Make Chiangmai Mail | your Homepage | Bookmark

Chiangmai 's First English Language Newspaper

Pattaya Blatt | Pattaya Mail | Pattaya Mail TV

 
Update April, 2015


Home
News
Arts - Entertainment
Ask Emma
AutoMania
Book Review
Bridge in Paradise
Business
finance & Investing
Classical Connections
Cartoons
Animal Welfare
Care for Dogs
Community Happenings
Doctor's Consultation
Education
Features
Life at 33 1/3
Life in Chiang Mai
Mail Bag
Mail Opinion
Money Matters
On the Grapevine
Photography
Quirky Pics
Real Estate
Social Scene
Sports
Under The Spotlight
Travel & Tourism
Daily Horoscope
About Us
Subscribe
Advertising Rates
Current Movies in
Chiangmai's Cinemas
Classifieds
Back Issues
Find out your Romantic Horoscope Now - Click Here!
Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

Update April 25, 2015

Who bought what at the Bangkok International Motor Show?

Bangkok International Motor Show.

The official figures have been released regarding the Bangkok International Motor Show.
Number of Visitors: 1.7 million which is close to last year’s record. Most visitors were in average working ages and interested in mid-size passenger cars, family cars and pick up trucks with prices starting from 700,000 baht and above.
Total car sold: 37,027 units
Top five auto makers with highest sales amount were;
1. Toyota: 6,144 units
2. Honda: 5,069 units
3. Mazda: 4,584 units
4. Isuzu: 4,485 units
5. Nissan: 4,042 units
These figures are interesting, as historically Toyota has always been streets ahead of the others, but this year Honda, Mazda, Isuzu and Nissan are much closer in total sales. A very good result for Isuzu which does not have passenger cars to boost its number, compared to Honda, Mazda and Nissan.


What did we learn from the Bahraini GP?

Well, we learned that Rosberg can get rattled, Vettel does not reign supreme in the red car pit and Kimi Raikkonen can still produce the goods (when he wants to).
For those who were hoping to see Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) challenged, then they were disappointed. Topping the sheets in all three Qualifying sessions and being totally in charge for the race (and don’t for one moment think that Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari could have produced an upset at the end), Rapper Hamilton is currently the best.
So where was Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes, who still is trying to convince senior management that he is the golden haired boy? Nico is looking less and less like a challenger and more and more like someone out of his depth. Not even runner-up material, he can be forced into errors and then gets increasingly more desperate. His third place was as good as he was going to get. (And here’s a prediction - Mercedes does not renew Rosberg’s contract at the end of the year, but gives the seat to Nico Hulkenberg. It makes sense - Hulkenberg is quick, he is German and they don’t even need to change the name on the dressing room door!)
So to the Ferrari resurgence. Sebastian Vettel (formerly known as “The Finger”) looked good sitting on the grid in second place, but from then on his race deteriorated, ending up 5th and unable to pass the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. “I was probably pushing very hard and did some mistakes. I think all in all, not a perfect race.” A masterpiece of understatement.
Kimi Raikkonen’s second Ferrari was the one who brought the fight to Mercedes and pushed his way into second at the flag. With rumors around that Kimi will be dropped at the end of the year, who would you put in as a replacement? I expect the grumpy Finn to be still wearing red in 2016.
The Williams team had a mixed day. Bottas was the quicker in Qualifying and drove a mature race to finish fourth and in front of The Finger who had no answer to the Finn’s pace and clever blocking techniques, always leaving the Ferrari on the wrong side with the marbles. The second Williams of Felipe Massa baulked at the start and he had to begin from Pit lane and was coming up through the slower cars until the inevitable happened - a clout from Maldonado (“Lotus”). Massa was lucky to finish 10th. By the way, there is no truth in the rumor that Maldonado’s race suit is padded with $100 bills.
Sixth place went to everyone’s favorite driver Aussie Daniel Ricciardo who had a totally uneventful race until the final corner when his Renault engine blew in synchronization with the fireworks marking the end of the race. Will Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz pull the plug on F1 as he has threatened to? Actually I think he could. Red Bull is no longer the world-wide sponsor of different sports, and Monster Energy is becoming just as well known as Red Bull. Now would be the time to pull out, rather than let Monster overtake. The Renault problem may be a smokescreen to hide the real intention?
The final unlapped runner was Romain Grosjean “Lotus” in seventh, and the rest were nowhere, though I must mention McLaren Honda, with Button’s car withdrawn before the start and Alonso 11th. How the mighty have fallen. Is someone at Honda committing Hara-Kiri? Will Ron Dennis explode? Will McLaren buy a couple of old Mercedes engines and become competitive again?
The next GP is Spain on May 10.


