Archive for December, 2009

White stuff, Christmas, then Twenty-Ten

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Retro wintry race rubbing

It’s hard to believe that exactly 12 months ago I had some quality intercourse next to the open fire in our lounge, and now there’s a 14 week baby daughter staring at me as a constant reminder. She is the best Christmas gift ever, and it looks like she will see her first 25th December with snow on the ground. It doesn’t get better than that. I hope snow doesn’t become a distant memory by the time she grows up and global warming has made Britain the same temp as North California. If that’s the case I’m going to Scandinavia. Sweden or Norway are the only countries outside the UK I fancy living. Cold winters, hot summers, plenty of chilled out people who love American cars and vintage VWs. The ridiculous booze would make you go homebrew, but that’s no bad thing.

Aaaanyway, I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and fruitful 2010. Personally, I want 2010 to be a frugal year. A year where people realise that buying new stuff isn’t always the solution – that chucking items into landfill isn’t solving any problems. I kinda hope that in the recession people will start to rekindle some of that wartime ‘mend and make do’ mentality. There’s a lot of it already about, like encouraging people to make Christmas cards (they only get hung on a fireplace for 5 days then thrown into the flames…). It would be great to see the younger generations learning to re-use and recycle more. Bloody hell, this is sounding like a working class Queen’s speech…..

With snow on the ground, now is the time to test your driving skills. Head forth and experiment with handbrakes (fwd) or the Scandinavian flick (rear drive). I can report that the Scando flick is more impressive than the Lincolnshire slide.

The pics could inspire you – especially the one taken by a chap called Phil Ethier. I just borrowed it as it’s a cool shot. Note the difference between front-drive and rear-drive cars is amplified when you’re jostling on ice. 911 getting quality oversteer, while the Saab is having a still-winding-the-wheel-but-still-going-straight-on situation.

Enjoy Christmas and the new year guys, and thanks for logging on to this blog. Keep the eyes peeled out for more progress in January. I might finally lower the Volvo 340 as well. 2010 is just around the corner. Crikey, every time I say 2010 it sounds like something from a Thunderbirds episode.

I wonder what my 80-odd year old Grandmas think about it? They were born in a time when cars were only for the wealthy few. They have survived a bitter long World War, the boom of the 50s, the drugs and madness of the ’70s, and now one of them has a 2gb digital photo frame slide show and the other regularly drives her Clio and texts me stuff like ‘LUV U’. Old people rock.

We’re all getting older, and you know what that means. Cheaper car insurance.


Happy 30th birthday Sand Scorcher

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

It is with great pride that I celebrate the same birth year as Tamiya’s most desirable and popular radio control car. The VW Baja Sand Scorcher. Boxed unbuilt examples now change hands for up to £2300 and this was regarded as the world’s first proper off-road mass produced RC model. Metal torsion bar suspension components, oil filled shocks and rear drive. I loved the Scorcher to bits. Sadly it had been discontinued before I saved up to buy one, so had to settle for the Monster Beetle.

I’d still have the Monster Beetle today, but had to flog it to put towards my first real car: a VW Beetle, obviously. The Sand Scorcher’s influence ran deep in my veins. Thank you Tamiya. I look forward to the re-release.


I have some links.

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Hi there blog warriors. Now I realise that Fifth Gear is not currently on our screens (and it’s not clear if it will be returning), but some of you have asked if they can watch films online. Well the computer says yes. To watch some of my past Filth Gear filth, go click this:

For more stuff please follow my YoU TubE channel:

Is that everything? Mmmm. Oh, one more thing. Some have asked what was the scariest experience in a car. Well, jumping a Sierra when I worked on max Power magazine to celebrate the Dukes of Hazzard film is probably up there. I have permanent neck damage as a constant reminder of why Hanns devices are good.


Austin Agro V6 project progress!

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

For those who haven’t seen any previous info on this car, I am building a 2 door Austin Allegro with an engine transplant from a Rover 827 V6. It has a 5-spd gearbox, Golf GTI coilovers and discs and VW Polo steel 14″ wheels. The idea is to keep it stock looking, a real sleeper.

Had this email this morning from MB Motorsport in Hebburn, who are building the Antique Gold 1-owner ’70s retirement rocket. This is what they said:

“hello jonny, the car is making plenty of progress , its on the ramp as we speak, the engine is mounted in , drive shafts made ,gear linkage
made, stearing rack modified, front suspension all tied together. will have rad dimensions asap for you , there is a company up here can make them if you want ? you will need to get a new pair of headlamps for a mot and it could really do with a front valance ,it spoils the rest of the car. It’s basically rotted around those fake fog light vent things, and near to the tie rod mount.”

Naturally I’m rock hard with excitement as there’s a chance this 2 year project could be finished by Xmas!

Watch this space for the project Retirement Rocket. The world’s first 2.7-litre series 2 Austin Allegro with series 1 quartic steering wheel and front grille. Such an accolade….