31 May, 2007


In a genuinely heartwarming story of the redemptive power of petrol vintage cars owned by the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum are being used as therapy. Nursing home residents, particularly those suffering with dementia are given a ride in some classic iron.

It's reckoned that a drive in an auto hailing from a time when they too were in their pomp will trigger happy memories.

The program is a labor of love for Allan Unrein, director of the museum, and a cadre of volunteers.

"It is a rewarding experience for us and the residents".

I can only hope that when I start losing my faculties they find a suitably bitchin' ride to take me out for a spin in. Can you imagine the kind of memories dredged up by a beige Montego?

26 May, 2007

Cool running

WhiteBoyBob and I were chatting the other day about his imminent relocation and he mentioned, not for the first time, that he quite fancied a Harley. Naturally he could never ride one in Blighty as he doesn't tint people's hair for a living or wear t-shirts adorned with rugged looking red indians and eagles. But under the big skies of Canada, with highways stretching uninterrupted toward the horizon a hog does seem kinda fitting.

In the meantime I think I've found his perfect ride. Mine as well in fact - 'cos when it comes to the long walk from your campsite to the start line at Le Mans you'll need to pack a few stubbies of beer though you know they'll warm up in double quick time. And it's even more arduous if you fancy the hike down to Arnage corner and wish to be suitably refreshed when you get there.

I present the Cruzin Cooler Motorized Scooter Cooler...

Isn't it funny that you can go from not even knowing of a products existence to needing it like oxygen in 5 seconds?

18 May, 2007

Spirit of ecstasy

As I noted the other day, there is little quite so offensive as the current rash of 'Rallies' infesting Europe and America these days. "You're just jealous" some may say, "you can't bear to see rich young things enjoying supercars". And I suppose I am jealous to be honest, jealous of the opportunity to spend time driving for the sheer bloody hell of it.

I'm certainly not envious of the participants. I mean really - what the fuck is the point of having a fat bankroll in your back pocket if you are so lacking in imagination that you need some other wanker to organise a drive through France for you?

I don't want to stump up an eye-watering entrance fee for the privilege of spending an evening with a braying shitneck telling me between lines of racket all about the Ferraris he's crashed.

Real petrolheads just do it - alone or in groups and it's got nothing to do with the tackle that you use, just the good times you have. And to prove my point - that some like minded hoons with £25 between them can have about twenty million times more fun. I give you m'lud... Exhibit A.

16 May, 2007

Darwin award contender

For some people it appears that when asked the (rhetorical?) question "and if your friend told you to jump off a cliff would you?" the answer would be a resounding "maybe!"

Paula Ceely had borrowed her boyfriend's satnav for a trip from Redditch, to Carmarthenshire. She recounted: "Obviously I had never done the journey before so I was using the satnav - completely dependent on it. I came to this crossing and there was like a metal gate, which looked like just a normal farmers' gate with a red circle on it. I thought it was a dead end at first and then there was a little sign saying, if the light is green, open the gates and drive through. So I opened the gate, drove forward, closed the gate behind me and then went to go and open the gate in front of me. Then I heard this train and I noticed there was train tracks. It was only then that I did realise I was on a train crossing. I just stood back and I just watched this train come in front of me. I could feel the air just pass me and then my car just did a 360 degree turn on the tracks and was knocked to the other side."

The impact of the Pembroke Dock to Swansea train carried Ceely's Renault Clio for half a mile down the track. The exasperated satnav rookie added: "I put my complete trust in the satnav and it led me right into the path of a speeding train. The crossing wasn't shown on the satnav, there were no signs at all, and it wasn't lit up to warn of an oncoming train."

Celly did, however, accept some liability for the smash. She conceded: "I can't completely blame the sat nav because up until there, it did get me where I needed to go. If maybe I had been more aware of the situation, I wouldn't have had the accident."

In conclusion, Celly offered: "I'll never use a sat nav again. You rely on them and if it all goes wrong, you're horribly stuck. People should be more careful with them - you never know where they might lead you."

13 May, 2007

When a C90 wasn't just a Honda scooter

In a week that saw the High Street finally abandon cassettes, lazy journalists fell over themselves to report the story with a nod to the mixtape; specifically the tape that was meticulously constructed to woo the ladies with it's cunning blend of tunes designed to show how the curator was not only hip but surprisingly sensitive too.

It was all a waste of time. Women don't understand music and hear it as a vague collection of tones, an aural wallpaper if you like. The smarter amongst us were working toward creating the ultimate mixtape for our other ride, the perfect driving tape.

In it's honour, with your help I'm firing up iTunes and building the playlist to end all driving playlists, and remember it's not all about 70s rock - though god knows, it has it's place. When you find yourself driving through a rain slick London street in the early hours the right track should be within your grasp just as much as a summer thrash through the twisties.

I'll get the ball rolling with a couple of my favourites, I find soundtracks particularly rich hunting grounds - the cinematic sweep lending itself to the ultimate in widescreen entertainment. Something not lost on the art directors on Top Gear, if you watch TG you'll recognise a couple of the following...
  • Enjoy The Silence (Reintepreted by Mike Shinoda), Depeche Mode
  • Escape/Hanging, Craig Armstrong (Plunkett & Macleane Soundtrack)
  • Hysteria, Muse
  • Disco Science, Mirwais
  • Reign (Ft. Ian Brown And Mani), Unkle
  • Freeman/Karin Le Roi, Le Dernier Coup
  • Sweet Emotion, Aerosmith
  • She Sells Sanctuary, The Cult
  • Symphony No.9, Gustav Mahler
  • On Days Like These, Matt Monro
  • It's Caper Time, Quincy Jones
I certainly wouldn't advocate looking any of those up on cr3ation, and downloading an mp3 - it's wrong kids!

