A Fortuner encrusted with diamonds?
Rolls Royce has gone off-road (and off its
rocker in my opinion) with its new SUV, known as the Cullinan (after the
diamond), stating on their website that Cullinan is the culmination of years of
design refinement, the manifestation of an audacious vision to make luxury
off-road travel a reality for the first time.
Supreme liberty says the brochure. This is freedom absolute. The first
all-terrain SUV from Rolls-Royce is claimed to be the pinnacle of
Want a premium SUV, then start with Bentley with the Bentayga, the first
full-blown luxury SUV that gathered fine upholstery, state-of-the-art tech,
fancy features, and high-performance under one roof. At the time of its launch,
it was the quickest, fastest, and the most expensive SUV. Two years later and
Rolls-Royce delivered its first salvo called the Cullinan, and although it’s not
faster than the Bentayga, it’s definitely the more expensive.
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the first SUV to be launched by the Rolls-Royce
marque. It is bigger than a Fortuner with a 6.75 L N74B68 twin-turbocharged V12
dragging a kerb weight of 2,660 kg from a body 5,341 mm long.
With the world deciding that we’re not going to run out of oil after all, the
automakers have been busy bringing vehicles to the market that can climb over
rocks and trees, and carry seven people in relative comfort.
While the premium segment is packed with SUVs from European, American, and
Japanese automakers, the range-topping luxury market is still very small. With
no other products around, Bentley and Rolls-Royce are the only firms fighting
for supremacy here. The Cullinan and the Bentayga will attract the richest, most
pretentious customers out there are for years to come. Much will depend upon the
little luxuries being trotted out. The RR has a center console incorporating a
drinks cabinet with whiskey glasses and decanter, champagne flutes, and
refrigerator. A three-seat layout is also available, and this configuration
comes with a 60/40 split to create an almost flat loading surface. The Cullinan
can haul up to 68 cubic feet of luggage and can be fitted with a glass partition
to separate the seating area from the trunk. It also has dinky little RR badges
on the center of each wheel, which always sits vertically even when stopped.
If you are interested in emissions (though with all that money, who cares),
the values of fuel consumptions, CO2 emissions and energy consumptions shown are
determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version
applicable at the time of type approval. The range shown considers optional
equipment and the different size of wheels and tires available on the selected
model and may vary during the configuration.
The values are already based on the new WLTP regulation and are translated
back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure the comparison between the
vehicles. For the assessment of taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia)
on CO2-emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here.
Further information on official energy and fuel consumption and the official
specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the “Guide to Fuel
Consumption, CO2 Emissions and Electricity Consumption of New Passenger Cars”,
which is available at all outlets free of charge and at carfueldata.direct .gov.uk
in the United Kingdom, dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html
in Germany, or your local government authority.
How much would it costs here? I’ll guess at around 40 million baht, or more
than I will earn in a lifetime. It puts a new emphasis on the word pretentious.
A Guide to Brake Pads
I have a good friend Gavin Charlesworth
who is the Thailand agent for the famous brake pads and discs branded as EBC.
I have run these on my race car for the past few years and described the EBC
pads as the next best thing to a brick wall. The following article was sent
to me from Gavin, and is very informative.
Brake pads are used to stop moving vehicles; they do this by converting
the kinetic energy of a moving vehicle into heat. How effectively brake pads
generate heat will determine how well they work.
It is important to choose the right brake pad for the correct
application. There are three main variables that affect brake performance.
Brake pad material and its friction properties
Brake rotor / disc size
Braking performance can be improved (or made worse) by changing any one
of the above components of the braking system.
Are your brakes genuine?
OE brake pads and aftermarket brake products In UK, Europe, USA (actually
most places in the world) are made to a very high standard.
ECE R 90 - certify that the replacement brake pads are at least equal to
or better than OE parts. Test for performance, cold performance, bedding in.
ABE (T‹V) – replaced by ECE R 90 for brake pads but still valid for brake
AMECA (US) – friction material testing and registration, edge coding
It is illegal to sell uncertified braking products in most countries.
Insurance companies will refuse to pay out compensation after an accident if
un-certified braking products were used on a vehicle involved in an
Brake Pad materials
Metal-based – relatively cheap to make using steel fiber, often an
aggressive initial bite that some may like. High disc / rotor wear, high
dust levels, dust sticks to wheels, often noise issues.
Organic based – made from organic aramid fiber (such as Kevlar) and
binding resins. Organic pads give a softer more progressive pedal feel and
have a light dust which does not stick to wheels. Generally less noise than
metallic based brake pads.
