Silly Long Car Names that Really could have been Shorter but they aren’t

Some cars have striking model names, others have boring ones and many just have names so that you know who makes them. However, with so many different versions of the same cars, automakers have had to give some of their higher-end models longer names to differentiate them from the lower trim models. As a result, the names of these cars can be tediously long.

Mercedes Benz AMG GT63S 4-Door 4MATIC+ First Edition

We start with the Germans and as stated, this is the First Edition of the AMG GT63S 4-Door. Ridiculous name aside, it was the most powerful car AMG has ever made – that was, until the new GT Black Series and GT63S E Performance.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid

Sticking with the Germans, this is the most powerful version of what is essentially a Panamera estate. It is incredibly pretty and ridiculously fast. Also ludicrously expensive – but not as expensive as the Taycan Sport Turismo Turbo S (Turbo even though it’s an electric car).

Land Rover Range Rover Velar Special Vehicle Operations Autobiography Dynamic Edition

This is an even more boring name that I find unnecessarily long. Why not just call it the Range Rover Velar SVR like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR? That’s what it is. Silly Brits.

Bentley Continental Grand Touring Convertible Number 1 Edition by Mulliner

This is pretty self-explanatory as it’s a Continental GTC First Edition that has been luxurified by Mulliner. Still a mouthful to say.

Chevrolet Camaro Z28 International Race of Champions-Z

Yes, this is the Z28 IROC-Z. No I didn’t know IROC-Z stood for that either. Funny enough, the ‘Z’ doesn’t actually mean anything. It was a placeholder that went into production with the Camaro Z28. Weird.

BMW Individual M760i xDrive Model V12 Excellence THE NEXT 100 YEARS

Uhmmm, ja. It’s an Individual version of BMW’s M760i with their ‘Looking to the Future’ words in it. Sounds like Jeremy Clarkson was in charge of the naming.

Audi R8 V10 Plus Audi Sport Performance Parts R8 Edition

So an R8 with performance parts. Why not just call it – oh, I don’t know – an R8 Performance? Looks menacing though.

Nissan Skyline R34 Gran Turismo Racing Victory Specification II Nurburgring Edition

Another one I learned the proper name of. It’s an R34 GT-R V-Spec II. Thank you Gran Turismo 4.

Subaru Impreza World Rally Cross Subaru Technica International Specification-Custom Record Attempt-Racing

Say that fast three times… It’s the WRX STi-C RA-R. Apparently it’s the ultimate Impreza.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Grand Sport Rally Tommi Mäkinen Edition

Also pretty straight-forward. It is a Lancer Evo tribute to Tommi Mäkinen. It also comes with one of the coolest liveries of any production car. EVER!

Duesenberg Model Supercharged J LaGrande Dual-Cowl Phaeton

Ok, this one just sounds brilliant. I have no idea what a ‘Dual-Cowl Phaeton’ is, but it’s awesome! Beautiful car as well.

Then we get to the people who come up with the most flamboyantly dramatic names – the Italians.

Lancia Delta High-Fidelity Integrale Evoluzione II Collezione Edizione Finale

Yes, one of the greatest hot-hatches ever has a very long, VERY Italian name. Awesome!

Lamborghini Aventador Longitudinale Posteriore 770-4 Super Veloce Jota Roadster

I’m taking liberty with the LP bit, but only because it sounds really cool when you say it like that. Also, this is the Lamborghini with possibly the most wings and inlets in its history. Expensive as well.

And finally, my favourite ridiculously long car name of all.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde Gran Turismo Allerggerita Modificata

It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Most people just call it the Guilia GTAm. It is a beautiful car. If someone puts this and a BMW M3 Competition in-front of me and make me choose one, I would have to think long and hard… and then take the keys with the snake on it. I mean, come on – that is the best sounding V6 on sale and it comes standard with an Akrapovic exhaust! It sounds amazing!

And finally, the longest car name in the world. Drum roll please…

Infinity.

Cheap shot, I know.

Help stop the hate – adopt a V8!

©2021 Michael De Kock 

Michael de Kock is a blogger, because he likes it, a Psychology graduate, because he thought it’d be interesting (so many essays) and is busy doing a National Certificate in Motor Mechanics to get more skilled, as he struggles to get a job in this day and age in this country.

