Some days you don’t want to be just a number anymore.
The Lotus / Caterham 7 is the fastest A to B car in the world. Nine times out of ten a well-sorted 7 will get you to a destination a couple of hundred miles away even faster than a powerful motorcycle. The only car that can come close to a 7 is a Porsche 911, but take one of those on an LA freeway and the gaps in traffic just aren’t big enough to make real progress ~ without you getting killed or caught.
A Lotus / Caterham Seven is SMALL. You don’t turn the steering wheel, press the gas pedal, or reach down to change gear ~ you think the little car into gaps in traffic. By the time you have had a conscious thought you are already a few hundred yards down the road. A Seven is an extension of your mind, not an extension of your body ~ and for a guy a 7 is not an extension of your penis like a Porsche.
Both a Porsche and a well-sorted 7 will get you from rest to 60 miles and hour in a little under 4 seconds, but in any car other than a Seven you will need an open road, free of traffic, to make the most of that car’s savage acceleration. In a Lotus / Caterham 7 you can just about ignore traffic ~ if you are brave enough, and if you are good enough. And, you have no business sitting in the driver’s seat of a seven if you are not brave.
I don’t mean stupidly brave like motorcycle owners who are always just one tiny mistake from serious injury, or death. Transplant surgeons love it when it rains, because they know there will be a motorcycle accident and they they will have some spare parts soon.
Brave in a Lotus / Caterham 7 means being who you truly are, embracing freedom, throwing away your ‘stand-in-line’ mentality, and becoming one with the moment.
Many women will not sit in the passenger seat of a Seven more than once. They find the entire experience too visceral, too powerfully emotive, too
fucking damn frightening. Finding a girl to ride shotgun on a long road trip in a Seven isn’t an easy thing to do ~ but then what real man wants the first women they meet at a bar? If you drive a Seven it’s going to take patience and time to find The Girl Riding Shotgun.
Anyway, if you are a real man you will have built your Seven yourself, and that takes time and patience too. And if you drive hard, with the top down, (which is the only true way to drive a 7), then she can’t talk with you anyway~ it’s just too damn noisy. The harsh bark of the side exhaust is overpowered by the flat roar from the Weber carburettors. There is wind noise around the side-screens, tyre roar, and probably transmission whine.
There are some other things about a 7 most ordinary women don’t like. It’s tiny, she’s sitting with her ass less than a foot from the road underneath, her hair is going to get blown about, every time you reach down to change gears you’re going to touch her leg, there’s limited luggage space, and when she gets out she’s got to be
fucking damn careful not to burn her leg on the side exhaust, (if you’re driving a European spec car).
But real women, women who are not afraid of their own feelings will love a Caterham / Lotus 7.
Some say that they’re not a number, that they are a free man. And, that they will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, numbered, and made to stand in line. All I know is that of you drive a Seven you can do anything, as long as it’s what you want.
Me and my Seven.
captive in a locked mind
camera behind locked doors
the empty vodka bottle is unkind
imagination’s running distant shores
inhabited in gloom and blackness defined
Lent is a Christian Festival ~ sometimes I don’t feel filled with Christian charity, and I will remedy that. For Lent this year I am giving up some of my most cherished character defects.
Between February 10th and March 24th I will not inflict my dangerously negative feelings upon anyone.
Among the things I will not be doing during Lent are that I will not be;
(Please feel free to tell me of any other unpleasant defects of character you would like a less than perfect man to lose.)
Only an inherently evil man like Mr.Hyde, (or an unreconstructed alcoholic), would be pleased to give free rein to actions which stem from those negative character traits. If I feel any of these vile and malevolent emotions and impulses, I will work very hard at not letting them show.
Actually, I am not going to do anything about those nasty, abusive, and negative character defects.
Instead, I am going to be positive and affirmative, calm and peaceful, honest and honourable. I shall walk softly and speak kindly. I will strive to become the perfect English Gentleman.
Also, I shall stay off the booze.
Piers are great, so very seaside, so very 1950’s, so very English Music Hall, there even are songs about piers…. Santa Monica Pier is fabulous.
Right at the western end of Interstate 10, Santa Monica Pier is easy to get to. Santa Monica pier is also the Western end of the old Route 66, and that’s got to be my next US Road Trip, all two and a half thousand miles of it from Santa Monica to Chicago, (or maybe the in the other direction).
When I got there, I had that feeling of déjà vu which so many place in the USA give me. Not surprising; Santa Monica Pier has featured in countless films and TV shows; from Elmer Gantry and The Opposite Of Sex, to the iconic TV show The Rockford Files. Film buffs can have a great day out there; take your reference book with you.
