Clarkson, Hammond and May are coming to Poland!

Unfortunately, the title doesn’t mean that I really have a great news. Those three great presenters may come to Poland only through our imagination, so far, with a little help of Insignis Publishing House. There was a competition where you could win your personal copy of Richard Porter’s book signed by the Author. What you had to do was to prepare an outline of the screenplay, which might have encouraged the Amazon’s team to visit Poland. I won, so I would like to show my ideas to the readers around the world. So…let’s start:
Jeremy Clarkson stands by the Mercedes W124 or W201 and he stars his monologue:
Polish people are the new Germans.
No. Dear German People. It doesn’t mean that you should dispose your eastern neighbors to use your language while you are visiting them with the sounds of “The ride of the Valkyries” and MP40 rifle. What I want to say is the fact that polish workers are becoming the masters of the car production. If you like Opel go to Poland. Your car….”
Probably rolls of the production line there – Richard Hammond ends above sentence, while driving an Opel Astra. I would say more – Polish workers are giving the final quality for a few important German cars.
and even Italian too – James Mays adds while getting off the Fiat 500.
After this short conversation presenters receive orders from producers. James and Richard will visit the factory of FIAT in Tychy and Gliwice and they will become a new production line workers to find out the secret of the Polish quality. And Jeremy will set off on a long journey through Poland to complete two tasks. First one – he will try to find an answer to the question: why the land of the great car workers does not have its own strong car brand. Second one – he will choose the best car which will be adequate to the race against Abarth based on the FIAT 500 and Opel/Vauxhall Astra GTC OPC.
Jeremy’s journey starts in Wejherowo, where he can meet with the creators of the pre war CWS T1 replica. The toolset needed to repair the original CWS included just two tools: a screwdriver and a bilateral fork spanner.
After that Jeremy is going to the Automotive Museum in Warsaw (Filtrowa street) where he can watch the models form PRL period. He also meets there some people who work on the Polish supercar – Arrinera Hussarya. But finally he chooses other car to compete with Opel and FIAT – Syrena Meluzyna R
The place where the race is held is the Kielce Racing Track (Tor Kielce). Before the start, presenters watch the drift presented by Bartosz Ostałowski – the only drift racer in the world who can drive a car operating both steering wheel and pedals with his legs and Adam Zalewski, who was the master of the drift while he was 12 year old.
The contest between Jeremy, Richard and James is fierce, especially on the forest part of the track. After passing the race marshal at the finish line, they say some important things about the qualities of their cars. They are also surprised with what they see some meters further. The loop of the circuit doesn’t close. Unfortunately – drivers are still waiting for the bypass road which will help to continue the race and use the whole loop.
Well…it explains so much, if we think about the approach of the authorities towards the automotive culture – Jeremy concludes.






Motoendemics are the coolest thing in motoring

2008_Volkswagen_City_Golf

VW City Golf, Photo by Bull-Doser

Motoendemics are the coolest thing in motoring

Cars and motorbikes are something natural. So natural, that they seem to have replaced horses not only as means of transport but also as pets. As Walter Rohrl said “You can’t treat a car like a human being – a car needs love”.  Moreover, even if environmentalists would like to send us, gearheads for a psychiatric treatment, car and motorbike culture REALLY BEHAVES like nature.
Let’s remind ourselves that there are animals and plants that have one special place in the world. Koala, for example, lives only in Australia. Species like that are called endemic. Some cars, some motorbikes and even some forms of motorsport are also endemic, as their nature is the result of their environment. Only the US people could fall in love with racing on oval track. Only Japanese could invent kei cars. Only in Mexico and Brazil the original Volkswagen Beetle and its siblings could have been produced so long. Only in Brazil flex-fuel vehicles could have become so popular. Everybody knows that some people are fueled by ethylnene alcohol, but Brazilians use the precious liquid (alone or mixed with gasoline) to drive their vehicles. Why? Because they produce ethanol from sugarcane. A good example of motoendemic – the flex-fuel vehicles are ingrained in their habitat.
There are also some more Volkswagen curiosities, like the City Golf produced in Brazil and sold in Canada. The vehicle, like all the cars meant for US and Canadian market, had side-marker lights. A feature which is also motoendemic.
Volkswagen Gol (not Golf), which is produced in Brazil and sold in some countries of south and central America, may appear in dealerships next to the CrossFox. Yeah! They had supermini crossover before Europe got Peugeot 2008, Citroën C4 Cactus or Renault Captur!
Trabant and Polonez Caro that were outdated from the start, make the people in East Germany, Poland and some other places in central Europe feel the automotive versions of Ostalgie: Trabant-nostalgia, Polonez-nostalgia, Fiat 126p-nostalgia etc.
Fiat 126p is still popular in Poland as a race car. Just take a look at this event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmOCKZWvDZo

and this girl’s Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/petrolhead.girl/.

