Creating Problems

This little piece caught my eye the other day:

A miscreant driver is facing a £100 fine after he drove along the middle lane of a motorway for three miles unaware he was being tailed by a police car.
The driver was making his way along lane two of the M20 in Kent, refusing to pull into the nearside lane as the law requires.
When pulled over by police, the motorist refused to accept that he had done anything wrong.

Kent Police tweeted with the photo: ‘This driver was stopped having driven for a colossal 3.050 miles in Lane 2 of the M20 without any other vehicles about. The driver refused to accept that this was Careless Driving. TOR issued.’

The attitude of the Cunt Kent cops is the same one which sees traffic wardens clamping ambulances which have parked in a no-parking zone while collecting an injured patient.

Seriously:  if the freeway is devoid of cars (stop laughing, American Readers), what possible harm can come from someone not moving into the slow lane?  Clearly, the Cunt Kent police have solved all the major crimes in their county, which frees them up to do bullshit like this.

All that said, I should point out that in Texas, at least, such driving is not an offense.  Not only that, but you’re allowed to overtake slow middle-lane traffic on the right (what the Brits call “undertaking”), which is appallingly dangerous because you often find people turning into the center lane from both sides.  It’s a recipe for disaster, and as someone who drives well over 500 miles a week on freeways, I have to be on my guard pretty much all the time.  [5,000-word rant on asshole pickup truck drivers and unlicensed/uninsured Mexicans deleted]

I know why people stay in the center lane, by the way — at least, why they do in Texas:  it’s because the right-hand “slow” lane is frequently (and without much notice) turned into an “exit-only” lane, which means that you have to scramble over to the left to avoid being forced off the freeway.  It’s one of the several things the Euros and Brits do better than we do, traffically speaking:  a turn-only exit lane is always added  to the freeway, which means that the ongoing traffic is not constricted.

I’m not even going to get into the lunacy of making 25-yard-long freeway entrance ramps (which are the norm in Texas), whereby drivers have to accelerate like fucking Max Verstappen just to be able to merge into the traffic, only to be faced by asshole drivers (see above) who refuse to let you take “their” place in the lane, or who are too busy undertaking another car in the center lane to notice your arrival.

Take a look at this picture (downtown Dallas freeways) and imagine negotiating this nightmare:

There is at least one serious accident at this junction every single day in the morning rush hour, and again in the evening.  (It’s even worse  a half-mile north, where I-35 is joined by the cross-town expressway and the Dallas North Tollway traffic, and contains not only exit-only off-ramps but a left-hand split into the DFW Airport Freeway, where one might have to cross six lanes over in order to get to the airport.  And did I mention the current road construction sections?)

It says something that after two years driving, logging nearly a hundred thousand miles with Uber, the only accident I’ve had was a minor fender bender (paradoxically) in a parking lot, where I reversed out of a parking space into someone illegally parked on a red line.

The plain fact of the matter is that in Texas, we drive too fast and too recklessly for the amount of traffic on the roads, and we are not helped by idiotic highway design.  By comparison, the Brit police can only look with relief on “problems” such as caused by someone not driving in the correct lane on a deserted highway.


So here was the news:

Volkswagen announced in January 2019 that it planned to invest $800 million in its Chattanooga plant and bring 1,000 jobs with the expansion.



Chattanooga will be the first manufacturing facility in North America that will produce vehicles using VW’s modular electric toolkit chassis, or MEB.  The first Volkswagen electric vehicle will roll out in 2022.

Oh, that’s just great.

That’s all we need…

Next thing, VW will announce that they’re replacing the Tiguan with Electro-Bugs, whereupon:

Just sayin’…

Safe Queens

I’ve talked about this topic before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever told this story here.

Many years ago, a guy heard from a Reader of this website what a sucker I was for WWI- and WWII-era guns, and offered to sell me a brand-new, still-in-the-box, never-been-fired Colt Government 1911 from that time (with Colt certification).  As it happened, I was a little flush with cash right then, and after a little pondering (and deciding not to pay down the car debt), agreed to his price.  I went over to his house to complete the transaction, and checked it out.

(Not a pic of the actual gun.)

It was a beauty.  Needless to say, I was nuzzling it and whispering terms of endearment to it (as one would a new puppy), but I did let it slip that I couldn’t wait to take this beauteous thing from my grandfather’s era out to the range and see how it could shoot.

The seller looked aghast.  “You’re going to shoot  it?” he asked.
“Hell yes,” was my response.

Whereupon the guy immediately canceled the sale, clearly traumatized that someone was going to take his baby’s virginity.

I told you that tale as an intro to this foolishness:

If you had a supercar, you’d probably drive it, right? Not the three owners of this Ferrari 328 GTS over the last 30 years.
They’ve clocked up a combined- and frankly meagre – 283 miles in total, making this one of the best time-warp examples of an iconic ’80s supercar we’ve seen for some time.
And it could soon be yours, if you have pockets deep enough. That’s because it’s being sold at auction in the UK next month, and the expected purchase fee is set to hit £150,000.

And the accompanying pics (out of several):

Now I have to say that I’m casting lustful eyes upon this beauty, and if those bastards at PowerBall had fulfilled their side of the bargain over the weekend, I’d be winging my way over to Britishland as you read this, letter of credit from Gringotts Bank clutched in my sweaty little hand.

And let me tell you that once I’d got it back Over Here, and after having had it checked and serviced by Giovanni at Boardwalk Ferrari of Plano (yes of course  we have a Ferrari/Maserati dealership in Plano — do you even have to ask?), I would turn that 283 miles/30 years into 12,830 miles/30 years+1 month faster than you can say “Scuderia Maranello“.  I’m thinking of an epic road trip around the southern states, going from one Ferrari dealership to another (because Ferrari) before the weather turns chilly.

