30 August, 2006


If you have spent your televisual life in one of the larger regions like Granadaland as it was known back in the day then it may be that the local micro-budget ad has passed you by entirely. Not for much longer we confidently predict.

As yet more channels pop-up like yeast infections on a chav, and digital recording and editing equipment is available for a modest outlay we can look forward to a whole new era in car advertising. As always, where Uncle Sam leads we shall follow.

"Hmm, I've got my neat new JVC camcorder, and half a tape left after I filmed the wife in a crispy plastic trimmed basque, let's get this commercial made! Actors? Pshaw! I can simply buy a bag of crack and get those streetwalkers to be in my ad. Hell, the one with the meth sores and collapsed nose will probably blow me too. Score!"

To be fair he's probably shifted a couple of cars because of this spot. If DFS has taught us nothing else it's that drilling home a repetitive message with bright colours and HI-NRG beats works a treat with the unwashed hordes.

Far worse is Jacky Jones, a Ford dealer from Cleveland, Georgia. Jacky fancies himself as a bit of an auteur. I think it's fair to say he's worn out his copy of Apocalypse Now Redux looking for lighting tips. As a dark and brooding soundtrack that would have Thom Yorke saying "Fuck me Jacky it's a bit depressing isn't it?" lingers Jacky pops the cherry on top with his backwoods Goergia drawl...

"Come take advantage.. the beast is out there". Am I the only one who is mentally adding "Squeal little piggy!"?

Jacky Jones has got Ford prices that will haunt your dreams. Forever.

29 August, 2006

Think tank

Unable to judge distances or assess gaps? Fear not! The disability that has dogged your driving for too long has been banished by those titans of teutonic design.

Square heads crammed with brains have pondered and now your new Mercedes-Benz CL can arrive with Parking Assist.

If you're traveling under 25 mph, the system will judge the size of parking spaces on either side of the car and determine whether they're big enough for the CL to fit in. If you're going under 10 mph, a blue "P" will light up when you pass one of these acceptable spaces. Once you line the car up to park and shift into reverse, the diagram shown above pops up to guide you in.

Engineer Hans Von Ribbentrop was quick to deny that the P stands for Poland. "Nein, ve are just wanting to anexxe ze parking space quickly without so much sturm und drang. It is good for ze short people who tend to make ze bad judgements and overcompensate ja?"

25 August, 2006


Hot on the heels of their record breaking antics in the USA JCB's chairman Sir Anthony Bamford, has announced they would be interested in buying Jaguar if Ford was prepared to split the troubled carmaker from Land Rover.

Makes perfect sense as we keep hearing that plumbers and brickies are on 200k a year, we could be looking at a fresh new automotive sector.

In your face Mitsubishi Warrior and Nissan Navarro, there's a new deluxe work vehicle on site, and this one's a Brummie!

click on pic for bigness

24 August, 2006

Salt Lake, home of speed and polygamy

JCBdieselmax is officially the world's fastest diesel-powered vehicle after hitting 333 miles per hour yesterday at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, the modern home of speed record attempts.

The car completed two runs - the first at 324mph and the return run at 333.3mph - giving an average of 328.8mph. This easily beats the previous record of 235.7mph set in 1973.

The team is not finished yet, and will make another attempt later today. Record attempts are made early in the morning when conditions on the salt flats are best.

JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: "This is a marvellous achievement for JCB and a wonderful tribute to British engineering."

"This is by no means just a PR exercise, the technologies developed will trickle down to our whole range of products. The advanced ear defenders we've been using for instance will help future JCB drivers ignore even the loudest horns and complaints. There are plenty of new challenges as well - with such a low vehicle how do we ensure that the driver displays a full slab of pasty back-fat wobbling along in time to the highly tuned diesel throb."

To celebrate this great achievement JCB are asking operators countrywide to enjoy a ceremonial lap of honour round country roads on the coming Bank Holiday. "We've shown how fast a JCB can go, now let's demonstrate just how plush the low speed ride is, and how difficult it is to get past one of these bastards on a typical road. We expect to see long trains of vehicles to show there support by joining in!"

22 August, 2006

Off road vehicles

Problem - SUVs are poorly designed for road use. They have a high centre of gravity, compounded by many other design faults including suspension and tyres because of a design brief that comes from the marketing department rather than the engineers.

The upshot is a vehicle that will rollover. And oh how they laughed down at Groucho's "We've convinced them to buy ugly expensive deathtraps by putting mountain bikes and beaches into car commercials. Give me another fuckin' line man I reckon I could sell bacon rolls in Haifa".

Now if you were the meddling type who felt the best thing to do would be to legislate to prevent some of the estimated 7,000 deaths and severe injuries attributed to rollovers in the US anually what laws would you suggest?

Something to address the root cause of the problem? Not a chance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes federal rules to make car roofs stronger.

Brilliant. Problem solved.

I hope the ditch they end up in has 5 feet of water in it.

20 August, 2006

trans-am fatty acids

How many times have you been driving along thinking to yourself "I sure do have something hot between my legs, larger than standard too!"

That's right you've just left the drive-thru window having wedged a portion of fries down next to the traditional meat and two veg.

If the reaction to catching your own eye in the rear view mirror isn't one of abject fucking horror at the grazing perspiring heap you have become - pushing handfuls of salted chips into a pimply grease-stained maw then Kent Enterprises have got just the product for you.

The Fries & Things securely holds all major fast-food fry containers and fits most auto cup holders. Oh thank god! For a moment there I though we might actually have to stop for a moment to eat.

