Archive for November, 2009
When I say the Italian Job, most people think of Michael Cain, Mini’s and some breathtaking Italian scenery… Well this Italian Job has two thirds of those, it is a Mini car rally raising money for children’s charities. This Italian Job is a 10 day navigation time trial through various Italian cities that are featured in the film of the same name (original not the 2003 remake). The event has been running for 20 years and has raised well over £20 million for children’s charity KidsOut.
The 2009 Italian Job event saw over 200 Mini drivers and navigators, one of which was an Adrian Flux customer, Anthony Suckling, accompanied by his son and the Mini’s owner James. In return for sponsorship, the Mini was branded up with Adrian Flux stickers which you’ll be able to see below…
Anthony and James managed to raise a brilliant £2500 for KidsOut and came 13th out of 60 in the navigation rally, in their first attempt at the event. The 2009 rally managed to raise between £200,000 and £250,000. Anthony also told us that this provided many ‘money-can’t-buy’ moments, like driving around the old banked track at Monza.
The website says that ‘The event gives the opportunity to make new friends, explore new places and improve your driving/navigational skills. It’s about visiting off the beaten track places in your fantastic Minis and of course it’s a fun way to raise money for a really good cause!’
So I suggest if you have an old Mini and a spare couple of weeks in late October, you should really give this rally a go!
It’s been in the news today that technology that will enable cars to travel in a ‘road train’, driving themselves. An EU project called SATRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) are set to develop and test a way of having up to eight vehicles travel together in a ‘platoon’.
The platoon is controlled autonomously by a professional driver in the lead car, who will monitor the status of the road train. This will allow the driver to take their hands off the wheel, so they can read, watch tele or use the phone. The road trains will be active, so drivers can join and leave whenever they want. If a driver wants to leave the train, they signal their intention to the lead driver and a bigger gap will be made to allow the car to leave.
SATRE are hoping this will be fairly inexpensive, vehicles will need to be equipped with a navigation system and a transmitter/receiver that will communicate with the lead vehicle, there will also need to be sensors linking up all the motorways. Road Trains are hoped to cut fuel consumption by up to 20%, journey times, congestion and reduce the amount of accidents.
Although the scrappage scheme is mainly a good thing, people are buying new cars, there’s plenty of scrap metal around… One problem is that I can see a lot of nice cars, and potential classics being scrapped in favour of shiny new models. I had a trawl through a certain well known private car selling site and looked for any cars I could buy for under £2000, the minimum you’ll get on a scrappage deal. Here is a list of some of my favourite findings that could be in serious danger of becoming scrap metal:
1997 Alfa Romeo Spider ConvertibleThis car is simply beautiful! It has gorgeous curves, a good interior and a very reasonable 2.0 L engine with close to 150hp… and best of all, unlike the Alfa’s you can buy today, the number plate is in a conventional and better looking place!
1996 Fiat Coupé
A stylish Italian sports coupé with a curvy body and a stylish Pininfarina interior, still looking great 16 years after its introduction. Power is very respectable throughout the range, with the top 2.0 L 20V turbo version excelling to a massive 220hp.
1991 Jaguar XJS
A great Jaguar despite being overshadowed by it’s predecessor, the E-Type and it’s successor, the XK8. It has a smooth flowing body, and the typical mix of wood and leather interior typical of a Jag. Although sales struggled initially, it has become ever more popular with age and has matured like a fine wine. Although the economy is poor to say the least, about 10mpg in the earlier models, this car should be treasured.
1998 Rover Mini
There isn’t really much to say about saving the Rover Mini. This is one of the greatest stories in British engineering and it is sad to see the Mini being scrapped. A similar scheme in Italy saw thousands of Innocenti Mini’s being scrapped, we’ve got to hope that doesn’t happen here!
1990 BMW 3 Series (E30)
This is one of my favourites from the list, I love the E30. Altough there were plenty of E36‘s and a few E46‘s for under 2k, but I would be very sad if this car was scrapped. The M3 E30 is the real classic and anyone that scraps one of the those should be strung up, these great looking 3-Series also deserve to be savoured.
1992 Mitsubishi GTO
The GTO is a technically advanced Japanese sports coupe, and was created to rival the Nissan Skyline, Mazda RX-7 and Toyota Supra. With a 3.0 L V6 with 290hp in top spec and all-wheel drive, this car is undeniably fun. I would have thought that the only way this car would be scrapped is because it was wrapped around a tree, but there were loads of GTO’s available for less than the 2k mark, sad isn’t it?
1996 Mazda MX-5
My last choice is the MX-5, for simple reasons. It’s fun, nippy, cheap to run and you can even feel the wind in your hair! A real contender to be a true classic in years to come, unless of course they all get turned into little metal cubes like that poor little car in the advert!
Feel free to give me some of your suggestions…