Wednesday, March 26, 2008

TAGGED: 8 Random Things about me....

Micheal Specht has tagged me and tardily I reply today.
  1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Ok, I am going to fully break these rules as a/ no one reads my blog b/ if everyone tagged 8 people the universe might implode.

  1. I am gluten intolerant. Discovered 2008. Suffering since 1998. Good times.
  2. I broke a bone in my hand when I was about 11. Fighting of course. No, not my brother.
  3. I bought my pregnant wife an exercise bike for her 30th birthday and lived to blog the tale.
  4. I wanted to be a crime reporter after I left uni, but with no idea how to become one, I let it fall by the wayside. Now that I have the contacts to become one, I no longer want that career.
  5. I used to have a famous and volcanic temper. I did nothing about it per se, I just grew out of it.
  6. The women who left me: women I left ratio is skewed in favour of the ladies. Well played bitches.
  7. I own a set of really expensive roller blades and they have remained unused for three+ years.
  8. I am totally non-musical. The Curse.


posted by thr at 10:38 am 0 comments links to this post

Friday, March 07, 2008

Motorcyclist killed in Black Rock

From The Age:

A police spokesman said the 43-year-old driver, from neighbouring Brighton, was making a u-turn when the motorcycle approached her from behind. She is helping police with their investigation.
Damn fool drivers doing u turns. I'm going to say it: U Turns should be banned. The very nature of a u-turn encourages people to get over in the far left of the lane and then cut in front of any traffic behind. Add in the fact that drivers do not look properly and you have a recipe for trouble.

That is why I always slow down if there is someone in a car that has pulled over. Watch for wheels turning out while stationary. Don't bother looking for an indicator, they won't use it and you'll soar over the back of the car like a messed up eagle bwecause you made an assumption.
posted by thr at 1:58 pm 2 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Melbourne Motorshow 2008

After bagging the MMS last year for being boring, they really listened to me (!?) and this years effort was a lot less lame.

It was actually really pretty good. I went on the Saturday with the proletariat, a good move indeed.

So, here's my review: sortof clockwise. See all the pics.

A Mazda 2 Rally car for the Australian Rally Series was the major highlight. Kids climbing all over an RX8 was not. The staff were attentive and friendly, but it was a bit of a yawn fest.
Highlight: Mazda 2 Rally Car
Lowlight: No one on their stand knew anything about said rally car.
Overall: C

Classy as ever, not a whole lot of exciting stuff (Does a huge range of hybrids do it for you?). The automated reverse parking display drew gasps and ohs and ahs like the first time people saw Pong on a computer screen. Excting at the time, but perhaps not impressive long term. The Lexus Ladies were well dressed, but perhaps a littel cold looking.
Highlight: Monique and her amazing reversing Lexus.
Lowlight: The guy behind me willing it to malfunction and drive off into the crowd like a bulldozer. Had that actually happened, it could have ended up being a highlight.
Overall: B

The shovel nosed crew were showing off like drunk teenagers with a stolen skateboard. The "ladies of the stand" were dressed to impress and the men looked like they were off to the horse racing.
Highlight: R8 of course. And a TTS- in left hand drive.
Lowlight: No prototypes. Where is a Le Mans Diesel people? Not getting into the VIP area- DON'T YOU PEOPLE KNOW WHO I AM?!
Overall: B

Out of the way and out of the spotlight, I may have gone to the Saab stand, but I sure as hell don't recall it. I do however recall driving the 1.9 litre Diesel turbo wagon recently and the turbo lag was such that I wondered if it was in fact faulty. "No" they said, “We make them like that.”
Highlight: Leaving to go to Holden's stand next door.
Lowlight: I wish the whole stand was in low lights.
Overall: D+

