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Update March 2016


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

Update March 26, 2016

Porsche’s new road racer

Worth 14 million plus duty?

Just when you thought Porsche couldn’t upgrade the 911, along comes the 911 R. This variation has a build production run of 991 units, and according to the European pundits, they are all sold already.
Revealed at the Geneva motor show, the 911 R’s name is a nod to the 1967 road-homologated Porsche 911 R race car that excelled in the Targia Florio and other rallies of the same era.
This car is presented as a stripped out road racer with no creature comforts such as audio systems or air conditioning here – this is a performance thoroughbred for Porsche traditionalists who have a spare 14 million THB (plus freight and Customs duties), plus a bit more for a tank of petrol.
The new 911 R has Porsche’s potent 368 kW/460 Nm 4.0 liter normally aspirated flat six engine which has been appropriated from the GT3 RS.
However, looking at the road-going side, this 911 R does not come with a seven speed manual or optional PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission as offered in other 911’s, the R – for race – comes exclusively with a six-speed manual box.
Interestingly, acceleration to 100 km/h is said to take 3.8 seconds, which is slower than that of the more affordable GT3 (3.5sec) and GT3 RS (3.3sec) in auto PDK trim. Top speed is 323 km/h.
Porsche generally ensure that brakes are far more than just adequate with ceramic composite discs measuring 410 mm at the front and 390 mm at the rear. Tyres are also wide – 245 mm at the front and 305 mm on the rear – and are mounted on 20 inch light alloy wheels.
Light-weight chassis and body components – including the carbon mudguards and magnesium roof – are drawn from the GT3, but instead of a race-style fixed rear wing, the R gets the retractable spoiler from the Carrera for road use. The front bumper gets a redesigned splitter lip as well. In the weight saving, the 911 R gets feather-weight carbon-fiber bucket seats, pull-strap door openers and plastic rear windows.
Prepared in Porsche’s motorsport skunkworks, the 911 R tips the scales at just 1370 kg, making it the lightest of the current 911 generation.
If you need a dose of nostalgia to justify the expense, the seats are lined with a tartan fabric which is said to hark back to the original 911 R.
Inside, the R gets a shorter gear shift lever and GT steering wheels. Along with carbon-fiber trim and a plate that has a build number embedded in it.


What did we learn from the Australian GP?

Well, we learned on the Saturday that the FIA are good at designing camels, as everyone knows a camel is a horse designed by a committee. In a (disastrous) attempt at spicing up the action the new FIA regulations for Qualifying gave the teams 30 seconds to turn a car around if it needed work, new tyres or the driver’s nose to be wiped. As this was patently not possible, teams just gave up, so the “designed” excitement of cars scrambling for the knock-out top grid positions resulted in silence. Think again FIA.
New driver Haryanto picked up a three grid position penalty for crashing into Grosjean’s Haas in the pits. That does not bode well for the rookie, but it is amazing what money can buy you these days.
After the anticlimactic qualifying, I was not expecting much for the race, but I was wrong. It was a cracker!
When the lights went out, Vettel from 2 and Raikkonen from 3 just drove straight past the front row Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg, with Hamilton compounding his error, slipping back to 7th.
At that early stage it looked as if it might become processional, but then the race was turned on its ear when on lap 17, Alonso (McLaren) had a monster of an accident after clipping the rear wheel of Gutierrez (Haas) and going into a barrel roll, completely destroying his car. Showing the strength of the modern F1 car, Alonso was shaken, but not stirred. A red flag ensued.
After the red flag, the quarreling teams returned to the track with much of the action being carried out by Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) moaning about Carlos Sainz his team mate. Max showed his age, or rather immaturity, asking the team to make Sainz let him past. They didn’t and Verstappen trailed Sainz to the finish.
However at the front, a tactical blunder saw Ferrari sending Vettel out on Super Softs, while Mercedes used mediums, which lasted to the end, while the Ferrari could not, leaving Rosberg the winner, Hamilton second and Vettel third.
Popular Aussie Ricciardo drove sensibly to come in 4th, while the other driver who impressed was rookie Jolyon Palmer in the Renault who came in 11th. The team that accomplished most on their first outing was Haas coming in 6th with Grosjean at the helm.

