Last week I wrote that two Japanese sports cars had pop-up
headlights when they were released. However in 1994 and then again in 1998, they
both reverted to exposed headlights. I asked what were these cars? The correct
answer was the Mazda MX5 and the Mitsubishi 3000 GT.
So to this week. What car did W. F. Shetzline build? Clue -
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email [email protected] Good luck!
Points to ponder with buying
A website in the UK has published a list of shonky practices
by sellers of used cars. Most are applicable here as well, so ‘Caveat Emptor’ -
let the buyer beware!
• Outstanding Finance: One in four vehicles has finance
recorded against it and this is one of the most common car frauds of all. If
buyers don’t check the car’s history, the outstanding finance can easily end up
their problem, costing them significantly.
• Cut and Shut: Cut and shut motors are a joining of the
front-end of a car that has been in a rear-end smash and the rear-end of a
similar model, which has suffered a front-end accident. The two car parts are
welded together and can look deceptively realistic. But watch out - they may
look nice, but they could be a deathtrap.
• Quick Sales: Some sellers will claim to have to sell very
quickly and will offer a bargain deal. These generate lots of interest and
buyers are lured into sending large deposits to secure delivery.
• Sell and Steal Back: You buy a car but the seller keeps a
set of keys and steals it back after taking payment. You end up with a very
expensive set of car keys!
• Armed Robbery: Worse still, some buyers are requested to
meet the sellers and upon arrival are met with armed men, and forced to hand
over the cash.
• Escrow Scams: Escrow services normally act as a safeguard
for both the buyer and the seller. The buyer is secure that he is getting what
he wants and the seller has the money safely before delivering the goods. But
fake escrow sites are now being run by fraudulent sellers, who disappear once
the money has been transferred, never to be seen again.
• Stolen Cars and Clones: More than 160,000 vehicles are
stolen each year in the UK. Criminals often disguise these cars to look like
others, which is called cloning. VIN plates are swapped and you lose your money
and your car once the real owner turns up.
Caveat Emptor at all times!
New Nissan GT-R even better
Nissan GT-R Godzilla 2
An upgraded 2010 GT-R is now on sale with subtle engine,
chassis and equipment refinements but this will be eclipsed by a more thoroughly
upgraded version to come next year.
Due to be announced globally in October, the MY2011 GT-R
represents a more traditional midlife makeover that is also likely to bring a
power upgrade for Nissan’s giant-killing super-coupe.
The 2011 GT-R upgrade would be the latest in a series of
model-year upgrades to boost the relevance of the company’s flagship sportscar,
which was launched in its home market in late 2007.
For now, the MY2010 version of the R35-series GT-R - which
went on sale in Japan in December and has beaten a range of exotic racecars in
the new FIA GT1 world sportscar championship - offers a revised satellite-navigation
system, recalibrated suspension settings and an improved-flow exhaust catalyst.
The updated GT-R comes with a price increase across the
range, but as ever, in Thailand it is think of a number, multiply by the month
of your birthday and then double it. Grey import pricing is a black art at best
and blatant usury at worst. I would estimate that you will be looking at around
12 million THB.
The current revised GT-R receives an HDD-based navigation
system that operates through the same seven inch digital display, plus a new
data logging function, automatic headlights, speed-sensing windscreen wipers and
new entertainment functions such as Bluetooth audio connectivity and a USB/iPod
For 2010-11, the GT-R’s suspension has been retuned to offer
improved steering stability and ride comfort, courtesy of revised rebound
damping, stronger rear suspension radius rod bushes and fine-tuned wheel
Said to improve rear floor area cooling performance are rear
diffusers with cooling ducts, which were previously available only on the GT-R
SpecV available overseas.
Completing the mechanical upgrade are new hexagonal-mesh
catalyst cells to reduce airflow resistance within the twin exhaust system,
while the cooling efficiency of the transmission’s heat exchanger is said to
have been improved by a larger diameter coolant pipe.
Nissan says the changes enhance low-end and mid-range engine
response. Crucially, however, outright performance from the GT-R’s 3.8 liter
twin-turbo V6 VR38DETT engine remain unchanged at 357 kW and 588 Nm.
According to Nissan’s management, Nissan reinforced the
performance credentials of the new GT-R at the world’s toughest and best-known
test track, the Nurburgring Nordschleife, where last year it clocked a record
lap time of 7:26.70. In addition, the Nissan GT-R has already been successful in
the new FIA GT1 world championship series against far more exotic machinery.
What did we learn from
Kobayashi for a knighthood! Single-handedly he managed to
keep everyone behind him for the entire race, managed his tyres for 52 laps and
set up two stunning passing maneuvers on the last lap (including the scalp of
the Sulky Spaniard) to take 7th outright. Magnificent! He
got a standing ovation in Jameson’s for brightening up the entire race.
The other lasting memory of what was really a very dull race
(yet again, when will the FIA listen and get rid of Valencia?) was the aerobatic
display by Mark Webber after hitting Heiki Kovalainen’s “Lotus” (and more on
that name later). After a dreadful first lap, front row man Webber in the Red
Bull pitted, took on fresh rubber and then found himself behind Kovalainen in
the “Lotus”. A combination of early braking by Kovalainen, very great speed
differential in closing and Webber misjudging those two factors resulted in his
hitting Kovalainen. Red Bull “Gives You Wings” - it certainly did!
Vettel in the other Red Bull drove well all weekend. Pole
position and a dominant win has brought him up the points table, to now third
behind Hamilton and Button. There should be a good fight for the rest of the
The FIA stewards were at their nit-picking best, with
inconsequential wrong-doings and ridiculous penalties. The drive-through for
Hamilton was a prime example, and brilliant team directions and even better
driving, meant that he returned to the circuit still in second place, much to
the displeasure of the even more Sulkier Spaniard as the race went on. The
subsequent penalties of +5seconds to nine drivers (which took hours to be levied)
was another example of ineptitude. The times recorded by each car on any
particular lap are recorded electronically. Read the times off and you can
instantly see transgressions. No deliberation needed and penalty can be applied
instantly. A statement from Ferrari read, “A scandal , that’s the opinion of so
many fans and employees who are all in agreement: there is no other way to
describe what happened during the European Grand Prix. The way the race and the
incidents during it were managed raise doubts that could see Formula 1 lose some
credibility again, as it was seen around the world.” I will admit to bias,
however, in motor racing, those who can do, those who can’t become officials.
Rosberg and Schumacher in the Mercedes are now an
embarrassment to der faderland. Thankfully for them, Germany trounced England on
the football field. The question is now, “Did Ross Brawn sell M-B a puppy?”
Hulkenberg put an entire new slant on “tyre kicking”, letting
the barrier have a right footfull after his tyre delaminated and ate the rear
bodywork of his Williams.
We know times are tough economically in Spain, so it explains
the mad dash by one of the locals to pick up a bottle on the track to get the
five pesetas deposit!
Finally, my beef with “Lotus”. Much was made of the “fact”
that this was the 500th race for Lotus, but let me assure
you it was not the 500th race for the marque. This current
team has no shared DNA with the team run by Colin Chapman. Fernandez and his
Malaysian cohorts bought the name, and that is it. The new Lotus and the old
Lotus have nothing in common.
Roll on Silverstone, where passing has always been possible.