Holden (GM)
What a nasty bunch the folks at Holden are (when it comes to their main rival Ford). Ford are giving birth to their new Falcon and Holden burst into the delivery room with not one but two DNA-altered, mean-as-Terminator Show Stopper babies.
The W427 with its 7 Litre, LS7, Warp factor 7 engine had plenty of interest and since Holden are well known for using show feedback as a deal breaker on future models (the Torana prototype from a few years ago had lots of VE Commodore goodness on it LINK: http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2101/Holden-Torana-TT36.html ), expect much of this display car to hit the road in the second half of 2008.
Even if Holden only do a short run of these 427 C inch mutha trukkers (even at $150k AUS they won't make a lot of money on them), it should set the new Ford FPV power figures (as yet unreleased) on their asses. What bastards.
The other Ford happiness killer was the Coupe (can we say Monaro/GTO?) With no specs and perhaps no real plans to build it, the Coupe was definately a toe-in-the-water show car. Should Holden build it? Hell yeah, and whack an LS9 in it to make certain it's the beast people expect it to be. Likelihood? Unknown. There were a few hints of what they are thinking - the little "BioFuel" badge being but one, but then the wheels looked like they didn't fit inside the wheel arches, so the whole thing might be a hoax to generate interest, but not for sale. Maybe we'll see a production run of the Effijy before we see a new Coupe...
Highlight: New 427 and Coupe
Lowlight: 14 yrs olds arguing over what 427 meant.
Overall: A

We've all liked the hot lil' Volksies in all their guises- GTi, Diesel turbos etc for years and while they may be getting a little tiring (especially if you drive a V8 and one of these little buggers gives you the slip in the hills), there was a lot of attention for the cars "for the people". Australians are getting onboard with Diesel engines and Volkswagen are surfing these first waves of interest. Good for them.
Highlight: Good spread of models, attentive stand folk.
Lowlight: Bit dull… I mean... diesels? What are we thinking?
Overall: B

They may be the biggest selling manufacturer in Oz, but if you don't race V8s, you don't count. Toyota knows this, so they compensate with rally-bred stuff. We love rally, but we don't rate it since Subaru pulled out in Australia. There were a few of the obligatory engine-cut- away-in-a-perspex- box displays, but it fell away after that. There are only so many ways to display a Corolla. There was a curious looking hybrid prototype thing that drew attention, but it also caused confusion. Putting “hybrid” on a prototype with a closed hood does nothing for sales, but much for confusion.
Highlight: Seeing the Aurion Supercharged engine and its 20 foot long supercharger belt.
Lowlight: Seeing the Aurion TRD again after it tried to kill me and my loved ones with its front wheel drive 250Kw torque steering anger management issues.
Overall: B

For a company that just abandoned manufacturing in Australia, many thought that Mitsubishi turning up was an act of war in itself. Not so. All was forgiven when they trotted out the new Lancer Evo X. Mitsubishi’s display was the only stand on two levels. I think this was to create an atmosphere of superiority when no such superiority is warranted.
Highlight: The Evo... in red of course.
Lowlight: Closing their manufacturing operations in Australia. No strictly show-related, but we’re still angry about it, so we'll say it again.
Overall: B-

Whoops, fell asleep while walking through there.
Highlight: Small stand.
Lowlight: They came at all.
Overall: Not fair to mark them. Oh hell, D.

One gets the impression that Suzuki are finding a nice newish niche in being the fun and funky car maker. The little rally car they had their combined with nice, fresh designs means they could be the new Subaru, now that Subaru have decided to be the new Volvo.
Highlight: the SX4 rally related display car
Lowlight: The new B-King motorbike being put into what looked like a large fish tank where we couldn't inspect it or take photos that didn't make it look ridiculous.
Overall: B

The manufacturers of the Frogmobiles might hate being bundled together, but then if they really did hate it so much they would not "arrange" to have their stands side-by-side. This confuses the public and the occasional motoring scribe.
Highlight: The new 207 Megane.
Lowlight: Not realising the above car does not exist
Overall: C

Land Rover
One upon a time, simply bringing any prototype to the Motor Show was enough to guarantee interest. Now you need to bring over an interesting prototype with things that go “bing”. Land Rover failed on all accounts. Their prototype was neither interesting nor compelling. For starters, you could not see inside it as the windows were painted. FAIL. Meanwhile they had a supercharged 4WD for pulling that really big horse float. YAWN.
Highlight: The supercharged super tank thing
Lowlight: The lame and ludicrous prototype.
Overall: C-

