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Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

Nitto 3K series at Bira this weekend

The Retro Escort.

The very popular Nitto 3K Series has a meeting at the local Bira circuit this weekend. Saturday is mainly Qualifying and Sunday mainly races.
These meetings attract large numbers of entries, ranging from road-registered vehicles including 4WD Subaru Imprezzas and the like, right through to super hot 2 liter race cars and the Isuzu One Make series pickups, with plenty of action there.
There are eight races for Club cars and another 12 for out and out race cars.
We are entered with the BBX-Acorn Pub Mk1 Escort in the Retro division, running in two classes (F5B and F6) and our races on the Sunday are at 12.40 and 1.20. Unfortunately, even though these are the advertised times, the organizers seem to get behind with the scheduled times very quickly, so those are approximate times only.
Come and see us in the pits and get your photo taken with our amazing 40 year old race Ford Escort, with its equally as “retro” driver!


50 years of the Ford Mustang

2014 Ford Mustang.

To celebrate the 50 years of Mustang, Ford Motor Co. kicked off its celebration with a special ceremony commemorating the 1 millionth Mustang produced at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, but there were another 7.5 million Mustangs produced in total.
“Mustang is one of the most beloved nameplates in the industry, with fans around the world and throughout Ford Motor Company,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “The team here at Flat Rock Assembly has built an outstanding reputation for quality while producing one million Mustangs over the last nine years, and we expect that to continue for many years to come.”
The 2014 Mustang, which is available now, will be the last of its current generation. Ford is planning to introduce its next-generation Mustang for the 2015 model year.
The new generation 2015 Mustang will also be sold in Europe, with the popularity of the pony cars very evident. Remember the car used in the iconic 1966 movie “A man and a woman”? It was a white Mustang.
Ford has already unveiled a special 50th anniversary Mustang logo, which is featured on memorabilia and apparel, and the event is expected to be celebrated heavily leading up to April 17, 2014.


Suzuki really moving upwards (by 255 percent)!

Suzuki Ertiga.

One of the new cars at the Bangkok International Motor Show was the Suzuki Ertiga, a seven seater MPV with prices ranging between B. 544,000 - 689,000 for the top of the range.
These MPV’s were originally made in India, but then production was transferred to Indonesia. Despite the new factory in Rayong, I believe the Ertiga will continue to be imported.
The mainstay in production at the Rayong plant is the Suzuki Swift, which by reducing the engine size manages to be classed as an eco-car in Thailand. Suzuki were ‘swift’ to point out that they had received 47,000 bookings for the Swift, and had already managed to deliver 24,000 by early April.
Suzuki is also increasing the number of dealerships in Thailand from 66 to 100 by the end of the year.
Projected numbers for the Suzuki range in the domestic market in 2013 include 41,000 Swift, 13,000 Suzuki Carry and 6,000 units of the Ertiga.


China builds its own supercar

Chinese supercar.

It had to happen - after a decade of producing cheap motor cars, China is now branching into the supercar market with the Icona Vulcano.
If you think you have seen this car before, you haven’t, but you have seen similar if you think LFA, Ferrari F12 and Corvette Stingray, all supercars with front-mounted engines, and now joined by the Icona Vulcano which was unveiled at the Shanghai motor show last month.
The Icona Vulcano engineer is Claudio Lombardi who spent some time in Ferrari’s powertrain department, and the car sports 670 kW powered by a 6.0 liter V12 with assistance by hybrid electric motors. This is very similar to the 6.0 liter V12 hybrid driveline Ferrari showed in the 2010 599 HY-KERS concept.
Icona claims that the car has the potential to reach a top speed of 350 km/h and accelerate from 0-200 km/h in less than 10 seconds, performance that rivals Ferrari’s 458 Italia coupe.
The body comes from former Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover designer Samuel Chuffart who is hoping to create a design fusion whereby “Beauty and the Beast come together”. Some areas are definitely Euro, whilst others a garishly Asian, especially the front/grille treatment. Beauty and the beast do not really come together for me.


Mercedes-Benz New E-Class

New E-Class Benz.

