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Everything posted by Dan

  1. Freddie Mercury's old Rolls Royce Silver Shadow went for auction a few years back... I'm sure at the time it was reported that he'd never learnt to drive
  2. I'm regularly working on farms near Exeter airport when the Hunters are flying. What a glorious noise! There is a Hunter maintenance company based there that keeps a number of such machines airworthy, and if you look on Google Earth or such like you can peruse their 'stock', particularly what I assume are parts machinesthat get parked up periodically around the perimeter track:
  3. Guy - bit of a tangent but my local garage is run by Richard Miles, formerly of Downton engineering, so more than a bit of Mini knowledge but not what you'd call a conventional Mini specialist. They have my Esprit at the moment for a water pump replacement. Tipton Garage
  4. I'm guessing i'm not in such a bad place after all, then...?
  5. That's shocking.. and I let my subscription lapse some months (years?) ago. Now corrected
  6. Drove past today, petrol station and shop still open, dealership closed TBH I stopped taking my Esprit there when their "9xx engine specialist" set the carbs so rich it felt soggy... I re-set them with my simple tools to get better performance and no headache when parking up in the garage... I know I'm no spanner monkey but even I could see it was too rich, I've balanced the carbs enough times to know good from just OK. On the positive side, it was the first place that I managed to get into an Elise with the roof on whilst sober. The previous three times required the inherent fluidity of a hangover
  7. Dan


    Cold out, was it sir?
  8. Go and stand in the corner and think carefully about what you've said... Prius = Pious
  9. Hello, my name's Dan and I'm here to get better... for some time now I've had an unhealthy fixation with British Leyland products, and have been regularly reading You know, perhaps the Maestro wasn't that bad after all, coming as it did as a spiritual successor to the Princess and Ambassador... Ahem. Back to the plot. A recent blog post from Chris Sawyer, recalling his time as Communications Director for Lotus Cars USA is enlightening... Copied&pasted from here.
  10. Dan