“New” technology is really “old”

French automotive supplier Valeo is providing details on their upcoming electric supercharger technology.
Set to make its debut in the Audi SQ7, Valeo's system consists of an electric supercharger which according to the company can reduce fuel consumption by 7 percent to 20 percent and it also eliminates most of the lag as the power will be available at a lower rpm.
Valeo claims they have a one or two-year lead over other automotive suppliers as far as the supercharger technology is concerned. US-based Honeywell say they will launch their own system between 2017 and 2019. They describe it as being an "electrically driven compressor” or an "e-charger" which will be able to provide "very, very good transient response (very low lag) at the low end of the engine speed."
According to Valeo, the Audi SQ7 will be the first production car to benefit from this technology.
However, here is the ‘real’ situation. Instead of being crankshaft driven, an electrically operated supercharger would give instant boost, irrespective of engine crankshaft speed, and without the large losses of the belt driven blowers.
An example is the supercharger made by Controlled Power Technologies. The company’s low cost production-ready Variable Torque Enhancement System (VTES) employs an electrically driven supercharger on demand (within 350 milliseconds) when the driving conditions demand it. The VTES can be implemented on current vehicles, using existing 12 volt electrical architecture.
Nick Pascoe, chief executive of Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), presented the new forced induction variant at the JSAE (Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan) international annual congress many years ago.
He said, “Legislators have recognized the political urgency for reducing carbon emissions in response to increasing consumer concern. However, vehicle manufacturers will only sell reduced CO2 vehicles if the price is affordable to the mass market consumer. Engine downsizing has been shown to be one of the most cost effective routes to vehicle CO2 reduction and European carmakers are already moving rapidly towards a 30 percent reduction in the displacement of their mid-sized engines. When correctly matched to the engine, VTES (electrical supercharger) can dramatically increase the air charge density over the critical first 10 combustion cycles of a low speed transient operation, delivering real improvements in both torque and emissions performance, where it matters most,” says Pascoe.
“This global downsizing trend will only succeed, however, if the technology is cost effective and the driving experience still satisfies the mass market consumer. Therefore market success for the car makers will ultimately be influenced by their ability to maintain or improve vehicle drivability at the lowest possible total system cost.” This is a direct hit at the hybrid ‘solutions’ being touted by many manufacturers, and whilst the hybrids do work, give better consumption and less CO2, they are expensive. Not everyone is prepared (or can afford) the cost to be ‘green’. “To achieve this (being ‘green’), smaller engines would typically require sophisticated boosting systems.
“However, there are simpler and more cost-effective solutions now available that can prevent such systems becoming more complex and expensive than the engine itself,” said Pascoe.
I must add, that like most things in the automotive world, supercharging is nothing new. The first functional supercharger can be attributed to German engineer Gottlieb Daimler who received a German patent for supercharging an internal combustion engine in 1885. Louis Renault patented a centrifugal supercharger in France in 1902. There are countless examples of early automotive pioneers who used supercharging to set speed records and win races, but cost, noise and practicality always relegated superchargers to the race track or the exotic and the elite. Auburn, Bentley (the ‘Blower’ Bentleys), Cord 812, Duesenberg, Stutz, Mercedes-Benz, MG (the wonderful K3) and Packard were a few of the marques with supercharged engines in the 1920s and 1930s.

