the fastest accelerating road car in the word is smaller than an old Nash Rambler
It’s a Caterham 7, and for a while I had one of those. These days I have a tiny little Citroen C1, and it is fast enough to keep up with much larger and more powerful cars, especially around town and on English country roads where a Cadillac would be nothing more than an over-large embarrassment.
I think this song by The Playmates is pretty funny.
My little Citroen’s horn really does go Beep Beep Beep.
Which is not quite as funny as the Californian lady on my sat nav, who cannot pronounce English place names at all, and calls a roundabout a roadary…..
much smaller than a Nash Rambler
less polluting than any electric car
I bought myself a car
or is it a shopping cart?
very different from the last car I owned
and it will do 60 mpg
I also owned a TR6
among many other vehicles
Unofficially, I’ve driven le Circuit de la Sarthe
One of the great duels at the classic 24 Heures du Mans was between the Ford GT40 and Ferrari 330, which the Ford won in 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969, beating the Ferrari which had been victorious every year from 1960 to 1965. The Ford was called the GT40 because its roof was 40 inches from the road.
Of British cars that won at le Mans, the Bentley Speed Six won 5 times between 1924 -30, and the Jaguars C and D types won 5 times between 1951 and 1956. Even with the new kink half-way down, the 3.7 mile Mulsanne Straight is terrifying, especially when you reach the hard right at the village of Mulsanne.
The Circuit du Sarthe is eight-and-a-half miles long in all.
Sadly, Steve McQueen never raced there, although he did race at Sebring.
Bentley Speed Six Le Mans
f you have to love your car for it to love you back
the radiator is the square black thing at the front
An American friend of mine is on a long toad trip, and she’s worrying a bit because her car is on the verge of overheating on long mountain climbs. Well, as a guy well-used to running old cars I personally wouldn’t worry so much unless the thing actually boiled, and then I’d let it cool down completely, top up the radiator, and carry on. (BTW, always carry a can of oil and some engine coolant in the back of your vehicle. And learn some basic car mechanics.)
There are 4 main reasons that a car will overheat;
- It’s leaking coolant through a hose joint, (or the radiator itself, or the water pump).
- The thermostat is faulty.
- The electric fan isn’t working.
- The water pump is busted, (or the drive-belt to the water pump is broken, or slipping).
Three of those faults are easy to check for. #1 there will be a pool of coolant under the car when it’s been parked for a while. #2 the radiator will be cool when the engine is hot. #3 with the car parked and the engine running the fan should come on when the engine gets hot. Trust me you will be able to hear it when it’s working.
#4 needs a mechanic, and as water pumps almost last forever it’s unlikely to be busted unless it’s an older car. In which case check to see if it’s ever been replaced. This fault is the least likely. If the pulley is turning the pump is working. If your AC and electrics are working it isn’t a drive-belt problem.
Actually there is a 5th reason, you are working the car very, very hard indeed, like climbing up a mountain. There is a limit to how hard you can work anything or anyone, and if you pass that limit things will start to go wrong.
Faults 1, 2, 3, and 5 are very easily cured, (9 times out of 10).
The trouble is few people know much about car mechanics, and if you take it into a shop you are likely to be stuffed with the cost of the most expensive repair possible, so learn just a little practical car mechanics. It’s a few hours and will save you a lot of time, money, and worries. (Sometime your car isn’t overheating at all the gauge on the dashboard is giving a false reading.)
(On older cars there is always the possibility that the cooling system is furred-up, in which case it would benefit from flushing. Here’s how https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s–5ft5YiHg ).
Treat your car well, and it will repay the favour.
the radiator is the black thing at the front
she’s not just four wheels and an engine ~ she’s a friend
Caterham 7 and one-time friend
Sitting at home in this government-imposed lockdown I’ve had lots of time to think and to remember. I found myself remembering all the cars and motorcycles I’ve ever owned, the good, the bad, and the just damn ugly. As I have an almost perfect memory I believe this is a pretty good list of my motoring history.
Bikes; BSA Bantam, Honda CB 175, Honda 400 Four, Norton Commando, Ariel Square 4.
I was never a particularly keen motorcyclist. England is just far too cold, wet, windy, and icy to be a fun place tor ride a ‘bike. However for one memorable year I did commute on a Honda CB175 like the one opposite. The upside was I could weave through traffic, the downside was that weaving through traffic is damn dangerous.
The very first car I ever owned, the one I learned to drive in was a Vauxhall Viva HA in dark blue. Since then I’ve liked navy blue cars. Following that I owned a Mini 850, Austin-Healey Sprite, Mini Cooper, another Austin-Healey Sprite, Lotus Elan, (which I wrote off in a bird-strike at 100+mph on the road from Durham to Edinburgh), MG Midget, (which is the same as an AH Sprite except for the badge), Jaguar E-Type Coupe, Mini 1275.