    Lotus Renault GP

    Granted they're not on your doorstep, Tony, but the team owned by Renault have been based in Oxfordshire for many years... weren't they Team Benetton before that? I visited the Renault F1 site in about 2005 on a jolly; nothing French about it bar the parent company signing the cheques and giving them engines. No onions, no bicycles, no charming Gallic toilets, no Gauloises, no contemptuous shrugs of the shoulders... Just lots of blokes called Fred and Jim bashing together cars in a glorified shed in an old quarry. I think an early Europa had as much in common with Renault as any cars coming out of Renault F1
  11. And if one dinky mobile phone is enough to screw up an airliner's electronics, how come big chunks of airspace aren't closed every time there's thunder and lightning forecast?! Or am I displaying gross ignorance regarding volts, amps, watts and such like?
  12. I look forward to the backlash against Elfin Safety... the Darwinian approach: "If it only kills one idiot, it will have been worthwhile" gets my vote Imagine, no more coffee cups with "caution - contents may be hot", or bags of peanuts with "Warning: contains nuts", or cheese labelled prominently with "Contains milk" or all the rest of the myriad patronising signage and labelling that has sprung up in the last decade
  13. I'm one of those "what's all the fuss?" types because there's always been a Land Rover around. I've ticked the 'no' box to fitting winter tyres because I simply choose a more fitting vehicle. So perhaps I should have ticked the 'yes' box for that vehicle...? For instance on Saturday morning, I took one look at the snow and clear skies, and walked past the car and up to the shed and wound up a Land Rover. Chose the one permanently fitted with M&S tyres ("These are not ordinary tyres, these are..." erm, no, M&S as in mud & snow) and made my way at a steady pace, with plenty plenty distance between me and the vehicle in front, slowing down on narrow roads to pass oncoming traffic as I expected problems with slippery verges as we moved over, etc. Had to cadence brake a couple of times but nothing brown trousers - I'd tested the braking on an empty stretch to calibrate the look of the road with traction as it's 9-10 months since driving in icy conditions - and managed to get to Waitrose before the free mince pies had all vanished As is so often the way, not having the Land Rover plastered in chequer plate made absolutely no difference to whether it got through or not I guess I had suitable tyres, 4wd, and a suitable attitude. Of course it would only have required one muppet in the wrong place and I would have been able to make no progress once the road had been blocked. There were many of the "Oh my god we're all going to die" crowd out doing 20mph on open, salted, dry roads and I wonder if they are better suited to simply staying at home. Takes a lot of willpower not to want to zoom past them at the first opportunity, easy to become over-confident for the conditions out of frustration. Arguably they would be more confident drivers with better tyres and more experience of slippery conditions but would they in practice drive any differently due to the infrequency of such weather here? Once the cold spell has passed - tomorrow or Wednesday by current forecast - I'll be back in the car because it's more comfortable, the heater works better, etc. But in a month's time, or whenever the next cold spell hits, back into the cold, clattery box on wheels I will go. Also, how does the issue of winter tyres work with company cars in those countries where their use is mandatory? Most trucks and vans will live at a depot where such things can be attended to, but company cars must be a right pain. Is it simply cheaper for companies to pay for changes of tyres based upon season rather than wear? i.e. do all staff get the "It's October, get your tyres changed" email, and then another in April? One of the problems in encouraging winter tyre use in the UK will be the cost. People change cars so frequently that it does not make sense to buy a set of spare wheels and tyres - even less popular sizes/styles as Mike points out - if they're only going to see a couple or three winters with the vehicle. Have a look next time you walk through a car park at the mis-matched and generally cheapo tyres on anything more than 2 years old and you'll see that people loathe spending good money on one set, never mind a spare set that probably won't fit the next car when it comes. It doesn't seem to have dawned on them that the only thing that stops them falling off the road is the £15.99 no-name tyres they were so pleased to find. I suspect many of us here choose tyres based upon performance (as in test data, dry/wet use, stopping distances, etc.) even for our mundane vehicles, possibly steered by aesthetics, but generally with no real consideration of cost, in the same way that we choose fuel (and indeed petrol stations) when we fill up. We are not representative motorists!
  14. Jamie - I remember them well but don't have the Esprit one that you're looking for. I was a student at the time; we had the Times delivered to the halls of residence. I cut these out of the Saturday glossy magazine (IIRC) and stuck them to my wall. That would have been between Sept 1991 and June 1992. I also had this sales brochure on the wall: I'm pretty sure it had no bearing on subsequent purchases, though...
  15. Trevor - I went to the first event they organised, a couple of years ago, to mark the anniversary of Jim Clark's death. It was an excellent event, thoroughly enjoyable and informative. My write up about it is here. Unfortunately the last two events have coincided with 'must do' work events, so I have had to miss them. I've just had the email reminder today for this event and am considering it. Bit of diary juggling and a sticky caliper to sort out between now and then. I don't like to be the sort of Lotus person who turns up without a Lotus just because there's a bit of drizzle, or it's broken, or whatever
  16. Dan