 MG K3.

Blower Bentley.

Even in the air, during World War I, the British turned to supercharging to shoot down German Zeppelins. To fly as high as the air ships, aircraft engines needed boosting to overcome the power loss that occurred at higher altitudes, and supercharging did just that.
But, looking again, electrically powered superchargers are unlikely to achieve the massive amounts of boost that can be supplied by conventional types but have a viable application as a low cost intermediate performance enhancement. Their real advantage is that boost can be supplied at low engine speeds increasing power and torque in this range thus making the engine more flexible and responsive.
Another reason for the electric evolution - rather than revolution!


Porsche 918 clocks 350 km/h in Australia

New Zealander Craig Baird, an ex-Porsche Cup winner, drove the 918 hybrid hypercar to a speed-limited top indicated speed of 350km/h on the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory.
Spotters and two-way radios made sure the path was clear for the top-speed run, with the 652 kW petrol-electric hybrid up to the top of the car’s performance, in what Porsche Australia is claiming as “an achievement no other production car has ever managed on Australian roads.”
Porsche Australia also said that the car - a limited edition known as the 918 Spyder with Weissach Package - drove the 25 km from Alice Springs (in the middle of the desert) to the start of the derestricted section of the Stuart Highway under electric power.
The mid-engined sportscar is powered by a race-derived 4.6-liter naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine, which is complemented by a pair of electric motors that takes the combined power output to 652 kW and 1275 Nm of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission drives the rear wheels, while the pair of electric motors drive the front wheels.
The car weighs 1700 kg, and the 0-100 km/h time is just 2.6 seconds. The car can be plugged in to recharge its battery array, and can be driven in full electric mode for up to 30 km. It has a combined range of 680 km.


Autotrivia

Last week’s Quiz Car.

ILast week, in an attempt to slow the Googlers, I asked you to please identify this car. It was an Isotto Fraschini!
So to this week. What is this car? Clue: early 1930’s.
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected].

This week’s Quiz Car.


Update April 16, 2015

Bahrain GP this weekend

Yes, Bahrain comes straight after last week’s Chinese GP in Shanghai, and also arrives in Pattaya’s Songkran festivities. Sunday 19 is one of the very few days that Jameson’s will be shut (and I can’t blame Landlord Kim) so we will all have to fend for ourselves. The GP starts 10 p.m. Thai time, so find the closest (dry) pub, and best of luck. You can also watch on your personal computers with live streaming.


The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the best car in the world

C-Class.

Last week I said that the C-Class Mercedes-Benz was one of the outstanding vehicles at the Bangkok International Motor Show. Hot on the heels of last week’s Pattaya Mail came the news that the C-Class has been awarded the World Car Of The Year (WCOTY) for 2015.
75 motoring journalists from 22 countries voted and it finished on top of a 24 car field and eventually beat the two other finalists, the Ford Mustang and Volkswagen Passat.
The other big prizes for 2015, Green Car of the Year and Performance Car of the Year, went to the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 and the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe (the car I chose as the car of the show last week in Bangkok).
The winners were announced at the New York Motor Show at an event hosted by Bridgestone Corporation and Autoneum at the culmination of a six-month voting process.
The C-Class delivers levels of refinement, luxury, safety, ride and handling that challenge best-in-class.
The awards are in their 11th year and previous winners include the Audi A6, BMW 3 Series, Lexus LS460 and Volkswagen Golf, Polo and Up.
To be eligible for the overall World Car award, candidate cars must have become available for sale on at least two continents between January 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015.
The WCOTY wins by Mercedes-Benz follow its victories in the Green Car contest in 2007 with the E320 Bluetec and 2012 with the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and its Luxury Car success with the S Class in 2014.
“We are extremely delighted of winning the honor of World Car of the Year,” said the chairman of Daimler, Dr Dieter Zetsche.
The WCOTY judging panel says: “Taking its design and technological cues from the S-Class, the C-Class employs an all-new aluminium/steel hybrid platform and updated rear-drive powertrains that delivers levels of refinement, luxury, safety, ride and handling that challenge best-in-class.”
The World Car awards for 2015:
Overall winner: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Green Car: BMW i8
Performance Car: Mercedes-AMG GT
Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz S Coupe
Design: Citroen Cactus
Previous WCOTY winners:
2014: Audi A3
2013: Volkswagen Golf
2012: Volkswagen Up
2011: Nissan Leaf
2010: Volkswagen Polo
2009: Volkswagen Golf
2008: Mazda2
2007: Lexus LS460
2006: BMW 3 Series


