I Curse The Body Electric

If there’s anything guaranteed to make me glad to be old, it’s bullshit like this:

The mandate will demand that an increasing percentage of new models sold by manufacturers each year are zero-emission cars, with a credit system in place and financial penalties for those that fail to meet the targets.
But which car makers are best placed to thrive under such laws? We take a look at 43 brands’ current zero-emission-vehicle offering – and what they have planned for the next decade leading up to the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030.

The only good thing about this is that by the time we’ve become all-electric-and-nothing-but-electric, I’ll be pushing up the daisies and the rest of the world will have to live with the consequences of foolishness like this.

It’s enough to make me want to buy the biggest, honkiest in-your-face diesel truck which would belch out more black smoke than Al Gore’s cremated body.

Fuck it, I’m off to the range.

Still A Winner

As Longtime Readers know, I have an inordinate fondness for sports cars of yore, and especially ones of my misbegotten and largely wasted youth.  The Alfa Romeo Spider, Austin Healey 3000 and the little MGB GT, to name but three, were all the objects of desire in my younger times, and it’s easy to see why:

 

However, if I were asked today which sports car of the pre-1975 era I would like to own today, unchanged, it would probably be a car of which I knew nothing at the time, probably because I was only about 3 years old.  Yes, I speak of the impossibly-sexy BMW 507 of the late 1950s:

I know, this is the car which nearly bankrupted BMW, but that’s all ancient history.  The fact of the matter is that the 507 embodies almost all my list of desirable features:  a small 3.0-liter V8, adequate acceleration and top speed, and of course matchless good looks, all in a neatly-sized package of simple yet tasteful design.

It was also more reliable than any of the later sports cars I alluded to above, which satisfies another of my must-have features.  I’d even take the soft-top cabrio:

Feel free to take issue with me in Comments.


This was the Sunday post which went AWOL on me.  Once again, my apologies.

Best Movie Car

Triggered, so to speak, by some silly article somewhere on the Internet (SOTI), I thought I’d discuss some fine cars that were (almost) the stars of the movies they appeared in.  (And for reasons of taste, the entire Fast & Furious  and Gone in 60 Seconds  franchises are disqualified.  Likewise, car-centric movies like Le Mans  and Grand Prix are excluded or else we could be here all day.)  So here we go, in no specific order:

1936 Ford Essex (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang):

Too bad it appeared in one of the worst movies ever made.

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T (Vanishing Point):
As any fule kno, I’m not a huge fan of American muscle cars of the era, because I think they’re over-large and handle like supermarket carts in a corner, but even I have to admit that the side view is excellent.

1964 Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger):
Still sexy after all these years, the DB5 is a vision, even without all the silly gadgets.  Want.

1968 Mustang GT Fastback (Bullitt):

Likewise, even I enjoyed watching ol’ Steve McQ pushing this thing around the San Francisco streets.

1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider (The Graduate):

The sound of that peppy little Alfa 1600cc engine snarling away as it carries Dustin Hoffman in his doomed attempt to stop the marriage of Mrs. Robinson’s daughter to some other guy… there ya go:  the entire movie synopsis in just one sentence.  Want.

And another Alfa:

1961 Alfa Romeo Guiletta Spider (The Day Of The Jackal):

Edward Fox sets off to assassinate the President of France armed only with an Alfa Romeo, a cravat and the best concealed rifle ever designed.

1965 Austin Mini-Cooper (The Italian Job):

The original, not the vastly-inferior remake made with BMW Minis.  Want.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey & the Bandit):

…also quite possibly the ugliest car ever to appear on film.  Do Not Want.

1948 Ford Custom Deluxe (Grease):

Actually not a bad-looking car, if you removed all the trashy lightning decals.

1958 Plymouth Fury (Christine):

I never actually saw the movie, just the preview;  but if you’re looking for flashy Murkin fins ‘n chrome from the 1950s, the Fury is kinda hard to beat.

Special Mention:

Knight Bus (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince):

…and Harry’s ride on it was pretty much the best part of the movie.

Add This To The Bucket List

I have stated before that I want to drive a decent car around the Spa Francorchamps racetrack for just a half-dozen or so laps.

After watching this, I want to do it in one of these:

…and you will too, after the video.

If not Spa, then over in Britishland, at Brands Hatch — the “long” course of the 1960s:

…, not the abbreviated wussy dildo-shaped one they use today:

[sigh]

Seventies Beauty

When looking at something beautiful, you always have to take note of the time in which the thing appeared.  This is particularly true of women, of course, because what was considered beautiful in, say, the 1970s would cause snorts of derision when applied to today’s standards.  Here’s a sample of those 70s fashions:

None of which are particularly bad (the lass on the right is sensational), but the style is very dated.

I didn’t come here to talk about women’s fashion.

Nope;  I want to talk about the successor to the wonderful Renault Alpine A110, the A310 which made its first appearance in 1971.

Of course, in typical French tradition, they put a severely underpowered engine in the A310 (a 1600cc four-banger which developed a muscular 105hp) which, considering that Renault intended the A310 to be a competitor to the Porsche 911 (which at the time was developing about 270hp in its 2.4L flat six), must have been a joke played by Engineering on Marketing.

In 1976, Renault got the message (prodded by piss-poor sales, duh) and put in a 2.7L  V6 engine which developed 148hp:  still nowhere close to the 911, but with its ultralight body and excellent handling (which was a little better than the 911’s), the new model doubled sales of the A310 — but sadly, doubling nearly nothing meant that Renault was selling about 500 units a year compared to the 911’s 1,600.

Pretty much only the French bought the A310 in any numbers, and in 1986 Renault pulled it off the market.

All that said, I quite like the looks of the later A310 PRV (denoting the larger engine).  Once again, by today’s standards that angular shape might be considered ugly, but frankly, it’s not horrible compared to other cars of the time.

Even in the PRV specs, though, the petite A310 never stood a chance against the Porsche 911, and still less against the massive American muscle cars, never mind the Ferraris and Maseratis.

But for a nimble sporty little runabout which according to its customers was very reliable, you could have done a whole lot worse than the A310.

Flash Back

I have mentioned before that New Wife used to drive a red MGB GT back in the days of yore, when she were a weeny in her early 20s.  Unlike me, she has photos — well, one photo, anyway:

That’s her brother, upon whose shoulders many of the (frequent) repairs fell.  In true Brit sports car driver fashion, however, she accepted that frequent breakdowns were just a fact of ownership:  the joys of open-top driving in a perfect climate on the hill roads around her house were more-than-adequate compensation.

While she was swanning around like Lady Muck, Your Humble  Narrator was chugging around in one of these, hauling band equipment (which was way heavier than the recommended top load):

…only it was colored in a sort of sickly bamboo yellow.  Don’t laugh;  I got over 175,000 miles out of it before it was stolen.

Here’s what Drummer Knob was driving:

…as part of his trainee-plutocrat program.  It was never stolen.

Earworm:  Those Were The Days