At the end of the pier, the ferris wheel is solar-powered; when does Santa Monica ever get cloudy days?
There is also a great restaurant at the south side of the landward end; Lunch at The Lobster is not so expensive, around $100 for the both of you; The Girl Riding Shotgun loved the mussels. The views from the pier are worth seeing.
Great day ~ next time out I think I’ll take my teddy bear along…
pictures copyright jack collier
Drive south-east from central Palm Springs on Route 111 and you come across the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. This is in a seriously upscale area, and the museum is full of very expensive, contemporary pieces.
Outside, the gardens are filled with quirky sculpture, like these long faces.
Outside, its garden is a peaceful, spiritual place. The Renaissance Man should have an interest in art and gardening.
As an antidote for the constant excitement of Palm Canyon Drive, spend a while wandering the gardens. If you’re looking for a million dollar home in the Palm Springs area, you can’t really afford Palm Desert.
But, if you want some landscaping ideas for your desert home, you should really check out the museum’s gardens.
Keep heading south-west on Route 74 and you are into some cool scenery. And, on a road trip, cool scenery is one of the prerequisites. This is the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Park. And, if this part of California looks familiar, it’s because I’ve seen it countless times in westerns, at the movies and on TV….
jack collier and
the girl riding shotgun
Although it is usually good advice to lose one’s angst before getting behind the wheel of a Lotus 7. Remember, you are not a number on a road trip. Just shut up and drive.
On very rare occasions, one drives and wants to talk a little, although the more miles one has on the odemeter the less a real man is likely to want to talk.
And, there is idle chit-chat, and then there is conversation. Real conversation may drift from the athstetics of differing cloud formations to the underlying energies of the cosmos.
Whatever, if one is taking a road trip, the woman in the passenger seat has to be just that. Face it, a guy who hasn’t got a female friend willing to discover the world at the end of the rainbow, needs to have a long, solitary, road trip to ‘find himself’.
A man on a road trip with another man along for company is as one-dimensional as a foggy day. But, every now and then a man needs to be trans-dimensional, and take a long solitary drive to nowhere.
Guys, (and ladies), your road trip companionship is best coming from a woman. This despite the constant complaining about everything… (Not every girl complains all the time, and some women will share expenses, sometimes)
I have been reading some weird and disturbing stuff about techno-sex;
Some say that sexbots could seriously damage human relationships.
And, that android sex slaves reinforce male stereotypes of submissive women.
The best fembots can mimic a realistic orgasm.
Sex between humans and machines may soon become the norm.
Cute sexbots offer continuous ardent attention.
Robophilia is natural, libidinous, and sexually fulfilling for both men and women.
Japanese men think girlfriend apps are better than human girls.
Your robotic lover can be an erotic sexual surrogate for your human partner.
There are no off-limits for a fembot.
Intelligent robotic sex slaves will soon be almost indistinguishable from humans.
Robot sex allows any and all perversions.
Sexbots can be programmed with any personality, from submissive to dominatrix.
Virtual sex improves on sex with a human partner.
Both male and female sexbots will swallow cum after a blowjob.
Sexbots will talk as dirty as a practiced whore.
A robot ethicist says falling in love with your sexbot may be injurious to your health.
Sexbot porn is already available on-line and on film.
All I know is that cooler guys know real girls who might like to roleplay the submissive android, from time to time.
Rest In Peace, The Best 4×4 By Far
All good things must come to an end. My Lightweight Land Rover was one of the best things I ever had. Proper Land Rovers are fairly ugly, ( the Lightweight pictured is incredibly ugly), boxy, heavy, slow, uncomfortable, thirsty, rugged ~ a ‘proper’ Land Rover is one of the coolest cars a man can buy. And, should you ever want to take off into the middle of a desert, on a dirt road, for a couple of weeks at a time, then there is no better car to choose than a ‘proper’ Land Rover.
The modern ‘proper’ Land Rover is called Defender, but before Land Rover went chichi and upmarket on us, all Land Rovers were rugged off-road vehicles equally suited to driving down Regent Street in London as they were to carrying troops across a battlefield. The iconic Land Rover is said to be The Queen’s favourite car.