There are also some endemic things in the Motorcycle world. Only Italy with its love for scooters could have been such a good place for the idea of Mazdago to be reborn as Piaggio Ape. Events that resemble The Tourist Trophy are held in some more places in Great Britain, but the Isle of Man with its curvy roads and no-speed-limit-outside-towns culture is the greatest habitat for the greatest race.
Even the neutral Switzerland is very interesting as a place of work of the biggest eccentrics in the automotive world- Frank M. Rinderknecht from Rinspeed and Franco Sbarro. You may laugh at Rinspeed’s designs, yet the philosophy behind 2001′s concept Rone is very simmilar to what Ariel Atom and KTM X-Bow stand for.
And if you still aren’t convinced, that car spotters could hunt for rare motoendemics like Opel/Chevrolet Corsa B Wagon the same way as they hunt for supercars, then just look at a map of Italy and see where Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Paganis are manufactured. Ok, supercars are designed everywhere. From Great Britain (McLaren, Noble), through Sweden (Koenigsegg), Denmark (Zenvo), Poland (Arrinera) to Croatia (Rimac) and Lebanon (Lykan).

So, as the most important representatives of this segment are produced almost in the same place, maybe the supercars are also endemic somehow?

Andrzej Szczodrak






This means war!

SAM-HMMWV

Photo: Eurocopter

There were hopes, that autonomous vehicles would coexist with drivers. However, some days ago the Audible company (subsidiary of Amazon) opened the gate and the flames highlighted the “Lasciate ogni speranza” statement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHzzSao6ypE.

What does it mean? It means we are at culture war. What has to be stressed, is the fact that a culture war requires rejecting physical violence. If somebody uses such measures, he or she admits losing the war.
Sneer is the ultimate weapon. We need at least as much wits, as Jeremy Clarkson pitted against John Prescott. And if the high society of the IT industry stops Clarkson from speaking out for human driving (as he works for Amazon), we need to have new leaders.
The fight has to be bloodless, yet ruthless, as we are as different from these people as conservatives are different from liberals. We have to show the autonomous vehicle endorsers as screen-sucking zombies who treat “1984″ as a handbook, or they will stigmatize us as potential murderers.






Okay then, so what should Netflix do?


 

In the wake of the event that led the BBC to fire Jeremy Clarkson, Netflix tried to sign him and his two co-hosts , Richard Hammond and James May, who quit alongside Clarkson’s firing, but it lost the competition to Amazon. Now, although Netflix has a license for BBC’s Top Gear, some motoring enthusiasts may expect the company to create a show with Tiff Needell and Vicki Butler-Henderson from the cancelled Fifth Gear. Such a decision could be great for people who are really interested in cars and motorbikes.


But would a company like Netflix prepare a show aimed at motoring geeks? I’m afraid not. People watch Tiff Needell’s reviews to learn how good a car is but they switch to Clarkson to feel how cool would they be in the car. And in television we have a place where feelings are more important than knowledge.

Competition between the BBC and Amazon Prime will bring us emotions. Most of those emotions are associated with the question: can a motoring show can go any further than “Top Gear” made by the Great Trio and Andy Wilman. Can it?

Well, why not? But it may involve going one step further than having fun in the best new cars. Maybe we should explore automotive and motorcycle oddities in a more active way than the Fast N’ Loud: Demolition Theater.

Perhaps we could make presenters go to Russia and try to record their own Russian dashcam movie. It would also be nice to find a garage-made vehicle with the most controversial design. Tip: check out the Golba Violcar-S.

Okay, let’s go back to the best cars for a moment. Just to meet the TaxTheRich100 team.

But again: you don’t need extremely expensive vechicles. This Polish stunt driver stands on his head while riding a scooter:

And this reminds us that Sébastien Loeb started his sports career as a gymnast. How hard is it for gymnasts to learn motorcycle stunts? This question can make a nice movie.
As we talk about stunt driving, let’s try to reproduce Giorgi Tevzadze’s movies with professionals in simulated road traffic. It’s the only way to measure proportions between talent and madness in Georgi’s way of driving.

Oh, in some countries everyday traffic is like performing a stunt. Take a look at Indian roads:

And if such oddities are not enough, let’s collect some movies with the weirdest car or motorbike repairs and modifications. There are more people like this drifter-to-be who showed his welded differential:

http://www.wiocha.pl/317809,Chcial-sie-nauczyc-driftu

Unfortunately, many of these people don’t manage to make their vehicles utterly useless. Well, okay, my wish doesn’t concern bōsōzoku people, who do crazy, yet interesting things.