08 May, 2007


I have pretty much given up on bothering with journalists when it comes to reporting on anything that requires a smidgen of understanding. If it has 'owt to do with science then New Scientist or Scientific American are a good place to start, rather than a newspaper or the telly.

But I've always kind of assumed that the sports coverage was of a higher calibre. The papers just seem so obsessed with it, football, rugby, cricket and the Telegraph's in-depth coverage of tennis for a fortnight every year (transparent puff pieces on nubile young female players lavishly illustrated in colour).

Nope it's just as poor. Anybody who had even a passing interest in MotoGP last season will remember that Rossi had a problem caused by a combination of too much front grip and a stiff chassis - causing the front of the bike to 'chatter' under braking, even the birds in the trees knew about it. This well known nugget of intelligence seems to have passed by the Times scribbler...

Here he is quoting Jerry Burgess, Rossi's technical director and helping us all out with his analysis in brackets.
“Yamaha didn’t give him what he needed and a little bit more at any one race would have been enough. “We had a chatter [motorcycle intercom] problem all year
Needless to say intercom systems aren't even allowed in MotoGP.

04 May, 2007

Scumball 3000

With the tragic inevitability that we all saw coming from several miles away the trustafarian's favourite rally Gumball 3000 has had a fatal road smash.

British citizens Nicholas Morley and Matthew McConville's 911 crossed over the center lane and crashed into a Golf. The crash left one Macedonian citizen dead. The victim's wife, who has suffered heavy injuries in the accident, is in critical condition.

So far so predictable - take one supercar, add a hooray henry with a sense of entitlement the size of an aircraft hangar and fuck-all driving skill. Season liberally with lack of sleep and and a bunch of like minded(?) friends who organise jollies in dirt poor countries because they can effectively buy their way out of needing to take responsibility on the road.

The real touch of class was the fact that the drivers then instead of trying to help, fled the scene in an attempt to make a break for the border. Nice.

The good news is that they are now in custody with a formal accusation against Morley for "heavy violation of traffic safety" and "failure to provide help to an injured person." One can only hope that Macedonian jails are fetid hellholes.

These trust-fund cuntfests have always been extremely offensive to any decent person, never mind petrolhead - now I expect we can look forward to swingeing new clampdowns on all forms of rallying and motor enthusiasm on public roads. Great.

I'm all for organising a posse of motorcyclists from the Northwich Thundersprint and some vintage rally enthusiasts to drag the bodies of Paris Hilton and Tara Pom Diddle Eye behind a Lotus Cortina down the King's Road as a warning to the rest of them. Who's with me?

03 May, 2007

Fast food

The kitchen area chez driverchris is overdue a makeover, joy unconfined. Spending weekends that I could be on a motorbike in kitchen showrooms, brochures in one hand, offering swatches of formica up to cupboard doors with the other. Kill me now Jeebus.

That is until I came across this bad boy (click for biggety)...

It was in the inimitable words of Wooster as if the scales had fallen from my eyes. There is absolutley no reason why I should go gentle into that good night of boring kitchen design. Rather I should rage, rage against the dying of the light. Thus enthused, I fleshed out my vision.

I'm building a mental picture of interlocking plastic tiled floors, stainless steel worktops and laudable cleanliness.

One of these things instead of a kitchen towel holder. A small red pump-can for applying oils to salads, a neat red snap-on chest for my spatulas and knives, in fact this kitchen pretty much designs itself.

All I need now is to decide which wall Lucy, 24 from Dagenham will gaze down from, benevolently displaying her ample charms.

01 May, 2007

What a carve up

It cannot be denied that our American cousins lead the way in so many human endeavours. Whether it be space flight, obesity or wrestle-tainment they are pioneers. But it's also slightly satisfying when they latch onto something years later, like cellphones, world wars and emancipation.

It's easy to sneer of course. So very easy. However whilst they may be a little brash, a touch too loud perhaps they do have a can-do attitude and a desire to be the best that we should be envious of. When they do catch onto something they do it well goddamit!

Which is why there appears to be an almost Daily Mail-esque reaction to the current vouge of 'road rage' incidents sprouting up all over the states.

And as we all know, wherever there is a Daily Mail-esque reaction to a percieved wave of criminality a knee-jerk outcry with it's concomitant call for rushed and badly written legislation is never far away. Won't somebody think of the children?

Senator Tim Grendell (Rep) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would make 'road rage' a crime punishable by a fine of at least $100 and would require drivers to complete a safe-driving class or face jail time.

House Bill 91 identifies 'road rage' as any action committed by one driver toward another or toward a pedestrian - whether there is physical contact or not - that "is inconsistent with usual, ordinary and legal motor vehicle operation."

As far as I can tell this could apply to just about anything you do in a car. I certainly don't like to think of my driving as ordinary. Or usual for that matter. Many of my passengers would probably agree.