris Robinson who went ranting about ho-mo-sexuals saying gay sex was a sin and an abomination. Unfortunately other people have responded to this madness politely and respectfully confirming that it is ok for people with a proper 'education' to make statements that show how colossally ignorant they are.

On Radio 4 yesterday a group of women were responding to Dame Eileen Atkin's statements about Ladettes, she doesn't like laddish women and thinks that thinks this isn't what Feminism is about. She also said "It really upsets me when silly girls get as drunk and aggressive as boys." The panel on Radio 4 were very dignified and gracefully said that the actress was a bit out of date. This is all very well and polite but it isn't going to help. What they should have done was said what they really meant (or what I wanted them to say): 'How can you possibly be that ignorant to believe that the "Ladettes" that you have encountered are anyway related to the way men in general act. The only way I would ever completely respect your views on these women and men you think they get there behavior from is if every man you had ever encountered had shouted a dozen expletives in your face before beating you half to death then falling at your feet in a puddle of vomit. What you have failed to realise is that the Ladettes you so gleefully lambaste have there own male counterparts who, just like the small proportion of women who are Ladettes, are not all men or all boys. Your dismal view of men shows that you don't really understand feminism either, to my understanding feminism is about equality and that would mean the way you refer to men should be done with the same compassion you talk about women and not with the disdain Hilter would have spoken about the local Rabbi.' And that would teach her for opening her mouth before she thought!

This then got me thinking, we don't put up with shite cars just because they look good so why do we put up with people in places of responsibility who seem to have the facade of knowing what they are doing but are completely useless (the opposite of Boris Johnson.) The BMW 3 series is a brilliant example, for a long time I thought that people who bought them wanted to buy into a 'look' (looking like a knob) and wanted to fit in with the masses but its not. The British public I don't think are that shallow, they could look past the grotesque exterior and bad image because deep down it is a good car. Alfa are struggling to keep there heads above water in England simply because as a nation we can see past that gorgeous exterior and see a car that (it deeply deeply hurts me to say this but...) isn't as good as a BMW. Porsche have been a prime example too, they are one of the most profitable companies in the motor industry because they sell so well, especially in the UK. The Porsche range might be a bit like the adverts, all pretty much the same just in a different order and some unfortunately take longer than others, but they are essentially good quality, fast, reliable and fairly reasonably priced.

After that sacrilegious rant you will be pleased to know that BMW and Alfa are going to collaborate in the future to create at least the under pinnings for a small front wheel drive car. This will mean that hopefully we can get the best of both worlds, Alfa looks BMW quality. All we have to hope for is a 3 series that looks like a 159, and that Alfa badge.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why I Hate.. Nissan Figaro

I haven't posted for a while I know and I will update you soon. I think I will do a BIG post all about my car when it is done (it will be done by the end of the month, we have set that as our deadline.)

So back to the topic, the Nissan Figaro. Well it wasn't at the top of the list to 'Why I Hate...' but my dear friend Lara and I were driving around when we spotted one. Lara went all high pitched and squealed about how cute it was.

I then said it was 'Shit!'
She said 'Why?'
I said 'Because it is'
'But its cuuuuuuuute'
'Yes but its a Micra in school girl drag!'

'What are you on about?'
'Well, the chassis, engine, susp... I'll write a blog entry about it so read that'
'I'll be the only one, oooooooowww!'

So the conversation went a bit like that, more or less. The Figaro then; a small, Japanese, convertible similar to the Daihatsu Copen and Suzuki Cappuccino. So there it is the first thing wrong with it: it fits into the same catagoery as those. All of them are too small and too slow, they are barely cars. They are the car version of a Mini-Moto: they look similar to a car just smaller and if a full size human was to drive them they would look ludicrus. Have you ever wondered why they are all convertibles? Its so you can actually fit in.

These cars came about when the Japanese wanted to recreate the small European sports car from the '50s to the '80s like the Austin Healey (Frog-eyed) Sprite, Lotus Elan, Fiat X19, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. All of these are brilliant cars even though they weren't very powerful they were light and lots of fun. There was the odd exception obviously and unsurprisingly it came from MG with the Midget. So it is understandable why a manufacturer would want to recreate the good ones. Mazda was successful with its MX5 (I don't want one but lots of other people do and the press does rave about them) but as is the Japanese way they wanted to make them smaller. So small in fact we have this breed of extremely small cars with extremely small engines. The essence of the older cars was that they were light, that is what made them fun but with modern 'necessities' and safety equipment their weedy little engines just about propel these cars forward. I am clearly not the only person who thinks that they had lost their edge, Nissan did too. They thought they could do better by styling there cars like they were from the past. I am all for retro styling even some of the most gaudy ones, the new Mini. The Mini was saved by its quality and performance the Nissan Figaro has no saving graces. No that is a lie, the colours that they were painted are good. So many people recreate and old look with the shape but often paint them with metallic, pearlescent paint and that's wussing out at the last minute. Nissan went the whole hog, actually it went a bit too far. The Figaro is not so much a retro design as a bad, old one stretched over a Micra with an extra dollop cute that came out of the same place as Furbies do.

