Update Saturday, January 20, 2018 - January 26, 2018
Pump with no water
Pump with no water.
The water supply to my pump failed and
without water couldn’t put itself out! Result? A small electrical fire which
could have set fire to the house. Answer, insurance! Doesn’t put the fire out,
but lessens the smoke damage to one’s wallet.
A Trent XWB Turbofan for F1?
Trent XWB Turbofan.
The Trent XWB turbofan engine manufactured
by Rolls-Royce is designed to support the Airbus A350 jetliner; initially
certified as the XWB-75 in February of 2013 by RR with a 74,200 lb-ft thrust
rating (per engine), the latest variant, the XWB-97, makes 97,000 lb-ft of
thrust per engine. The monstrous engines measure in at 228.8 inches of
length–just a tad over 19 feet long from front to back – and over 50,000
horsepower. More impressively, the XWB’s $35-million-dollar price tag includes
the latest innovations in material science and engineering techniques designed
to provide superior performance in passenger aircraft.
Much like the automotive performance
industry, the aircraft industry makes use of ceramic coatings, and the ones
applied to the internal pieces of the XWB-97 allow 2,000-plus degree internal
temperatures, which the company says minimizes emissions and maximizes fuel
But perhaps the most impressive part of the
XWB engine is the delicate assembly from start to finish with over 20,000
components, hundreds of nuts and bolts, and what appears to be miles of safety
wire, the XWB is brought to life.
The mesmerizing process of assembling each
engine is one that takes many hours to complete, a wide variety of complex and
specialized tools, large cranes, and a massive manufacturing facility. Also not
to be overlooked is the extremely specific training provided to the builders,
and the massive facility required to bring these engines to life. The room needs
to be spotless – all the time to provide the builders with the sterile
environment they require to ensure the engines will perform as required, for
millions of hours.
For the medical page?
I couldn’t let this one go after Barry
Taylor an old drag racing friend in Australia sent it through to me. Ladies
reading this week can skip to the next paragraph.
Lots of bits and pieces this week. The
first fatal motor accident was in 1832 when the boiler exploded on a steam
omnibus. Turned out that the stoker had wired the safety valve shut. Two
years later another steam omnibus broke a wheel and turned over, bursting
the boiler and five people were killed. This happened as the Turnpike
Trustees put rocks on the road as a deliberate sabotage.
By the late 1840’s the steam coaches
were becoming reliable. Francis Hill drove his steam coach from London to
Hastings and return in 1840, a distance of 128 miles (170 km).
There is still dispute over who
invented the internal combustion motor car, and Lenoir in France building a
gas engine, with ability to vaporize petrol to be independent of gas supply.
The builder admitted that it was very slow taking one and a half hours for a
10 km journey.
The next up to be considered to be the
inventor of the petrol engine car was an Austrian, Siegfried Markus in 1873.
He demonstrated his internal combustion engine at the Paris show in 1873.
This was the second one built by him. This featured a four stroke engine and
magneto-electric ignition. Markus did not carry on with his vehicle.
In Germany, Karl Benz was the first to
sell horseless carriages built to a pattern. These had a four stroke gas
engine with a surface petrol carburetor. In 1887 he sold one to Emil Roger
and gave Roger the rights to make more of them. Who would have thought then,
that we were on the brink of an industry that would change the world.
The biggest automaker at the turn of
the century was De Dion Bouton et Cie. Between January 1900 and April 1901
they sold 1,500 voiturettes as well as tricycles, quadricycles and engines
for other manufacturers, including Louis Renault.
The number of cars produced grew
exponentially with the introduction of Henry Ford’s Model T. In 1909, 10,607
were built. By 1923 they sold 2,011,125 with assembly plants in Canada and
And pity the second daughter of
Monsieur Jellinek. Her name was Maja, but her elder sister was called
Mercedes. Maja did get a small recognition as the Canstatt Daimlers in
Austria were named after her and not big sis.
Mow your lawn, Mister?