In the meantime, why not help him with paying the bills by buying his new book?

125 Writing Prompts for Petrolheads. Now available on Amazon Kindle – https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh.

My Favourite Movie Cars

Prologue

Human actors aren’t the only stars when it comes to movies and TV-series. Sometimes they can be overshadowed by machines – not androids or robots, but heart-warming, engine-revving automobiles with beauty and style and flair. So here are some of my favourite ‘caractors’. . .

Vans

My first favourite is the 1963 Ford Ecoline Van, which doesn’t sound very exciting, but is also called The Mystery Machine – which sounds much more exciting. Yes, the psychedelic blue and green van from Scooby Doo is one of the most famous film/TV vehicles around and if you ever see one, tell the girl in the orange jersey and glasses that it was probably the theme park owner who did it.

Another famous storage container on wheels is the Chevy Van, driven by the angriest man in the world – Bosco “B.A” Baracus. It is of course the A-Team van with its iconic red stripe running along the side. It is awesome and usually my go-to paintjob for any van I own in racing games.

Ghostbusters

Probably the most famous station-wagon in the film world is the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, also known as the ECTO-1. If you don’t recognise the name – it’s the car from Ghostbusters (the original two movies, not the 2016 remake). It is set to appear in the new Ghostbusters film, which will apparently ignore the last movie, if movie leaks can be trusted.

Charger and Gran Torino

Another awesome movie car is the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T (the General Lee) from The Dukes of Hazzard. It is one of the coolest muscle cars ever and the stunts done with it were just ridiculous! The stunt team totalled quite a few Chargers. Speaking of muscle cars – what about the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky & Hutch? Much like with the General Lee, its iconic paintjob makes it instantly recognisable with movie fans.

Ferraris

One of the most expensive cars to star in a movie is the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I had a miniature petrolhead panic attack when it went through the garage window and plummeted the few meters towards the ground. Luckily, it was a fake built for the movie, but it sold for nearly $400k! It’s still a few million short of the price for the real thing, but coughing up that much for a fake is quite preposterous.

Another famous Ferrari is that of the Hawaii-based ex-navy-veteran-turned-private investigator, Magnum PI, played by Tom Selleck. The series ran for eight seasons and each season saw a new version of the Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS. It is an awesome car and one of my favourite Ferraris with its manual V8 and Targa top roof.

Mad Max

Who can forget the sheer awesomeness that was Mad Max? The movies forever immortalised the Aussie Ford Falcon XB GT as the ‘Pursuit Special’. It was modified to look post-apocalyptic-y with its faded black paint and fake supercharger on the front. (The supercharger was functional for Mad Max 2 and Fury Road.)

For the 2015 film, as many practical effects as possible were used, meaning that most of the vehicles seen in the movie are real – from the War Rig driven by Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, to the Doof Wagon with all the speakers, and the man with a guitar-flamethrower-thingy hanging from a stretchy rope, to my favourite vehicle in the movie – The Gigahorse. It’s essentially a Cadillac El Dorado sandwich with two V8s as the cheese and some plumbing as the mayonnaise. I love it!

Fast & Furious

I will not be able to name all the various Fast & Furious cars, but I’ll give it a try: Brian’s Toyota Supra, Dom’s Dodge Charger (any of them), Han’s Mazda RX-7, Letty’s Jensen Interceptor, Jesse’s VW Jetta, Brian’s R34 Skyline GT-R, Brian’s Mitsubishi Eclipse, Letty’s Dodge Challenger, a Lamborghini Murcielago SV, a Honda S2000, the Koenigsegg CCX, the heist Dodge Chargers with the scaffolding on the back, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, the Ford F150 SVT Lightning, the three Honda Civics, those two weird ramp cars, the Plymouth Superbird/Dodge Charger Daytona, the Ford Escort RS1800, the Ford Mustang Boss 429, the Aston Martin DB9, a Lexus LFA and many, many more.

Quite honestly, I have given up on the Fast & Furious franchise, because it had become less about the cars and more about doing increasingly outrageous and far-fetched stunts from badly written storylines – and it has become less enjoyable over time. I enjoyed the movies up until the runway scene in FF6. After that, it just got silly – and not Leslie Nielsen-silly either.