Full result of the 2015 Rolex Australian Grand Prix Grand Prix:
Pos Driver

Team

Laps

Gap

1 Rosberg Mercedes 57 1h 48:15.565
2 Hamilton Mercedes 57 + 0:08.060
3 Vettel Ferrari 57 + 0:09.643
4 Ricciardo Red Bull 57 + 0:24.330
5 Massa Williams 57 + 0:58.979
6 Grosjean Haas 57 + 1:12.081
7 Hulkenberg Force India 57 + 1:14.199
8 Bottas Williams 57 + 1:15.153
9 Sainz Toro Rosso 57 + 1:15.680
10 Verstappen Toro Rosso 57 + 1:16.833
11 Palmer Renault 57 + 1:23.399
12 Magnussen Renault 57 + 1:25.606
13 Perez Force India 57 + 1:31.699
14 Button McLaren 56 + 1 Lap
15 Nasr Sauber 56 + 1 Lap
16 Wehrlein Manor 56 + 1 Lap
  Ericsson Sauber 38 Retired
  Raikkonen Ferrari 21 Engine
  Haryanto Manor 17 Retired
  Gutierrez Haas 16 Accident
  Alonso McLaren 16 Accident
  Kvyat Red Bull 0 Did Not Start
Fastest Lap: Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:28.997 (Lap 49)
 


Just to make it more difficult …

The FIA has revealed the full sporting regulations governing the new qualifying system that was introduced at the season-opening Australian GP. If you were confused, so was I, and in an attempt to make this new regulation viewer friendly, here is what the F1 Commission voted into being.
Qualifying remains a three-part format but as of this year drivers will be knockout during each segment and not only at the end.
Article 33 of the Sporting Regulations reads as follows…
33. Qualifying Practice
33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.
The session will be run as follows:
a) From 14.00 to 14.16 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track. Seven minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 8m30s, 10m0s, 11m30s, 13m0s and 14m30s leaving sixteen cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.
Lap times achieved by the fifteen remaining cars will then be deleted.
b) From 14.24 to 14.39 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Six minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 7m30s, 9m0s, 10m30s, 12m0s and 13m30s leaving nine cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. Lap times achieved by the eight remaining cars will then be deleted.
c) From 14.46 to 15.00 (Q3) the eight remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Five minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 6m30s, 8m0s, 9m30s, 11m0s and 12m30s leaving two cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session any driver on the track may complete the lap he is on and, once any final lap has been completed, the overall classification will be established.
The above procedure is based upon 22 cars being officially eligible to take part in the Event. If 24 cars are eligible eight will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 26 cars are eligible nine cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible. If necessary, the intervals between the sessions and eliminations will be adjusted to ensure Q3 remains unchanged.
33.2 Any driver whose car stops on the circuit during the qualifying session will not be permitted to take any further part in the session. Any car which stops on the circuit during the qualifying session, and which is returned to the pits before the end of the session, will be held in parc fermé until the end of the session.
33.3 At the end of qualifying practice the times achieved by each driver will be officially published.
So there you are. One car is eliminated every 90 seconds, and how that benefits Sam Spectator I do not know.


Autotrivia Quiz

42 liter Packard V12.

Last week I mentioned that car engines have been used in planes many times. But I asked what monstrous American aero engines have recently been used in cars? The biggest one was the 42 liter Packard V12 dropped into a Bentley. Bit of a catch here as the Packard engine was actually used in a PT boat.
So to this week. What famous car company used a current “willy stiffener” trademark?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!


