Friday 28 November 2014

Road - SCoTY 2014

Last year's winner was the VW Golf

Later this evening at a grand function in St Andrews, the former ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, 15 of Scotland’s top motoring writers (plus one other!) will congregate at the annual ‘Scottish Car of The Year’ awards.

Representatives from most of the world’s car manufacturing companies will also be in attendance to find out which car has won this coveted title. Coveted? Unlike many other ‘car award’ competitions, the Scottish one is not tied to any single publication. The journalists represent an impressive cross-section of the nation’s print, broadcast and social media platforms.

In other words, this is a truly ‘national’ award, and all the more desirable for that.

Over the past few weeks, members of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers have been assessing the merits of this year’s new automotive releases and endeavouring to select a winner in each class from which the overall ‘Scottish Car of The Year’ will be determined.

This is no easy task as the manufacturers keep coming up with new categories of car, from City Cars to SUVS, from Crossovers to Luxury saloons. It’s hard enough selecting a winner from amongst its rivals in each class, but the hardest task is selecting an overall winner from such a disparate group of category finalists.

Last year, the Volkswagen Golf was the ultimate winner. Oddly enough, it was the first time that a Volkswagen had won the overall title!

As for this year’s title winner? You’ll have to wait till the hangover is bearable, with the body and mind once again working together in perfect harmony. That’ll be Sunday then, or maybe Monday!

Thursday 27 November 2014

Rally - Skoda Fabia R5

At this weekend’s Essen Motor Show, ŠKODA will show off its new ŠKODA Fabia R5. Still regarded as a ‘concept’. The car looks remarkably well finished and just about ready to go.

ŠKODA’s Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek confirmed: “The Fabia R 5 is scheduled to be homologated by mid-2015.”

Details are sketchy but the display board states that the car has a 1.6-litre turbo engine, five-speed sequential gearbox, MacPherson struts and will weigh at least 1230 kilograms.

Customer racing teams have already shown huge interest in the new machine following on from the proven success of the Fabia Super 2000 car.

In the 2014 rally season, ŠKODA and the Fabia Super 2000 achieved a hat-trick of titles in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC),  the Drivers’ title in the FIA European Rally Championship and a further five national championships.

The Good Old Days

The National Motor Museum Trust at Beaulieu saved an important photographic collection for the nation at a recent Bonhams auction. The photographs by the event’s official photographer, Albert Argent Archer, document the 1000 Mile Trial of 1900.

The event ran from London to Edinburgh and back and helped to change the public’s negative perception of motor cars at the turn of the century.

At a time when few motorists of the day would have attempted to drive anything like a hundred miles in a single day, the big surprise is that of the 65 starters, 35 cars made it all the way and back.

However, of particular importance to us lot up here is that one of the pics shows the early days of pre-event ‘scrutineering’. Nothing new in motor sport, eh? But rather more worryingly, one of the Scroots looks remarkably like Rab MacDonald. Have a close look at the figure in the middle with his hands on his hips and wearing a bowler hat. I’m sure it’s him.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

GT - by JCB

If women needed any more proof that men’s heads are all too easily turned by things noisy and mechanical. Look no further than this.

Desirable? Hugely.
Practical? Not in the least.

Regardless of that, there’s an awy lot of folk out there who would want this new record breaker in their garage. The JCB’s unique, one-off GT has now been officially confirmed (by the Guinness Book of Records) as the fastest digger on earth.

At Bathurst in Oz last week, the fastest backhoe loader in the world became official with a speed of 72.58 mph (116.82km/h).

With a light weight steel chassis and JCB Fastrac tractor rear axle, the JCB GT was originally designed to do wheelies on drag strips in the USA. The ‘572 big block’ Chevrolet V8 produces around 1300hp, helped on its way by a reduced weight loader and digger made from aluminium and bodywork from fibreglass.

Now be honest, you really do want to, don’t you?