After many years of trying to shed their "boring shoeboxes with wheels" image we can finally admit it: Volvo failed. The "funky for the sake of funky" C30 and the XC models have that aroma of "please say I'm cool" when they really are not. I felt sorry for Volvo, so I went to sit in one of their cars, but immediately aged 10 years once bum hit velour. Damn teenagers, no respect. Etc.
Highlight: The rear window on the C30
Lowlight: Wondering if my wife and yet to be born baby would like one. What's happening to me?
Overall: B-

Holden crashed the party, urinated on the new Falcon and then took all the publicity, but the folks at Ford were still proud ‘n loud as they ought to be. The new Flacon may not be a billion dollar baby like the VE Commodore, but there is much to be proud of at their stand. The FPV’s drew attention and applause and the G series didn't quite put me to sleep (went close however). The turbo FPV is the pick of the litter- the dark wheels and “Alice Cooper eyes” of both the GT and Turbo work really well and rumor has it they will jump over HSV in power figures across the board.
So, the new Falcon should sell in volume, but for how long? Why build a better mousetrap when they are being bred out of existence?
Highlight: The FPV tuned Territory 270Kw Turbo. Cayenne killer?
Lowlight: The smell of fear: what if we fail?
Overall: B+

The staple of all Motor shows in 2008, Nisaan had a new GTR there. The new GTR. Here in Australia. In Right Hand Drive. But also In The Show. This show. The Melbourne MotorShow.
I saw it, and it looked at me.
Highlight: The new GTR.
Lowlight: There was a nice 350Z that obscured my first views of the GTR. Damn thing.
Overall: A+. For the GTR. C- without it.

Kia are like a demanding, precocious but talented kid nagging you. You want to dislike, deny and ignore them, but you do so at your peril.
They had a few “niceish” models on display, though they do lack any punch in the interest nor the power stakes.
So I went back to form and ignored them.
Highlight: A people mover. Just kidding.
Lowlight: The families poring over a people mover with no stability control. They should be called people MOWERs.
Overall: C-

It's a pretty sorry state of affairs when a brand like Hyundai have one of the prettiest, most interesting prototypes on show. Add in the market research girls who seemed to be doing genuine surveys about the desirability of the proto and you get the feeling the chip, chipping away that Hyundai have engaged in is starting to work; they may actually make a car that you might want to buy.
Highlight: The orange prototype
Lowlight: The orange prototype being ultimately the only item of note.
Overall: B-

I said earlier that Subaru have decided to become the new Volvo and boy they mean it. After all the effort they made opening their garage doors to the Boy Racers- they have absolutely slammed that door shut. Instead of a WRC car on display they have a cut-away of car with airbags deployed. Instead of a boxer turbo cut up and naked for all the world to see, we get the Tribeca's engine and drive train. “It’s a Volvo, but even more dull”. That’s my ad for Subaru 2008.
Highlight: The Liberty STi looked hott.
Lowlight: A mother and daughter in the WRX saying "how cute" it looked. It’s come to that.
Overall: C+

In the absence of Mercedes (They are all in Germany, on bail or had better things to do) it fell to BMW to be the Other Big German Marque. They sure meant business. They tried there best to be Mercedes-like with a mind boggling array of cars with numbers and letters that began to blur in front of ones' eyes. One nomenclature stuck out: X6. They know they will sell a lot of these now as people who clearly had the money showed clear interest. And in the end that’s what a motor show is all about. Moving “units”. So I’m told.
Highlight: X6 hands down.
Lowlight: The VIP lounge. Yet another place I was not allowed into.
Overall: A-

When someone working for you shit-cans the stand they are working on, then you know you have a serious problem. When the Accord V6 is your flagship, you have a problem. When Hyundai is making more interesting (and probably faster) sports cars; you have a problem.
So it was with the Honda stand. How can a manufacturer with F1 and MotoGP credibility have such a lame duck range and therefore motor show stand? The hottest car on show was the S2000. A car you cannot buy/order/see/own unless you steal a second hand one. The next hottest was a front drive Civic R Type. A Civic? Front wheel drive? Good God! Where is a new NSX or equivalent? Nissan have the drool worthy GTR on the other side of the room next to a 350Z- also no slouch. Over at Honda we have a Civic and an Accord or something else equally dull. I nearly died of boredom and were it not for the stand attendant keeping be interested by also sticking the boot into Honda, I might have had a nap in one of the cars. Undisturbed too.
Highlight: They were in the corner out of the way.
Lowlight: The EPIC FAIL nature of Honda today.
Overall: F. Worst stand and range by a margin.