Update March 19, 2016

Aston reveals DB 11

Aston reveals DB 11

The current Geneva Motor Show has seen a few new models released, but none as breathtakingly beautiful as the new Aston Martin DB 11. A 322 km/h Aston Martin DB 11.
Not only was this the latest from the British manufacturer but it also came with an all UK developed 5.2 liter twin-turbocharged V12 instead of engines sourced from the Mercedes-Benz AMG arm.
The engine develops 447 kW and 700 Nm from its V12, making it the most powerful road going Aston Martin and it is front mid-mounted and sends power to the rear axle via a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and a limited slip differential (LSD). Performance figures for the DB11 include the sprint zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds.
To keep the weight down, the DB11 has a carbon-fiber propshaft, a stainless-steel exhaust, magnesium door structures and an extruded aluminium monocoque body, which is not welded or riveted together, but bonded.
The 2+2 GT coupe will spearhead the company’s Second Century plan, which heralds a new design direction for the range of high-performance cars, but other than the fresh styling cues, Aston is revealing no other details of what the plan holds at this stage.
The DB11 is the first true DB production model since the DB9 that was launched in 2003, and it has increased marginally in dimensions compared with its predecessor. A 65 mm longer wheelbase allows the engine to be mounted further back in the chassis for a 49:51 front-to-rear weight distribution.
The new DB11 has a 75 mm wider track at the front, 43 mm wider at the back end and an overall increase of width of 28 mm. Its front overhang is 16 mm shorter and 11 mm longer at the rear, while total length is up 50 mm compared with the DB9.
The DB 10, a model between the DB 9 and the new DB 11, was produced solely for the James Bond feature film franchise and not as a production model. It was recently auctioned off for 2,434,500.
For the new car, Aston says it is particularly proud of its AeroBlade “virtual spoiler” which ducts air from the base of the C-pillars and roof strakes to vents in the boot lid to create the same down force of a more conventional spoiler without a fin disrupting the DB11’s sloping tail. The system is complemented by a deployable spoiler.
With a V12 powerplant and 1770 kg dry weight the DB11 has serious need for big brakes and has six-piston monobloc callipers on 400 mm two-piece iron rotors, with four-pot versions with 360 mm discs at the rear.
As is becoming more commonplace on the most exclusive performance cars, the DB11’s tyres were developed specifically for the model by Bridgestone.
In the interior, an 8.0 inch screen forms the centerpiece of the interior technology, giving access to the 400 watt audio system, iPod, iPhone, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a Wi-Fi hub and satellite radio in the United States.
Alcantara roof lining, electric front seats with heating and memory, keyless entry and start, 360 degree camera, parking sensors all round, a “satin silver jewelry” pack and black leather upholstery are standard inclusions.
Aston Martin chief creative officer Marek Reichman said the new model honored the Aston Martin mantra but was a significant step forward into the company’s future.
“Every millimetre of DB11 has been re-imagined from the ground up,” he said. “The DB11’s proportions have been thoroughly scrutinized, and intuitively measured, to ensure its beauty and elegance, while ground-breaking aerodynamics have been integrated to further enhance the car’s design language.
“Even down to the hidden detailing, every part of DB11 is designed to create the world’s most alluring DB to date.”
In the United Kingdom, the DB11 will go on sale for £154,900 including a five-year servicing plan – expect to pay around 21 million THB, IF you can actually import one.


First F1 Grand Prix this weekend

Melbourne GP.