Ceramic – semi-metallic or organic brake pads filled with ceramic
particles giving lower dust, longer life.
Carbon Ceramic – reserved for Supercars as they very expensive.
Contact [email protected]
Classic Car Show
A couple of years ago, a Classic Car Show was held in the
grounds of the Asia Pattaya Hotel. This was so successful, we present the Car
Show on Saturday March 2 from noon until 10 p.m.
In the evening there will be a Charity BBQ with live music from the 60s and
70s and a Blues Brother or two wandering around. Telephone the Pattaya Mail on
093 161 5995 to reserve a place at the party BBQ.
Anyone with an interest in “classics” will enjoy the day, with many of the
cars very rarely seen outside their air-conditioned garages.
My 1973 two door Ford Escort racer will be there, which can still blow the
doors off some much younger cars (and drivers). The car is obviously heavily
modified now with a 350 BHP engine, five speed gearbox, limited slip
differential and a five link rear end. If you had an Escort when you were young,
come along and be photographed with this one.
A few E-Type Jaguars will be present, probably the best looking car in the
world, some MG T-Types and last time even a Kubelwagen and a Schwimmwagen. At
the upper range, a 1964 Bentley is immaculate, while the enthusiastic Alfa Romeo
group will be there. Just look for the red cars. Like Ferrari they look best in
Sponsors include the Riviera Group and Liqui Moly.
Some of the classics of the show
Austin 8 Convertible, 1947
Corvette Singray, C3, 1970
Ford Mustang Fastback, 1969
Ford Escort, 1971
Volvo 122, 1966
Volvo Station wagon, 1966
Bentley Mulsanne, 1966
Renault Caravelle, 1966
Opel Commodore GS, 1968
Lancia Beta, 1987
Porsche 356, 1962
BMW CSL, 1972
Jaguar 220, 1990
Buick Le Sabre, 1960
BENZ 190 C, 1963
Porsche 911, 1990
Benz 220 S, 1965
Benz 280 S, 1072
FIAT 132 GLS, 1976
Austin Frogeye, 1959
Chevy Stepside 3100, 1955
Chevy Impala, 1968
AUDI 90 Super, 1965
Mustang Coupe, 1966
Escort RS, 1973
Dodge Challenger, RT 1970
Plymouth Barracuda, 1970
Fiat 1100 E, 1949
Alfa Giulia Super 1971
VW Kombi, 1966
Triumph Stag, 1973
Mustang Coupe, 1966
VW Beetle, 1969
MGA 1500, 1960
Lincoln Continental, 1979
Austin Healey 3000, 1967
Corvette C3, 1971
Ford Thunderbird, 1968
Ford Cougar, 1971
Ford Aurelia, 1960
Jaguar XJ, 1993
Alfa Romeo GTV 2000, 1972
Alfa Giulia Ti, 1966
Karman Ghia, 1961
Alfa Romeo Spider 1750, 1969
Bentley S3, 1964
The organizers expect 70-80 cars on March 2.
Last week I asked, two brothers bought a
championship winning Kremer Porsche and raced it at Le Mans. Later they were
arraigned for money laundering. Who were they? They were the Whittington
So now to this week. Where were the pedals on a 1933 Morris Minor?
For the Automania dehydrated beer this week (just add hops and water), be the
first correct answer to email
[email protected] or
[email protected] . Good luck!
The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning
looking like a Mini?
It’s a bit like plastic bags, the current
bÍte noir. Say you don’t want a plastic bag and you get some self-satisfaction
In actual fact, you have done nothing on the global
scale. However, it stops the world doing public “challenges” with the pledged
funds generally not arriving or being used for other expenses.
Diesel fuel is a bit like that. The policy makers
who are chauffeured around in petrol fueled luxury cars could not care less
about what banning diesel might do to the family motorist hidden under the guise
of the global economy.
As a flow-on from VW’s ‘Dieselgate’ scandal, the
green groups are making it look as if all diesel engines are evil polluters.
When you examine the fact that all VW did was to make engines run lean at idle
which kept the emissions ‘clean’.
It has prompted calls for vehicle bans, tax
penalties, and scrappage schemes. A knee-jerk result!
The Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said
that, on average, modern diesel vans use around 50 percent less fuel than
petrols, which means lower fuel bills for operators and a knock-on benefit for
consumers and taxpayers.
Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive said,
"Commercial vehicles play an essential but often overlooked role in keeping
Britain functioning, performing jobs and transporting vital goods and services
that we all rely on every day.
"This sector has never been so important to the UK
economy - and to British jobs - and diesel's role in powering these vital
vehicles should not be downplayed. Nearly all our commercial vehicles are driven
But the vocal green group groups said it was clear
all diesel engines must be phased out.
However, the petrol groups have a much greater
threat than ‘dirty’ diesels, and that is electric cars. Over the past five
years, the number of manufacturers offering an electric car has more than
trebled, and the number of electric cars has grown exponentially.
The [email protected] Scenario reflects a policy case
characterized by a wider adoption of EVs, in line with the [email protected] campaign if
it were to be applied at a global scale. The [email protected] campaign, launched at the
Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial in 2017, set the collective aspirational goal
for all EVI members of a 30% market share for electric vehicles in the total of
all vehicles (except two-wheelers) by 2030.
The outlook for EVs is bright, but requires ambitious targets
The number of electric cars on the road reaches 125 million
by 2030 under the IEA’s New Policies Scenario. With rising ambitions to meet
climate goals and other sustainability targets, as in the [email protected] Scenario, the
number of electric cars on the road could be as high as 220 million in 2030 and
the country with the most electric cars? China.
What level EV will you be buying?
This level has you totally in charge. The car
does no ‘thinking’ for you. That description covers most cars for sale
This is the lowest echelon of autonomy, and
refers to vehicles with a single type of driver assistance, be it electronic
control of the steering, braking, speed modulation, etcetera. A vehicle fits
into Level One as long as it is equipped with even a single example of the
This covers vehicles that can automatically
steer and adjust speed. However, the driver can override these technologies
and remains in control at all times. A car would be considered a Level Two
vehicle if it was equipped with “one or more driver assistance systems” like
a self-parking feature as well as lane-holding assistance.
Automakers currently sell vehicles that fit into
the Level Two category.
Vehicles in this category have the ability to
drive autonomously, and can make decisions independently of the driver, such
as overtaking slow-moving cars on the freeway. However, Level Three vehicles
still need the human touch for when they are unable to make a decision and
the automated system needs to be overridden.
While a manual override is still available,
Level Four autonomous vehicles are able to make decisions if things go awry
or if a system fails. In the majority of situations, the driver is not
required, and the vehicle can be left to its own devices.
In Level Four, the vehicle will notify the
driver when conditions are safe, allowing the driver to manually put the car
into an autonomous mode.
The Level Five category imagines a vehicle that
has much stronger environmental awareness than the other levels, and can
transport cargo and/or people completely autonomously. A Level Five vehicle
does not need conventional driving controls like a steering wheel pedals,
and so a driver is not required.
Younger people who will grow up with autonomous
motoring will not be afraid of Level Five, but I doubt whether sporting
motorists today will be able to give up control to a bunch of diodes.
New Aston V12
Aston Martin has revealed that its Cosworth-developed
6.5 liter V12 will be the “masterpiece” engine for its upcoming hybrid
hypercar, the Valkyrie, and will pump out 745 kW of power and rev to an
unbelievable 11,200 rpm.
Weighing just 206kg, the normally aspirated,
F1-based engine will be a fully stressed element of the chassis, joining the
front and rear sections of the two-seat road racer that is being developed
by Aston Martin in league with Red Bull Racing touted as to be “the greatest
car of the modern era”.
Wottle she do, Mister?
Own a performance car and you get asked
that question any time you park. Unfortunately the automakers today put very
optimistic figures on the car’s speedometer. My daily driver Vios, for
example, indicates 220 kph on the speedometer, a speed it couldn’t do down a
mine shaft with a hurricane for a tail wind.
Here’s some real numbers.
Hennessey Venom F5: 484 kph.
Koenigsegg Agera RS: 447 kph.
Hennessey Venom GT: 434 kph.
Bugatti Chiron: 424 kph.
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport: 420 kph.
SCC Ultimate Aero: 415 kph.
Tesla Roadster: 411 kph (unverified).
Saleen S7 Twin Turbo: 499 kph.
And if you are interested in Bonneville Salt Flats
where most of these observed runs are carried out, then pick up the DVD “The
World’s Fastest Indian,” showing the life of Burt Munro with his 1920 Indian
motorcycle. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Burt, this is a great movie on
its own, but if you know anyone passionate about cars or bikes this movie
has real depth.
Another manufacturer chasing its tail
Subaru is the latest to have to recall some
of its models because of a defect – this time in the power steering system (in
some ways a welcome change from Takata safety belts).