Italian film directors Gualtiero Jacopetti and Paolo Cavara made a documentary entitled Mondo Cane, showing odd human behaviour from all over the world. So, the motoring show based on a similar idea could be named “Moto Cane”.

Thanks to Clarkson, his colleagues and his followers, we have seen so much spectacular action with cars and motorbikes in TV. But again: can we go a step further? We Cane.

Andrzej Szczodrak






What “The Grand Tour” needs is The Wild Racing Champion

formula

The idea of The Stig is genius but it has one, almost unnoticeable, flaw.

The Stig is a tame racing driver (TM?).

Wait for a moment … tame?! Oh, come on. Just tell me, how being a tame can make a masked driver different from all the contemporary sportsmen.

The “Where Did It All Go Wrong Mr Best?” stories became rarer and rarer. Especially, do you know a driver who would be called “a modern James Hunt”?

Surroundings of racing also changed a lot. It’s forbidden to advertise cigarettes. It’s very difficult to advertise alcohol. Okay, smoking is unhealthy and you really should not drive under influence. But nobody forces you to buy and use things just because they are advertised. Rallies in the Group B era were full of tobacco and alcohol logos. Nowadays, health is promoted or actually … do you think that drinking some vermouth from time to time harms you more than using energy drinks on regular basis?

Moreover, rally and racing drivers are requested or even required to participate in FIA campaigns for road safety. While it’s really ok to convince people that they should hold the steering wheel properly and fasten their seatbelts, we also see the fastest drivers on Earth advocating current speed limits. While, in fact, they should advise road authorities on how to find the balance between speed and safety.

So, I would like “The Grand Tour” to use a character, who is going to be found in Argentinian jungle (because of his origin, he may be a little agressive towards his colleagues). The character can be named “Wild Racing Champion”. I use the word “racing” on purpose. Some years ago, it was more popular among drivers, to participate both in track races and rallies. So, the abbreviation “WRC” means, that our character doesn’t mind driving on gravel much more often than The Stig, while the word “racing” is a sign, that he is also a blast on the track.

Well, he can maintain traction as if he used a special glue, despite having gluten, glucose and cholesterol in his blood. Referencing the B Group era, full of alcohol and cigarette advertisement, he wears a racing suit with statements like “I love Coffee and Cigarettes” written on it. Asked to answer why, he will say, that the statement actually refers to Jim Jarmusch’s movie.

Yes, the Wild Racing Champion is able to speak. His PR Manager left his job after being compared to Oedipus the King. To put it simply, the poor PR manager has been called “a motherf…”.

After revealing that, I must finish my description of the Wild Racing Champion, as I have been bitten by some racer.

Now, I am going to a local karting track, hoping that the racer was radioactive.

Andrzej Szczodrak

 






Elon Musk’s secret strategy to be completed with the new Tesla model A6

After the premiere of the compact executive Model 3, Tesla Motors’ premium EVs range is almost complete. Our insider admits that Elon Musk’s automotive company intends to show just one more vehicle- the mid-size luxury sedan called “Tesla model A6″. Here is a short interview with our Tesla Motors insider (TMI):

TMI: Nobody noticed that we have deliberately chosen some names associated with established luxury automakers. The Model S was an obvious sign that we want to challenge Mercedes. Then, we made fun of Infiniti and their usage of “Q” and “X”. By the way, do you know, when will they get their QX-step remix of GLA?
Now, we would like to provoke BMW with our Model 3. We thought about some action to irritate Lexus, but we realised that we had already thrown the Toyota’s engine out of Lotus Elise. So only Audi is left, and we will soon make up for it. The Tesla model A6 is really going to make them nervous!

Motofiction: Oh, wait. What about Jaguar, Alfa Romeo and Acura?

TMI:  If they sue us, we will have to invent something…

Motofiction: Well, they may feel omitted after you unveil the real explanation of the TESLA acronym.

TMI: Yeah, it’s funny how people still believe in this fairy tale about Nikola Tesla!

 

TESLA- Trolling Every Single Luxury Automaker.






Whatever may happen to an enthusiast designed vehicle?

Ford Bronco B6G-6

Ford Bronco B6G-6

A car is something that happens to you after you bought a car idea. And, of course, it is the same with motorcycles.