Melbourne Australia reverberates with the sound of the F1 cars at Albert Park raceway this weekend. For 50 weeks a year a quiet place for city dwellers to relax, but not this weekend!
Here are the times of the GP’s this year (in Thai time):

Formula One Schedule
Mar 20 Australian Grand Prix 12 noon
Apr 3 Bahrain Grand Prix 10 p.m.
Apr 17 Chinese Grand Prix 1 p.m.
May 1 Russian Grand Prix 7 p.m.
May 15 Spanish Grand Prix 7 p.m.
May 29 Monaco Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Jun 13 Canadian Grand Prix 1 a.m.
European Grand Prix 8 p.m.
Jul 3 Austrian Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Jul 10 British Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Jul 24 Hungarian Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Jul 31 German Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Aug 28 Belgian Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Sep 4 Italian Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Sep 18 Singapore Grand Prix 7 p.m.
Oct 2 Malaysia Grand Prix 2 p.m.
Oct 9 Japanese Grand Prix 12 p.m.
Oct 24 US Grand Prix 2 a.m.
Oct 31 Mexican Grand Prix 2 a.m.
Nov 13 Brazilian Grand Prix 11 p.m.
 


More “classic” cars

Aussie Holden Monaro 1971.

With much interest being shown in older cars, it is worthwhile trying to fix the various categories.
A classic car is an older automobile; the exact definition varies around the world. The common theme is of an older car with enough historical interest to be collectable and worth preserving or restoring rather than scrapping.
In the UK two taxation issues do impact however, leading to some people using them as cutoff dates. All cars built before January 1, 1975, are exempted from paying the annual road tax vehicle excise duty. This is then entered on the license disc displayed on the windscreen as “historic vehicle” (if a car built before this date has been first registered in 1975 or later, then its build date would have to be verified by a recognized body such as British Motor Heritage Foundation to claim tax-free status). HM Revenue and Customs define a classic car for company taxation purposes as being over 15 years old and having a value in excess of £15,000.
In the UK, ‘classic cars’ range from veteran (pre–First World War), to vintage (1919–1930), to post-vintage (1930s).
There is a certain 1950 Mercedes being called a “vintage” car, which it is not, a “post vintage thoroughbred” would be closer, I believe.
I managed to unearth pre-1985 Mk1 Ford Escorts, this being known as “Retro” in Thailand. What was very interesting was that the Ford Escorts were actually built in Thailand in the early 1970’s and not imported. This explained why there were quite a few of this model around, and as I write this I know of at least 15 that are sitting in sheds around the place. One is a red post office van bodied one as well. Just where did these cars come from?
Going back even before the Mk1’s there are other Fords which have turned up in paint shops and upholstery places in Pattaya including a couple of 105E’s and the early reverse back window Anglias. One of which is the estate version.
What other cars were also built here? Another friend turned up a Holden HQ Monaro two door of 1971 vintage. After a week, this became not one, but two, and amazingly they have consecutive VIN numbers! Both Monaro’s (the performance model) with the 253 V8 engines. Now how rare is that?
Actually I had been to the assembly plant for Holdens in Thailand in 1975 on my first trip here. Asoke Motors in Asoke Road (Soi 21 Sukhumvit) in Bangkok was the official home for GMH (General Motors Holden). The cars basically arrived CKD and were assembled here, and there are still quite a few of these early Holdens around. In fact, I am told that HQ Monaro’s are now fetching big money in Australia. Now a financial viability to ‘export’ Australian vehicles from Thailand back to Australia. Amazing!
Fiat and VW must have also sold well in Thailand, if the number of 1100 Fiats and Beetles are anything to go by. VW in particular must have sold their Kombi wagons in large numbers, and I know of three being used as mobile “cocktail cars” in Pattaya and another couple in body shops.
American iron is also turning up. Within one km from my office there is a purple notchback Mustang and a Mercury Cougar. Neither has the original engine, but for that matter, very few of the Fords or Fiats do either. OK, from the purist’s viewpoint this is a no-no, but at least the visual appeal of an older car is being maintained.
So, are the classic cars that are being unearthed part of a country-wide resurgence of interest in older vehicles or what? Having met quite a few of the owners, there is an increase in interest. The ages range from 70+ to 30 year olds, but all have a genuine interest in the older vehicles. Long may this continue. And long may my Mk1 Escort continue to confound much younger cars on the race track.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that both Bruce McLaren and Colin Chapman were famous as racing car constructors. I pointed out that their cars had a common origin. I asked what was it? It was the very mundane original Austin 7 which was the basis for both of their first cars.
So to this week. Car engines have been used in planes many times. But what monstrous American aero engines have recently been used in cars?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!


