Last week I asked what car was called the ‘sticking plaster’
car? It was the Lloyd LP 300 which had fabric bodywork and was known as the
Hansaplastwagen. The year? 1951 and was another crumbling stone in the Borgward
So to this week. Think Nissan. Datsun had its roots going back to 1912 when K.
Den, R. Aoyama and A. Takeuchi got together and produced the “DAT”, from their
three initials. After a break, they began producing cars again in 1931 and these
were known as the ‘son of DAT’, or otherwise ‘Datson’. However, in 1932, they
changed it to ‘Datsun’. Why?
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F1 points score
There are three races left in the 2007 world championship, and
mathematically there are only four drivers left in the hunt. The two
McLaren-Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Alonso, and the two Ferrari drivers,
Raikkonen and Massa, though Massa has to be the long shot at this stage, as
it would need both McLaren drivers to score no points in two of the three
The current scores are:
1 Lewis Hamilton 97
2 Fernando Alonso 95
3 Kimi Räikkönen 84
4 Felipe Massa 77
However, there is a more than fighting chance that Alonso and Hamilton will
take each other out, and a win by Raikkonen would put him right up with the
McLaren drivers for the final two races. However, a DNF in Japan for
Raikkonen and a win for either Alonso or Hamilton would put the 2007 title
out of the Ferrari driver’s reach. It is an interesting situation.
More on the McLaren penalty
So Ron is 100 million dollars out of pocket, and excluded from
the Manufacturer’s Championship, but the drivers can still get points. It
all seems a little silly to me. If McLaren is judged as having benefited
from Ferrari information, surely the drivers benefited as well? Knowingly or
It would have made more sense to penalize the drivers 10 grid spots, so
there would still be a full grid, and let’s see them come through the field.
Goodbye Colin McRae
Most car enthusiasts would have heard that the former World Rally
Champion Colin McRae was killed when his helicopter suffered a major failure
and fell 50 meters into a valley. His five year old son Johnny was also
killed as well as a friend of Colin’s and another young boy.
According to all reports Colin McRae was neither big-headed or arrogant,
despite being a world champion but just loved life, a fact confirmed by
local identity John L Hamilton, whose cousin Colin McRae had married, now
leaving her widowed.
As well as being a legend in rallying, Colin McRae was friends with many
across all forms of motor and motorcycle sport, including current F1 driver
Scotland’s David Coulthard with whom he was going to contest the Race of
Champions at the end of the year, and Italy’s supreme two wheeled exponent
Valentino Rossi, who dedicated his last win to McRae’s memory.
Automania joins with the motoring world in extending its condolences to the
Volvo reveals new safety features
The Frankfurt Auto Show had ‘safety’ as one of the concepts this
year, and as always, Volvo rose to the occasion, displaying some of their
safety systems, already available as options.
A brief recap of Volvo’s highlights in safety is called for - Volvo opting
for laminated windscreens in 1944, seat belts in 1959 and the driver’s
airbag in 1987.
Some of Volvo’s push this year was seen in a driver alert control (DAC) system
to alert tired and inattentive drivers, a lane departure warning (LDW) system
and collision warning system offered in the S80 with automatic brake function to
help prevent front-to-rear impacts (this is similar to the one being offered in
the top end Mercedes-Benz models).
The LDW is not the same as the blind-spot camera system currently available as
an option. Research figures show 90 percent of all crashes are the result of
drivers being distracted.
The DAC system alerts the driver when concentration levels are affected, for
example during long journeys. LDW and DAC are part of the same option package,
called driver alert system, that was introduced in Europe on the Volvo S80, V70
and XC70 late last year.
Volvo Cars Safety Center director Ingrid Skogsmo says safety is a key philosophy
for the company. “When it comes to preventive safety, we have the same approach
as when we develop protective systems,” she says. “In other words, Volvo’s
safety research and technical development focuses on areas where new technology
can create significant positive results in real-life traffic.”
DAC was developed after studies showed driver fatigue was a major safety issue
globally. The exact figures are hard to quantify, but most researchers put it at
DAC is activated at 65 km/h and remains active above 60 km/h. A camera, sensors
and a control unit monitor driver behavior, the camera continuously measures the
distance between the car and the road lane markings. If for some reason the
driver veers off the road, they are alerted via an audible signal.
A text message also appears in the car’s information display, where a coffee cup
symbol alerts the driver to take a break.
DAC works in conjunction with LDW, which Volvo believes can prevent between
30-40 percent of single-vehicle crashes between 70 km/h and 100 km/h. LDW will
sound a warning chime if a driver crosses the road markings without a reason.
The collision warning with auto-brake function senses an imminent impact and
brakes to slow the car when the driver fails to react.
However, I am not sure if the new S80 Volvo released in Thailand will have such
safety features. A country where ‘safety’ usually takes the back seat.