Buying a new car - the wisest investment method
After purchasing a house, the family car is the
second most expensive item you will ever buy. With many people now
buying on the drip feed (Hire Purchase), an unwise investment gives
you up to five years to regret your choice, if you find that the car
you selected does not suit you or your needs.
Car Rental Mazda3
So how do you select your new car? For most people
it is a case of reading road tests (like mine last week on the Mazda3)
and then going to the new car showrooms, where (if you are lucky) you
will get a trip around the block, with the salesman prattling in your
ear about how good the car is.
This is not the way to buy a car!
Road tests are the staple fare of all motor
magazines, and for the manufacturers, the road test magazine is one
media outlet they want to impress. Let me assure you that any
manufacturer which has even the slightest clue about marketing will
make sure the motoring journo gets a good one!
No, for you to make up your mind as to what you
want to buy read up as much as you can, doing internet searches as
well, but remember that the specifications in other countries may not
be the same as is offered here. A 2.3 litre American Mitsuhondayota
will give totally different performance figures from a 1.6 litre Thai
When you have come down to the final couple, now
you go for that all important test. And it isn’t round the block. It
is a couple of days, doing everything that you normally use your car
So where do you get one? You rent one, that’s
what you do. Go to somewhere that has new cars and rent one for that
couple of days.
Only this way will you see if the seat gives you a
numb bumb in 30 minutes, whether is has enough oomph to do what you
need, whether it rides like a dray or wallows like a pregnant
porpoise. You will also see if it is so noisy you can’t hear the
radio over 60 kph. Remember you have to love this car - it will be
yours for the next five years!
Renting for a couple of days will cost you peanuts
compared to the capital outlay involved in buying a car (cash or HP),
and is the wisest investment you can make when contemplating that
expensive purchase. And if you don’t like it, you just give it back
at the end of two days, with a big smile, thinking about all the money
you just saved!
Why F1 does not have
the best drivers in the world
If you think that F1 has the best drivers in the
world, think again. Hot on the heels of the news that Red Bull energy
drink had bought Jaguar Racing from Ford, came the news that Red
Bull’s boss, Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz, had announced that
Austrian racer Christian Klien would continue as a driver for the
former Jaguar Racing F1 team.
This I find very disappointing, to say the least.
Klien may be a perfectly wonderful young Austrian, but he showed
conclusively during the 2004 season that he was out of his depth. He
was outclassed totally by his team mate Mark Webber, both in
qualifying and in racing. For example, there were only eight races in
which they both finished. In those eight, Webber finished in front of
Klien eight times! He is not ready for F1 yet.
Then we have all the other ‘pay drivers’ down
the rear of the field driving for Jordan and Minardi. These are
drivers who have not caught the imagination of other team principals
through the nature of their results, so it’s odds on that we are not
talking about the next Michael Schumachers! By using the Alex Yoongs,
Giorgio Pantanos, Gianmaria Brunis or Zsolt Baumgartners, these teams
are ensuring they will remain at the bottom of the table. Team owners
should have realized by now that they will not shine with a crap car
and crap driver combination. So why should the sponsors flock to their
motor homes? But if they had a cracker of a young driver on his way
up, that is a different story. People do take note. But that is not
happening, the ‘impecunious’ team bosses are pocketing millions of
dollars to present second or even third string drivers to the F1
So where do they get the next Michael Schumachers?
There is an obvious ladder of ascendancy. Take drivers who have
excelled in F3, F3000 or even F Renault and give them a couple of
years as test drivers. You then have the ability to see if they are as
quick as the regular drivers. If they are, then after their
“apprenticeship” elevate them to full time contracted (and well
paid) drivers. Surely this is logical?
The Dietrich Mateschitzs of this world should be
looking at young drivers like Anthony Davidson, who has spent a couple
of years as a test driver in F1, and on the Friday sessions was
quicker than both the regular F1 ‘stars’ Jenson Button and Takumo
Only by doing this will we see the best F1 drivers. We did not see
this in 2004. We are obviously not going to see it in 2005 either!
Ralf in frilly knickers?
Ralf Schumacher is setting new standards for himself, after
investing USD 2.6 million in a porno film company. The outfit is a subsidiary of
a German ‘erotic products’ company called (wait for it) Beate Uhse
(pronounced “beat yours”). Beate Uhse is Europe’s leading sex store chain,
which sells more than 10,000 products, which range from erotic films and sex
toys to racy lingerie.
Ralfie’s money would be used to set up a chain of eight
porn video shops in Slovenia. “For me, it’s just like any other
investment,” he is reported to have told Bild newspaper. “I’ve entered as
a silent partner,” said Ralf. Sounds like Beate Uhse has developed the
world’s first silent vibrator!
However, in a late-breaking announcement Ralf has now decided
to withdraw from the venture after German comedian Stefan Raab made jokes about
his unusual investment.
“It’s become a campaign against me. My role as an example
to others is more important than any money,” Ralf told Bild, the German
Meanwhile Willi Weber, the manager of both Schumacher brothers, has revealed
that Ralf will be suing Raab, as his jokes meant the end of his plans to invest
in the erotic empire. “Raab went too far, he has damaged the Schumacher
honour,” Weber commented.
Last week, I featured Mazda who were the first to get the
Wankel engine into a production car, just before NSU with the ill-fated Ro80. It
was a twin rotor, and I asked what was the car called? This was easy - it was
the Mazda Cosmo.
So to this week. A heavy industry company began making
Model-A passenger vehicles in 1917. The company is still in business today. It
is not Ford Motor Company. Who is it?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected]
Sir Stirling Moss - the greatest driver not to
win the world championship?
Sir Stirling, one of motorsport’s best loved
‘characters’ is often written up as an unlucky driver and the greatest
driver not to win the world championship. Many have put this down to the fact
that he wanted to drive British cars, and I have even fallen into that trap
myself until it was pointed out by our Down-Under correspondent John Weinthal
that this is not strictly correct, unless you call Mercedes Benz and Maserati
Stirling and his Maserati
Whilst in no way wishing to detract from his achievements, a
brief look at Sir Stirling’s record is in order. A little comparison is also
in order with the man I consider the best driver ever, Juan Manuel Fangio, who
raced at the same time, and in fact he and Moss were team mates some years.
Both raced in the 1950’s with Fangio contesting 51 Grands
Prix to Moss’ 66. During that time Fangio came home first in 47 percent of his
races, while Moss in only 24 percent. Fangio also started from pole in 56
percent of the GP’s, while Moss in only 24 percent of his GP’s. If not
winning outright, Fangio stood on the podium for 68 percent of his races,
compared to Moss with 36 percent.
The next statistic is even more telling, and perhaps explains
why Moss never won that elusive championship. Fangio retired from 27 percent of
the Grands Prix he contested, but Moss retired in more than half of his GP’s -
53 percent to be specific. The old adage runs, “To finish first, first you
have to finish.” Moss did not seem to have learned that.
So was Moss a car breaker? The gross figures would look as if
they imply that, and it is difficult to explain away otherwise the difference
between Fangio and Moss. Both were exceptional drivers, but Fangio did not get
to the finish line on only 14 occasions, while Moss’ record shows 35
retirements. That was enough to lose him that world championship he desired.
For my money, Juan Manuel Fangio is still head and shoulders
above them all, including the elder Schumacher. Fangio raced in Grands Prix that
took three hours, in racing cars with precious little safety. He took something
like six seconds off the lap record for the long circuit at Nurburgring in a
Maserati. Not 0.65 seconds, but 6.0 seconds! If you ever get the chance to see
footage of his memorable GP there in 1957, sit down and watch the ultimate
master at work!