The defect involves an electric power steering
component supplied to the Subaru factory in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
Subaru looks to resume assembly at the Japanese plant after two weeks, which
provides 60 percent of the company's global production.
Hitachi Automotive Systems produces the component,
which is used in power steering, and would give a warning light on the dash to
indicate something was wrong.
The parts are found in the Japanese automaker's
Forester and XV sport utility vehicles as well as its Impreza compacts. Subaru
estimates more than 10,000 vehicles produced between late December and Jan. 16
The supplier, a unit of Hitachi, said it was
unlikely that the parts were damaged during assembly, suggesting a fault in the
electronics of the component. Subaru said it is still investigating the exact
cause of the defect.
The plant shutdown also impacts other Subaru models
because the automaker assembles multiple models on single production lines.
Daily output totals roughly 2,600 units, and a shutdown could affect production
of more than 20,000 vehicles. The company ships 80 percent of cars made at the
Japanese plant overseas, with 60 percent of exports going to the U.S.A.
I am sorry there has been no quiz for a
few editions, but I was incarcerated for a few weeks following some radical
abdominal (abominable?) surgery. However my surgeons have agreed
(reluctantly) that I can drive the race car after June.
So to last week. A famous race driver maintained
his interest in agriculture. I asked, where was his first race and what was
the model of car?
This was Jim Clark who owned the Edington Mains
farm in Scotland and his first car was a borrowed DKW Sonderklasse at
Crimond in Scotland. On his gravestone there is “Farmer” above “world
champion” which was his wish.
So to this week. Two brothers bought a
championship winning Kremer Porsche and raced it at Le Mans. Later they were
arraigned for money laundering. Who were they?
For the Automania dehydrated beer this week (just
add hops and water), be the first correct answer to email [email protected]
or [email protected] Good luck!
The Mustang for those
who lust after BHP
Mustang with a
Ford has now offered a
Hi-Po Mustang as opposed to tiddlers. The new Ford Mustang GT500 is a
supercharged stang with first-grade hardware intended to provide an affordable
alternative to the Germans and Italian super-cars.
Powered by a supercharged
5.2-litre V8, the Mustang GT500 has more than 700 horsepower (522kW) driving
through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
provides the driver with a choice of modes, including a zero to 100 kays in less
than four seconds.
Retardation is by Brembo
with enormous 420 mm brake discs and Brembo calipers, while active shock
absorbers assist keeping the monster on the road (or track).
This new variant of the
Mustang is claimed to be the most powerful road-going Ford in history. Ford has
come a long way since the T-Bird.
Body modifications are not
such as to make the car look much different from the standard model. Outside,
changes are to improve cooling and downforce plus carbon fiber spoilers and
Similar to the regular
Mustang, the GT500 features a digital driver’s instrument cluster and large
central infotainment screen hooked up to sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android
Auto. Deep-bolstered sports seats join a suede covered steering wheel and rotary
gear selector similar to the latest Ford Focus.
While the standard Mustang
does come out in RHD, and there’s a few rumbling around Pattaya, Ford has no
plans to release this model other than in LHD. “We don’t have the volume to
support a factory Shelby effort. We know there’s an appetite for those cars we
would love to offer it locally. Unfortunately we don’t have them set up for
The good news is that
stronger-than-anticipated demand for the sold-out Mustang Bullitt
limited-edition coupe in most markets should result in new models in the future.
Black Panther? No it is a Cougar
A seven liter
There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle lately
about wild animals in the jungles of Thailand. However the Cougar population in
Pattaya seems to be growing.
The Cougars we are looking
at locally were from the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company, and in some
ways were spin-offs from the highly successful Ford Mustangs, designed to
attract the upper end of the pony car market.
The cougars came with a
range of Ford V8’s with the 351 cu. in. being the top category.
At the last count, there
are three Cougars locally, with one sent to Bangkok for a total mechanical
make-over, and the other two both on the Dark Side. Two are blue and one is
brown. The years of manufacture for these three would be 1967-68 and would have
been shipped out by GI’s to use on their R&R’s.
The one in Bangkok has
matching numbers for the body and engine (a 351 cu.in.) which makes it a
desirable item. In Thailand one is never surprised at finding an Isuzu diesel up
the sharp end as acquiring and shipping/Customs regulations make import
difficult to well-nigh impossible.
With the Mustang in the
news again, remember Lee Iacocca. He was Ford’s executive who pushed for the
Mustang, and the sales story of its decade. He was the right guy at the right
time, with the right car.