I you buy music, you may have heard some of it before. But owning a vehicle is a something like a relationship. You fall in love with an angel and then you live with flesh and bone. Okay, the flesh and bone may sometimes be even more exciting than an angel.
However, before you can truly judge your vehicle’s reliablity and ride quality, you buy it because you like an idea. An idea of hot-hatch looking like an UFO or a station wagon going faster than most sporty-looking cars.
Theoretically speaking, car industry should get as close as possible to letting people imagine a vehicle and have it built.
Well, in modern car era two cases are widely known. Ben Pon, who drew a sketch of Volkswagen Type 2 on 23 april 1947 and Bob Hall, who, in late 1970s, proposed a roadster that became Miata.
If you wish that some company would build the car you dream about, you can achieve it by … inventing a time machine. The early years of an automobile were more open to your fantasies. You would just go to a coachbuilder and decide.
Now the automotive heaven is open for those who order cars like Rolls Royces and Bentleys.
But how about a group of not so well-off people wishing that some car would happen? Off-road coupé may be a good idea (All hail Mega Track!). So you may have contributed to the thing called the Rally Fighter. I would also love it, if it was created by a misfit who left some car company. Instead, the Rally Fighter is the first community designed car that is actually built. Great idea!
However, the company is called Local Motors, and we are also eager to see some Global Motors being inspired by a sole enthusiast or a community. And we get back to Ben Pon or Bob Hall, because we still wait for the “Bring back El Camino” story to have its happy end. Automotive journalists put pressure on carmakers, so that companies would listen to enthusiasts. So we greet the vision of 2020 Ford Bronco.
Although nowadays you can participate in a contest and have your favourite food company use your recipe, it’s still not so simple with cars. Companies grow bigger and bigger and they become more and more distant from us. Millenials, who like to be prosumers, don’t get a car culture movement they would identify with. A story of baby boomers who fell in love with pony cars should repeat itself.
Lets hope something interesting, like the forum-designed Bronco, really happens.
Otherwise millenials will stick to another social vehicle.
A bus.

By Andrzej Szczodrak










Information technology could be driver’s friend. Get the CNAC

We are being attacked by news about autonomous vehicles. When Google people show extremely dull way of thinking, we can be afraid, that the end of driving as we know it is near.

So, is the IT an enemy?

Not necessarily. While in English-speaking countries the term “computer science” is used, Germans, Polish people and some other nations have another words for it. “Informatik” or “informatyka” is a science concentrated on information processing (no matter if a computer is used).
“Automatik” is a practice of developing machines that perform predetermined (often programmed) sequences of jobs.
And that is the point: it is not information processing itself, that is going to destroy our fun of driving, it is the overuse of automation that will.
11th of April was Jeremy Clarkson’s birthday. We wait what will he do next, because he is a great entertainer, but … not only.
What we should remember, is his fight against John Prescott’s work. Jeremy Clarkson was, and is still able to be a great ombudsman of all gearheads. We may need him and his followers more than ever.
It may already be too late now, that the fight for proper IT usage in motoring is almost lost.

Notwithstanding, let’s try to name the idea that we should support

Information technology could make the world a beautiful place for people who love to drive.
Let’s take speed limits for example. Obeying them doesn’t really mean we have to advocate them. They are something like democracy according to Winston Churchill: “Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

Unconditional speed limit is an wrong way for ensuring road safety. Yet the mankind haven’t developed anything much better … yet.

We should get back to a notion called “safe speed”. In Poland, the term is promoted by rally and racing driver Sobiesław Zasada. Three-time European Rally Championship winner wrote a book entitled “Safe speed”, highlighting that a safe speed is dependent on the road conditions, car’s features (brakes, damping etc.) and driver’s abilities. While unconditional speed limit is static, the safe speed constantly changes.
But let’s imagine we have something that I would call CNAC- Connected Non-Autonomous Car. I name it like that, as such vehicle could help many people to discover their knack of driving.
Instead of automatically obeying an unconditional speed limit it … informs you about safe speed. Even if you are passing a school it shows something about 20 mph (32 kph) when the children start or finish their lessons, about 30 mph when most of them are occupied in school, and, yeah!, more on Sundays. Of course it’s just heuristic, and you aren’t in any way forced to maintain top safe speed. However, as the CNAC’s driver you are thoroughly informed about conditions that should influence your speed, gear selection and other decisions. Thank to GPS data the CNAC could even help you to choose safest trajectory in turns (yes, it is important also in everyday driving).
In an optimistic scenario, cars and motorbikes using such software could encourage more driver-friendly and rider-friendly law like more liberal speed limits. What is more important now, they can save us from the ban of human driven vehicles. The ban may be imposed due to the development of autonomous machines. Google’s autonomous Priuses, that are built to fit in current road traffic, are not an argument for such law. The decision, Elon Musk is talking about, may be taken because of machines that communicate with each other (and/or central server) to choose the right moment turning and the right speed. If there is no interface between them and human-driven vehicles, the latter will be banned.

