Bangkok International Motor
Bangkok is in the somewhat ridiculous situation of having two
motor shows. However, only one has the backing of the international motoring
charter organization, and that is the one which this year was held again at
BITEC, and closes on April 2 (so you can still get there if you rush)! It was
also the 27th Bangkok Motor Show, so it has the history as well as the
credentials. The other one (in November) is more of an excuse to unload the
year’s models, before the end of December, when they become superceded.
Day, held two days before the first public days, is also very interesting. There
appears to be around 300 “motoring” writers, with most under 21 years of age and
obviously writing for “Hip-Hop” weekly or the “Teenyboppers Knitting Monthly”,
taking high quality, never to be published, photographs with the hand-held
Nokia. They are, however, first in line for the feeding frenzy for the free T
The displays this year ranged from stunning to absolutely abysmal. For example,
DaimlerChrysler had two new cars (the M and R classes) and a very professional
dancing troupe to add sparkle to the presentation. On the other side of the coin
were Isuzu, who featured a lurid green T-Max as the highlight of their boring
display, and Nissan who had (believe me, this is true) an NV Wingroad, which is
probably one of the world’s all-time forgettable 10 year old baby pick-ups!
a show has to have a “star” it was the Honda FCX concept vehicle. This was
simply sensational. Honda claims there is no plan to produce this experimental
vehicle, but parts of this car will find their way into Honda production cars,
believe me. The styling was new, practical and mouth-watering. The interior
being every bit as sensational as the sheet metal (and carbon fiber). Well done
In the category of motor cars you can actually own now (if you have deep enough
pockets) were the AMG Mercedes SLK 55, a snip at a pocket of change under 10
plus a scaled down pedal car version for the children of the well-heeled AMG
, or the (I desperately want one) Bentley Continental GT at around the price of
two AMG SLK’s.
On the Bentley stand was their PR and Event Manager James (ever so British)
Barclay, who was a veritable treasure-trove of knowledge. The fact that Thailand
has an allocation of 10 cars, and seven of them have been sold already, shows
that there are still some true enthusiasts in this country, (with money)!
In the category of “He’d turn in his grave” was the Cooper S with a ridiculous
wing tacked on the top. John Cooper, who built and designed the original Coopers
will certainly be doing 7,000 RPM in his box over that one. A stupid piece of
kit that will do absolutely nothing, but I suppose would allow you to hang your
coat on it from the outside.
On the new and innovative front, was the Segway company, demonstrating their
incredible personal mobility vehicle.
This two wheeled device works on your balance – lean forwards and it goes
forwards, lean back and it goes in reverse. With an in-wheel motor on both
sides, which are independent of each other, it is highly maneuverable. I was
most interested in this, and hope that I can do a “road test” on this soon.
I will cover individual makes in some more detail next week, while I go through
the several metric tones of PR material brought home from the show!
Wingroad – or Wrongroad?
Bentley Continental GT
Stupid Mini Cooper wing
Last week I asked which Porsche driver in the Targa Florio
put a wheel off the road and damaged a radius rod. He walked back to the pits to
be asked, “Is that what broke, or is it all that’s left?” Clue, he was English.
Answer, it was Vic Elford in 1971.
So to this week. Many vehicles featuring in-wheel motors at the Bangkok
International Motor Show this year. This is no innovation however. Who was first
with this idea?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] Good luck!