However, there is a lot
more to Iacocca than the Mustang. A deep thinker, he has been instrumental in
many other spheres. He has had a lifetime involvement with Diabetes research as
well as American politics, and is not afraid to speak his mind.
“Am I the only guy in this
country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We
should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering
our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us
blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid
car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when
the politicians say, “Stay the course.” Stay the course? You’ve got to be
kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite:
Throw the bums out!”
On December 3, 2007,
Iacocca launched a website to encourage open dialogue about the challenges of
contemporary society. He has introduced topics such as health care costs, and
the United States’ lag in developing alternative energy sources and hybrid
vehicles. The site also promotes his book Where Have All the Leaders Gone. It
provides an interactive means for users to rate presidential candidates by the
qualities Iacocca believes they should possess: curiosity, creativity,
communication, character, courage, conviction, charisma, competence and common
Even though he has the same
forthright approach as Bob Lutz (ex-General Motors – “Global warming is a crock
of shit”) the two big men in the auto industry were never buddies.
A very different
Honda’s concept of an oval-piston engine
(or more correctly, a bore/piston with straight sides and semicircular ends)
began with the development of the 1979 NR500 GP machine. Honda had been out of
Grand Prix racing for 12 years, and when they returned they wanted to showcase
Of course at the time 500
Grand Prix was dominated by two-strokes, and that trend continued despite
Honda’s best efforts with that original NR500.
“When I look back at it,
I’m not sure if we were experimenting with cutting-edge technologies or obsessed
with foolish ideas,” recalled Toshimitsu Yoshimura, an engineer involved in the
development of the first NR500’s oval piston engine.
“At least we were doing
something that was beyond the realm of conventional thinking. I’m not just
talking about us, who were designing the engine, but also those who were
creating the body.
“The emphasis was to create
a difference-not just any difference but the difference that would work to our
definite advantage. That’s why we decided that Honda should go with four-stroke
engines. We wanted to achieve our target through innovative technology, and in
so doing have the edge over our competition.”
F1 world calendar
The 2019 Formula 1 season will finish in
December, with the German Grand Prix included on the final calendar released by
This year’s race calendar has been signed
off by F1’s governing body, the FIA, following a meeting of its World Motor
Sport Council in Paris.
No changes were made to the 2019 schedule
from the draft version released by F1’s owner Liberty Media in August.
The record-equaling 21-race calendar has
the same order as last year, with the first race taking place in Australia on 17
March and Abu Dhabi hosting the final race of the season on 1 December.
There have only been three later finishes
to a season, the last in 1963, and on only two other occasions has the World
Championship had so many races, 2016 and last year.
The German Grand Prix has been held in
alternate years recently, and there had been doubts about its future with
organisers wanting to reduce their race fee.
It will follow the British Grand Prix at
Silverstone, which is scheduled for 14 July.
Eleven of the 21 races are in Europe, five
in Asia, four in the Americas and one in Australia.
The 1,000th grand prix since F1’s inception
will take place in China on 14 April, the third race of the season.
The F1 Calendar. Pencil it in now.
15-17 March – Melbourne, Australia
29-31 March – Sakhir, Bahrain
12-14 April – Shanghai, China
26-28 April – Baku, Azerbaijan
10-12 May – Barcelona, Spain
23-26 May – Monte Carlo, Monaco
7-9 June – Montreal, Canada
21-23 June – Paul Ricard, France
28-30 June – Spielberg, Austria
12-14 July – Silverstone, Great Britain
26-28 July – Hockenheim, Germany
2-4 August – Budapest, Hungary
30 Aug-1 Sep – Spa-francorchamps, Belgium
6-8 September – Monza, Italy
20-22 September – Marina Bay, Singapore
27-29 September – Sochi, Russia
11-13 October – Suzuka, Japan
25-27 October – Mexico City, Mexico
1-3 November – Austin, United States
15-17 November – Interlagos, Brazil
29 Nov-1 Dec – Abu Dhabi, UAE
I am sorry there has been no quiz for a few
editions, but I was incarcerated for a few weeks following some radical
abdominal (abominable?) surgery. However, my surgeons have agreed (reluctantly)
that I can drive the race car after June.
So to this week. A famous race driver
maintained his interest in agriculture. Where was his first race and what was
the model of car?
For the Automania dehydrated beer this week
(just add hops and water), be the first correct answer to email
or [email protected] . Good luck!