31 May, 2006

confidence is a preference

US consumer confidence fell sharply in May, partly driven by concerns over the price of fuel at the pump.

The short-term prospects for the economy and the availability of jobs also weighed on the mind of Americans, researchers said.

The consumer confidence index, which measure feelings about economic conditions, fell from a four-year-high of 109.8 in April to 103.2 in May.

However the mood was quickly leavened nationwide by the tactical deployment of "The Woopster v1.2". The Woopster is a video clip to be deployed in prime-time featuring a hi-energy rock soundtrack over montaged images of Bald Eagles, Apache attack helicopters, the Grand Canyon and Xtreme Motocross, all composited over a slow motion flapping stars and stripes.

Nielsen boxes soon registered a 78% consumer confidence boost, allied to a two hundred fold increase in folk hollering "woooh!", "yeah!", and "YOU ESS AY!"

Some commentators have criticised Woopster deployment arguing that it preys on the mentally unsophisticated and fills them up with baffling emotions.

Shortly after deployment Conrad Johansen, a white upper middle class college student of Dutch German heritage was observed entreating his Kansas State college roomate Henry Schleimann to "Roll wit me dawg, fuck those arabs an shit, we is the niggas. That's how I'm laying it out. I'm gonna get some stank on my low down, dig?"

Johansen is currently studying Case Law and Art History.

26 May, 2006

Transport of delight

You're young, you're hip, you wanna distinctive personal transportation solution right? But the Segway is just a bit too, well, west coast for you.

Worry no more. The good folk at Hammacher Schlemmer of New York have been providing expensive gadgets to social mountaineers for years.

Hailed by The New York Times as a "miniature flying saucer with handlebars", the hover scooter provides an unprecedented experience in personal transportation.


Learning to ride the scooter takes less than five minutes, and no previous skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, or other experience is required. Which is handy, because if you can afford one of these things, chances are you spent your youth at Polo matches, not hanging by the halfpipe smoking draw.

Yep it's a snip at $16,999.95, and they go on to boast...

"It can even travel up minor inclines. Stopping is as easy as releasing the throttle and clutch controls and allowing the hovering scooter to gently coast to a halt over a distance of approximately twenty feet."

Doesn't that sound exciting? Who an earth would rather spend $10,999 on a Suzuki GSXR 1000 capable of accelerating so hard your face falls off, cornering at brain melting velocity, until you run out of talent and it leaves you grinning in a ditch with $6,000 in change to spend on decent leathers and hospital bills.

22 May, 2006

Daily Mail auto postbag

I was disgusted to learn from the marvelous Mr Jeremy Clarkson that the powers that be have got a new trick up their sleeve when it comes to chiselling money out of the hard working people of Great Britain. The speed limits on motorways are adjusted and then these so-called safety cameras are triggered at a lower speed.
How dare these faceless (B)eurocrats tell me how I should drive.

Did we win a war for this?

D Shortbrass (ret)

The politically correct brigade currently in power are at it again. The New Labour stooges at the Department of Transport think it is perfectly fine to show a camera-phone video of a teenager being run over on television during the afternoon, as part of their so-called safety campaign.

Yet when mature adults privately circulate similar clips we are to be arrested and pilloried. For shame. Once again it seems to be one rule for them and quite another for us!

The Honourable Roy Trustinhoop

18 May, 2006

Flag day

The must have car accessory is, once more, the proud cross of St George. Or rather two. Don't risk giving yourself away as a weedy pencil-necked bedwetter by only having one flag* on your car.

If you don't deck out your motor this summer with an array of plastic pennants then you hate this country, and are probably a gay or a paedo.

So show the world your love of football and this beautiful country. Precious Albion, whose protection from asylum seekers and kiddy touchers you desire with an intensity only matched by your fervent love of the beautiful game.

Show your love this summer.

Flags will fit all Citroen, BMW, Mercedes, Peugot and Jeep model cars.

*Made in Indonesia

16 May, 2006


Only 1 year 1 month 30 days until she's unearthed!

"Suddenly It's 1960" was the advertising strapline for the 1957 Belvedere line. So, sprang the 1957 event "Suddenly It's 2007", held during Tulsa's Golden Jubilee Week, know then as "Tulsarama!"

"Tulsarama!" Is a single word more evocative of the post-war confidence and space age dreams of a nation?

"This is the sort of thing that could happen only in Tulsa," spoke Lewis Roberts Jr. "Tulsarama!" chairman Roberts' made his remarks as citizens prepared to entomb a new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe in a time capsule buried on the southeast corner of the Tulsa County Courthouse lawn.

Why would anyone want to bury a new car? Roberts was asked. "The committee decided on the event after looking for a method of acquainting the citizens of the twenty first century with a suitable representation of 1957 civilization."

