Last week I mentioned that four of Schumi’s F1 cars were for
sale. They were the Jordan 191 (his first GP), the Benetton B. 191 (his first
world championship points), the Benetton B. 194 (his first world championship)
and the Ferrari F2002 (his totally dominant year). These four are currently on
sale as a set. I asked how much was the asking price for the set in US dollars?
The correct answer was 6.5 million USD! You would have to be the ultimate
Schumacher fan (with deep pockets) to pay that for them.
So to this week. The Citroen SM was announced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970.
What did the initials S and M stand for? No clues for this one.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
Thailand wins 24 hour race
No, it wasn’t the Le Mans 24 Hour race, but it might as well
have been. The race was over 24 hours, the start was the classic “Le Mans” start
with the drivers sprinting across the track and leaping into (or rather ‘on to’)
their vehicles, and during the 24 hours there were the usual hard luck stories,
refuelling, near-misses and beautiful misses (brolly dollies), and a bunch of
This was the second 24 Hour Kart race at the newly refurbished Bira Kart circuit
in the Prince Bira complex which attracted many overseas teams to our kart
enduro. The French were so impressed with the event last year that they entered
two French teams for the 2007 event. Team Benfica from Portugal was also another
of the overseas teams returning to try and win the 24 hour cup, which is always
difficult. You need consistent drivers, luck that lasts 24 hours, and careful
timekeeping to make sure no driver goes over his or her allotted time frame.
The event was very closely fought, with Thailand’s Team Octopus winning, three
seconds in front of Team Benfica after 24 hours. Third was French Team #1, five
laps astern, with the rest of the field all within striking distance.
The karts (all identical) were mechanically very strong, and the weather this
year did not produce the torrential rain that limited running in 2006. Peter
Klein, the director of motor sport from the Bira Kart circuit said the event was
considered as a huge success by everyone and many teams were already indicating
their desire to compete next year.
Well done Thailand!
Jaguar offering an oiler
The February 2007 Brisbane Motor show saw the release of a
diesel Jaguar XJ sedan as an alternative to the diesel BMW, Audi and Mercedes in
the ‘luxury’ field.
oil-burning XJ will employ the same 152 kW/435 Nm 2.7 liter twin-turbo V6 diesel
that powers Jaguar’s S-Type 2.7 TDVi sedan in the UK. According to Jaguar HQ,
the XJ 2.7 TDVi, which was launched in the UK in mid-2005, costs 27 percent less
to maintain than the S320 CDI Bernz, though how they arrive at these figures can
Jaguar claims the XJ TDVi, which features common-rail direct-injection, does
zero to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds, with a top speed of 225 km/h and returns
average fuel consumption of 8.1 L/100 km.
“Jaguar’s focus this year is firmly on meeting our customers’ needs for cars
that combine superb value for money with a driving experience that you can only
get from a Jaguar. That’s why the XJ range has been significantly upgraded to
ensure every customer will find a model to satisfy his or her requirements. From
the introduction of our acclaimed 2.7 litre V6 turbodiesel engine to a host of
other groundbreaking advances for every model, such as acoustic laminated glass
and Bluetooth ® wireless connectivity, the new XJ will keep Jaguar at the
forefront of the premium saloon market,” said Bibiana Boerio, managing director,
The XJ already ranks as the most technologically accomplished Jaguar has ever
built. It is the first production Jaguar to be constructed with a lightweight
aluminium monocoque structure; a unique feature that gives the XJ significant
competitive advantages over its rivals. The aluminium monocoque design of the XJ
offers improved stiffness and safety performance over the conventional steel
body of the previous model, meaning the customer not only benefits from the
weight saving associated with aluminium, but gets the added benefit of
exceptional ride and handling as well as being extremely quiet and safe.
A host of intelligent technology works in harmony with the driver and passengers
to ensure perfect ride comfort on every journey. For example, electronically
controlled, self-levelling air suspension is standard on all models. This
automatically lowers the car at speed to provide remarkable high-speed stability
and improve aerodynamic efficiency.
Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) uses computer technology
and sensor feedback to automatically adjust damper settings. The result is a
unique combination of agile handling, outstanding ride comfort and excellent
For the first time on all XJ models, acoustic laminated glass further minimizes
the intrusion of external noise into the cabin. The 2.7 twin-turbo Diesel XJ
also sets an industry first, being the first car in its class to feature
electronically controlled active engine mounts, which cancel 90 percent of
engine vibration at idle.
“The addition of the excellent new 2.7 liter twin-turbo Diesel engine to the XJ
range reinforces the fact that our cars are not only the most technologically
advanced cars Jaguar has ever made, they rank among the best cars produced
anywhere in the world,” says Joe Greenwell, chairman and CEO, Jaguar Cars.
Dr. Iain buys ailing Chrysler
Hot news at present is the purported purchase of Chrysler by GM, buying it
from Mercedes Benz. However, this is fanciful financial dealings if ever I
saw it. GM is technically broke, so how can it buy anything, especially
another car company that owes billions as well and made another staggering
loss last year (USD 1.4 billion, give or take a buck or two)?
I am prepared, here and now to put up B. 1,000 for Chrysler, forget stock
options (worthless) and a seat on the board (boring), but I am offering
unencumbered C-A-S-H, which is more than GM can do, which is hocked up to its
General Motors is apparently in negotiations to buy the struggling Chrysler
group in its entirety, say sources in Germany and the United States, with
high-level talks taking place between DaimlerChrysler AG and GM executives.
Asked about the possible deal, Klaus Franz, GM’s top union official in Europe,
said acquiring Chrysler would be a “disaster” for the automaker. Franz is vice
chairman of the supervisory board at GM Europe’s Opel division, based in
“This is only a step to remain the number-one automaker. The problem is that
Chrysler is in the same situation as GM. They don’t have the right product
portfolio,” Franz told Automotive News Europe.
Forget the right product portfolio, the two companies are definitely in the same
situation - they are gigantic loss-makers!
Although growing ranks of shareholders in DaimlerChrysler would like to see
Chrysler go, selling it is easier said than done. In Cologne, Germany, Bank Sal.
Oppenheim analyst Michael Raab estimates it would cost USD 34 billion to
separate the two businesses. Analysts say a real stumbling block is the roughly
USD 23.6 billion in unfunded pensions and health care liabilities for retirees
that any buyer would want financed in full.
After reading that, I think I will withdraw my B. 1,000 offer and buy the third
50 percent share in a South Pattaya Go-Go bar instead. At least I could enjoy
the ownership for a week or two!
Pizza Company fostering young talent
The Pizza Company Racing Team will be announcing its plans for
the 2007 season, which includes a young driver scholarship scheme in
Go-Karts for this year.
With many of the regular Pizza Company Racing Team drivers having graduated
from Go-Kart racing, and energetic Thomas Raldorf being one of the key
players in the Pizza Company Racing Team having been a Go-Kart champion both
in his native Denmark and in Thailand; looking to Go-Karting is a natural
It is good to see the established players in the local motor sport arena
providing opportunities for youngster to come into the sport.
Ideal run-about for sale
My personal Daihatsu Mira is for sale. Last of the Daihatsu Mira
line. Great town car, and very economical. Has been attacked by assorted
motorcycles, but always wins. Lovingly ignored for the past 10 years, other than
routine servicing (and yes, you can talk to my mechanic). Included in the car
are the following original items: 1 engine, 2 doors, 3 mirrors, 4 wheels. Price
includes the following factory options: Air-conditioning (which does work),
Radio/tape player (which doesn’t work). Price: B. 75,000 (as is), or B. 85,000
if I take out all the minor dings and scratches and repair the upholstery.
Contact Dr. Iain on 081 687 3267.