January 20th, 2012 by Tim Grimley
I find myself perched precariously on the horns of a dilemma. Thanks to an altercation between a bicycle and a motor vehicle in the centre of Sydney earlier this week, I am now in a position where I have to offer my allegiance to either Shane Warne or the cycling community.
To put this in some form of perspective, it’s a bit like a vegetarian having to choose between lamb and beef or – if that concept is a bit too abstract for the average carnivore to grasp – having a gun put to your head and being told your life would only be spared by spending a night covered in baby oil with Hone Hanawira or spending a night in a barrel of scorpions.
Given his irksome habit of skittling cricket teams I hold dear to my heart over the years, ordinarily I would have no problems in aligning myself with anyone whose sights took aim in the direction of Warnie’s hair replacements, but unfortunately the other protagonists in this case are the self important, road rule flaunting jossers of the militant cycling brigade. Read the rest of this entry »
July 15th, 2011 by Tim Grimley
For a large part of the 20th century the good folk at Hyundai were quite content to occupy themselves by knocking out buildings, ships and heavy industrial equipment. They merrily toiled away until one day a man from Ford came along, bathed in a glow of strange light, and asked if they would be interested in helping him build a mysterious and exciting product called a “Cortina”. This made the people at Hyundai very excited and for many years they diligently went about their duties; but deep down a restless feeling grew that while screwing a Yankee product together was all very well, true satisfaction could only come from building their own car. A Korean car.
So they did – launched in 1975, it was called the Pony and it was an abomination.
Admittedly, by recruiting the team responsible for the Morris Marina to develop the Pony they hadn’t exactly set the foundations to cover themselves in glory, but even from this low starting point they managed to plumb some new depths. The design was staid, the build quality abysmal and while it was never designed to be a performance vehicle, fat children on roller skates could get up hills faster.
Any normal person would have stepped back, looked at the misery their best efforts had bestowed on the world and contemplated whether their next move should involve a noose; but the people at Hyundai were clearly not normal. They simply shrugged, moved on and made the Pony II, which was also terrible. And the Sonata. And the Excel.
Literally everything Hyundai – whose name became an acronym for “Hope You Understand Nothing’s Driveable And Inexpensive” – touched turned to crap and yet with unflinching determination they soldiered on and today, against all the odds, have come good big time. Read the rest of this entry »
March 3rd, 2011 by Car and SUV
For fans of the Mitsubishi Evo, and there are many out there, this news may come as a shock. According to Gayu Eusegi, head of global product development for Mitsubishi, the Lancer Evolution X will be the last Evo the Japanese automaker ever builds.
Why exactly? Well, it’s all about pushing towards electric vehicles and with petrol currently at well over two kiwi dollars a litre it’s starting to make sense.
Evo grim reeper, Eusegi went on to say that the move is part of a shift in strategy to put the company’s product focus and ethos on leadership in EV technology. There have been rumours that the next Evo would be a hybrid but few people thought Mitsubishi could actually kill off a halo model like the Evo.
Eusegi refused any idea that a hybrid Evo is in the works saying, “Maybe the world can change, and maybe someday we can do a motor race by electric vehicles. Maybe then we can enter the market agian.”
Mitsubishi are choosing to look on the bright side and claim that consumers will respect the idea and get behind the brand. By sacrificing the Evo, Mitsubishi is making its intentions plain to an increasingly environmentally-conscious car-buying public.
So what’s next for Mitsubishi? The Japanese car maker plans to release eight fully-electric or hybrid-electric cars by 2015, and try to win a large portion of the CO2-reduction market share. By 2015, it seems that fuel-guzzling performance cars like the Mitsubishi Evo will be dinosaurs on the verge of extinction, especially being based on a rally car that no longer exists. Read the rest of this entry »
November 20th, 2009 by Car and SUV
Porsche has just begun a new engine sounds competition for keen fans of the German marque. If you know your Porsche 911 engine sounds you get a chance to win your way into a Porsche 911 Evolution driving course. Which, sounds pretty awesome. Here’s how it works. Porsche has the listening challenge broken up into five categories. You hit play and guess which engine you’re listening to. We gave it a nudge and it’s a tough ask. Even hardcore Porsche enthusiasts will struggle to get all five correct.
But never mind that, because it’s quite good fun. The first category (Carrera) wants you to guess between a 964, a 996 and a 997. Second is “Classic” where you must distinguish between a RS 2.7, RS 3.0 and RS 3.8. That’s probably the hardest. Next up is “Race Derived” and the choices are 964 RS 3.8, 996 GT3 and 997 GT3.
The next category is “Turbo.” This is especially hard as most Turbos do little more than cruise about town meaning it’s rare to hear one in full flight. And you’ve got to distinguish between the 930, 996 and 997. Lastly, you have “Motorsport,” and whether or not the car is the 935, 911 GT1 or 936 it don’t matter because they all sound amazing.
To have a go at the competition, click here to visit the Porsche website.
September 21st, 2009 by Car and SUV
It seems that aftermarket tuner edo competition has run out of supercars to modify. The performance firm has already tweaked almost every mainstream supercar, and have now decided to have a second crack at the Ferrari Enzo. The German tuner’s latest version of the ultimate Prancing Horse is called the FXX Evolution and is in essence a road-going version of the FXX Evoluzione race car offered to Ferrari’s special Corse Clienti program.
So why does this particular Enzo get the coveted FXX name? For starters, 840 horsepower. Displacement of the V12 engine has been pumped up from 6.0 to 6.3-litres, and new camshafts, titanium valve springs and connecting rods, new cylinder heads, and a high-flow exhaust system have all been added to facilitate the 180 horsepower increase. Without mufflers, the FXX Evolution matches its racing counterpart’s 860 horsepower. Edo competition also managed to drop 100 kg from the car’s weight, decrease shift times to 60 milliseconds (also matching the race car), and install an FIA-spec adjustable suspension system. Finally, the exterior gets an adjustable rear wing and a new rear fascia with relocated exhaust tips.
Edo competition is offering a conversion package to all Enzo owners that includes a test day with an instructor, mechanics, data logging, transport and hospitality. The cost of all this hasn’t been announced but it is sure to be suitably ridiculous.