More from the Bangkok International Motor Show

Toyota’s Future

One very new release was the Toyota Mirai (Japanese for “future”). This is a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and is already on sale in California and destined for Europe later in the year.
The FCV features a fuel cell system with an output power density of 3.0 kW/L, which is twice as high as that of its previous fuel cell concept, the Toyota FCHV-adv, delivering an output power of more than 100 kW, despite significant unit downsizing. The FCV uses Toyota’s proprietary, small, light-weight fuel cell stack and two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks placed beneath the specially designed body. The Toyota FCV concept can accommodate up to four occupants, and the full-scale market launch is scheduled for 2015.
Mazda made a great effort with their stand which had several red Mazda2’s. The red is apparently a Mazda limited color, and really does look superb. At the show there is a veritable army of car detailers keeping fingerprints off the polished paintwork. Take a look at the picture!
The Porsche stand was (I think) supposed to feature this new down-sized SUV called the Macan. So it may get a few more “Porsche’s” in garages throughout the world, but for me it does absolutely nothing. However, the Le Mans Porsche 919 was just amazing. So much larger than you would imagine, and these Le Mans cars are getting further and further from the concept of a “car”. The Porsche 919 is a plane you fly on the ground!
Aston Martin was represented by a bright yellow V8 Vantage S. Whilst certainly an attention grabber in the yellow, for me it was not the color to have on an Aston Martin.
Back to the “Pretties” and this one had to hold a sign to say she was one.
I think I mentioned the Teddy Bear’s Picnic before, but here is the teddy bear’s house, featuring a year’s supply of stuffed teddies from Toys R Us! Motor shows do bring out some strange ideas!

Not Quite “Pretty”.

Teddy Bear’s picnic.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S.

Porsche 919.

The Cleaning Army.

Red Mazda2


Autotrivia

Quiz Car.

Last week I asked what engine was described as having “pistons like dustbins, moving deliberately up and down like lifts by Nogood-Waytis”? This was in reference to the enormous displacement engines seen around 1910-20. This particular one was 21 liter and four cylinder. What was it? It was a Maybach.
So to this week. In an attempt to slow the Googlers, please identify this car.
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


Automania - Update April 10, 2015

More from the Bangkok International Motor Show

Star of the Show.

Let’s go straight to the show stoppers, and there was no doubt about the models from Mercedes-Benz. Just about every one of them reeked “class” and the new GT S from AMG was my favorite. Even in that sickly yellow color it attracted attention.
The Mercedes-AMG GT S is the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG to combine driving dynamics and first-class racetrack performance with superb everyday practicality and efficiency.
The GT S has LED High Performance headlamps, 19 inch (front) and 20 inch (rear) AMG 10-spoke Titanium Grey light-alloy wheels, extendable rear aerofoil, electric panoramic sliding glass sunroof, long bonnet with pronounced powerdomes, broad tail end with dramatic tapered effect, narrow window line with frameless side windows and arched roof line.