One of the real stunners at the show was the new E-Class. However, what is under the skin is even more interesting.
The new E-Class offers a combination of new safety technologies and driving comfort under “Intelligent Drive” system to ensure maximum safety. Innovative driver assistance systems, preventive protective measures, a stress-resistant body structure and highly effective restraint systems make the E-Class one of the safest vehicles in its segment. The basis for this is the integrated safety concept from Mercedes-Benz, which combines all elements of active and passive safety in a well-thought-out system - providing protection to the vehicle occupants and other road users. The integrated safety concept meets, to an unprecedented extent, the requirements for a high degree of vehicle and road safety, and is oriented towards real-world accidents.
In the event of an accident, the best possible protection is provided by the restraint systems, the comprehensive deployment of airbags and the structural safety of the body. An innovative sensor system triggers the safety systems depending on the situation and coordinates them all with each other. Restraint systems are the backbone of passive safety e.g., 3-point seat belts for driver and front passenger with electronic, reversible belt tensioners in the PRE-SAFEŽ phase and pyrotechnic belt tensioners in the event of an accident as well as belt force limiters, 3-point seat belts on the outer seats in the rear with pyrotechnic belt tensioners, belt force limiters for all rear seats and rear belt status display in the instrument cluster, NECK-PRO head restraints for driver and front passenger which provide early support for the head in the event of a rear-end collision and as such are able to reduce the risk of whiplash. Also fitted on board the E-Class is an elaborate system of airbags, sidebags, pelvisbags, windowbags which are able to provide additional protection in the event of accidents. For new level of safety, the new E-Class models are equipped with intelligent assistance systems such as Attention Assist, which is now able to warn of inattentiveness and drowsiness and Lane Keeping Assist and the Active Parking Assist which enables automated parking with active steering and brake control in both parallel and end-on spaces.
There are three main variants of the E-Class, ranging in price between 3.5 million baht up to 4.5 million baht. At those prices it is difficult to ignore a Benz.


Insurance claims in the UK

The insurance industry is bemoaning the fact that drivers have a poor grasp of Highway Code leading to accidents. Road users putting on make-up, changing CDs and arguing with their passengers have all contributed to traffic accidents, according to recent insurance claims.
According to one of the UK’s top insurance comparison websites, one driver was involved in an accident after claiming they saw an unnamed celebrity walking along the street. The “celebrity” turned out to be a normal member of the public.
Despite the humorous nature of these claims, many of these accidents betray a shocking ignorance of the Highway Code and basic driving skills, which only go to force up insurance premiums for other drivers.
“We never cease to be amazed by some claims,” said Paul Gilbert, customer services director of InsureAnts. co.uk price comparison website. “It’s almost as if some people pass their driving test and immediately forget the basic rules of the road.”
Ten of the favorite claims included:
“I was changing a CD and I didn’t notice the bend in the road. I ended up sideways in a field, and walked out through the hole where the windscreen was, listening to Led Zep.” (Sounds a bit like Kim Fletcher!)
“I thought I saw somebody famous walking down the pavement, and took my eye off the road, causing the crash. [Mr Not A Celebrity] saw the accident and kindly agreed to be a witness.”
“The other driver said he was too busy looking at the map to notice that he had gone the wrong way on a one-way street.”
“I was trying to swat a fly with the ice scraper and didn’t see the other car.”
“The other driver said they had just driven off the ferry after a week in France, and forgot to drive on the left.” (That one is very possible - I’ve done that myself!)
“I saw somebody getting undressed in their front window, and crashed through their wall.” (Haven’t done that one.)
“We were driving up to the traffic lights just as they turned red, and pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.” (Happens every day in Thailand!)
“I saw a police car, panicked, and drove on the pavement by mistake.”
“I was driving along a country road and the pollen from a nearby field made me sneeze and I ended up in a ditch.” (Come and see the allergy clinic!)
“The other driver was too busy putting on their make-up to see me coming the other way.”
And finally:
“I was practicing what I’d do in the event of a car crash, and crashed.” (Must have been a boy scout!)


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Nitto 3K series at Bira this weekend

50 years of the Ford Mustang

Suzuki really moving upwards (by 255 percent)!

China builds its own supercar

Mercedes-Benz New E-Class

Insurance claims in the UK