The CNAC would not be something really new.

In fact it is just an enhancement of this framework or Car-to-X systems like AMULETT promoted by BMW. More solutions like that could fit very well in the Connected Drive framework.
Yes, as a journalist I should not favor any automotive company. I love Mercedes for the fact, that a kid from not-so-wealthy Poland can write to their Stuttgart headquarters and get a folder for her or his favorite three pointed star model. I have experienced this, and I will always remember. On the other hand, one of the cars I own is a BMW.
Now, there are those Mercedes concepts like F 015 Luxury and Future Truck 2025. It is hard not to see: they think that the future belongs to autonomous vehicles.
Let’s hope it is not. BMW as a Mercedes rival, and a company that has always promoted driving pleasure can and should concentrate on the other way.
No matter which company explores it, let’s hope the rest will follow.






Information technology could be driver’s friend. Get the CNAC

We are being attacked by news about autonomous vehicles. When Google people show extremely dull way of thinking, we can be afraid, that the end of driving as we know it is near.

So, is the IT an enemy?

Not necessarily. While in English-speaking countries the term “computer science” is used, Germans, Polish people and some other nations have another words for it. “Informatik” or “informatyka” is a science concentrated on information processing (no matter if a computer is used).
“Automatik” is a practice of developing machines that perform predetermined (often programmed) sequences of jobs.
And that is the point: it is not information processing itself, that is going to destroy our fun of driving, it is the overuse of automation that will.
11th of April was Jeremy Clarkson’s birthday. We wait what will he do next, because he is a great entertainer, but … not only.
What we should remember, is his fight against John Prescott’s work. Jeremy Clarkson was, and is still able to be a great ombudsman of all gearheads. We may need him and his followers more than ever.
It may already be too late now, that the fight for proper IT usage in motoring is almost lost.

Notwithstanding, let’s try to name the idea that we should support

Information technology could make the world a beautiful place for people who love to drive.
Let’s take speed limits for example. Obeying them doesn’t really mean we have to advocate them. They are something like democracy according to Winston Churchill: “Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

Unconditional speed limit is an wrong way for ensuring road safety. Yet the mankind haven’t developed anything much better … yet.

We should get back to a notion called “safe speed”. In Poland, the term is promoted by rally and racing driver Sobiesław Zasada. Three-time European Rally Championship winner wrote a book entitled “Safe speed”, highlighting that a safe speed is dependent on the road conditions, car’s features (brakes, damping etc.) and driver’s abilities. While unconditional speed limit is static, the safe speed constantly changes.
But let’s imagine we have something that I would call CNAC- Connected Non-Autonomous Car. I name it like that, as such vehicle could help many people to discover their knack of driving.
Instead of automatically obeying an unconditional speed limit it … informs you about safe speed. Even if you are passing a school it shows something about 20 mph (32 kph) when the children start or finish their lessons, about 30 mph when most of them are occupied in school, and, yeah!, more on Sundays. Of course it’s just heuristic, and you aren’t in any way forced to maintain top safe speed. However, as the CNAC’s driver you are thoroughly informed about conditions that should influence your speed, gear selection and other decisions. Thank to GPS data the CNAC could even help you to choose safest trajectory in turns (yes, it is important also in everyday driving).
In an optimistic scenario, cars and motorbikes using such software could encourage more driver-friendly and rider-friendly law like more liberal speed limits. What is more important now, they can save us from the ban of human driven vehicles. The ban may be imposed due to the development of autonomous machines. Google’s autonomous Priuses, that are built to fit in current road traffic, are not an argument for such law. The decision, Elon Musk is talking about, may be taken because of machines that communicate with each other (and/or central server) to choose the right moment turning and the right speed. If there is no interface between them and human-driven vehicles, the latter will be banned.

The CNAC would not be something really new.

In fact it is just an enhancement of this framework or Car-to-X systems like AMULETT promoted by BMW. More solutions like that could fit very well in the Connected Drive framework.
Yes, as a journalist I should not favor any automotive company. I love Mercedes for the fact, that a kid from not-so-wealthy Poland can write to their Stuttgart headquarters and get a folder for her or his favorite three pointed star model. I have experienced this, and I will always remember. On the other hand, one of the cars I own is a BMW.
Now, there are those Mercedes concepts like F 015 Luxury and Future Truck 2025. It is hard not to see: they think that the future belongs to autonomous vehicles.
Let’s hope it is not. BMW as a Mercedes rival, and a company that has always promoted driving pleasure can and should concentrate on the other way.
No matter which company explores it, let’s hope the rest will follow.