Thursday 30 September 2021

Road - Rolls-Royce

Just thought you might be interested in this, I was intrigued. Apparently Rolls Royce Motor Cars is about to commence on-road testing of its first fully electric motor car.


Chief Executive Officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, said: "This is not a prototype. It’s the real thing, it will be tested in plain sight and our clients will take first deliveries of the car in the fourth quarter of 2023.”


He then added: “The use of electric motors is not a new concept for Rolls-Royce. Sir Henry Royce's first venture was in the creation of dynamos, electric crane motors and he patented the bayonet-style light bulb fitting."


“However, it was Charles Rolls who prophesied an electrified future for automobiles. In April 1900 he experienced an early electric motor car named the Columbia and declared its electric drive to be ideal saying, 'The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for now, I do not anticipate that they will be very serviceable – at least for many years to come'."


The company has also come up with a new name for the car, but it has nothing to do with all the kerfuffle around the latest James Bond film, but has more in keeping with past RR model names like Phantom, Ghost and Wraith. It will be called 'Spectre'.


I also liked the 'ghostly' signwriting on the launch machine. Quite fitting given the name, and the message is also quite rousing.


Anyway I just thought it quite remarkable that he highlighted the issue of 'fixed charging stations' way back then.


Nothing's changed, eh?

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Rally - Mull Preview

There's a short Preview and the Full Entry list in the on-line mag, see link below. Sadly there will be no 'Mull Murmurs' posted on social media this year throughout the event although 'Motorsport News' has promised a full two page spread in the newspaper after the rally.

The photo? Mull is not just about winners, it's about taking part, and now that his Subaru has passed (staggered through?) its MoT, the shy and retiring Shug 'Uncle Shooey' Steel is raring to go,  but don't let any weans near him or allow them to ask for his autograph unless they're wearing ear defenders!

The boot sticker was applied by the very kind and courteous staff at Larkhall's Autopoint without Shug's knowledge!

As the preview says, Mull is not just about winning, it's about making memories.


Monday 27 September 2021

Rally - Beatson's Mull weekend

A wee bit of sad news, for some perhaps, but I've just been informed by my big pal Jaggy that he's not going to Mull next week for the Beatson's Mull Rally, so I'm not going either. Hope it all goes well and everyone stays safe. And if anyone is passing the cairn at the top of Dervaig, by all means stop and have a quiet word with Brian. He'll like that.


Rally - Galloway Class Roundup

Goodness gracious, hasn't Claire grown?!! 

Anyway, that's the Class Roundup from the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally in the mag now, and yes, it's later than I would have liked, but the 'day job' has been awfy busy of late! Things are still a bit hectic and there's no let up in sight with Arbroath last weekend, the Carlisle Stages and Mull coming up, plus the Cheviot, a small event at Kames and Crail is not far away. Phew. And just a few weeks back we were wondering where all the rallies were.

Saturday 25 September 2021

Rally - Inglis wins Arbroath Stages

Alistair ‘The Elder’ Inglis won  to-day’s Arbroath Stages Rally at a canter from Greg ‘The Younger’ Inglis. With service crew turned co-driver David Coutts, the Inglis Ford Fiesta R5 finished the 40 stage mile event 24 seconds clear of t’other Inglis in his Lotus Exige with Ian Parker on the notes.

Completing the podium line-up was Dick Dastardly stunt double, ‘Dangerous Des’ Campbell putting in a storming drive in his Peugeot 206 with Craig Forsyth. There was nothing James Gibb and Charley Sayer Payne could do to reel in Campbell despite their efforts in the glorious sounding BMW E30.

On only their third ever rally, Stephen Sawley and Rob Johnson were 5th in their Ford Escort Mk2 beating the Historic spec Escort Mk2 of Richard Wheeler and Martin McCabe rounding off the top six.

Scott McCombie was on course for a possible top three finish till a puncture cost him over a minute and Ross Auld was well up for the fight till suspected head gasket failure on the penultimate stage. Drew Barker cowped the Corsa when a front wheel dug into a hole but he and Shona Hale were OK although Shona bruised her right elbow – the one she uses to dig Drew in the ribs when he needs a ticking off!

Archie Swinscoe and Barry Young won the Junior 1000 Rally by 26 seconds from Tom Johnstone and Ian McRae both crews in Skoda Citigos.

There will be a report and photo in next week’s ‘Motorsport News’ and a more detailed report after that in the ‘jaggybunnet’ on-line mag.

Friday 24 September 2021

Rally - Arbroath Rally Entry List

Full entry list for Saturday's (25th) Arbroath Stages Rally now in the on-line mag. Alistair Inglis heads the list for this closed venue, non spectator event, in his Ford Fiesta R5. There will be a report in next week's 'Motorsport News' followed by a more extensive report in '' shortly after that.

Thursday 23 September 2021

Road - Ineos Grenadier

Like most of you I only know what I've read in the press about this brand new vehicle so it was with some scepticism that I attended yesterday's presentation. Some of the press reporting so far has been sensational, sceptical, even derogatory whilst some has been supportive and informative. On a personal basis? I was impressed, and I like it.

The team make no apologies for its styling, having drawn on Defender, G-Wagon and Jeep for ideas and inspiration. The result is a creation that will appeal to those who want a traditional looking vehicle that is not entirely dependent on electronics and software. What they've designed and built is an extremely practical, functional and adaptable 4x4 vehicle with go-anywhere ability.

