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life's a beach (long, some audi content)
to say the title properly you need an aussi accent :-)
here i am stuck at the beach. all 5 kms of it's pristine length shared by us
and about 3 other families. long hot late summer days divided between
catching up on paperwork and reading, cycling, running, time on the surf ski
and looking at the hobie cat which is grounded by way of a n/s solenoid on
the tractor. which i fix tomorrow (parts for 40 yo massey Ferguson tractors
are still reasonably plentiful). welcome to late summer in the coromandels.
only another 4 weeks of holiday to go. sorry to rub it in to all the
snow-bound northern hemisphere types, but after a tumultuous and traumatic 3
months, it really does feel like coming up for air.
anyway, i'm digging my way through various items of paperwork, but finding
time for a backlog of car magazines (of course). i must say that the "evo"
magazine is looking very promising, but i keep coming back to "car" for the
quality of the writing. for instance, they were predicting months ago the
present troubles at rover and bmw ("rover is a poisoned chalice") while the
other british mags (autocar most often) were going all "stiff upper lip" on
some snippets therefore from the march "car" issue. incidentally the 1st
one without a column from setright. he's been a columnist since '65. i'll
miss the old bugger...
new word: "waldheimers" as a disease which ford and gm have over their roles
in the nazi regime. (in jamie kitman's article vw at least gets a positive
mention for attempting to set the record straight).
on the new 4x4 'challenger' from mitsubishi "apart from it's macho name,
this latest off-roader arrives at the party with absolutely noting new.
celebration not required. a 'niche squeezer'."
on the jag xj8 "is it just me, or is the xj8 starting to look terribly
old-fashioned? it still looks distinctive and svelte and elegant and much
prettier than virtually any other luxury car designed to pamper managerial
bottoms. it's just that, compared to the new s-class or the a6, the xj8
suddenly looks about 30 years out-of-date, like an alder typewriter in a
world full of compaq pc's."
a 1st hand account of herr piech on the lamborghini stand at the detroit
show "spent a good 10 minutes poring over a diablo. he studied window
seals, cabin trim, screenwiper, all sorts of details that are so hard for a
small company to get right. and which audi does so brilliantly. as herr
piech hurried away "car" magazine inquired whether he'd actually driven a
diablo. 'yes, for several hundred kilometres'. did he enjoy it? a rare
smile from the notoriously granite faced boss. 'we wouldn't have bought it
if we didn't enjoy it'.
on the effects of the beetle. "the new beetle has started something - and
not just among the crew responsible for the new mini (ha). the detroit show
produced more than half a dozen new takes on classic cars. 'retro' has
become a dirty word these days - the buzz-phrase is 'heritage design'."
on what is wrong with car bosses (here's one for audi in the usa). the
reason for lousy customer service is that car bosses do not own their own
cars, and do not have to purchase them from dealers. 'cars' suggestion is
that they be made to (on the corporate expense account of course) to let
them see what normal punters have to go through.
colin mcrae interview.
car: so, colin, you're 30 and you're a dad. isn't it time to slow down?
mcrae: no. ( play on mcrae's notorious reticency)
mcrae on the purchase of a metro 6r4 "i've also bought a 6r4, just for fun,
just because i wanted a group b rally car. they are so different from a
modern rally car: they're a lot more aggressive, noisier, loads of
horsepower, more difficult to drive. they're a lot quicker in a straight
line, but they don't go around corners half as well, so they're a real
on the rover 75 group test against the 323i, the a4 2.4 (facelift, non
quattro) and the alfa 155 2.5. on the bmw "i don't think that you'd
recognise the 3-series these days. the main problem is the layer of damp
imprecision that has been added to all the things that made it great. the
steering, gear change and throttle response have all gone soft". on the
audi "the audi i believe doesn't even try to engage you. instead it offers
low-key competence; it has quick steering, superb ground-covering pace, neat
handling, and has supple, able suspension. but it doesn't convince like its
quattro sibling, and its a bit soulless".
in summary, "whatever, the rover 75 is the most assured all-rounder of the
4 cars, and by a comfortable margin. the alfa and bmw trail it, with the
audi... well, for some people, the people who don't want to be challenged
too much, the a4 could actually be the automatic choice, irrespective of
what i think. so a serious result for rover. the styling might look like
some sort of teutonic joke to some eyes, but bmw's input has been hugely
beneficial. the 75 feels closer in spirit to the 5-series, which wouldn't
be a big deal if - an here's another slice of german irony - that wasn't the
case with the current 3-series."
also a group test of the volvo v70 awd, the legacy gx and the passat 2.8
synchro. they liked the handling of the passat, but not as much as the
legacy. the volvo didn't get a look in. it is easily the most expensive,
while the subaru is the cheapest. on the passat "it's a drivetrain we've
enthused about before. it takes time to loosen up, but once loosened it
delivers strong, torquey pace which lets you make the most of an enjoyably
interactive chassis balance. the smaller audi does this better, but the
beefier passat can still give a good time."
also articles on the new evo vi from mitsibushi (which they really liked)
but i wish they could forget this modern photographic obsession with
out-of-focus shots and just give us some pin-sharp panned shots of the
bleeding car! the article has nine (count 'em) shots of the evo vi (2 full
a3 shots) all out of focus! there's only 4 shots in focus. article also on
the new honda rwd sports car.
finishes off with a contest to name britains ugliest car (including the ford
focus, the volvo s80, the bmw m coupe, and the alfa 166). this article
includes a quote from bmw's chris bangle (now there's a name) defending the
m-coupe "...but there is beauty in arnie's [schwarzeneggar] musclature".
ahh thank you chris, now moving right along.....
and a drive of a lamborghini through london traffic. nothing too unusual to
this, except that it's a tractor....
as you can see, i have way too much time on my hands...