When I saw Dom “The most important thing is family” Toretto Spidermanning a Ford Mustang GT500 between some cliffs in the F9 trailer, I decided that I’m done with the franchise. Jumping a W Motors Lykan Hypersport between buildings (which has been proven to be impossible) was silly enough, but this was just stupid. I will watch F9 though, because Helen Mirren power sliding a purple Noble M600 is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

FAB-1

Whilst not entirely a real car, Lady Penelope’s FAB-1 from Thunderbirds also makes this list, because I was in love and obsessed with it after I saw the 2004 movie. It used a Ford Thunderbird (wink-wink) as inspiration, but it also had wings, a jet engine and hydrofoils. It was the coolest car of my childhood and I even liked it in pink. I used to draw the FAB-1 with various extra modifications to make it even cooler. Plus Parker was an awesome valet. Ah, the nostalgia…

The Italian Job

Probably the most famous cinematic use of the Mini Cooper, occurs in The Italian Job movies and are enjoyable to watch. The 1969 movie is incredibly long-drawn-out, as movies were in those days, but it is still makes for good entertainment. The 2003 version was just used to drive up sales of the new Mini Cooper, but it was still a good movie with lots of car chases, explosions and funny quips.

Batman

Then we get to the world of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has had quite a few awesome cars throughout the years. The coolest being the 1989 Batmobile with Michael Keaton at the wheel – the beautiful curves and jet exhaust protruding out the back and the bat wings on the rear haunches like a 1950s Cadillac. It’s such a cool car! Another favourite is the Tumbler from 2005’s Batman Begins. It is literally a tank with a motorbike coming out the front. How cool is that?!

I’m not a fan of the Justice League Batmobile as it’s too fantasy-like and too physics-ignoring. I am, however, excited for the new one with Robert Pattinson, because the new Batmobile reminds me of the Quadra Type-66 ‘Cthulhu’ muscle car from Cyberpunk 2077.

Herbie

Herbie – everyone’s favourite (slightly disturbing) sentient Beetle! Yes, this racing liveried VW Beetle is probably the most famous ‘Bug’ in cinema. From doing rally stages in the 1970s and going bananas to NASCAR racing with Lindsey Lohan at the wheel, it has had quite a colourful film history. I just have a few questions though: Why is Herbie the only sentient car in his universe? Why does he make noises? WHY IS HE A BEETLE?! I NEED ANSWERS!

Cars

There are very few animation films that I wholeheartedly enjoy. The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Shrek 2, WALL-E… That’s about it. However, in the not too long ago year of 2006, an animation movie was released that spoke to my inner petrolhead heart. That movie was Cars. I mean, come on. CARS! I watched that movie over and over and over and over. It is my favourite animated movie and will probably forever be.

The story, the characters and the setting are just perfect. I still love it! And apart from Mater, my favourite caractor is Doc Hudson, the legendary Fabulous Hudson Hornet, a car with a brilliant racing history, with its revolutionary low centre of mass. It is one of the most famous race cars in the motoring world.

Then Cars 2 came out, and it was about Mater and had spies in it! Even better! James Bond in animated car form! How utterly cool and petrolheady is that?! And there was even a big Navy boat in it! My only question still is: Why are taxis and busses a thing? Who rides in them in a car world? Trains and plains, sure – you can get in them if you are a car, but not taxis or busses. The physics of the Cars dimension still elude me.

When Cars 3 came out, I wasn’t all that impressed with either the movie or the cars featuring in it, except for one of the new caractors, which is an almost BMW CS Vintage Concept look alike. The storyline is boring, the ending you could see from a mile away and characters have about as much emotion as actual cars. It had child-friendly moonshiners and a tedious NASCAR history lesson in it. (As if NASCAR isn’t monotonous enough with everyone just continuously turning left for 500 laps.)