Update March 12, 2016

The Pattaya Revival

Fiat 1100.

45 classic cars assembled at the Holiday Inn on Saturday, February 27, to make it the first event of this style in Pattaya. This event was organized by the Rotary Club of Phoenix-Pattaya and concluded with a parade down Beach Road, and then return on Second Road, ferrying young children for the ride of their lives.
The Rotary Phoenix organizers want to see this grow, and be something like the Goodwood Revival in the UK, but on a smaller scale. Since 1998, the Goodwood Revival attracts over 100,000 people for each of the three days, with many coming in period fashions.

Model A Ford.

With 45 cars on display at the Holiday Inn it certainly stopped the traffic, with some of the cars on show having never been seen by many spectators.
Many years ago, Fiat sold well in Thailand, especially in the north. The 1100 was a 1949 model.
Model A Fords were the preferred transport of the infamous bank robber Clyde Barrow who wrote to Henry Ford:
Dear Sir:
“While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned and even if my business hasn’t been strickly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.
Yours truly

1930 Austin 7.

Clyde Champion Barrow”
Indeed a fine car, with one of them still running in Pattaya.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the popular motor cars had small four cylinder engines and the top seller was the Austin 7, which was also sold in Europe, re-badged as the BMW Dixi. Two bearing crankshafts with 747 cc’s volume. They made lots of them and this was a very honest example.
The Austin company can trace its roots to 1905 and was founded by (later Sir) Herbert Austin. The Austin 7 came out in 1922 and was revolutionary in its day.
A British anachronism is the Morgan company still producing handmade sports cars on a wooden frame, with sliding pillar front suspension which dates back to about 1919. If you want to buy a Morgan you are placed on the waiting list!

The very British Morgan Plus 4.

A 1939 MG TB was on display, this was the forerunner of the MG TC, the sports car which took America by storm. The TB and TC were almost the same, other than the TB had sliding trunnion rear springs and the 1946 TC had spring hangers.
By the 1950’s America wanted to be bigger and better than all other countries and the “Detroit chrome grin” got bigger and more ostentatious.
Not only did the grin get bigger, but the cars themselves became bloated and overweight. The Cadillac Fleetwood was a prime example of flashy OTT styling, complete with fins and “after-burners”. All this was to change when the first oil crisis hit America.

The Detroit chrome grin.

MG TB.

A Cadillac of excesses.


Bugatti’s Chiron trumps its own Veyron

Bugatti Chiron.

Bugatti chose the Geneva Motor Show to reveal its Bugatti Chiron (named after the famed Bugatti driver Louis Chiron, who had the distinction of being the oldest driver, at age 58, to compete in F1).
Bugatti Chiron is now the world’s fastest and most expensive passenger car, which can reach 100 km/h in a mind-boggling 2.5 seconds and has a top speed in excess of 420 km/h - both of which make it faster than a Formula One race car.
The previous Veyron was no slouch, setting the record for the world’s fastest car twice: once in 2005 (408.47 km/h) and again in 2010 (431.072 km/h) with the updated model.
The Bugatti Chiron is expected to eclipse the 431 km/h record with an even more powerful model next year - but, for now, it is the fastest production car on sale anywhere in the world.
It runs on special Michelin tyres that won’t explode at such high speeds.
The 16 cylinder engine has been retained, complete with four turbochargers (two V8s mounted back to back). The power plant develops 1103 kW of power and a staggering 1600 Nm of torque which is enough to tow Pattaya City Hall down as far as the Dusit Thani.
Power is delivered to all four wheels via a seven speed automatic gearbox.
The brakes are bigger than those fitted to a Formula One race car, which means the Chiron can come to a stop from 100 km/h in less time and a shorter distance than an everyday Toyota Yaris.
The French supercar brand, but owned by German automaker Volkswagen since 1998, reportedly lost money on each of the 450 Bugatti Veyrons it made from 2005 to 2015. But the company says there will be no bargains with the Chiron. The new model will cost €2.5 million plus taxes and just 500 will be made.
No Chirons are destined for Thailand as the model is planned for left hand drive only, as with its predecessor.
You should get straight through if you ring Bugatti. I doubt if there will be a waiting list.
Fast facts: Bugatti Chiron
Price: €2.5 million
Engine: W16 (two V8s mounted back to back)
Turbochargers: Four
Power: 1103 kW/1600 Nm
0 to 100 km/h: Less than 2.5 seconds
Top speed: In excess of 420 km/h
Weight: 1995kg


