Archive for April, 2010

Bus, Camera, Bollard – Ouch

It’s Friday afternoon, so what better way to end the week than watching a couple of videos of totally idiotic drivers wrecking their cars through their own impatience, stupidity and inability to read road signs. We’ve featured the Manchester bollards before, as, since then, has every Police video show on TV, but some new ones have come to our attention.

I found myself wondering whether the lads who abandoned their ride in the first smash were in legitimate possession of the vehicle. They certainly made a sharp exit. And looking and the lake of oil that spilled out of the Cayenne you can only imagine the duration of the sharp intake of breath from the Porsche garage. I suspect the financial pain may hurt more than the impact.
I suspect this one did hurt a lot more, though – this is your archetypal crash, with smashed bumpers, water, steam and smoke pouring out of every orifice. Notice how the Mancunian passers-by are so used to this now, that the majority of them calmly cross the road behind the wrecked motor.

After witnessing the immediate aftermath of a high-speed head-on collision between a BMW and truck, earlier this week, in which, thankfully, no-one was seriously injured, despite the BMW being smashed to bits and not inconsiderable damage to the lorry, I was amazed and humbled at the achievements of automotive engineers who have shielded us in protective features. It is worth stopping for a moment in appreciation of the huge amount of safety equipment in cars these days, helping to protect us from our errors.
It’s just a shame these donuts need a bollard to stop them doing something stupid.

Tram vs. Car

Lego Bugatti Veyron

Lego Bugatti Veyron by SheepoI wonder if you saw the recent-ish post on the Adrian Flux car magazine blog, Influx, about the amazing Ferrari 250 GTO built in Lego by Ming Thien?
Well it was only a matter of time before someone upped the ante, and what could possibly be more desirable than one of the greatest ever Ferraris? Why the world’s most expensive production car, of course, so step forward the Lego Veyron.
And, as reported on Gizmodo, the car goes beyond making a good fist of capturing the lines of the legendary hypercar. In fact, the Lego engineering recreates many of the trademark features of the Veyron, including the retractable spoiler and air-brake and working, fully independent suspension. The whole car is radio controlled, and it features a working 7-speed sequential gearbox. No wait, that’s 7 plus reverse. Here, see for yourself:

There’s no word as yet as to whether genius creator Sheepo HL, has a girlfriend, or indeed any kind of social life, and we can only guess how long it takes to build these kind of mental Lego Technic skills. You can check out more of the car’s features here and see how Sheepo managed to include a feature that even the real Veyron couldn’t manage.

A Trip to the Bubble Car Museum

On the last Saturday in March, I decided to take the kids down the A17 to the Newark Air Museum. Like most boys, my children are obsessed by anything with a motor, so on the way we decided to stop off at the Bubble Car Museum, which is just off the A17 at a place called Byards Leap, between Sleaford and Newark.

So many car collections are obsessed with the rarest, the biggest, the fastest and the flashest, that it is nice to know that the less spectacular and glamourous cars of this world have a loyal band of enthusiasts that are able to keep alive the memory and share the reality with the next generations. And at the Bubble Car Museum they really do share the whole experience – on certain days they even let you pootle around the grounds in some of the exhibits – they don’t let you do that at Beaulieu!

Bubble cars are so evocative of the 50s and 60s, and such a rare sight on our roads these days, that it is easy to think that they are unimportant in the modern world, but as environmental concerns, fuel economy and a rising number of empty nesters and single young people, tiny cars are making a comeback, witness the Smart, iQ, i10 or G-Wiz among others. You’ll find their ancient microcar ancestors – Bonds, Heinkels, Reliants, Messerschmitts and Trojans – in abundance at the museum, along with thoughtfully constructed dioramas recreating a more innocent age of motoring.

There are some fascinating and iconic vehicles on display, including a BMW Isetta, an Enfield Electric, and the Bond Bug, as well as classic scooters, like the Trojan and Zuendapp, which had such a strong influence on the beginnings of the Bubble Car period.

I can’t recommend it highly enough, particularly if you want somewhere more interesting than a Little Chef to break a long journey which involves the A17. The volunteers who run it outnumbered the visitors when I visited and their obvious passion for motors is even evidenced along the driveway, with a fascinating menagerie of retro cars in various states of restoration, including a BX GTi, a Matra Simca and a really old Volvo!

How to get there

Byards (or Bayard’s) Leap is named after a local horse of Lincolnshire legend and is kind of hard to find. You need to look for the turning for the B6403, just west of Cranwell, take this road, then immediately double back on yourself past a BMW garage and a Café and continue right back towards the A17 down a driveway. Here’s a map.

Entry is ridiculously cheap, really, only £2.50 for adults, children 75p and under 5s free.

They also have a small cafe serving hot and cold drinks and snacks.
Visit the Bubble Car Museum website for more. And I surely don’t have to suggest where to get bubble car insurance