"In our judgment," commented W.A. Anderson, Jubilee chairman, "Plymouth is a true representative of automobiles of this century - with the kind of lasting appeal that should still be in style fifty years from now.... Tulsans think big. And we feel we can over come any technical difficulties we encounter [burying the Plymouth] including the possibility of striking oil in our excavation!"

As part of the festivities, citizens of Tulsa were asked to guess what the population of Tulsa would be in the year 2007. The guesses were recorded on microfilm and sealed in a steel container buried with the car. When the car and artifacts are excavated, the person whose guess is closest to Tulsa's 2007 population is to be awarded the Belvedere. If that person is dead, the car is to be awarded to his or her heirs.

And what, exactly, will the lucky winner get when the car is unearthed in 2007? No one's really sure. Sitting on a steel skid, the white and gold car was wrapped in a cosmoline-like substance to help preserve it and buried in the bunker.

Twenty years after the cars burial, questions were raised as officials began to wonder if the vault would maintain its integrity for fifty years. Its location, marked by a bronze plaque, places it close to modern traffic.

Buck Rudd, deputy chief of building operations for the county court house, mused in 1987, "There's a lot of traffic going by only 15 or 20ft from that thing. We've been curious to know it vibrations from the heavy traffic might have caused it to crack. If moisture starts getting in there, it's going to cause things to deteriorate over fifty years time," Rudd continued. Unknown to the committee - or anyone else then - 1957 Plymouths were terribly prone to rust. Asked what maintenance was done on the time capsule, Rudd replied, "We just cut the grass on top of it."

While some lucky person may win a brand new 1957 Plymouth in the year 2007, there are other prizes to look forward to. A $100 trust fund accruing interest until the year 2007. A 5 gallon can of gasoline, a jar of Oklahoma crude oil, and in the glovebox, fourteen bobby pins, a ladies compact plastic rain cap, several combs, a tube of lipstick, pack of gum, facial tissues $2.73 in bills and coins and a pack of cigarettes with matches - all items that might have been found in a woman's purse circa 1957,

The car's glove compartment contains two other interesting items: a parking ticket (unpaid) and a bottle of tranquilizers.

Depending an the Belvedere's condition, the tranquilizers may be the most important part of the package. In the imortal words of Gil: "Go ahead, drool all you want, you can't hurt that finish. Now rainwater, that will strip it right off, so... aw, I shouldn't have said that"

13 May, 2006

Bless this car

After decades on the slide has the Anglican church has finally realised what it needs to do to appeal to middle england - tut loudly about hoespipe bans and not getting the Vectra washed.

Church members in Manchester are offering passing motorists a car wash with holy water. Levenshulme Baptist Church regulars plan to clean cars with the gallons of left-over water from this Sunday's baptismal service.

The blessed water from the church's baptism pool, in which people are immersed as part of the service, will be recycled for the washes.

Members say it makes the free washes environmentally-friendly.

Minister of Levenshulme Baptist Church, Ian Spence: "We are pleased to offer a different kind of service to the community."

Score! Get your car washed and vampire-proofed at the same time.

Rev Spence has yet to reply to my suggestion of a 'holy foaming nun, handwash special'. I expect he's busy with the buckets and sponges.

Remember, the power of Jesus compels you to check you've lowered the aerial and folded the mirrors in.

11 May, 2006

Holy roller

For over four years now church leaders in the US have highlighted consumption and pollution issues by asking "What would Jesus drive?" and it's a question on the lips of Anglican churchgoers now that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has changed his car to a more environmentally-friendly Honda Civic hybrid

So what would Jesus drive?

29 percent of 4,000 UK church leaders said he would still walk. They say he spent his life talking to people and spreading the word of God, impossible from behind the wheel of a car.

Of those who said he would choose to drive, 17 percent thought his chosen vehicle would be a camper van. "He would probably brew up and tell stories whenever he stopped in a lay-by, often picking up listeners, " says Rev Andy Jowitt of Milton Keynes, who appears to think Jesus listened to the Levellers and had a disciple on a string.

Just behind, with 16 percent, was an electric bus. "It's eco-friendly," said Dr Roger Williams of Hampton Hill, Middlesex. "There would be room for the disciples, converts, enquirers and Christian publications. There could even be a prayer area."

The Rev Clive Jones, of Staplehurst in Kent, showing just how hip and in-touch he is says Jesus would opt for a car "despised and rejected of men - a Skoda". Pop round to Rev Jones vicarage to listen to some Jasper Carrot LPs and talk about God.

The poll was conducted by Congregational and General Insurance for the National Christian Resources Exhibition, held in Esher, Surrey, this week. Car makers will be among the exhibitors. The celebrity fuel-efficient car of choice, the Toyota Prius, only got five percent of the vote and clearly out of divine favour is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, with just one percent. Jesus may be widely misquoted and misunderstood but clearly not a complete cunt.

So the clergy have no fucking clue. I turned to the good book, the biggest Haynes manual of them all to see if I could troubleshoot this spiritual repair job.