    Yeah, there's two bottlenecks on the downhill side of the square that can get a bit nasty, so always stay uphill of the action. The biggest mishap we've had with the tar barrels was the fire station burning down one year . Fortunately it was the old fire station and not the active one, but a shame to lose a nice old building.
  17. Spot on Mike. I've actually been trying left foot braking in my current auto, as Ian says it's hard to be proportionate at first. I've driven a large number of go karts and left foot braking is instinctive there. Similarly instinctive on my fork lift truck. My point isn't that I refuse to learn new techniques, but that the solution doesn't match the problem. I don't think it's that drivers fail to adapt to using their feet, it's this "ploughing through the bus queue" scenario where I think it's overall driver competence and not vehicle or driving style that is to blame. Hence I think he's tip-toeing around the issue.
  18. Honest John, who provides motoring advice in the Telegraph has an ongoing campaign to educate all drivers of cars with automatic gearboxes to brake with the left, accelerate with the right. His logic is that "all these accidents" suffered by drivers in automatic cars "losing control" would be averted. The typical scenario he is tackling appears to be a low-speed manoeuvre close to a potential collision hazard. His argument is that by left-foot braking, you can control the lunge associated with a prod of the accelerator. I can agree with this, although I feel that if you drive the car sympathetically you learn to anticipate the transition from crawl to drive with a typical auto box. His argument is that such low-speed accidents are caused by right-foot confusion between brake and accelerator. He maintains that the hapless driver jabs the accelerator, thinking it is the brake, and when the car continues to lunge forwards/backwards, they simply press the "brake" harder and away it goes. The fundamental problem with this logic is that there is no difference between the brake and accelerator pedal layouts on automatic or manual cars, so why would the driver ever mix them up, and hence why should they use their feet for different pedals just because they happen to be sat in an automatic? And what of the confusion as they move between autos and manuals? I think the saving grace in a manual is that if you did this at parking type speeds then you'd just stall it - clutch and throttle control would be all over the place - in theory you'd hit the brake as clutch if you were hitting the accelerator as brake. An automatic removes the ability to recover control by stalling, usually. So could the problem be not so much the type of car, but the type of driver? I suspect it comes down to the demographic of the drivers who suffer from this "car ploughs through crowded forecourt", "car parks in neighbour's front room", etc. scenario. Is there something there that he's afraid to touch on? Maybe, just maybe, they're all generally past their prime, and whilst it's a difficult decision to make, perhaps they should no longer be driving...? I find it entertaining to read his letters page in Telegraph Motoring on a Saturday; invariably a "but why do you think left foot braking is better" letter is posted - to Honest John's credit - but his reasons are getting more and more obscure. Apparently it saves vital metres in an emergency stop from high speed. Apparently racing drivers do it instinctively. Apparently... Apparently... Does anyone else think he's painting himself into a corner, or conversely that he's one lone voice of reason in a world gone right-foot mad?
  19. Dan


    We'll probably go and watch the burning tar barrel races again: Originally, each pub in the town would sponsor a barrel, and the winners would be the first team to get their barrel from one side of the town to the other. There are no crowd barriers, the crowd just parts as if by magic as the runners pass by. There are no disclaimer forms to sign. Many people go simply because they know that one day it'll be closed down due to "health & safety", and want to show support for being allowed to take risks and make their own judgement as to what's safe and what's a thrill.
  20. Read the lips: "Hello" "Nah, i'm at the movies" "Nah, it's shit, not even in colour" You do when you're deaf in your right ear
  21. Dan

    Sexy Cities

    But surely everyone know's Austin's shagadelic...
  22. Dan

    Glider Pilots

    Lapsed for many years. Went solo at RAF Dishforth in 1992 IIRC, mostly winching with a few aerotows for the occasional treat. Ran the student club for Leeds Uni for a year. We had a K2 and I managed to secure funding and buy a K7 that Clevelands GC were looking to shift. Posh at the time! Flew in the T21 a few times, plus a Blanik, K13, and I have a feeling there was an Acro there too. Liked the K13 and K21 best. We weren't even allowed to push the Discus round the airfield, though. I think the club atmosphere can make or break the experience. Sadly, this means committee people have a great bearing on your enjoyment. Some clubs are hampered by minimal resources; Dartmoor GC was my local for a while after Uni but after a few visits I concluded it was haphazard, too many Big Chiefs, and the airfield was poor - a bog in a cloud most of the time! That was when I lapsed... Had a week long holiday at the Long Mynd in 2003, my second one at the site. I really enjoyed it but couldn't justify the every-other-weekend commitment it would have required to get solo again and build up reasonable experience. Just not enough time to do everything! The Long Mynd was a very good civilian club in my estimation.
  23. Oh, you mean this one? Have a look here. Took me ages to hunt it out but I knew I had it bookmarked somewhere
  24. When I was in IT, a birthday card went round the office as usual for one of the other techies... It was his 33rd birthday so I wrote on it: Congratulations - 0x21 again!
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