“Cheapie” Benz

The body of the Mercedes-AMG GT S is an aluminium spaceframe combined with steel and magnesium, which contributes to the car’s low kerb weight of 1,890 kilograms.
The front/mid-engine configuration makes for weight distribution of 47:53 percent, which translates into extremely agile handling. Additionally, integration of the dry sump lubrication used in race cars also ensures the oil supply, even with high lateral forces.
The power is supplied by a V8 biturbo engine with a displacement of 3,982 cc that develops 510 bhp at 6,250 rpm and 650 Nm of torque between 1,750 to 4,750 rpm.

Busty Pretties

Transmission is through a DCT 7 speed sports transmission, and the car sprints from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 310 km/h. In every way, this is a true ‘Supercar’.
Fuel consumption (as if that is important in this class of car) is averaged at 10.4 - 10.6 km/l. In addition, it has already met the stringent Euro 6 fuel efficiency and emission standards, but honestly - who cares?
A highlight technology feature in the Mercedes-AMG GT S is the AMG ride control sports suspension that lets the driver adjust the damping characteristics in three selectable modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Other electronic features include Adaptive Brake with Hold and Hill-Start Assist functions, Attention Assist, ESP, cruise control and Speedtronic.
And the most important feature is the price. You can put one in your garage for 14,900,000 THB, and whilst that is out of the reach of most of us, it certainly is great value for money in the Supercar class.
The other Mercedes-Benz model that impressed me was the “cheapie”, the C 200 Avantgarde at 2,590,000 baht. With a 1.9 liter engine delivering 184 BHP and 300 Nm of torque coming in at 1,200 RPM, giving a zero to 100 km/h of 7.3 seconds, it is no slouch either. It has all the electronic functions that you could need, including Hill start assist, ESP, Adaptive brakes, Brake assist, LED headlights, speed-sensitive power steering and more, this is a car that those thinking about the top line Toyota or Honda should consider, as the domestic brands are climbing near the two million mark. And I know which brand has the greater cachet.
And for all those readers who are more interested in “pretties” rather than cars, here are the most bustiferous (450 cc implants).


Chinese GP this weekend

Shanghai

The Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai is this weekend. After a much more interesting race in Malaysia, compared to the season opener in Melbourne, we sincerely hope that the close competition will continue.
The race will start at 1 p.m. Thai time on Sunday, and we watch the dedicated F1 channel (no adverts during the race) in front of the huge screen at Jameson’s! I will allow myself a little longer traveling time just in case, with all the moles out tunneling on Sukhumvit, but the Grand Prix and the Sunday roasts together are too good to miss. Jameson’s is right next to Nova Park, if you are unsure. Get there at noon for lunch and an ale or three.
Here are the GP starting times in Thailand, for the rest of the year:

Apr-12 Chinese Grand Prix 1:00 PM
Apr-19 Bahrain Grand Prix 10:00 PM
May-10 Spanish Grand Prix 7:00 PM
May-24 Monaco Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Jun-08 Canadian Grand Prix 1:00 AM
Jun-21 Austrian Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Jul-05 British Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Jul-26 Hungarian Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Aug-23 Belgian Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Sep-06 Italian Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Sep-20 Singapore Grand Prix 7:00 PM
Sep-27 Japanese Grand Prix 12:00 PM
Oct-11 Russian Grand Prix 6:00 PM
Oct-26 United States GP 2:00 AM
Nov-02 Mexican Grand Prix 2:00 AM
Nov-15 Brazilian Grand Prix 11:00 PM
Nov-29 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 8:00 PM
 