Mustangs

The Ford Mustang has been a staple of American Muscle since its introduction in 1964. In 1968, it became immortalised by Steve McQueen in his action movie Bullitt, where a dark green Fastback has a chase scene with a Dodge Charger R/T. It is such a famous car that people have tried to recreate it with each generation of Mustang – so much so that Ford themselves decided to make an anniversary edition with the 2020 version, the Mustang Bullitt, that I lust after. Plus, it is the only newish Mustang you can get in South Africa, which comes with a manual transmission, other than the new Mach 1.

Another ‘Stang that people keep trying to recreate is one known as Eleanor and is from the newer Gone in 60 Seconds, released in 2000. It was designed by the famous Chip Foose and, I must say, whilst it is a cool car – I have become bored with it. In every car game people try to replicate it with varying success and it is just annoying.

However, my favourite movie Mustang is the green/grey one from the first John Wick. It is a Mach 1 rebadged as a Boss 429 for the movie. It is an awesome car and the 1969 Mustang is without a doubt the best looking Mustang ever created (plus, a red ’69 Mach 1 lives a town away from me and I get to ogle it every now and then).

The Great Gatsby

I watched The Great Gatsby (2013) with intrigue as the whole setting is magnificent to behold. The art-deco setting of the movie with the 1920s high-life style is just brilliant! But I was even more intrigued when I saw the cars – more specifically the yellow 1932 Duesenberg Model J, which Jay Gatsby drives. (I just got that. J Gatsby drives a Model J. Funny.)

This is all wrong of course, as the movie takes place in 1922 and most of the cars in the film were produced after the movie’s setting – like the blue 1933 Auburn that Tobey Maguire’s character drives.

One of the most beautiful cars ever produced is a certain red Duesenberg Model SJ LaGrande Dual-Cowl Phaeton which, in 1932 when it was built, was the most powerful production car in the world for three years – until it was surpassed by the 1935 Duesenberg Model SSJ. The model SJ Phaeton was also the fastest car in the world in 1932, with its supercharged straight-8 and non-syncro-mesh 3-speed manual. It’s sad then that by 1937, Duesenberg had gone bankrupt and ceased to exist, leaving one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in its wake – the curious case of the ‘missing’ Duesenberg Coupé Simone…

Austin Powers

Ah, Austin Powers. What wonderfully weird movies – with an awesome Union Jack-themed Jaguar – sorry, Shaguar. Yes, just like James Bond has his Aston, Austin Powers has his E-Type. In the second movie, his American counterpart has a Stars & Stripes-themed Chevrolet Corvette C2, which is equally awesome!

Unfortunately, in the second movie, his spy car is a be-flowered VW ‘New Beetle’ time-machine in which he travels back in time from 1999 to 1969 – and in the final movie, the spy car is a Union Jack Mini Cooper which could swim and attach itself to Dr. Evil-shaped submarines. Yes, the whole thing spiralled out of control a bit, but it was still funny.

James Bond

Who can forget all of James Bond’s marvellous spy cars? From the Sunbeam Alpine in Dr. No (1962), to (what looks like) the Aston Martin Valhalla in No Time to Die (postponed to October 2021, but who knows when we’ll actually be able to finally see it? Grumble-grumble). All these cars were excellent in their movies, except maybe the Aston Martin DBS V12 in Casino Royale which chased the baddie’s Jaguar XJ for all of two minutes before getting totally… totalled. Luckily, it got the chase scene it deserved in the prologue to Quantum of Solace.

The best and most famous Bond car – and definitely one of the most famous and most beautiful cars in the world, is the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. It made its debut in Goldfinger (1964), which is one of my favourite Bond-movies, and went on to star in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006), Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). It is also set to appear in No Time to Die (please be October, dammit!) where it is again doing some stunts in an Italian village. In an interview with the stunt driver, it wasn’t explicitly said, but was implied that underneath the body it was an E46 BMW M3 with various stunt modifications.

It is difficult choosing a favourite Bond car, so I have rounded it down to three – the Aston Martin DB5, the Lotus Espirit and the Toyota 2000GT. I chose the DB5 because it is a film icon and because it is utterly beautiful in every way – from the styling and the contour lines to the wire wheels and the classic Aston Martin grille. It’s just brilliant! The reasoning behind the Espirit is because of the sheer silliness that it is. One of my favourite bits of all Bond films, is Sir Roger Moore’s smug face as he drives the Espirit out of the water and onto a French beach. It’s hilarious!

