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XI No.14 - Sunday December 16 - Saturday December 29, 2012


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

BMW reveals the new 3-Series

new 3-Series GT.

European rumor has BMW launching the new mid-size 3 hatch looking very much like a smaller 5-Series Gran Turismo.
The new model may be called the 3 GT, but no matter what it is called, the photos are all over the net before its official release. Two undisguised versions were seen in the US during a recent photo shoot for the car, and they will be making their official world debut probably at the Detroit Auto show in January, most likely as 2013 models.
From the spy shots, we can see that the 3-Series GT has the more pronounced grille, headlights that blend into the grille, accented intake surrounds and new mudguard vents, being design cues from the 3-Series.
It is believed that many of these elements will also be appearing on the forthcoming 4-Series Coupe and 4-Series Convertible. These were first previewed on BMW’s Active Tourer Concept at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.
Previous interior spy shots revealed that the cabin’s design will stick close to the 3-Series sedan’s interior. There should also be an updated navigation system, a revised menu for the iDrive interface and more voice-activated controls as part of BMW’s expanding ConnectedDrive technology portfolio.
The platform that the new 3-Series uses is slightly longer version of the platform underpinning the latest BMW 3-Series, which means it should be powered by the same choice of engines as well. This would mean the 180 kW/350 Nm 2.0 liter turbo four in a base 328i GT and a 225 kW/400 Nm 3.0 liter turbo straight-six in the 335i GT. It is postulated that an xDrive all-wheel-drive system will likely be an option.


Ford’s Australian SUV looks to be a hit in Thailand

Ford Territory.

We are used to the fact that many of the Ford’s built here in Thailand are exported to Australia, but the reverse direction is not as prevalent.
Even though there is a Free Trade Agreement between Thailand and Australia, cars do not come into Thailand with no taxes/duties, as one might think. There are still tariffs and they are quite significant.
However, Ford Australia took a gamble and sent 100 of the Australian built Ford Territory SUV’s to Thailand last August after receiving much interest in the car at the Bangkok International Motor Show in March of this year.
The Territory is being marketed as a premium SUV in Thailand and will be sold in the range-topping ‘Titanium’ model with a 2.7 liter turbo-diesel V6 engine producing 142 kW of power, mated to a six speed automatic transmission.
This brings the SUV line-up for Ford Thailand to three, with the Escape and Everest and now the Territory, and of the initial batch of 100, Ford claims that 50 have been sold already.


A ‘cheap” Jaguar

Jaguar XF.

Whilst the original concepts of Jaguar cars included Grace, Space and Pace, of late the marque has strayed from Sir William Lyons ideas.
The latest is the 2.0 liter four cylinder Jaguar XF which is considerably cheaper than the previous most affordable petrol Jaguar, and cheaper in most markets than the BMW 520i, Audi A6 2.0 TFSI and Mercedes-Benz E200.
The 177 kW engine is the same turbocharged direct-injected unit employed in Ford Australia’s EcoBoost Falcon, and is also used in various states of tune in the Ford Mondeo, Range Rover Evoque and some Volvo models. So much for exclusivity.
The petrol XF drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. This eight-speed box has now been applied across the XF range as part of a 2013 model update that also includes a new 250 kW/450 Nm 3.0 liter supercharged V6 variant.
The two turbo-diesel models have been retained - in 2.2-liter four cylinder and 3.0 liter V6 guises, plus the supercharged 5.0 liter V8 for the performance Jaguar XFR.
The four-cylinder engine in the cheapest XF develops 177 kW at 5500 rpm and 340 Nm of torque giving a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 7.9 seconds. This is hardly the “pace” envisaged so many years ago. Mind you, Indian ownership of Jaguar by Tata was also not envisaged.
The new XF range gets some interior tweaks such as new infotainment features, including a 30 gb hard drive, a more capable sat-nav system that zooms in when the car approaches an intersection, and a browsing function for iPod tunes. New high-end Meridian sound systems are also available. Jaguar also says suspension tweaks deliver a better ride without upsetting handling.
Standard features on the cheap 2.0 Luxury include Alcantara seats with four-way front-seat electric adjustment, keyless entry and start, automatic transmission with sports shift and steering wheel paddles, leather-bound steering wheel and 18-inch wheels. But does it have Grace, Space and Pace? You are the judge.