Pilleri Tyres coming soon

Dad’s Tonka Truck

Pirelli, the Italian tyre giant, and supplier of tyres to the F1 circus, is being sold to China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) in a €7.1b ($A9.8b) deal that will see one of Italy’s most iconic brands under Chinese ownership.
In an address to the company’s staff, Pirelli chairman and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera told employees the move would strengthen the company both in China and the rest of the world.
“The agreement with the Chinese will have no impact on employment,” he said. “The opportunity with a partner like ChemChina is for the company to become bigger and to have a more effective penetration of the Asian market. Our factories and employment in general.”
Tronchetti Provera also confirmed the company’s headquarters and research and development would remain in Italy, and the quality for which the company is known would not be affected.
I wonder if the new owners might produce F1 tyres that can last more than eight laps?
Tonka Truck for Dads
Ford’s F-750 truck is a life-size version of the Tonka. The F-750 Tonka was unveiled at America’s NETA Work truck show last week. It is a fully functioning real-life truck nearly 7m long by 2.5m tall.
Believe it or not, the F-750 it is based on and its F-650 sibling are models in the Ford line-up and can be used for many jobs including tipping and hauling. Some customers simply fit them with regular trays and treat them as personal monster truck utes.
Ford may be about to start building right-hand-drive Mustangs but none of the F-series trucks, including the tough F-350, F-250 or all-new aluminium bodied F-150, will be built with the steering wheel on the right.
The F-750 Tonka truck will be sent on a tour of various shows around the US before it gets to work. It won’t be available as a full-time production model, but there is nothing stopping a customer from buying one, painting it yellow and fitting the dumper tray and Tonka decals.
Its regular steel dump tray, built by Truck Tech Engineers, can carry nearly eight tonnes of rocks or sand. The new F-750, which has just been introduced in the US, has a gross vehicle mass rating (which includes the weight of the truck and the load) of up to 15,000 kg.
It’s far too heavy to push and is therefore fitted with a 6.7 liter Powerstroke V8 turbo diesel that at peak tune puts out 246 kW/983 Nm. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with torque converter. There is also a power take-off fitting, which allows the engine to drive an external accessory such as a concrete pump, a crane or in this case, the tipper mechanism.
Customers can also choose a massive 6.8 liter V10 (239 kW/624 Nm) but don’t even think about the fuel consumption! Ford says this petrol engine is easily converted to run natural gas or LPG, which it describes as more “cost effective” alternatives to petrol.


Autotrivia

Last week I asked what American car had an idling speed well over 6,000 RPM. Clue: they made 55 of them. What was it? It was a Chrysler Turbine.
So to this week. What engine was described as having “pistons like dustbins, moving deliberately up and down like lifts by Nogood-Waytis”? This was in reference to the enormous displacement engines seen around 1910-20. This particular one was 21 liter and four cylinder. What was it?
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


Automania - Update April 4, 2015

36th Bangkok International Motor Show

With the usual pomp and ceremony, the 36th annual Bangkok International Motor Show was thrown open to the public last week. This is the internationally accredited motor show for Thailand, and is the opportunity for the manufacturers to show off their latest models - both automotive and pulchritude. It is also a tribute to Dr Prachin Eamlumnow, who had the foresight 36 years ago to promote the event in Thailand.
With so many vehicles on display, attending a motor show is quite an exhausting experience, and you walk miles!
Both Rolls-Royce and Bentley were at the show, with the RR looking quite ponderous (and presumptuous), in comparison with Bentley. Speaking with Australian journalist Chris Nixon who was up for the show and who has driven both of these recently, he was of the opinion that RR was the better car, with every part of the vehicle just reeking of ‘class’, but agreed that the Bentley looks better. This is of academic interest only as they are both well out of my price range.
A relative newcomer is MG, a joint venture by the Thai CP Group and SAIC in China (the owner of the nameplate these days). With an assembly plant from Hemaraj, the industrial estates specialists, the MG6 was introduced to the Thai public at the motor show last year, but this year the MG3 was revealed.
The catchy slogan for the MG marque was “Passion Drives since 1924” and indeed the first MG, built by Cecil Kimber was in that year. It is, however, a great leap of faith to connect today’s MG brand with Mr. Kimber’s!

