Dream Car

I don’t think I’m the only petrolhead who has a constant feeling of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the combination of looks and performance. Some beautiful cars disappoint (relatively speaking) when it comes time to hit the road, whereas others perform like a dream while looking like a dog’s breakfast.

Let me tackle the first scenario. As Longtime Readers know only too well, I think the 1970s-era Ferrari Dino 246GT is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Whenever car aficionados are asked to name their “10 Most Beautiful Cars”, almost without fail, the DIno is somewhere in everyone’s top five. It is and always will be my #1. Here are a few examples (because any discussion of this nature is yoosliss wifout pitchurs):

…and topless:

The only problem with the Dino was that it, well, wasn’t really a Ferrari. (I’m not going to go into too much detail because it isn’t relevant to this post: Wikipedia has a decent summary if you’re interested.) The Old Man (Enzo himself) was initially reluctant (until 1976) to allow it to be called a Ferrari, because it was Marinello’s attempt to make an “entry-level” Ferrari, and quite frankly, it shows. The interior is hideous (no pics because they make me ill; just take my word for it), but even worse is that the car is an absolute pig to drive (I’ve driven one): the gearbox almost requires two hands to work the lever, and my left calf ached for days afterwards because of the stiff clutch. Never mind that it’s crap compared to modern cars (which it is); it was crap for its time as well.

But… there was that mid-mounted 2.4-liter six-cylinder engine (which was a Ferrari) howling about four inches away from the driver’s ears, and despite all its technical flaws, it handled superbly — better even than its rival from Alfa Romeo, the Montreal (which I’ve also driven). That, added to its beauty, created a fanatical following for the DIno. But it was, and is, a pig to drive. And it, like the Montreal, would fall apart if you so much as looked at it — one of my friends had his Dino’s gear knob come off in his hands as he was downshifting to take a sharp corner, and how he avoided a wreck is one of the mysteries of the ages.

On the other side of that coin is Porsche, most especially the 911 model. Jeremy Clarkson is always having a go at Porsche’s “design” team, calling them the laziest people on the planet, and he has reason: while the 911 has always had tremendous performance and outstanding reliability, it looks like a pig, with that humped rear and and strange, minimalist front:

…and the Targa:

However, in the early 2000s someone at Porsche seems to have had this brilliant but revolutionary idea: “What if we make a nice-looking Porsche?” He was probably fired but his heresy remained, with the result that the mid-engined Porsche Cayman is not only better-looking compared to the 911 (a low bar, to be sure), it’s as good-looking as any other sports car, and better even than many of its competitors:

Even its rear end isn’t quite the truncated monstrosity of old, and it now looks quite shapely:

So why am I telling you all this? Because the Dino and the Cayman are almost identical in terms of chassis dimensions — the wheelbases are within a half-inch or so of each other, and of course they’re both mid-engined.

Here’s my thought. I bet that some enterprising coachbuilder could whip off the Cayman’s shell and replace it with a carbon-fiber near-copy of the Dino’s (with a little bit of nipping-and-tucking to accommodate, for example, the Porsche’s single exhaust pipe and longer suspension posts, and so on). And just for kicks, I’d use the Cayman’s smallest engine which is… ta-da! a 2.5-liter six-cylinder (flat, not a V, but hey, consistency is the hobgoblin etc.).

What you’d have with this marriage is a modern car’s performance, with a pre-wind-tunnel body that would make even the dourest car freak wipe a tear from his eye and drool from his chin.

If I ever win a large lottery, I’d present a custom coachbuilder with this challenge. I’d call it the Pino, and I’d be the envy of… well, of everybody.

Your thoughts in Comments.

Scorecard For The Fuzz

Try to keep up. There will be a quiz later.

So there’s this police station in Britishland where the concept of fraternization seems to be endemic, and a whole lot of pens are being dipped in the office ink, so to speak. Here goes:

1.) Head Cop (female) is bonking Constable #1 (male) in a full-time kind of situation:

2.) Firearms Instructor (male) is bonking the Phys Ed Instructor (female), also on a full-time basis:

So far, so good.

