Archive for March, 2010

Fifth Gear returns

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Got back from a meeting on Monday with the production company (North One, Birmingham) for Fifth Gear. It felt great to be back in a room with VBH (, Plato (, Uncle Needell ( and a large platter of fig rolls.

The new series is pencilled to air on Five from May 6th but that could change. For you foreign fans who keep emailed or Twittering to ask when it comes to your country, keep eyes peeled for it on Discovery channel after in June time. Oh, and it’s called Fifth Gear because in the UK it transmits on channel Five. Don’t read into it any further than that – we’re not prejudice against six speed gearboxes, or indeed 7-spd, 8-spd (Lexus), Porsche’s PDK or old motors with 4-spd manuals. You can’t please everyone…

Nice drive to Lidl

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I’m not a food snob. I can’t cook and can’t be bothered to talk about caramelised onions or fusion this or that. The two blokes from Masterchef trouble me. The one with hair just looks like he wakes up and turns straight to the bottle, while the bald one is a hybrid between Heston Blumenthal and someone called Terry from Nissan UK PR (hi Terry). They talk like it’s the end of the world if someone drips a dash of soy sauce onto mashed potato. Just eat your food and be happy someone has made it for you. Gits.

I’ve had a GT3 911 on test for the past few days and it’s been absolutely exquisite. Better than any food. In fact, I’d survive on bleached white bread (the sort you buy just to feed ducks) and no-name Cola for eternity if it meant owning one of these. 3.8, normal aspiration, sizzling acceleration from 4,000 revs and just the right amount of balance of steering wheel communication and cabin comfort.

As a journo we test cars so we can comment on them and draw comparisons between other cars. People think we’re lottery winners. Neighbourhood watch folk presume we peddle pills. I take pride in doing everyday things in extraordinary cars. Like today. My wife went to Waitrose to buy the posh food, while I went to Lidl to fetch the bog roll, beer, bulk grape juice and toilet cleaner. It’s a German no-nonsense store with pleasing prices. The GT3 is a no-nonsense German car with, err, a price tag of £85,564 including the dreaded.

The roll cage and Michelin Pilot Sport smooth rubber are not vital for a Lidl run, however the 30mm frontal ride height raise (Lidl’s speed humps are pretty brutal) and progressive smooth clutch are welcomed.There wasn’t a huge amount of shopping so I just slung everything in the front seat and foot well as opposed to using the 911’s front bottom stowage.

Next week? Taking a dead fish back to the aquarium shop for a refund in an LFA Lexus. The fish is in the freezer ready for post mortem. Just got to ask Toyota about the LFA…

PS: Filming for the new series of Fifth Gear starts soon. Watch this space.