The F1 Calendar for 2016

Pencils out and note the dates. 21 meetings this year, March to November with the Australian round next weekend.

20-Mar Australia Albert Park
3-Apr Bahrain Sakhir
17-Apr China Shanghai
1-May Russia Sochi
15-May Spain Circuit de Catalunya
29-May Monaco Monte Carlo
12-Jun Canada Montreal
19-Jun Europe Baku
3-Jul Austria Red Bull Ring
10-Jul Great Britain Silverstone
24-Jul Hungary Hungaroring
31-Jul Germany Hockenheim
28-Aug Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
4-Sep Italy Monza
18-Sep Singapore Marina Bay
2-Oct Malaysia Sepang
9-Oct Japan Suzuka
23-Oct United States Circuit of the Americas
30-Oct Mexico Mexico City
13-Nov Brazil Interlagos
27-Nov Abu Dhabi Yas Marina
 


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what is the connection between an AC Cobra and Portwine? Quite simply, a pork butcher by the name of John Portwine kept the original AC company afloat financially in the early 1900’s. AC Cobra owes its existence to pork sausages!
So to this week. Bruce McLaren and Colin Chapman were famous as racing car constructors. But their cars had a common origin. What was it?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!


Update March 5, 2016

Maserati Sstyled by Ssanyong

Maserati Levante SUV.

Was the new Maserati Levante drawn by the Ssanyong design studio? Or did they make such a hash of the styling of the new Maserati SUV by themselves? Maserati in the last few years has produced some absolutely wonderful cars, so what went wrong this time?
The Levante SUV had its world release March 1 at the Geneva Auto Show and is the first SUV in the history of Maserati (now owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).
Maserati said the first models have already started coming off the assembly line in Turin, Italy, and vehicles are expected in European showrooms in spring, followed by the United States and other countries later this year.
In an attempt to look like a Maserati, the Levante has a prominent grille with the Maserati trident, but for me, it ends there.
The specification reads well, with a chassis that is claimed to combine “the outstanding on-road performance typical of every Maserati” with good handling on slippery surfaces and off-road.
The AWD system features an “intelligent” all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission.
World estimates for SUVs, including crossovers, will grow globally to 33 percent in 2016 and 36 percent in 2020.
Head of Maserati Harald Wester has said that the Levante should move Maserati to its next chapter of growth. “We are outperforming the markets with nearly all of our products in nearly all regions. From this point of view, I am satisfied,” Wester said in August last year. “Obviously, I would have preferred to have the Levante nine months earlier, which would have allowed us to have a more continuous growth.”
Last year was a difficult one for Maserati, as it had enjoyed record sales and financial performance in 2014. In 2015, it earned $117 million, down a whopping 62 percent from the previous year. Revenue decreased 13 percent, and shipments declined 11 percent to under 32,5000 vehicles globally.
The declines were primarily due to a slowdown in China’s auto industry, with regulations that increased the cost of importing luxury vehicles into the country.
So will the Levante bring the sales graph up? If looks are anything to go by, I somehow doubt it.