The very first Land Rovers were built, by the Rover Company, to replace the ubiquitous Jeep just after the end of WWII. The whole design ethos can be traced back to those 2 simple facts. It had to replace the Jeep and it was going to be British, and Britain was broken and destitute after WWII. The Land Rover had to be a rugged, go-anywhere 4×4 workhorse. Steel was in short supply in the UK so the body is aluminium, it had to use as many existing components as possible, looks and comfort didn’t much matter, and it had to be cheap. The 1948 version cost £450.
The simple solution found by Rover designer Maurice Wilks was to manufacture a strong box section chassis, and just hang everything else off that. Just look at that chassis. Rugged or what? Over-engineered perhaps. At the beginning all Land Rovers came in sage-green because a job-lot of surplus paint was acquired from a fighter aircraft factory.
Basically, once the basic steel frame has been welded together, everything else is bolted on. Or pop-riveted. Or screwed. Or banged in with a hammer. For English boys of a certain age if I say that a Land Rover is just a man-sized Meccano, they will know exactly how it was built. (USA Erector Set) As the blurb for the Erector Set says the ability to build a model, then take it apart and build something else, over and over again. And, do you know what? You can do the same thing with a full-sized Land Rover.
If your Land Rover is falling apart, you can take it completely apart, down to the last nut and bolt, and then build it again, but perhaps differently, and better. Choose cart springs or coil? Part-time or full-time four-wheel drive? Pick any engine you like, and as far as the body is concerned, the choice is too wide to mention. The most extreme Land Rover bodywork is the 101 Forward Control, which makes a fantastic camper / RV. This thing was mostly used as a military ambulance or command car.
This flexibility and rebuild-ability means that the Land Rover is the greenest car ever built, dust to dust. More than 80% of all the ‘proper’ Land Rovers ever built since 1948 are still in use~ they don’t get thrown away, they get recycled. Which should have pleased the environmental nutcases is California, but didn’t. Perhaps they didn’t like its military connections.
Since the first Land Rover was built in 1948 some 200,000 have been bought for military use, and like all Land Rovers have appeared in a bewildering range of variants. As well as the 101 there were tracked, amphibious, fire engines… The most famous variant being the Pink Panthers used by the SAS, (Special Air Service), the UK’s and World’s premier special service force. The pink colour is desert camouflage. You would understand that if you’d ever been into the desert.
However, there are a few problems having a real Land Rover as your only car. For example; they are illegal in the USA, they are slowish and use a lot of fuel, comfort isn’t what they are built for, they are tall and a long way off the ground, the heating system is pathetic…. But, as I said, if you really want to drive off into the desert, this is your vehicle of choice, at least you will stand some chance of returning.
There is an all new Land Rover Defender coming off the stocks. But the new Land Rover Defender isn’t even going to be built at its traditional home, in Solihull, in Britain. A new factory in Slovakia, (Slovakia? Did anything good ever come from that part of the world), will build the chichi new Defender DC100, which looks like a bigger version of BMW’s Mini that’s been frightened by a plastic bath-tub. More suitable for the supermarket car park than the Sahara Desert.
Good Grief! But money talks. Land Rover will be able to sell this toy car in the USA. They are just dumb enough to buy it if it’s cheap.
I have owned a couple of Land Rovers, including a Lightweight, and the kid’s toy look of the new DC100 just doesn’t cut it. It’s a girl’s car, or maybe a hairdresser’s, at least a metrosexual guy who worries about his manicure more than his car.
Don’t worry, get a tool kit and build your own ‘proper’ Land Rover. All you need is a hammer ~ well maybe. It’s the tool of choice in Slovakia.
most photographs from google
D-DAY COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE SPITFIRE
Formed in July 1957 the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight commemorates the Royal Air Force’s Finest Hour. The iconic Vic formation of a Lancaster, Hurricane, and Spitfire is seen at air-shows, military, and Royal events all over the United Kingdom in the summer months, and will always be the stars of any air show. Of those three great aeroplanes, the most affection is afforded to the seek and elegant Supermarine Spitfire, and any small boy who has seen a low flypast by a single Spitfire will long remember the simple beauty of its elliptical winged form and the low, whistling drone of the supercharged 27 litre, (1,650 cu in) Rolls-Royce V12 Merlin engine.
Born out of racing seaplanes and the ugly Supermarine type 224, the Reginald J. Mitchell designed single-seat fighter has probably had more column-inches written about it, and more film shot, than any other British Aircraft. In all some 20,341 Spitfires of every marque and variant were built over a 12 year period, beginning with its first flight on 5th March 1936. That’s more than any other British combat aircraft, before or since. In contrast the Spitfire’s great rival, Messerchmitt Bf 109, was in production from 1936 to 1958 and 34,852 were built. Ironically some Bf 109s used a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the Hispano Aviacion 109 ‘Bouchon’ is often seen in movies and on TV. You can even buy a brand new Bf 109, built in Bavaria.
