Adventures in wrenching – An admission of ineptitude

I’d much rather be driving my cars than working on them. To be brutally honest, I only own my own tools and twirl them at my car in order to avoid forking out bundles of cash which I could be spending on fuel. Or old car brochures, probably. In recent times, though, I’ve become increasingly […]

A taste of the future, in a car from the past

The last time I travelled in a Citroen 2CV, it was right at the beginning of my driving career. I was seventeen, and the venue was a stubble field in a nearby farm, where a group of my schoolfriends had gathered. We were all there in our first cars, and those with the least mechanical […]

Missed opportunities: The Mercedes A-Cross

Car manufacturers are positively tripping over themselves to board the SUV bandwagon—even Aston Martin and Rolls Royce are joining the market, having singularly failed to beat it. Inevitably, the popularity of terrain-conquering behemoths has led to the spawning of miniaturised, urbanised sub-species, which inherit the looks of their parents, if not all their ability. These […]

Car cigarette lighters are weird

A friend was having trouble with an aftermarket sat nav the other day – there was a question mark as to whether the 12v socket was working. I suggested to her “check that the cigar lighter works”, to which her reply was “…the what?” Indeed, she had no idea that the 12v dashboard socket on […]

Bad Idea: Subaru Tribeca Stretch Limo

Let’s say you came into some FU money. You’re a big-shot now so you hire a driver because you can’t party with strippers conduct important business and drive at the same time. Since you have a driver, you decide to procure a custom stretch limo, because Maybachs are for tasteless Wall Street hacks. What do you […]

Electric Futures: Getting into bed with the government.

In June 2009 Tesla was approved to receive US$465 million in low-interest loans from the US Department of Energy’s $8 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. It seems reasonable for a government to support a company or initiative that has the potential to raise the global profile of an entire country in a given […]

Cultural differences: The joy of trim levels

It’s only natural that a manufacturer should offer several variants of each car it makes. There needs to be a basic ‘I can just about afford to get into one of these’ model, and a, ‘look, my car’s got e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g” grade. And, likely as not, there’ll be an ‘it’s got everything I need, I don’t […]

Interface: Too much information.

We have a simply ludicrous coffee machine where I work. It’s a Wittenborg 9100. I know this because it introduces itself with the line “I’m the Wittenborg 9100” on its high-resolution touchscreen display. The latter has a number of uses, the first of which is to display the menu of hot, yummy beverages this bean-to-cup […]

For Sale: "Beautiful Italian Paperweight!"

Beautiful Italian cars. The look fantastic. They sound amazing. They are very fast. And they handle great. What else would a hoon want out of car? Oh, right. A hoon would want a reasonable price, reasonable reliability, and a reasonable cost of ownership. That is exactly what the owner, and now seller, of this Maserati […]

eBay finds: W126 Mercedes S-Class….hatchback.

Once upon a time, the hatchback was invented, and we saw that it was good. It allowed small cars a far greater degree of versatility than cars with a separate trunk could offer. Gradually, it dawned on carmakers that this extra practicality shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of the hard of spending, and larger, more […]