MG3

I found the MG3 in red and white was quite fetching, but in yellow a disaster! However, the price is very appealing, starting at 479,000 THB. The MG3 also comes as a Hatchback and a cross-over called the Xcross. To spice the MG3 up a little, you can order a roof wrap including a Scottish kilt. “Hoots Mun!”
The four year / 120,000 km warranty with 24 hour roadside assistance will make prospective purchasers think hard, and even though there are 25 authorized dealers, a mobile service scheme is coming which will attend to routine servicing at the owner’s work or home.
It is the norm at motor shows that there is a bevy of beauties on the stand to attract passers by. Quite frankly, I find the endless line-up of “pretties” an unwelcome distraction. However, I should mention that Hyundai had the breast display (oops, I meant to write “best”) with their four pretties selected by having at least 450 cc implants.
The Hyundai range is actually well worthwhile looking at. The Elantra Sport with 150 BHP and Tucson models with 184 BHP are very attractive, but for me, the ‘star’ of the Hyundai stand were the two Velosters, with two doors on the passenger’s side and one on the driver’s side. A sports car on one side and a sedan on the other! However, the Velosters look good from any angle, any side. The standard Veloster has the 130 BHP engine while the turbo version has the 186 BHP engine and 265Nm of torque. Neither are fire-breathers, but look like rather interesting city cars.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Next week I will be mentioning some of the highlights of the 36th show, but here are a few thoughts from Press Day. While some manufacturers had no real “new” cars, they are still not using the exhibition space to their advantage. Some results were weird, with Isuzu unable to find anything new in their stable, so came up with a lurid puke green iridescent pick-up. What were they thinking? (Were they thinking?)
There was one very large display stand populated with teddy bears. Yes, teddy bears, complete with a tree house. I was unable to fathom just what the teddy bears picnic had to do with the vehicles on display, other than one teddy telling me they were “modify”.
One vehicle that is looking very good is the Honda HRV, a sort of cross-over SUV vehicle. A five seater, as opposed to the larger Honda models, it is a most attractive car. Honda makes much of the hidden door handles for the rear doors, looks good, but this was done decades ago by Alfa Romeo on the 156 models, but is still a very elegant way to place the door handles. Honda state that all passenger seats have been designed to be wider to “provide greater comfort and match various lifestyles”. Does this mean that the Thai posterior is getting bigger?
The HRV has a 1.8 liter engine developing 141 BHP and 172 Nm of torque getting to the wheels via CVT (continuously variable transmission). The full lexicon of electronic features is offered, including ABS with electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist, hill start assist, rear view camera and six airbags.
The HRV is priced from 890,000 THB which makes it excellent value for money.
More next week.


What did we learn from the Malaysian GP?

Well, we learned that Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes can be beaten, we learned that Herr Vettel has found his finger and the girlish screams, and Nico Rosberg may be a lovely chap, but he’s not as good a racer as his team mate, even though he was the fastest car on the track by a tidy margin of nearly one second.
So The Finger was an emotional winner, but what would have happened if there had been no safety car period? Mercedes brought both their cars in for a change of tyres, while Ferrari kept Vettel out to then lead the race, with Hamilton rejoining in sixth and having to fight his way back through the pack which was lined up behind Hulkenberg (FIndia) and seemed reluctant to pass each other. However, Hamilton made short work of the Indian mobile chicane in his chase after Vettel. Rosberg followed his team mate through the squabbles, but not as quickly. 4th at the flag was Raikkonen (Ferrari), almost a minute behind, who had survived a puncture but was given a great advantage by the safety car.
Has Ferrari closed the gap to Mercedes? I would not be too quick to say that the two teams are now equal. One factor in keeping The Finger at the front was the safety car and a better strategy by Ferrari compared to Mercedes. The second factor being a mismanagement of tyre choices by Mercedes, who found at the end that they had already used their allocation of the faster tyres and had to send Hamilton back out on the slower hard tyres.
The Williams team were ‘almost there’ but never in contention with Bottas nipping past Massa with two laps to go, which did not please the Brazilian at all.
The Red Bull Junior team (Toro Rosso) had a field day with the 17 year old Max Verstappen 7th and Carlos Sainz in the sister car 8th. Much is being made of Verstappen’s age, but to me it makes me think that the present crop of F1 cars are easier to drive with all the electronics, compared to previous F1 cars.
Red Bull had another weekend to forget. Ricciardo having a damaged front wing and had very obvious brake problems, with a shower of soot every time he used the brakes, which eventually allowed his team mate Kvyat to pass him right at the end, but both were lapped by Vettel. Come back Adrian Newey, all is forgiven!
Back in the pack, the usual suspects were bouncing off each other and the sand traps with Maldonado and Grosjean (“Lotus”) being obvious in the dodgem cars. Both FIndia’s ending up being penalized 10 seconds for their assisting other cars into the shrubbery.
Looking at the tail enders, Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) must wake up every morning saying, “What have I done?” A DNF in a car that was never competitive. His team mate Jenson Button is now so used to being slow that he exclaimed at one stage in the race, “What’s happening guys, I’m catching other cars!” he said over the radio. However, that was short-lived as he ended up parked in the garage alongside Alonso’s high budget, low performance race car. This must be an incredible loss of face for the Japanese engine suppliers, who appear to be making boat anchors rather than F1 engines. Certainly Honda used to make great engines, but that designer has obviously died.
The next race is in Shanghai April 12, and we shall see if the Tifosi will still be celebrating.