I’ve never understood the concept of “safe queens”, whose possession is so precious that usage is forbidden.  As Longtime Friend and Ex-Drummer Knob puts it so elegantly:

“Owning a beautiful car and never driving it in case you lower its value is like having a supermodel girlfriend and never fucking her, just to make her more attractive to her next boyfriend.”

In fact, now that I think of it, I’d not only drive this 328 GTS, I’d invite Knob over to drive it as well.  (What the hell, as bandmates, we once shared two girls — not simultaneously — because in those days we both liked the same kind of woman:  low moral standards, voluptuous figure and huge breasteses.)  I figure we’d each get as much fun out of the 328, so to speak, as we did from Penny and Big Jenny.

Anyway, to wrench this train of thought back from the branch line:  I have no time for people who treat machines and tools like investments, even though they can be regarded as such.  And as for the Ferrari’s owner/idiot:  if he’d plonked the original purchase price of the 328 into a stock index fund (to name but one  investment vehicle) thirty years ago, he’d have made far more money than he’s currently going to realize from its sale.  Some investment, smart guy.

And in the meantime, that gorgeous car has been wasting away like Rapunzel in the tower.


Angular Beauty

I think the 1980s get a bad rap about just about everything (although I will agree that the female shoulder-pad thing has deservedly been tossed in the trashcan of history).  I generally enjoyed the 80s music — Level 42? Oh, mercy! — but I have a soft spot for many of the era’s cars as well.  Here’s one, the Lancia “Rally” 037 Stradale:

From the boffins at Classic Driver  comes this little bit of history (with my emphasis added):

The Lancia Rally formally debuted in March 1982, and homologation was certified on 1 April 1982, by which time 207 examples had been constructed. The 037’s first competition test was the Tour de Corse in May 1982. Although the new car finished a promising 9th overall, Lancia recognized that the 1982 season would be used for intense development rather than a championship run. The year ended with Markku Alén and Ilkka Kivimäki taking their 037 to a strong 4th-place finish on the RAC Rally. The following year, 1983, saw Walter Röhrl and Markku Alén lead the Martini Racing Lancia team to wins at Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, Acropolis, New Zealand, and Sanremo on its way to the 1983 World Rally Championship—Lancia’s fifth championship and the last WRC title by a two-wheel-drive car.

Does anyone still wonder why I would take one of these beauties in a heartbeat?  And here’s how one would get access to that superb little 2-liter engine (which delivered 200hp in the street car, and 280hp in the rally version):

I’ve only ever driven a Stratos (breathtaking, literally) and the pretty little Fulvia (the ultimate lady’s car), but I would sell somebody else’s firstborn to take a Stradale for a spin around, say, Lake Como for a day or two… with Level 42’s Mr. Pink (or ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man) blasting through the stereo.

There’s the 80s for ya, man.

Just Three

Evil Bastard I mean Loyal Reader Petec directs my gaze to this bunch of Brit ne’er-do-well resto-modders, and my question to everyone is this:

Forget the price, and ignore the fact that it may have been sold;  list your top 3 of the cars on either the “Blue Chip” or “Prestige” pages.

Mine are, in no specific order:

Trying to pick a #1 from this lot is like trying to pick a favorite child.

And if New Wife wanted in, I’d get her this little beauty (because she thinks most modern sports cars are utterly vulgar and horrible):

It’s a good thing that I haven’t won the lottery, or these guys would be getting a visit from me.

Another Modernized Failure

I have written before about auto companies relaunching beloved older models, but in modern (post-modern?) shape and form.  To remind everyone of the concept:

Now comes Land Rover, who sold their soul company to some furriners, only to have said furriners turnaround and re-release a model long ago discontinued by the British Land Rover (for reasons which escaped me then, and still do).  I speak of course of the peerless Defender model, as exemplified by the one owned by The Englishman, Stout Bulldog that he is:

In that Defender’s place comes the newer version, to the universal acclaim of journalists and the undiluted scorn of the people who are in the target market of prospective purchasers.  Even better [eyecross], the New-N-Improved Defender is made not in Britishland, but in Slovakia.

I’m not going to post any pics of the new version because copyright hucksters and asshole lawyers (some overlap), but follow the link above and form your own opinions.  (Spoiler:  it’s the one that looks like a 4×4 New Mini.)

Now all that said:  maybe the new Slovo-Defender provides a more comfortable ride than the Anglo-Defender — it could hardly be less  comfortable, and I speak as one who has driven from Wiltshire to Scotland and back in Mr. Free Market’s Defender, as well as from Wiltshire to Cornwall and back in The Englishman’s one, and have the distressed kidneys to prove it.  But that’s not the point of a Defender, is it?  I mean, one could (technically speaking) drive a Caterpillar bulldozer from Wisconsin to Iowa along the interstate highway system, but that’s not what it was designed for.

However, I rather think that I’m missing the point.  I bet that the target market is not members of the farmer-Stout Bulldog Set [massive overlap]  such as The aforementioned Englishman and Mr. Free Market.  Instead, the new owners of Land Rover are aiming for the suburban / urban middle class, purchasers of “utility” vehicles such as the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Audi Q5 (vehicles referred to in Britishland as “Chelsea Tractors” and in north Texas as “Plano Off-Roaders”, for obvious reasons).

And this was written in all seriousness:

“…down the toilet.” FIFY

Anyway, the reaction of existing Defender owners to this new product can best be summed up from a joint communique issued by Mr. Free Market and The Englishman via my email:

“Looks like we’ll be holding onto our old Defenders for some time to come.”