The price of being a pioneer

In the past, I fell victim to the attraction of being a pioneer, in that eternal quest for the top step of the podium. Let me tell you about my pioneering blunders.
The first was when I was a works driver for British Leyland in Australia. It was 1970 and my MGB was consistently coming second to a three liter Austin Healey 3000. Rumored to be larger than four liters, he just had too much power. The B was 1.8 liters, but the additional horsepower we would get from bringing it to two liters was not enough.
It was then I got my master plan. The engine regulations of the day said you had to maintain the manufacturer’s block and crank - everything else was free. My pioneering concept was to graft a twin overhead cam head on the MGB block.
We sourced an MGA head, thinking it would bolt on. It doesn’t - an MGB has an 11 stud block, and the MGA is a 10 stud head. Answer, re-stud the block.
The next issue was the chain drive to the overhead cams. To lubricate the chain we had to drill into the oil ways at the front of the block, and then extend the crankshaft nose to take the gear for the chain. That hurdle cleared. What was next?
Next was the fact that the side camshaft in the B is driven by a chain from the crankshaft, so same direction of rotation. In the T/C A (known as the jackshaft) it is driven by gears from the crank, so opposite direction of rotation. And you can’t just throw it away, because the gear-drive for the oil pump is on it, so you are driving the oil pump backwards! That took us two days to work out and overcome, remembering that the oil pump lives in the sump, not externally, so you have to pull the engine out every time. Fun.
Now, after we got it running, the next problem came from the generous increase in horsepower. I was correct in that it did give us the horses needed, but what it then did, was to systematically break everything from the flywheel bolts backwards, all the way to the half shafts! In that season (1971), we set lap records at every circuit we raced on - and had a finishing record of 50 percent. It destroyed seven engine blocks as it dropped valves with monotonous regularity. The pioneering spirit brought my season undone.
Of course, once a pioneer, always a pioneer. In 1980 I was racing a Ford Escort Mk1, in the Australian sports sedan class. A few glass panels and some engine work and that was it. The Pinto engine was bullet-proof and I had a good season, but there were too many Mk1 Ford Escorts. I had to do something to elevate myself above the others.
My plan was to build a totally space-framed Escort, with the engine back as far as would be allowed and to run a wing. Not only did the pioneer decide to do this rather radical step for 1980, but to make it even more radical, it was decided to build two of them, one for my friend John English, and one for myself. These we ran as a team for the largest Ford Dealership in Australia.
Now you have to understand nobody had done this before, and then to compound or problems we decided to run Mazda 12A rotary engines, throwing the unreliable Ford T/C engines away.
This was not an easy engine transplant as the extremely hot exhausts run on the driver’s side of the car, and we were getting fried all the time. In desperation we had quilted asbestos made for the tunnel, but we did not know in those days, that the asbestos was probably more dangerous than the racing.
However, the pioneering spirit continues, and our SR 20 Turbo engine that was shoe-horned into the racing Securitas Escort Mk 1 has given us a substantial power boost, but also a substantially greater number of problems! But we will continue.
No, the road for the auto pioneer is not an easy one.


Want to see Myanmar - join the rally

The “ASEAN Friendship Caravan 2013 Gate Way to Myanmar” event is the first overland rally approved and permitted by both the Myanmar and Thailand Authorities concerned.
Participants from ASEAN countries Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia will join the event.
Due to the limit of the number of convoy vehicles, the organizer proposes to each country that a limit of 4 - 5 vehicles can register, and the organizers estimate around 30 - 35 vehicles will join the event including Media and TV programs.
The dates for the “ASEAN Friendship Caravan 2013 Gate Way to Myanmar” rally are from 16 December to 28 February 2013.
Please confirm by scanning your passport for each participant, your vehicle registration book and your international driving license and send via e-mail: [email protected] / [email protected] as soon as possible, or you may already have missed out.
For other further information, please fill free to contact the organizer: Somsak Burapapipath Mobile: 081 513 3913 / 084 940 4746 or e-mail: [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

BMW reveals the new 3-Series

Ford’s Australian SUV looks to be a hit in Thailand

A ‘cheap” Jaguar

The price of being a pioneer

Want to see Myanmar - join the rally

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