The "others"
No it's not an allusion to Lost, but rather the smaller stands of note.

Ferrari/Masterati/Lamborghini/Alfa Romeo/Fiat.
Italians love Melbourne- the inner city suburb of Carlton is well known for it's strong Italian heritage- along with a less savory Mafioso element. And so it is (without the mafia bit) with Italian cars- right at home in the Melbourne Motor Show.
The Supercars were beautiful and the stands were also beautiful. But the public were separated by some margin from the cars- in keeping with the unattainable nature of the cars themselves. The Fiat stand- heavily promoting the new 500 (it will be the F1 "celebrity" support race car next week) was a very cool, very retro looking thing with hot stand girls in a mixture of all white outfits. The cars were cute, the girls were hot.

Two local hand builders in varying degrees of development and success.
Elfin have had a very mixed year. Highlight: new Streamliner and Clubman models looking great, accelerating like fury (LS1 engine + 900Kgs=??), but a lowlight when Elfin co driver Paul Flintoff was killed in a tarmac Rally in early November last year. Rumors about build quality issues and engineering shortcuts harmed their brand, but being owned in part by Walkinshaw and HSV has meant that support is not far away and the recent seconding of senior HSV engineers means Elfin should get back on track in every sense. The "No Fear" show car looked the goods and drew plenty of interest.
Meanwhile Bolwell are a blast from the past. In the 70s their Nagari almost-supercar was a desirable and sexy object and 30 years later they are looking to release a new Nagari with a Toyota V6 supercharged (from Toyota’s Aurion TRD) as a rear engined, 0-100kms/h sub 4 second, 300km/h genuine supercar. From the front and sides the prototype looks the goods. I did feel it was a bit ugly/unresolved in the rear compared to other similar cars. Campbell Bolwell, the driving force behind this project has the motivation, skills and two supportive and talented sons to get this car on the road and one hopes that they do get a viable car out there. Custom handbuilt cars are going the way of the typewriter and any builder still having a go has my support. Link: http://www.bolwellcarclub.com.au/new%20nagari.htm

Despite the non appearance of Mercedes, fellow Dainmler (or whatever they call themselves this week) companies Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge put on quite a show with plenty of pretty lassies, show bag giveaways and a fairly strong range of vehicles. No Viper, no Ram, but the Nitro has plenty of appeal for those stupid enough to think it's a Hummer H3. (hint: It’s better and cheaper)

Speaking of which, the Hummer still draws support at any motor show. Usually only from those who have neither driven nor been a passenger in one. If you have then you would know the H3 in Australia, with its asthmatic 3.7 ltr 5 cylinder waste of time engine and poor road manners, is not worth crushing into toy Hummers, let alone real ones.
But why spoil the annual car-Christmas that is the motor show?

Shannon’s Auctions.
Tastier than the whole motor show put together, the classic auctions coming-soon list included a 1971 GTHO. In brown, sure, but its still the 351 Engine, still looks like sex on wheels and has gone up a little from its original asking price of $5000... to more like $600,000+. A world gone mad- in a good way.

Last year I told anyone who would listen that the Melbourne Motor Show was a waste of time. It was bad by Australian standards and a total non-event on a world scale. They must have listened to me- poor fools- but nonetheless seemingly the organisers and exhibitors have gone to some lengths to stop it becoming a glorified parking lot. Well played all round.


thomasrdotorg's Melbourne Motor Show 2008 photosetthomasrdotorg's Melbourne Motor Show 2008 photoset

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posted by thr at 5:21 pm 3 comments links to this post