I chose the 2000GT (one of very few Toyotas I actually like) as a favourite because it has a cool story behind it. Apparently, Toyota said that it’s okay if they want to use their car as a Bond car, but when Sean Connery got to Japan to begin filming, they realised that he was way too tall to fit in it. (Standing at 1,95m myself, I can certainly relate.) So within two weeks, they cut the roofs off of two 2000GTs and strapped some covers on to make it look like a convertible – even though neither of them have functional convertible roofs. And thus, those are the only two 2000GT ‘roadsters’ in existence.

Delorean

My favourite movie car is the DeLorean DMC-12 from the Back to the Future franchise. It looks like a concept car that was actually put into production, much like the modern BMW i8. Yes, apparently it is terrible to drive and the engine is pitifully underpowered, but it is an awesome car nonetheless. I mean, the gullwing-like doors make it unquestionably cool already, but then it was chosen to be a time machine in one of the most loved sci-fi movies franchises of all time. I love it!

The cool thing is that there is still a huge following for the DeLorean and thus parts and upgrades are available – not only in the USA, but in Great Britain as well. Many DeLorean owners swop the puny 2.85L V6 out for Chevy V8s and even convert them to EVs, which is splendid!

Epilogue

My choices may not be the ones you like, but they’re mine and they may change as new caractors are being cast in future movies. Not everyone might like cars (speaking of you, Greta) or think of them as a terribly exciting subject, but they are a part of our everyday lives and they will continue to be for the foreseeable future – in one way or another. So, why not continue celebrating them in everyday entertainment?

Watch this space for a sequel…

…whenever it’s eventually done.

Help stop the hate – adopt a V8!

©2021 Michael De Kock 

Michael de Kock is a blogger, because he likes it, a Psychology graduate, because he thought it’d be interesting (so many essays) and is busy doing a National Certificate in Motor Mechanics to get more skilled, as he struggles to get a job in this day and age in this country.

In the meantime, why not help him with paying the bills by buying his new book?

125 Writing Prompts for Petrolheads. Now available on Amazon Kindle – https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh.

Tricked

London, May 21, 2014

A man walked along the Thames from the Bridge towards the Eye, on his way to supper at the Sherlock Holmes Pub. As he was walking and thinking, he saw a street magician performing illusions to nobody in particular.

The man stopped a few meters away and watched as the magician made a card disappear from his hand. The lady and her son, who was standing there, gave the magician some money, but whilst she put the money in the hat which the magician had placed on the ground, the magician pocketed the lady’s watch. The man saw that and was impressed. He walked over to the street magician and said:

“Impressive. Alright, if you can show me a magic trick without scamming me or stealing from me, I will give you one hundred pounds. However, if you fail to impress me – all you will get is a pence and a shout to the Bobby over there.” He pointed to the constable on patrol.

“Alright old man, I’ll take you up on your offer”, said the magician.

He got out a deck of cards and shuffled them.

“Pick a card, look at it, memorise it and put it back into the deck, but don’t tell me what it is.”

The man picked a card. The King of Diamonds. He gently put it back in the deck. The magician shuffled some more and did the trick. He pulled out a card and asked:

“Is this your card?”

“No”, the man replied.

The magician looked confused at the card – a two of Spades.

The man smiled and turned to gesture towards the Bobby to inspect the magician, but as he was doing so, the magician grabbed his arm.

“Again.”

“Alright. Double or a night in prison”, said the man.

The magician shuffled the deck again and told the man to pick a card. The Ace of Hearts. He put the card back in the deck.

“Is this your card?” asked the magician with less enthusiasm than the previous time.

“No”, replied the man.

It was the seven of Clubs.

The magician was very confused now. He had done the trick over and over hundreds of times and each time he got it right.

“Once more, then I have to go. But if you get it right, I will give you 500 Pounds for the effort”, said the man.

The magician remained quiet as he shuffled the deck for the last time. The man again picked a card. The Ten of Clubs. The magician showed the man a card. Six of Hearts.

“Well, it seems that you have lost your magical touch with all the stealing and scamming. Maybe you should focus more on the practice than the reward.”