There were three vehicles there yesterday, two prototypes for demonstration and one static vehicle which will be pretty close to the final customer offer. The bodywork and drivetrain is more or less finalised whilst the interior still needs some tweaks but is almost there. As an exercise, this pre-launch presentation was indeed worthwhile and the feedback the team gets from it will no doubt help to finalise the spec.

On the basis that these were purely prototypes there were still some parts which were not quite finished. For instance the Hi-Lo range selector was milled from a solid billet of aluminium (I wasn't allowed to take pics!) but by goad it looked guid! Both the test driver and myself agreed it looked just the dog's b*ll*cks. The same with the grab handles, they were solid lumps of milled alloy with a knurled finish which felt just so good to grip but wouldn't be allowed under Euro NCAP safety rules - more's the pity.

Some parts of the dash were non functional having been made by a 3d printer but it showed the thinking. There is a vertical control panel in the middle of the dash complemented by a centrally mounted switch panel on the roof. The seats are made from a washable but soft and comfortable material and the Commercial versions of the vehicle will come with rubber mats and floor bungs to let the water out after an internal hosedown!

The rear backs fold down but not flat to the floor although the floor behind the rear seat can accommodate a standard metric pallet, hence the asymmetrical rear doors as opposed to a tailgate.

Unlike other vehicles of this ilk, there is bags of head, shoulder and leg room so there's little chance of accidentally impregnating a passenger. Both front seat occupants can keep a safe distance!

The steel and galvanised steel body is bolted to a ladder frame and suspended on coil springs with beefy (so they don't overheat) specially designed shock absorbers. Power comes from a 3 litre straight six BMW turbo petrol, or turbo diesel with an 8 speed auto 'box with sequential shift over-ride. And it's got a manual cable operated handbrake on the rear wheels.

Anyway, I had a good session with one of the chief development engineers (and ardent rally fan) who explained what was still to be done. At present the wheelbase is 116 inches although that may yet change slightly, and the track has yet to be determined. But really, at this stage is all just detail stuff to be finally decided.

On the question of where it will be built, much has already been said, including quite a lot by folk with more opinions than facts. Apparently the deal to buy the factory in Wales was on the point of being signed when there was a hiccup. I don't know what went wrong and I expect few outside the company know either, but the decision was then made to buy a factory in Moselle, France at Hambach.

This was a Mercedes-Benz facility employing some 3,000 workers and was building Smart cars. As part of the deal, Ineos will continue to build Smarts there and produce other ancillary M-B parts.

That means the plant will continue to operate as a vehicle building concern and gradually assume the build of the Grenadier working up to a planned 6,000 units per year. It may not be a popular move, but it was certainly astute as the fledgling company has gained a modern, working factory already up and running with trained staff on site.

The price hasn't been finalised yet either, but the target is around £40,000 plus VAT. That's not bad for a solid, well built, non squeaky, non rattly, non draughty, all terrain machine and the ride quality ain't half bad! It'll do for me.

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Road - looks familiar?

 It's not a copy or a resurrection despite its similarity to a previously well-known and cherished icon. It is in fact a brand new vehicle from the ground up. LR said they couldn't make the old Defender conform to Euro safety legislation requirements, but it looks as though someone else could, and has done, although it required a complete redesign.

The vehicle is still very much in the prototype stage but today's presentation was very welcome and shows what it will look like when it goes on sale late next year.

Although there was no extreme off roading here, there were a few testing climbs and descents. Very impressive. I liked it, I'll write more shortly. And, yes it does pass the dead sheep test.

Monday 20 September 2021

Rally - Galloway Hills report

That's the main report from the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally now in the on-line mag, plus a list of the top ten fastest times through each stage. Class roundup to come but will be further delayed as there is yet another important job to be done.

After last year's subdued on-line event, this year's 'Scottish Car of the Year Awards' will return to its glitzy and glamorous best in November and there are cars to be driven and appraised!

That means a trip to foreign shores, or Englandia to be more precise, where a glittering line-up of shiny new metal has been arranged. A rush job, but still requiring a meticulous, fastidious and pernickety approach. Know anyone who matches that description?

It's a hard life, eh?

Saturday 18 September 2021

Rally - Arbroath Stages

Entries for next Saturday's Arbroath Stages Rally close today and will mark the halfway point in this year's Covid blighted six round Scottish Tarmack Championship series, or seven round series if you count Mach 1's two day double points extravaganza!

Anyway, following the recent event at Warcop, Kyle Adam has a one point lead over Jamie Millar with Alistair Inglis in 3rd place, and this despite Alistair's troubles at Warcop which resulted in him finishing dead last! Given the class based points scoring structure on this national series he still earned enough points to keep himself in the top three places overall.

There's four rounds still to go with next week's Arbroath Stages, Mull in October and both Crail and Milltown in November, so there's still bags of points to be had if you have a car sitting idle in the garage.


Wednesday 15 September 2021

Road - Silly me!

Spotted this last night when looking for a high speed electric vehicle charger for my current press appraisal car. I didn't realise Mitsubishi were selling electric pickup trucks in this country, but there must be an awfy big battery in this rascal, it's taking up two charging bays. However, the driver must be new to this electric charging thing because I noticed that he hadn't plugged it in. Perhaps he was just in a hurry and forgot, and there was I thinking he was just a selfish, lazy, ignorant twat.

Seriously, the guy was parked there for over an hour and a half cos he was there when I arrived and emerged from the fitness gym just across the road as I was leaving.

Just another example of the problems facing electric vehicle drivers looking for public charging points. In this case, he had chosen (deliberately?) to park across two high speed charging bays and not the low power charging options behind them. Grrrrr!