Just what is a Briggs and Stratton lawn
mower doing on a car page? The oil crisis in the 70’s looked like bringing
forth petrol misers, and in the USA, the government really started to panic.
To get over this sort of problem, the government did what governments do all
over the world – throw money at the problem and it will go away.
The generous handouts from Uncle Sam
attracted the Briggs and Stratton who had ideas of a hybrid design, using
their own two cylinder coupled with a battery engine.
Whilst this seemed new, it wasn’t
really. In 1902 Dr Porsche produced the Lohner Porsche with four electric
hub motors and a small internal combustion engine to charge the battery.
Briggs and Stratton had done this
exercise before in 1920 but it didn’t take off. So here we were again in
1980, and fuelled with a chunk of government money they came up with a car
called the Hybrid, long before Toyota.
This had 12 car batteries in the rear
and the twin cylinder engine up front. Two rear axles were needed to support
the weight of all the batteries, so it was a six-wheeler.
In the two cylinder mode, it would do
80 km/h. With both battery and petrol it could struggle to 110 km/h. However
the batteries would go flat in 50 km and took all night to recharge.
It was described by Car and Driver
magazine as “what you get when you mate a garden tractor with a golf cart.”
Last week I tried to be smart and get
you to identify a car on display at the Pebble Beach concourse. You googled
me! It was a 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 GS coupe.
So to this week. A European lady designed the seating
on a new car for her regal boyfriend. I want the royal, the lady and the
body. Now that should keep your head down for a few hours.
For the free beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email
[email protected] or
Update Saturday, January 13, 2018 - January 19, 2018
Lies, damned lies and statistics
Holiday Safety. Feel free to spread this
warning throughout your friend data base. Please, take care of yourself out on
the roads this holiday season. A recent joint study conducted by the Department
of Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that 23 percent of
traffic accidents are alcohol related.
This means that the remaining 77 percent
are caused by people who drink bottled water, sip at Starbucks, or drink soda,
juice, energy drinks, and stuff like that. Therefore, beware of those who don’t
drink alcohol. They cause three times as many accidents. This message was sent
to me by someone who worried about my safety.
Whilst that was sent to me for the purposes
of mild amusement, it does show just how numbers can be manipulated. Is the
glass half full or is it half empty?
It also draws attention to the world’s
worst road toll yet again, a statistic Thailand should be ashamed of. As in
previous years, alcohol is indicted in around 50 percent of the fatalities and
motorcycles in 80 percent. It doesn’t need rocket science to see where the main
thrust of effort is needed, but governments have managed to miss this fact year
Are you a Mercury man?
In the US, automakers competed directly
with each other in various niche markets, and even competing with itself.
Take Ford and its Mustang, the first of the ‘pony’ cars, where three years
after the Mustang Ford released its own Mercury Cougar.
Where the Mustang was considered a
compact, the Cougar was a big car, and Ford regarded the Cougar as a bigger
pony car. Amazingly, a niche.
With a choice of engines (4.7 liters
through to 7 liters), a niche within a niche formed and the Cougar generated
a strong following. The performance wasn’t all that brilliant, zero to 100
kph in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 170 kph, about the same as today’s
shopping trollies. But Cougar made a statement during its life (1967-1973)
and still draws attention even today.
Locally, most of the 60’s – 70’s
American iron were brought over by GI’s stationed at U-Tapao or Ubon
Ratchathani and were left here when the US pulled out of the Vietnam
There are a couple of Cougars in
Pattaya, one a restoration in progress, and still has the original 351
engine, the Isuzu diesel being an engine found in many of the large
Americans, but this one escaped.
The Great National Lottery scandal!
Gentle reader, please do not
immediately jump to the conclusion that there has been another attempt to alter
the course of chance (or justice) in the Thai national lottery. Quite the
contrary, the following tale is true and represents inspired thinking,
incredible collusion and damned hard work to bring it all off. And it didn’t
At the outset, be aware that corruption has
been all around us, and I’m not talking Thailand. I am talking motor sport. Le
sport pure. And Grand Prix racing in particular. May I present the 1933 Grand
Prix of Tripoli!