Classics as opposed to old bangers

1909 Opel.

A couple of weeks ago there was a display of some interesting cars held at the Holiday Inn, organized by the Phoenix Rotary Club. Advertised as a display of Classic Cars, this was of interest to me, as the TBX Escort Mk 1 is a genuine classic and I mulled over the opportunity to show it off. Unfortunately, the organizers told me with a week to go, that they were oversupplied, so the Escort stayed in the garage.
In the list of Classics were some interesting cars, such as a 1909 Opel, two vintage MG’s (a TB and a VA), a 1910 Overland, a pair of E-Type Jaguars, a 1917 T Model Ford, a 1966 Ford Mustang and a drag Corvette.
However, I have to say I was a little disappointed in that the majority of the cars was coming down from Bangkok on trailers. Half the fun would have been in seeing them mixing it with the Pattaya traffic.
In the Post-War cars was a 1950 Fiat 1100, with another Fiat 1100 alongside, but this time the van variant. So these cars were 66 years old – that makes them old bangers, not desirable motor cars that in some way or another influenced the direction of automotive design.
Likewise, in the Classic category was a 1969 VW Beetle. Sorry, for me that model of the Beetle was not outstanding either.
But the one that caught my eye in the list was a 1956 Commer, the commercial variety of the Hillman Minx. No, no, and a thousand times no.
There was even a 1960 Volvo 122S entered, again old, but if it had been a Volvo P1800, that would have been welcomed by me. The Saint car, which was actually not built in Sweden, but in the UK.
I had thought there would be at least a couple of Alfa’s, but no.
However, the organizers plan to make this an annual event, with the backing of City Hall, so congratulations on getting the ball rolling.


Bira awakes for 2016 season

Bira races 2016.

The Bira International Circuit on Highway 36 has its opening meeting for the 2016 season. Promoter is Adisak Nitto 3K and these are very well attended ‘picnic style’ race meetings. The categories range from road cars through to 600 HP fire-breathers. Somewhere in the middle of all those groups is the Retro cars, and we will be there with our TBX Mk 1 Retro Ford Escort, built in 1973. New colors this year, with the car painted white over Ferrari red, reflecting two new sponsors on the car this year, being AA Insurance Brokers and The Venue music bar at Mabprachan, in addition to TBX, B-Quik, Hemaraj, Pattaya Mail, EBC Brakes, the Automotive Focus Group and Stonefish wines. If you liked Mk 1 Escorts when they were new, you will love this one, 40 years old and still racing.
Many other cars have had a change of livery over the Xmas/New Year break, with Urs Schoenenberger’s BMW’s sporting orange this year.
Some of the road-registered categories are amongst the greatest number of cars per race, with the C37 group having 30 cars on the grid each time. This group has their final at 10 a.m. on Sunday 6th March.
Bring the family for a day at the track. The Bira Café in the pits has very inexpensive food and drink. Pop by and say Hello to the Escort and its crew.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked which driver owed his start in F1 to a two month jail sentence? Remember Bertrand Gachot? Shortly after setting fastest lap at the Hungarian Grand Prix Gachot’s season was cut short following a conviction for spraying CS gas on a London taxicab driver after a traffic altercation resulting in a two month prison sentence. His race seat at Jordan was filled by an unknown driver called Michael Schumacher, making his F1 debut. Schumacher’s good fortune resulting from Gachot’s misfortune.
So to this week. What is the connection between an AC Cobra and Portwine?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Porsche’s new road racer

What did we learn from the Australian GP?

Just to make it more difficult …

Autotrivia Quiz


Aston reveals DB 11

First F1 Grand Prix this weekend

More “classic” cars

Autotrivia Quiz


The Pattaya Revival

Bugatti’s Chiron trumps its own Veyron

The F1 Calendar for 2016

Autotrivia Quiz


Maserati Sstyled by Ssanyong

Classics as opposed to old bangers

Bira awakes for 2016 season

Autotrivia Quiz

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