The magician’s face had gone white. He didn’t know what to say. Maybe he had lost his ability to actually entertain.

“I thought the first lesson in performing magic was misdirection?” said the man.

With that, the man turned around and started walking away. The magician was very, very confused. He didn’t understand what the man had meant. Then he looked down at his deck and saw that four cards were the wrong way around. The King of Diamonds, the Ace of Hearts, the ten of Clubs and a fourth card wrapped in five hundred Pound notes.

The magician unwrapped it and started smiling. He put the money in his wallet and the Joker back in the deck.

The End

The Ultimate Fake Car to End All Fake Cars

So this morning, as I was going through my newsfeed on Facebook (which consists mostly of cars and movie sites), I saw an interesting thing on Top Gear – a new ‘movie-maker’ car that can be transformed into any car on screen. It’s called the Blackbird and it can adapt to become almost any car. The wheelbase can extend for when you are going from a Prius to a S600 Maybach or Zonda Cinque. The suspension is completely adjustable, as is the electric motors powering it. This means that the motors can be programmed to accelerate like the car it is imitating. All that needs to be done to make the car ‘authentic’ is to fit the proper wheels of the imitated make or model. The reason this car was made is because it can be difficult to get the real cars for chase scenes in movies as they are very expensive. This way the cars can simply be edited in.

Even though this is a fantastic piece of technology, it makes me as a petrolhead quite sad. Movies are pretty much the only place to see your favourite cars do awesome things, such as the Need for Speed movie where three (fake) Koenigsegg Ageras racing along a highway, a race where a P1, Veyron SS, Spano, S7 and Sesto Elemento (all fake) crashes and one awesome looking Mustang (also fake) gets mouldered by a truck. Or take any of the Fast & Furious movies, or Spectre with the DB10 or CX-75! Yes, many of the cars are fake and made of plywood, but that is what makes them so awesome, because someone actually bothered to build them!

Now, with this ‘car’, we can watch a Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SuperVeloce on screen looking freaking beautiful, but deep in our brittle little, petrol-powered hearts we will know that it is just an imitation.

Little Aston + Big Heart = Lots of Fun

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is the last Vantage before it is replaced by the new DB11 lookalike in 2017. The car has 420KW and 620NM of torque. However, for the 2017 model year, this car can be specified to have either a 7-speed automated manual (paddles) or a 7-speed manual. However, this is no ordinary manual. This is a ‘dogleg’ manual. What this means is that the gears you mostly use are in an H pattern with gear 1 sitting on its own. The reasoning behind this was in the past, racing drivers would use gear 2 and up more than gear 1, which was really only used to get the car going. But with the introduction of 6-speed manuals, the ‘dogleg’ fell out of fashion as it was illogical to have two ‘doglegs’ in one box. But now, Aston has a 7-speed which makes the ‘dogleg’ relevant again. This also means that the V12 Vantage S is the only V12-engined, manual car for sale… in the world. (Clarkson reference)

Now, I have always liked the ‘baby’ Aston. It was cheaper than the bigger brothers such as the DB9, DBS and Vanquish, but I could never decide if I’d like them. Well, one evening quite a long time ago, I went to a mall in Pretoria. In the mall a grey DBS and a blue V8 Vantage Volante were on display. Naturally I did a happy dance and a giggle and got into the nearest one – which was the DBS. I love that car. Since it appeared in Casino Royale it made my top five ‘To Own One Day’ list of cars (even though it only had about five seconds of screen time). I fell in love with the interior, the long dashboard that extends all the way to the windshield, the plain yet elegant steering wheel, the paddles. Oh, I loved those few moments that I sat in it. One of my favourite things about Astons is their doors. They open at an angle. It’s really cool. Anyway, I moved on to the V8 Volante. In my mind, it would be a cheaper, scaled down version of the bigger DB9. I was wrong with regard to the ‘cheap’ sense. It is essentially a smaller DB9. It has the same dashboard, same steering wheel and same feel as the bigger Astons. Plus this V8 had a gearstick!