Kent Enterprises' website suggests that not only is the Fries & Things great for kids in the back seat but can be used for storing other things like cellphones, pens, uhh... insulin... heart monitors?

18 August, 2006

Germans annexe Woking

Reuters, Frankfurt revealed this week that Mercedes is close to obtaining the remaining 60 percent it does not already own of the British Formula One team McLaren.

DaimlerChrysler the world's fifth-biggest carmaker may raise its minority stake, a spokesman revealed "It is no secret that DaimlerChrysler has the possibility to raise its 40 percent stake in the McLaren Group. It has not been decided whether this will happen".

He was responding to a report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport magazine that said Mercedes was close to acquiring the remaining 60 percent it does not already own in McLaren Group.

Sceptics worry that the innovative spirit of the company may be replaced by a dull humourless teutonic style, typified by dour characterless bosses and mediocre performance.

A Mercedes insider said yesterday "We're willing to take that risk"

15 August, 2006

You know who I blame?

London cabbies, long dismissive of satnav systems are now being courted by manufacturers eager to produce devices tailored to their needs.

Bob Oddy, general secretary of the London Taxi Drivers' Association admits that satnav was more widely deployed among cabbies "doing the airport runs and those doing jobs in the London suburbs", but declared: "Regardless of the salesmen's hype about these machines they cannot match the knowledge and experience of a good cabbie."

But product development chief at TomTom, Mathias Fussibender is keen to prove Mr Oddy wrong with new features on their range-topping TomTomCab.

The TomTomCab boasts route adjustment algorithms able to take into account number of luggage items and an advanced real-time update that reduces the cab range south of the river incrementally after 5.32pm.

If it proves successful it could mean more products aimed at niche markets. "We're already talking about a range of ideas" Mathias enthused "The TomTomChav perhaps, or a unit aimed at HGV drivers with real-time updates about the quietest spot to dump the victims body in. It's terribly exciting."

14 August, 2006

Dr Octopus' new sportscar

Sometimes you just want to smash your head into a wall screaming "Why? Why? who makes these decisions? Are you taunting me Lord?" On other ocassions you simply register an impotent dull disatisfaction that things are just a little bit worse than they were. And to be honest I don't know which I prefer. At least a passionate howl at the forces of idiocy can be cathartic.

Upstanding, fragrant and dare I say good looking friends of mine have tried the new Mazda MX5 and pronounced themselves dissapointed. Gone is the bewitching ride and handling that we know from Miata of yore, replaced with something altogether more lumpen and dull.

Yes the interior has more toys, and the quality is much better - and for many potential buyers that will be enough. But the enthused driver will need to look elsewhere for their driving thrills, my pulchritudinous pals ended up buying one of the last of the previous models instead.

And if any of you doubt that this dumbing down is happening, I leave you with this little nugget.

The current model Mazda MX5 has four cup holders.

09 August, 2006

If you try to walk I'll tax your feet

Authorities in New Zealand are to crack down on motorists who dodge taxes by registering their vehicles as hearses.

The scam came to light when a female caller to a radio phone-in revealed that the manoeuvre saved her and her friends around NZ$125 each. Her car qualified, she said, as she used it to carry frozen chickens home from the supermarket.

Currently around 1,500 vehicles are registered in the low-charge "non-commercial hearse or ambulance" category.

Land Transport New Zealand has written to 937 possible scammers warning them to register correctly. "Carrying groceries or dead animals in your car does not make it a hearse," spokesman Andy Knackstedt said.

He said offenders could be liable to a NZ$1,000 fine.

"Although we will be allowing certain drivers to register an Austin Montego, Porsche 911 cabriolet or BMW X-3 as an ambulance, 'cos you'd have to be fuckin' mentally ill to get into one of those mate!"

07 August, 2006

Vingt-quatre Heures

One for the enthusiasts. Gawd bless Stirling Moss, it's White House corner dammit, not Maison Blanche, who won the bloody war anyway?

Stirring stuff.

Do ya really want to jump? Then let's jump!

Fans of Sergeant Martin Riggs were thrilled again last week as he butted heads with authority one more time.

They can't get enough of his disrespectful attitude to senior cops and enjoyed another characteristically witty swipe at a female colleague dubbing her "sugar tits" - he just doesn't care about your politically correct tied-down ways man!

Enthusiasts for his particular brand of self indulgent alcoholism weren't dissapointed either. As a smoky saxophone blared and rain traced a melancholic line on a windowpane Riggs pondered the tragedies that had dogged his life from the bottom of a whiskey bottle. He concluded that it was probably the Jews.

Jumping straight into a car an angry Riggs set off to battle the forces of evil one more time. In a puzzling change from received wisdom fans whooped encouragement and hollered support as the clearly drunk and mentally unbalanced man roared down the road in a large truck, ready to kill anyone who got in his way.

That's why he's the only L.A cop registered as a Lethal Weapon

02 August, 2006

What does your car say about you?

It can sometimes feel like a Sisyphean labour making decisions that run contrary to the overwhelming flow of messages coaxing, cajoling and even shaming us into buying more and more stuff. Our culture is a machine, fueled by spending and there is an enormous amount of pressure brought to bear on you to keep filling her up with premium.

Perhaps Canute would be a better analogy than Sisyphus? But instead of demonstrating like good old Canute that even a King is powerless to resist the tide, why not use the very tide itself? In the best martial arts tradition, use your opponent's strength against him.

Click for a beautifully directed ad with great production values.