All this SUV talk is as old as the hills (literally if you believe this stuff), Jacob obviously had trouble on the school run with his large family...
Genesis 32 22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, the Hivite, and the Jebusite knew a reliable Honda saloon when they saw one...
Joshua 9 2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.

Jephthahs had a TR7, one with typically shit wiring...
Judges 11 31 I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering."

Of course we're forgetting the obvious answer, he's a carpenter. It's a white Mercedes Sprinter van with a copy of the Daily Star on the dashboard and a surly looking apprentice Jesus staring at you as he carves you up on the north circular. Bish bosh job done.

09 May, 2006

"That's all Volks!"

At first glance on the road prices from 42,220 to 74,740 pounds seem a little salty for a Volkswagen saloon. But to dimiss the Volkswagen Phaeton as a bigger Passat would be a mistake. Sales success or not, it's a germanic statement of intent.

And when you consider that Caterham want you to part with a barely credible 37,000 pounds for the top of the range Seven, the Phaeton seems like the bargain of the century.

Low volume doesn't have to mean raiding the parts bin. As well as being a testbed for innovative technologies like the W16 engine configuration, the whole Phaeton production line is Volkswagen's corporate mission made flesh.

Cleaner than an operating theatre, more elegant than a Habitat cock ring, take a tour of this amazing factory here.

06 May, 2006


Steve Rider (looking vaguely uncomfortable in an F1 paddock):
"Welcome to F1 itv for the European Grand Prix, and what an exciting day it is here in the heart of Europe's cliche region. I'm literally excited to be here for another round of the competition to find the least intelligible person on tv. Mark"

Mark Blundell (as ever incapable of not sounding like a remedial child what was dropped. On his head):
"And we got a storming race lined up on the cards today. Wiv Alonso and Shumacher on the front row there's bound to be fireworks at the carnival as all ver cars go into the first corner. This is a track what I done raced on a few times an it's really, um, good. I arksed Alonso's Boss Flavio Briatore what was Renaults tactics"

The Flav (for it is he):
"The car she is very fine right now, and we take ebbry chance to make berry good time Jess? But thees year I find more, ow you say? (waves arms) time"

"Ha yeah, um great! James Allen"

James Allen (Actually roaring into his microphone as flecks of foam garland his pie-hole):
"British hearts will be twitching in this, the cathedral of motorsport dreams, as knights of old take to the track to do battle with their mighty steeds of metal and fluids, some of those fluids specially developed by technicians, British technicians who proudly kiss their children and then literally go into space to find a tenth of a second."

Steve Rider:
"And I've just been told into my earpiece that we've achieved a critical mass of stupid words combined with appalling grammer, so I can now hand you over to Mike Brewer."

A memo leaked from television regulator ITC shows it is now illegal to refer to Ayrton Senna, without the prefix "The late, great" anybody caught not using the honorific will have to spend two hours in a box with James Allen.

04 May, 2006

High gas price

In a climate of terror and fear there's a temptation to create rafts of legislation and prosecute every transgression to the letter of the law. There might just be an opportunity for the forces of law and order to step back and consider a case on its merits. A man from Sheridan is facing explosives charges after he accidentally blew up his own car with a gas-filled balloon he was taking to a Super Bowl party.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office found a suspicious-looking car behind a gas station. When a deputy arrived to check it out, he found a white car that showed obvious signs of an explosion. All the windows were blown out, the vehicle doors were bent towards the outside and the roof was pushed about a foot higher than normal.

The deputy traced the license plate to a home where a man and a woman admitted that they were in the car. They explained that they were taking a balloon filled with acetylene to a Super Bowl party so they could blow up the balloon while celebrating.

However, on the drive, the balloon rolled across the back seat, possibly causing static electricity, and igniting the gas, causing it to explode.

Norman Frey, 46, faces a charge of possession, use, or removal of explosives or incendiary devices. He faces two to six years in prison.

A little over the top perhaps? Norman's been left with slight shrapnel wounds, perforated eardrums, a comedy car that probably won't achieve book value if he trys to sell it and a reputation throughout Denver as one of the states leading morons. I'm not sure six years in the big house is gonna help anybody.

Denver lawmakers may learn a lesson from the good folk of Michigan when it comes to prosecuting car-based idiocy. Sometimes the crime is it's own punishment.

01 May, 2006

Paris tilting

You may already have seen this clip, you may not. I suppose it depends how much time you spend trolling the web for car based ephemera. Less than 5 hours a day? Weirdo.

Anyhoo, what better way to promote your natty little Jap saloon than get some seriously talented formation drivers to go 'Dancing in Paris'. Ah the heady pre-CG days when to get the effect of affordable cars flying through fountains you launched the damn things and pointed a camera at it.

It's an added bonus that they slapped a prime piece of euro hi-NRG dance over the top

I dunno, you trying telling kids these days how to sell a car...