I started to like the ‘baby’ Aston quite a lot. Especially the V12. One of Jeremy Clarkson’s best car reviews was when he drove the V12 Vantage. Minimal dialogue, maximum passion. He said that he had a feeling that he was driving the last of the greats. The biggest engine in the smallest Aston. Luckily however, he was wrong – for the most part anyway, because Ferrari still puts massive V12s in their cars. Heck! The new GTC4 Lusso still has the big 6.3L naturally aspirated V12.

But back to the Aston. I watched the Motor Trend’s review of the new V12 Vantage where Jason Cammisa drove the car on a dry lake-bed. All I could think the whole video long was “listen to that noise!” That video also reiterates the fact that dirty sports cars and super cars are some of the prettiest things ever made. If you take a black Lamborghini Gallardo and drive it in a bit of sand or along a dry lake, it becomes a piece of art above the piece of art it already is. It’s magnificent!

The thing is – I think Jeremy Clarkson’s prediction is relevant for today, not ten years ago. This is most likely the last car of Aston’s smaller range which will have the big engine. The next Vantage will probably have AMG’s 4.0L V8 Bi-Turbo. This makes me sad. Big engines in super- and hyper-cars are almost a thing of the past, with the exception of the LaFerrari, Chiron and everything America can come up with. Then we are left with stuff like VW’s X1 prototype with the teeny little diesel engine and Teslas. Not that I’m complaining about Teslas, as they just unveiled the Model S P100D, which will be the quickest production saloon ever. But as they are electric, they don’t have a nice noise like, say AMG’s M156 or Aston’s AM28 (which is 5.9L, not 6.0L).

But, oh well, as technology continues to progress, so will the automobile. Who knows, maybe we’ll all be driving crappy electric hatchbacks with V8 noises coming out of the speakers one of these days…

One Second Romance

This is the story of a guy. He likes to travel. His interests are movies, mechanical engineering and archery.
One evening whilst he was walking towards his boarding gate on an airport, he walked past a girl and her family. She was sitting on a bench reading a magazine. As he was approaching them, she suddenly looked up and their eyes met. Both smiled instinctively at each other. It was as if time had slowed. Then, as quickly as it had begun, it was over. He kept walking and she went back to reading her magazine. He looked back a few steps further, but she was still reading her magazine.
It was a first for this guy. He had never felt this way before, this one second of romance. He had never seen her before. He didn’t know what nationality she was, where she came from or where she was going. Then the nice feelings he had had started fading away. Was she smiling at him or something she read? Was she smiling at something she remembered? He didn’t know and it was annoying him.
But he will never forget her smile or her beautiful red-orange hair.

Imaginary Farm

Agatha and Marjory were minding their own business tending to the animals when they saw Henrietta walking towards them.
“Good day to you, Henrietta!” said Marjory politely.
“Good day, fellow farmwomen! What a lovely day to be tending to the animals!” replied Henrietta.
“Indeed. I do hope that the field over yonder did not tire you out too much?” asked Agatha.
“Not at all! I started at the time when the rooster’s head was at the well and finished when it was over the fence. Poor thing has been all over the place!” explained Henrietta.
“Well, if you two would kindly excuse me, the sustenance will not sustain itself!”
Marjory and Agatha bowed their heads in agreement and continued on their merry way up and over the fence.
“Alright, Agatha. Time to paint the homestead’s roof!”
“My, my! We have strange jobs to complete today!” exclaimed Agatha.
“Indeed! Luckily we are only depictions of somebody’s imagination. Someone who apparently likes to use old words.” said Marjory.
With that they both went back to work painting the roof of a building, which sits on a farm, which doesn’t even exist.
FIN

Four Litres for Everyone

Today I would like to talk about the three big German automobile manufacturers. This excludes Volkswagen, but also doesn’t as Audi is owned by them. The problem I have with them is the fact that their new performance V8s, respectively from Rennsport, AMG and the M-Division, are almost the same.

Audi was the first to introduce their engine a few years ago in the RS6, RS7 and S8. AMG introduced theirs in the AMG GT as a replacement to the brilliance of the M156 and M159 engines. The M156 is my favourite engine and I would put it in an older Merc if I could.