The Spitfire’s Finest Hour was undoubtedly during the Battle of Britain. This was Europe’s Last Stand, and England’s battle for survival against the expanding power of Hitler’s Germany. The Battle of Britain really began when war was declared on September 1939, but is usually taken to cover the period of strategic air war over England from July 10th 1940 to May 10th 1941. The heaviest fighting took place between July 10th 1940 and October 31st 1940. Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his Finest Hour speech to the House of Commons on June 18th 1940. An equally historic Churchillian moment was his Never was so much owed by so many to so few speech made on 20 August 1940. It should be remembered that Churchill was carrying the load of Britain’s continuing defiance in the war at that time. Many, including Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, wanted to negotiate a peace deal with Hitler.
The role of the Spitfire during the Battle of Britain has passed into legend, with some believing that it won the battle, almost on its own. Other respectable historians take a wider view and stress the importance of Radar, RAF Fighter Command’s brilliant command and control system, the steadfastness of the men at the top, and the Spitfire’s partner aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane.
Aguably, the very best Spitfire of all was the Spitfire Mk IX, which entered service in 1942. Dispassionately, the Spitfire wasn’t the best single seat fighter of the Second World War, most aircraft historians and aero angineers would probably give that award to the North American P-51 Mustang. Nor was the Spitfire the RAF’s most influential fighter during D-Day and the 77 days following, that accolade going to the Hawker Typhoon.
The Hawker Hurricane was the RAF’s most numerous single-seat fighter during the Battle of Britain, and the Hurricane was responsible for more enemy ‘kills’ than was the Spitfire. The Hurricane was also cheaper to buy, easier to build, much easier to repair after battle damage, and much more forgiving on or near the ground than was the thoroughbred Spitfire. However, the Hurricane had its limitations. Fighter Command’s normal tactic was to have the Hurricanes go after the Luftwaffe bombers, while the Spitfire flew top cover against the Bf 109’s. The Spitfire was a match for the little German fighter, but the Hurricane could not often meet the Messerchmitt on equal terms. Quite simply, the Bf 109 was better than the Hurricane.
In easily understood terms, the Hurricane was built with a separate chassis, (frame), like a Ford Model T, whereas the Spitfire was a complex duralumin / aluminium-alloy monocoque, like a Le Mans winning Ford GT40. Both British aircraft used the same 27 litre V12 Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, initially producing about 1,030 hp.
- Supermarine Spitfire IIA 355 mph @ 20,000 ft Ceiling 37,000 ft
- Hawker Hurricane Mk.II 330 mph @ 20,000 ft Ceiling 35,900 ft
- Messerchmitt Bf 109E 350 mph @ 20,000 ft Ceiling 35,000 ft
Arguments continue to this day as to whether the Messerschmitt Bf 109 or the Supermarine Spitfire was ultimately the better aircraft. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that with the Spitfire the Battle of Britain was won. Without the Spitfire, the Royal Air Force would most likely have lost the Battle of Britain. In that case there is little doubt that Britain would have sued for peace in advance of a German invasion of these islands. Hitler may then have occupied parts of mainland Britain, or not. The important point is that, without the United Kingdom’s continued resistance to the Axis forces, history would be very different. It is even possible that Hitler would not have invaded Russia when he did, and that Japan would not have attacked Pearl Harbor.
Certainly, if for want of the Spitfire the Battle of Britain had been lost, the Luftwaffe would have established air supremacy over Europe. The British Empire would have fallen easy prey to Italy, Germany and Japan. For the want of the British Empire there would have been no strategic bombing of Germany, no possibility of a second front and no possibility of D-Day happening on June 6th 1944. If the Luftwaffe had not been badly hurt over Southern England in the summer of 1940, it may well have held air superiority over Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans well into the 1950’s. The shape of the modern world would be very different from that which we know today.
The next time a duel in the skies took place that was comparable to the between the Spitfire and the Bf 109 was during the Korean War, when the North American F-86 Sabre took on the MiG 15. Both of these aircraft were jet powered, but remember the Luftwaffe had the world’s first operation jet fighter in 1944, the incomparable Me 262.
Conclusion; Without the Supermarine Spitfire, the Battle of Britain may well have been lost to Goering’s Luftwaffe flying the Bf 109. Consequently, the shape of the modern world would probably be very different.