I think the Figaro is a bit like Sarah Jessica Parker. Girls love it. Boys hate it. Its ugly. Dressed in a stupid outfit. Small. Looks older than it is. Its nose/front looks a little out of proportion. Associated with a fairly dull program (Sex and the City)/manufacturer (Nissan) but with one exciting feisty thing (Kim Cattrall/ GT-R) keeping it from falling into the abyss where you might find Hyundai and Joey.

I don't think I have been anywhere near as offensive about this car as I should be and SJP seems to have come out the worst so far but someone didn't make SJP (unless you believe in God then he gets full blame) so she can be forgiven. She can also be commended for becoming so successful despite her drawbacks. The Nissan Figaro on the other hand wasn't really that successful in any right (unless you count the success of being able to move Vanessa Felts [she owns/owned one] and that is quite an achievement). There is someone to blame for the Nissan Figaro but we shouldn't mock because he must be blind, that is the only excuse.

Fans of the Figaro can click here for a site that you may well find appealing, beware this is evidence that Comic Sans lends itself well to writing about the Figaro.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Zim Zimma...

...where your Bimma?" Is a question I am ever so frequently asked. So I thought I would answer it in this blog entry:

It is in the workshop and has been for the last 6 months. That is a very long time and I can assure you it feels longer for me, partly to do with the fact I haven't driven it for so long and my bank balance seems to be on a steady decline since I started this long operation.

I am rebuilding a new engine for it and I am updating the suspension.

In true blog style I have some photos.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My life as I knew it GONE!

As you may be aware some people in Scotland aren't happy with their pay and so they are going to have/having a strike. These people work in a oil refinery... the only one in Scotland. This is obviously a tad inconvenient but completely fair and understandable.

What I don't seem to be able to understand is the British public's response to this. The oil companies that supply the UK with petrol and diesel told drivers that there was more than enough fuel to last us through this strike as long as we bought fuel in the normal manner and didn't panic buy. So what did people do? Oh yes they did they bought fuel 'til it was coming out of their ears!

Now there is a fuel shortage (which I am sure there would have been even if there wasn't a strike on because if the irrational panic buying). We also have people going to TV and Radio saying things like: "Well I knew we wouldn't have enough fuel to last through this strike, now I can't take my fat lazy kids to school and they might have to get the bus or even...(pause while the speaker almost vomits) walk!" I am not a big fan of public transport or walking but I always took the bus to school and my parents are rational and intelligent people (am I implying that irrational stupid people shouldn't drive? should make there kids take the bus and walk? or not have kids at all?) and I wasn't fat.

All of this is infuriating enough but because of the shortage of fuel the oil companies have an excuse to put the price of fuel up...even more!

So thank you, I now cannot live my life as before because I simply can't afford it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Race Retro

These are some of the pictures from Race Retro, as the title suggests. The weather was gorgeous, its clearly only an event for die hard fans. Which obviously I am and is why I am so cool!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free Range

I'm pretty sure you are sitting there with many other windows or tabs open each with things that you want to spend your dollar on. If I know the kind of person that reads this blog (and I think I do despite the numbers probably approaching the millions) each item will be around the £62,895.00 mark. Well fortunately for you I recently got a drive, it might only have been a short blast but it was very much appreciated, in a new Range Rover TDV8 Vogue. Now many of you will be thinking "I've already got one of those, I don't want to waste my valuable time reading what some weedy cretin wrote on the internet telling me what I already know just in a less interesting way than Jeremy Clarkson could" but there may be a handful of you out there who haven't got a Range Rover TDV8 Vogue and are already reading this and cant be bothered to search for a Clarkson review of the new Range Rover TDV8 Vogue so I will tell you what its like.

Very good.

Very very good, actually.

Its a Range Rover so its bound to be good. Its the best luxury car and the second best off road car (do you really need to ask what I think the best one is?) all rolled into one. You could buy any Range Rover of any age and you would have one of the greatest cars ever. The new TDV8 is probably the best of the latest choice of new ones. The supercharged V8 is, although epic, a bit too flashy. The TDV8 does about 20mpg can go pretty much anywhere and all in the lap of luxury.

All this leads me to a question I was asked the other day.
"If you could only have one car and you had too keep that car for the rest of your life what would it be?"
The answer is a Land Rover Range Rover TDV8 Vogue SE. It may not be my most favourite car in the world and if I actually had £62,985.00 to spend on car(s) I would buy a Land Rover Defender and some thing else. But one car to keep forever it has to be a Range Rover. And if you keep it forever you don't have to worry about the worst thing about them, the depreciation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Take My Breath Away

This week has a bit of an 80s theme for me (check the old facebook for Fame related antics) so I thought I would give you a kind of 80s post with a couple of cars I have seen recently.

An Alfa Romeo SZ, I actually saw this with my own eyes! I don't know what's going on with the second picture but Priya took it as I chased after it coming out of a motorway serive station off the M40 so it wasn't the most professional. I still can't beleive it, whats even more suprising is that it didn't break-down and nothing fell off in the 2 minutes of me following it.

Then yesterday I saw this little bugger, even more rare than an SZ, an Audi Sport Quattro (swb). I think its a genuine one not just a normal Quattro with a bit of the middle cut out. So two 80s "legends" in one post, especially for you.