Anyway, these manufacturers used to have diversity in their performance engines by having big 5.0L V10s, 6.2L V8s and 4.2L V8s – all naturally aspirated. These are brilliant engines. I actually have been in an RS5 doing lots of revs on a very short piece of road.

Now we will have three executive saloons with the same displacement engines. Not to mention that this is from the three biggest competing manufacturers. Now I understand the reason behind it all. The respective regions have their own emissions regulations and so forth, thus manufacturers are trying to get as much power as they can out of smaller engines. Heck! Volvo is saying they want 400+KW out of four-pot engines!

I am for saving the planet and all that, but these are cars – things that make people like me very happy. My mother just rolls her eyes and smiles when I put my foot down in our 3.0L V6 Pajero. It is not the best sounding car in the world (it sounds like a hair-dryer at low speeds), but hearing the engine work at high revs makes me happy. Having these smaller engine cars will be better.

My question is just, won’t it be boring?

Drake’s Review

So a few months ago, I bought the Nathan Drake Collection on the Playstation 4. It is essentially the first three Uncharted games remastered and sold for the price of one. Now, I have played the first two so far and a bit of the third one. The graphics are okay in Drake’s Fortune, except that when aiming, Nathan holds the firearm at an angle, yet the bullet still manages to hit its target. This annoyed me a lot. Luckily, it was fixed in Among Thieves.

The stories of Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves were pretty good. The goblin zombies and Shambhala-enhanced warriors were really unnecessary and honestly quite cliché. If it was just normal people, then the game would have been better. It needed to be supernatural enemies. I hate that in videogames. The Uncharted series is such a good exploration series and I feel they ruined it in a few ways.

Firstly, the positives. I like Nathan Drake and Sullivan for that matter. The supporting characters such as Chloe and Alena are brilliant as well. The romance between Nathan and Alena is well written and the voice acting is up to par. The facial expressions are nicely done and movement in cut-scenes are quite good.

Now the negative and, oh boy, there are a bunch. Firstly, why the heck did Naughty Dog think it was smart to put in this many combat zones in a game about solving ancient mysteries? Seriously! There were like two actual puzzles to solve in Among Thieves and the rest was sneaking and shooting. I looked forward to the bits where I actually had to open Nathan’s journal and solve the puzzles. The good thing about Uncharted is that the textures don’t really give away the answers. You actually have to look around for the answers. That went a bit off the point, but anyway.

Secondly, the movement of Nathan Drake has the same problems as Edward Kenway had in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. You want him to do that and go that way, but instead he goes and jumps off a cliff or let go of a pipe. It is really annoying. I felt it was worse in Among Thieves than it was in Drake’s Fortune. In the twenty-odd percent that I have played Drake’s Deception, it seems to have improved significantly, as did the shooting mechanics. And the graphics.

Thirdly, I believe that, since the Middle-East is involved, there will be ‘undead’ mummies that I have to shoot at some point. I include this prediction in my list of problems because I assume it will probably happen.

With all this negativity, you would probably be wondering why I even bother to play it any further. The reason is, I actually like it. Yes there is too much emphasis on combat and too little on puzzles, but I enjoy the story. Plus Nathan Drake can be quite a badass sometimes.

So would I recommend the Uncharted series to anyone? Yes, I would.

Why?

Because it is actually worth the money. Looking at you, No Man’s Sky…

Technological Progress

I want to talk about technology. Over the past few years, technological progress has increased by quite a margin, compared to 50 years ago. We are able to talk to someone on the other side of the planet and it is as if they are sitting next to you. It is incredible!

Sometimes though, I wonder, how much more technologically advanced we can get. There is this game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where humans get dramatically altered. It started out all well and true, with a disabled scientist wanting to be able to  walk again. So he engineered prosthesis that embeds itself in his nervous system. It didn’t take and he remained a cripple for the rest of his life. But he didn’t give up. He created more advanced prosthesis for other disabled people and created a multi-million dollar company.

Unfortunately, someone thought, “Hmm, why do only disabled people get to have augments?” And that is what I am afraid of – normal people being forced to get high-tech gadgets and stuff they do not need, or want.

Anyway, for us ‘normal people’, we can only wait and see where technology takes us. The fact that I typed this post on my PlayStation 4 both intrigues me and scares me…