Then I bought a house and swapped the mini for a Reliant Robin van. As series of vans followed; Ford Escort Van, Bedford, and another Reliant.
Then I went upmarket again; Austin-Healey Sprite, VW Scirocco, Triumph TR6, Ford Escort as a second car, MG Montego, (that shit heap was really bad), Rover Vitesse, Vauxhall Astra, Rover Coupe, (in dark blue with the removable glass roof, great little car). Then a stealth black Vaxhall Calibra 2.5, which was a genuine 140mph car, Nissan 200SX, Caterham 7, (and that Caterham was the fucking fastest point to point little car ever on anything other than a freeway). And finally a Light Weight Landrover, which had to be the most brutally ugly car ever built.
Of all the myriad of cars I rented after that, three stand out. The Ford Mustangs, always a convertible. The Dodge Charger, and a few Nissan SUVs, which I liked a lot.
If ever I get out of this lockdown I’m buying a Volvo, a C30 sports coupe, which if you have to ask is a very cool car.
I won’t ever tell which of the above list I made out in. A gentleman never tells. I will say that you can’t make out in a Lotus or a Caterham.
I owned one of these weird 3-wheeler vans
eventually it just fell apart.
if masculinity is driving, then sexuality is the girl riding shotgun
she looks damn fine
a curve over the hips
a smile on her lips
that taste so divine
she’s something else
she has the hot looks
and the tender touch
she’s something special
and I’ve got the car
A Mustang, the desert, and a girl,
what’s not to like?
The Cars We Drive Say A Lot About Us
Women like clothes. and guys like cars.
Sports Car, Cool Car, Girl’s Car.
At a time when mainstream British car manufacturers thought it impossible to go on making small convertible sports cars, Mazda from Japan came up with the M-X5. The little Mazda carried the torch first lit by classic English sports cars like the Austin-Healey Sprite, MGB, Triumph Spitfire ~ and in particular the brilliant Lotus Elan. The original Mazda M-X5 could almost have been copied from the Elan, what with its 1.6 litre twin-cam engine, pop-up headlights, and clever longitudinal truss, (Power Plant Frame), that mimics the Elan’s backbone chassis.
The MX-5 wasn’t designed in Japan either ~ it was planned in California by a team led by Englishman Bob Hall. An Englishman in California is just about the perfect combination when it comes to cars. Of course what the Mazda team didn’t copy from Colin Chapman’s Lotus was fragility, unreliability, and extreme lightness.
First launched at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, the M-X5 was and is a fairly small front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster, with a twin-cam engine of between 1.6 and 2.0 litres. There’s a five-speed gearbox in the middle, double wishbone independent suspension at both ends, and disk brakes, (ventilated at the front). The original model weighed in at almost exactly ton, (which is a portly 600 pounds more than the diminutive Lotus). It even looked like a Lotus Elan ~ which was no bad thing.
As well as the looks and layout, what the original design team got right was balance. The unladen M-X5 has an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, which means that the handling ~ the feel of the car when you drive it ~ is just about perfect. This makes the little Mazda a ‘nice’ and ‘fun’ car to own and drive.
The M-X5 is by no means a fast car. The 1989 original came with just about the same power as a Lotus Elan, but it weighed a third more, so it was a tad sluggish. The traffic-light sprint 0-60 mph time was over 8 seconds and it would run out of steam at about 115 mph. But do you know what? With the top down, on country roads, with the brilliant handling and roadholding the design naturally produces, the original M-X5 was more than fast enough.
Among older English car enthusiasts the word to describe the way an M-X5 drives is ‘chuckable’. (It reacts easily, safely, and can be forced into doing things it really shouldn’t ~ it probably won’t kill you.)
The little Mazda is also a great car for a long road trip. It’s a nice place to sit for hours, rides fairly comfortably and quietly, there’s decent luggage space, it’s economical, and the top comes down. What’s not to like?
If you are mechanically minded with some practical skills, you could buy yourself an early M-X5 for a couple of thousand pounds / dollars. The thing is simple enough to allow a complete rebuild, in the same way that one could rebuild an MGB. But why would you bother? The Mazda M-X5 is a classic design, but it isn’t actually rare, (unless it’s a really early car in light blue mica or British Racing Green), and a newer car needing much less work is within the spending reach of just about everyone.
A new M-X5 will set you back around £20,000, (or $30,000), depending on the exact specification. For that you will get a very capable, very over-engineered, and very over-styled car that is so attractively modern-metrosexual it should only be bought by make-up artists, hairdressers, or real estate agents.
At the upper end of the scale a new M-X5, the fastback with a retractable steel roof will cost you about £28,000, (you can get one of these for $35,000 in California). That would also give you a 160 bhp two-litre engine and six-speed gearbox, all in an overstyled package that weighs in at 2,470 pounds ~ no thanks.