No German GP - thanks Bernie

Confirming all the other 19 rounds, the World Motor Sport Council noted, "The German Grand Prix has been withdrawn as the commercial rights holder (Bernie) and the promoter did not reach agreement."
While Ecclestone said last weekend that the event looked unlikely, it was subsequent comments from both the Nurburgring and Hockenheim that finally signaled the death knell for the event.
Last year's event at Hockenheim was poorly attended, the TV cameras unable to hide vast swathes of empty seats in the arena, seats that were filled to capacity during the golden era when Michael Schumacher ruled that saw Germany hosting two rounds of the championship for several years.
Now, despite a German team winning the titles and three German drivers, the demand isn't there.
In recent years, faced with falling spectator numbers and the ever increasing race fees, the race has alternated between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring with the former hosting the 2014 event and scheduled to host it again next year.
With the Nurburgring under new ownership - Ecclestone having failed in his bid to buy the legendary facility - the circuit was unable to host this year's event and faced with last year’s loss, and a repeat in 2016, Hockenheim was unable to step in.
On Tuesday, Georg Seiler, managing director of Hockenheim, told Bild, “We have no hope any more of having a Formula One race here this year. We did everything in the last few years to keep the fans happy.
“We had declared ourselves willing to step in for Nurburgring, something we were contractually not obliged to do,” he added. “There were talks with third parties over taking over the risk but they were not successful.”
While on Thursday, a spokesman for the Nurburgring said the circuit could not host the race this year “for time, financial and organizational reasons”.


Autotrivia

Last week I asked what did Lt. Zebulon Pike do when he got to the top of Pike’s Peak? A trick question, I’m sorry. Our Lt. Zeb didn’t make it to the top of his peak!
So to this week. There was an American car which had an idling speed well over 6,000 RPM. Clue: they made 55 of them. What was it?
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Who bought what at the Bangkok International Motor Show?

What did we learn from the Bahraini GP?

“New” technology is really “old”

Porsche 918 clocks 350 km/h in Australia

Autotrivia


Bahrain GP this weekend

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the best car in the world

More from the Bangkok International Motor Show

Autotrivia


More from the Bangkok International Motor Show

Chinese GP this weekend

Pilleri Tyres coming soon

Autotrivia


36th Bangkok International Motor Show

What did we learn from the Malaysian GP?

No German GP - thanks Bernie

Autotrivia

Advertisement

 



Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
209/5 Moo 6, T.Faham,
A.Muang, Chiang Mai 50000
Tel. 053 852 557, 081-302 0126 Fax. 053 260 738
e-mail: [email protected]
www.chiangmai-mail.com
Administration: [email protected]
Advertising: [email protected]
[email protected]
Subscription: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.