However, while these “long-term” relationships are going on, Head Cop is also doing some extracurricular bonking with Firearms Instructor, to whit:

“There are allegations of shagging in hotel rooms, shagging in police HQ and shagging in a police car. It’s crazy.”

But that’s not all. Head Cop was previously married to Another Constable (#2) in the same station, with whom she had three children but later divorced.

Amazingly, Constable #1 isn’t bonking Phys Ed Instructor (that we know of, anyway) and nobody seems to be bonking the ex-husband, Constable #2 — although given the nature of this police station, he’s probably having a fling with Desk Sergeant (gender unknown).

One wonders how they ever get any actual, you know, police work done amidst all that intramural bonking; the answer (as former PC “David Copperfield” from the much-missed Coppersblog will tell you) is that they probably aren’t. Doing any police work, that is. Hard to do when the loins are locking and the hips are thrusting pretty much 24/7.

My question is this:

Since when did small British cop shops get to have firearms instructors?

Gratuitous Gun Pic – Marlin 60 (.22LR)

There’s only one word to describe the Marlin 60 — more of which have been sold worldwide than any other .22 rifle, ever — and that word is FUN. Fifteen rounds of .22 in the tube, a backyard full of old tin cans… I know, that’s so old-school these days, but remember whose website this is. But don’t take my word for it.

Reader Brad_In_IL (who suggested this GGP) writes of his Model 60:

Before moving from the frying pan to the fire (MA –> IL) I bought my ’60 from my fave LGS.  I paid something like $70 for it from the used rack.  I can’t speak to the history of my particular rifle, other than it was built in 1990. When I bought it, the condition was “barely out of the box” almost new.
Like so many other firearms, my ’60 is much more accurate than me.  Still, the gun is hoot to shoot, more fun than a barrel of monkeys, etc. Spinners are among my favorite targets because immediate feedback.  My ’60 tends to like higher velocity .22lr fodder, though CCI Standard also functions well.  One ammo in particular which the rifle does not like is Federal Auto Match target grade. My Browning Buckmark also does not like the Federal, so I’ve quit buying it. Different owners may have different experiences. 
Cleaning is straight forward, with one small but important caveat.  Upon reassembly after cleaning, it is VERY easy to bend the recoil spring.  Ask me how I know.  That said, I ordered a couple extra and ALWAYS keep one in the range bag. 
There’s a whole crowd of people who talk smack about tube-fed rifles. Personally, I don’t mind ’em.  One accessory item I do recommend for anyone with a tube fed 22 rifle is the Spee-D-Loader.  I bought the Spee-D-15 which holds 15 rounds of .22lr in each of its eight tubes for a total of 120 rounds. Best accessory I’ve ever bought for this rifle, hands down. Here’s the link to Spee-D-Loader products.
So there you have it.  This is my rifle. There are many others like it, but this one is MINE.
One point to make, for those who might not already know it: .22 rifles are funny beasts in that they will “prefer” some ammo over others; even if two otherwise-identical rifles have consecutive serial numbers, Rifle #1 may shoot Brand X better than Brand Y while Rifle #2 will shoot all X-rings all day with Brand Y. I don’t know why this is, but it’s happened to me and to others more times than I can count, so there it is.
So while Reader Brad’s Model 60 hates Federal Automag, your Model 60 might love it to death. Experimentation, my friends, is the key… lots and lots of lovely experimentation. Now stop reading this stuff and take your .22 rifle and a few hundred rounds for an outing. It’s a moral imperative.

You Can’t Say That

From Sarah Vine at the Daily Mail:

QUESTION: Why is it that when a middle-aged, white politician even so much as winks at a middle-class woman these days, Westminster howls sexual harassment; and yet, when large groups of Asian men systematically rape and torture underage girls over the course of several decades, the story barely registers a blip on the BBC news radar?

Silly rabbit; just to ask the question is rayciss. [he mansplained]