The Tripoli GP was a star spangled affair,
proposed by Marshall Italo Balbo, the military governor and viceroy of Libya.
For 1933 they decided to throw in a nationwide lottery which would be held in
conjunction with the GP. The concept was simple. Twelve lucky punters would draw
one of the names of the twelve drivers, and the winning driver and his ticket
holder would share the prize money. Prize money - ah, how does the equivalent
today of 860 million baht sound? It sounded then just like the large fortune
that it is today and enough to get some of the greatest racing brains more than
slightly revved up.
So the plot was hatched. Four of Italy’s
best drivers, Nuvolari, Varzi, Campari and Borzacchini got together with the
holder of the “Varzi” ticket and they agreed to pool their winnings and share
the proceeds, after Varzi had won the event with their help.
Of course, there were eight drivers not “in
the know” and any one of these could ruin the master plan. In the first few
laps, that was just how it looked as Sir Henry (Tim) Birkin, stiff upper lip and
all, roared into the lead in his Maserati.
Fortunately, the Englishman developed tyre
trouble and after a botched pit stop rejoined well down. Unfortunately, Varzi
also had tyre trouble and his pit stop took even longer. During the lengthy stop
his engine temperature rose and when Varzi rejoined, the Bugatti was definitely
Meanwhile, at the sharp end of the race
there were the three Italian co-conspirators. On cue, Campari and Borzacchini
developed tyre and mechanical problems and they dropped out, leaving Nuvolari in
Once again Birkin became a bother as he
stormed through the field to get within 10 seconds of Nuvolari, by the half way
mark, who was driving looking over his shoulder for the non-appearing Varzi!
Again luck was on their side as Birkin’s
tyres said enough and the English threat was over. However, there was now
another problem. No matter how slowly Nuvolari was driving, Varzi’s Bugatti
could not catch it. With great creative thinking, Nuvolari began to make several
unannounced pit stops, changing anything that was changeable on the Alfa Romeo.
This became so frequent that one mechanic was heard to mutter, “We’ve rebuilt
everything. If he comes in again it must be for a pee.”
Now while this managed to get Varzi back
into the lead, the locals began to get restive. They could smell a rather large
rodent. Race fixing was almost a national event in the camel racing stakes,
after all they had been perfecting it for over 2000 years. There were more than
mutterings from 90,000 enraged locals and 11 unhappy ticket holders.
Nuvolari then attempted a new ploy. He
would break his Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately, that Alfa Romeo was made of stout
stuff and refused to break, no matter what the little Mantuan tried to do to it
and it looked as if Nuvolari was going to be forced to win.
Again fate smiled on the “Varzi” ticket
holder, when his driver scorched into the pits, ripped off the air filter and
the Bugatti sprang to life again. Simultaneously Nuvolari experienced genuine
tyre problems and was forced to pit. When he rejoined, Varzi was in the lead and
the two Italians put on a brilliant display of scripted choreographed racing,
with Varzi getting to the chequered flag first. He declined his “lap of honor”
and Nuvolari disappeared. But the race was not to end there.
There were numerous protests, probably
ninety thousand and eleven, but history has not recorded that fact. After
deliberations, the Club Royale degli Automobile di Libia cleared all four
drivers of any wrong doing. Cynics noted that within a few weeks three of the
five board members were driving new Lancias, the fourth a new Alfa while the
fifth suddenly found the money to visit an aged uncle in Chicago.
The only real loser (other than the 11
remaining ticket holders) was in fact Marshall Balbo who died a war hero after
being shot down by his own anti-aircraft gunners! Perhaps a fitting end?
So if you read in the future that Red Bull
has protested about the size of Hamilton’s rear vision mirrors or something
equally as fatuous, you can see just how petty we have become since 1933. Races
were run and won with panache. And a fair bit of trickery to boot.