The new M-X5 is so far away from its Lotus Elan spiritual inspiration that it’s not even in the same millennium. I would not waste my money on a new M-X5. If I was really in the market for one of these little Japanese / English / Californian sports cars I would look for an early example, pop-up headlights and everything. In comparison to rebuilding a rotted MGB, working on a Mazda would be child’s play. The three critical areas for structural soundness are the Power Plant Frame and the front and rear subframes, and all three can be replaced.
Some cars are obvious Guy, some Girl, and a few go both ways. Why is the Mazda a Girl’s Car? If you have to ask then you’re either a girl, or a metrosexual male who doesn’t know one end of a torque-wrench from the other. You wouldn’t expect to spoil your manicure if you owned a new Mazda M-X5.
Would I buy one? Yes, so long as it does look like a Lotus Elan.
Should You Make Your Next Car A Diesel?
The first thing I need to tell you is that, contrary to everything Governments, Left Leaning Liberal Media, The Green Lobby, and exponents of Man-Made Global Warming have been saying for years, diesel cars are no cleaner and no better for the environment than petrol, (gasoline), engined vehicles. Like so-called renewable energy, all these green lunatics are costing us the Earth banging on about various means of powering a vehicle. Electric cars are not green, the electricity has to come from somewhere.
There is a huge difference between the manufacturer’s official pollution figures, and the amount of nasty stuff diesel cars chuff out in the real world. Volkswagen, (VW), have just reached an agreement to pay $4.3 billion in fines after fiddling the fuel consumption and pollution figures of its vehicles ~ and that’s after agreeing a $14.7 billion settlement to recompense aggrieved VW diesel owners in the USA. In the United Kingdom VW diesel owners are looking for a settlement of £3,000 each for the German car maker’s lies. Respectable scientists even say that diesel cars produce ten times more pollutants than buses and trucks. I don’t believe that either.
Jumping on the anti-diesel bandwagon the mayors of four major cities; Athens, Madrid, Mexico City, and Paris have announced that diesel cars will be banned from entering their towns from 2025. Who gives a damn? These cities are so bad to drive in that you’d have to be mad to take your car into the centre, and come 2025 it can only be worse than today. Banning diesels won’t make these urban areas any better, the exhaust from petrol engines is just as ruinous to your health.
One should never believe anything car manufacturers are car salesmen tell you, because they always lie about everything. For example, in the real world most cars use twice as much fuel as the car makers’ own fuel consumption figures, and some bad and aggressive drivers get terrible fuel consumption. It’s obvious that the more fuel you use, the more pollution you create. And bad, aggressive drivers often end up in accidents, which also create a lot of pollution, and death. Death in car accidents is bad.
However, diesel / compression ignition cars have two major advantages over an exactly comparable car powered by an exactly comparable petrol, (gasoline), engine. Firstly, you get about 50% more miles to the gallon from a diesel engine. Secondly, properly looked after a diesel engine should last for twice as long as the equivalent petrol engine. Longevity is good for the environment as the real pollution of any car should be measured over its dust to dust lifespan.
Right now diesel fuel costs just a few pence / cents more than the same amount of petrol / gasoline. However, you get far more miles from a gallon of diesel than you do from a gallon of petrol / gasoline. Take a new Kia Sportage as an example.
- Petrol / Gasoline 37 miles per gallon (Imperial)
- Diesel 61 miles per gallon (Imperial)
The diesel engined car is perhaps 5% more expensive to buy than the petrol car, and perhaps it’s 5% slower, but one gets about 165% of the mileage from each tank of fuel. Diesels are a lot more fuel efficient than petrol cars. (Don’t actually believe the total fuel consumption figures, most drivers won’t get that in the real world.) So, if you are a higher mileage driver, (more than 6,000 miles a year), or you want to keep your car a long, long time, (100,000 miles plus), then a diesel makes a lot of sense. And, there is always the likelihood that a diesel car will depreciate slightly slower than its petrol engined equivalent, (although with all the controversy over diesel cars this may be a good time to pick up a used bargain).
Except in terms of extreme speed and acceleration there is nothing wrong with the performance of modern diesel-engined cars ~ in fact Audi, (another German manufacturer), has won at Le Mans and other endurance races with a diesel racing car. Bentley’s new diesel SUV, the Bentayga will go from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds and on to 187 mph, mind you, you will pay in excess of £160,000 for the privilege.
So, the bottom line is, would I buy a diesel car? And the answer is maybe. If I expected to do a hell of a lot of miles, take transcontinental road trips, and keep the car a long time, then a diesel wins hands down. But then I don’t live in California smog all the time, and I don’t care one jot about man-made global warming, or inner city pollution.
I would buy a classic SAAB diesel convertible in a New York Second.
these opinions are mine,
and mine alone