The tale of the Tripoli GP was written by
the late Leo McAuliffe, a true enthusiast, who incidentally taught me to drive
by making me go from rest to 3rd gear
and back to rest without spilling any water from a paper cup sitting on the
bonnet of his RME Riley. A classic British motor car, with many kept in
enthusiasts garages these days. The bodywork was ash-framed and the engine was
either a 1.5 or 2.5 liters. I wish I had one today.
In last week’s quiz I asked, what does XPEG mean to MG
drivers? And what was the difference from XPAG? The answer was the T-Type MG
engines began as 1250 cc (XPAG) in the MG TC’s, but in the later MG TF’s they
were increased in capacity to 1500 cc (EXPEG).
So to this week. Each week I have to press the tired brain
cells into action trying to beat human memory and Mr. Google’s electrotrickery.
So let’s see if I can make it a little harder to Google. The quiz car this week
was built in the 40’s, raced in the 50’s with five Le Mans starts, and had
lightweight bodywork by Contamin. That should keep you guessing for a little
while at least!
For the free beer this week, be the first correct answer to
email [email protected] or [email protected]
Update Saturday, Jan. 6 - Jan. 12, 2018
If you really want close racing
Speedway close racing.
Car enthusiasts have been moaning about the
lack of excitement in Formula 1 these days. One of the reasons is the
processional nature of the competition. A high speed procession indeed, but not
Recently I managed to get my son to show me
how YouTube works and how to find a branch of competition which will get you on
the edge of your seat. And no, it isn’t the British Touring Car series, which
does give the viewer high speed processions, with biff and bash in between.
The competition is two wheeled speedway
racing. Four laps shoulder to shoulder and if a rider nerfs another competitor,
as the cause of the stoppage the rider is excluded from the next heat. None of
these drive through penalties and steward’s decisions.
A little too much Americana with grid
girls, but sheer excitement with each heat of around 60 seconds.
The bikes are 500cc, no brakes, no gears
and riders with big cojones. Get on to YouTube and forget about the Prima Donnas
An electric Mog?
The Morgan Car Company is probably the auto
manufacturer most steeped in tradition in the UK. For example, the sliding
pillar front suspension which was designed in 1919 is still being used today.
The framework of the Morgan cars is still made out of wood! Likewise, the
venerable three wheeled Morgan is still being built today. V twin petrol engine
However, in an amazing step in the forward
direction, Morgan has revealed the news that it is producing an EV, and even
more radical, it will be a three wheeler!
The plug-in 3 Wheeler is called the Morgan
EV3, with a 200-kilometre range, and it’s headed for production in 2018 after a
two-year development program.
Although details of the showroom EV3 have
just been announced in Britain, the Morgan 3 Wheeler will not go into production
until next year.
“We’ll wait and see. At this stage it’s not
scheduled for markets outside the UK,” says Morgan, “But it is shocking fun.”
The regular 3 Wheeler is powered by a
Harley-Davidson style vee-twin engine that drives the rear wheel and it sells
from A$103,900, with a range of dress-up items including World War II aircraft
The EV3 is planned for production in the
third-quarter of 2018 and, despite the traditional looks, it has been updated
from the regular 3 Wheeler with everything from composite body panels to a 21
kilowatt-hour lithium battery and a liquid-cooled electric motor with up to 41.8
kilowatts of peak power.
The EV3 comes with claimed improvements to
performance and handling over the usual 3 Wheeler, as well as fast-charging
technology from Frazer-Nash Energy Systems.
But there is no detail on the pricing of
the EV3 or the number that Morgan intends to build.
Natter, nosh and noggin
The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s
Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park. The next meeting is on Monday January 8
at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to
discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and
outright exaggerations). Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest
in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few
beers. Always a fun night. The Car Club nights are only on the second Monday of
the month (not every second Monday)!
Last week’s quiz didn’t happen, as two
different questions were printed on half the editions. My fault, rushing to make
the deadline, used the question to be used this week.
So after a boot full of Mea Culpa’s, here we go for this
week. What does XPEG mean to MG drivers? And what was the difference from XPAG?
For the free beer this week, be the first correct answer to
[email protected] or