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Oversteer in ink
#1 April 2013 @CarWriterNick oversteerinink.wordpress.com
All the latest news
MX5 GT Concept How the Mazda MX5 will finally get some bite
Instant Expert: Video Production
Is the British motoring press biased? Exclusive Report
Tributes to Kevin Ash
Hales vs Piper
Jaguar Speed Boat
New German Muscle
cept at Goodwood and on track
16 Honda CRZ
24 Ford Focus old vs new
17 Peugeot RCZ
The Art of the Passenger Ride
Smile and Wave to Mum
Narrative in magazines
The Future of Motoring Journalism
Guide to Sub-editing
Instant Expert: Video
Jobs vs Temptations
What did Oii do for us?
Welcome to Oii! This week the ed is smoking... the notion of sportiness
18 Mazda MX5 GT Con-
17 Nissan Juke
14 Peugeot 208
Thanks to... Bob Murray, Jim Wheeler, Steve Miller, Richard Aucock, Jim Holder, Andrew Noakes, James Batchelor, Ian Eveliegh, Johnny Herbert... Thank You!
Welcome to the first ever Oii – the new trade publication for those hardy perennials who call themselves motoring journalists, whose number we count ourselves in. But what does the future hold for us? That’s the main question we answer this week, as we ask well-known figures in our little sphere to peer into a crystal ball and tell us what issues we will face in 2013. It’s not all bad – especially for bloggers… What do we think? Well, we think we must all remember why we have this job. Cars are changing – manuals are being replaced by flappy paddle gearboxes, and steering feel has exited stage right too. But we must not get swept away with the evangelical call for the good old days, and not alienate ourselves from our audience. Which is as likely to be a 14 year old boy with no idea what steering feel is, or an uninterested family looking to replace a car, as it could be a performance loving driver who shares our views. Journalists must also avoid that great distractor and time-waster which is Twitter. Oh, that reminds me, follow me at @CarWriterNick. Enjoy the mag – we enjoyed making it!
This Month's News
Porsche have announced they will be returning to the Le Mans 24hrs with a factory team of GT3 911’s - thirteen ears after their last (and victorious) outing
Aston Martin has recieved £150m from new part-owners Invest,entntn, securing the marques future - and promising new model development
Wagons Roll at Zuffenhausen Estate version of Porsche’s four-door saloon New hybrid technology showcased Apple insired interior
fter diesels, off-roaders and saloons, Germany’s greatest sports car company has come up with…an estate car. Well, not quite yet perhaps – the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo unveiled at the Paris Motor Show is officially a concept. But expect a five-door model very much like ther car shown here to appear in Porsche showrooms when the current Panamera is replaced around 2016. After all, these days even Ferrari has an estate car in its lineup… And the good news is that the new Porsche is surprisingly attractive. The Sport Turismo concept sharpens up the Panamera’s podgy looks with bold creases along the flanks and bonnet. There’s a more pronounced lip around the wheelarches and a 964-esque re-
flector across the rear lights, giving the estate more visual width. New, double-stacked LED headlights and thin-spoked alloy wheels take inspiration from the company’s upcoming 918 hypercar, as does the interior with TFT screens and a touch-screen centre console. The Sport Turismo concept is around 20mm shorter and lower than the current Panamera but is 60mm wider. The estate’s boot is said to hold 545 litres, 100 more than the current liftback model, but less than the 590 litres in the Mercedes Benz CLS Shooting Brake – an obvious rival in AMG form. The Sport Turismo concept isn’t just about a new body style, with plug-in capability being added to
Porsche hybrid system for the first time. The system, called ‘e-hybrid’, increases the power from the electric motor to 94bhp for a total of 410bhp when combined with the Audi-sourced, 328bhp supercharged V6. The electric side alone can power the car for 18 miles at speeds of up 81mph. Porsche claim the car can deliver 0-62mph in under six seconds as
well as returning over 80mpg and just 80g/km CO2. The hybrid engine can be plugged in and charged from a mains power source. Porsche have been considering an estate version of the current Panamera since the first model’s launch in 2009. It’s thought that arrival of cars like the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake has encouraged them to get a move on.
This Month's News BMW has revealed this concept previewing the forthcoming 4-series, or 3-series coupe. Expect the next M3 to be low, wide and aggresive
Maserati has taken the coevrs off the next Quattroporte. The four-door saloon will rival the M5 and Porsche Panamera with a Ferrari sourced V8
Grace space and a mooring post Jaguar designer Ian Cullum pens a beautiful, D-type inspired speedboat Jaguar says we can’t have it!
Caterham announce 275bhp race-only superlight R600 £44,995 race-only Caterham won’t be road legal
aterham has announced the most extreme version of its iconic Seven yet – the race-only, 275bhp Superlight R600. The new model features a development of the supercharged 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine found in the company’s flagship SP/300.R, with 275bhp and 200lb ft torque, although no performance figures have been released yet. The R600 will sit at the top of the Seven racing ladder and Caterham expect a full grid of the lightweight rockets by 2014 after racing starts next year. The R600 is a huge step up from 6
the R300 in not just engine performance but also in spec, with sticky Avon slicks, a sequential gearbox and a Titan limited-slip differential; however Caterham say current R300 owners can upgrade to R600 spec. Caterham said there are no firm plans for a road-legal version, but they did tell us they were interested to see how much interest from customers there is for a road-going version. For a road car, it would have “devastating performance” according to Caterham. The current fastest road-legal Seven, the Superlight R500, completes 0-62mph in 2.88 seconds.
Caterham considering a road version
ins ain’t what they used to be in the world of sports cars, so Jaguar has put a toe in the water with its first speedboat – complete with rear fin inspired by the D-type. The sumptuous Concept Speedboat has been wheeled out to coincide with the launch of the new, more practical Jaguar XF Sportback, or estate as we call it. Penned by Jaguar designer Ian Callum, the Concept Speedboat features many Jaguar design cues – the most prominent being that rear fin. It extends from behind
the cabin across the teak deck to the stern. The prow of the boat lifts gradually to meet the screen, which protects the 2+1 occupants of the red leather interior from sea spray. Jaguar enthusiasts will of course recognise the fuel filler cap that draws heavily from the Series 1 XJ. Jaguar isn’t the only car maker to turn to powerboats to express some design flair, with Mercedes due to put their own coupe-like Silver Arrow motor yacht into production by 2014.
“The carbon-fibre rear fin is inspired by the D-type Jaguar” Unlike Mercedes however, Jaguar does not plan to put its boat into production, so sadly no matter how good you think the Jaguar Concept Speedboat looks towed behind this Jaguar estate, you can’t have one. A shame - imagine how great a group of these racing would look...
Simon Lambert, Caterham’s motorsport boss, said: “The R600 represents an increase in aggressiveness, although the linear power delivery of the supercharged engine makes it superbly driveable, much like the R300.” The Superlight R600 will cost from £44,995, and those interested in competing in the 2013 season – or insisting they build one with numberplates – should contact Caterham directly.
“The R600 represents a huge increase in aggressiveness” oversteerinink.wordpress.com
This Month's News Jaguar is celebrating 25 years of its R brand with the XKR-S GT - a track version of the XK with added aero, a £130,000 price tag and no UK plans.
..That even outguns the P1, with a confirmed 903bhp and 664lb ft combined. It is heavier and may lack a little throttle response in comparison.
The LaFerrari hypercar will have simply stunning stats - its 6.3-litre V12 developing 790bhp and with the Hy-KERS it gets to 950bhp and 715lb ft...
Mega-power German group test looms More autobahn stormers from Audi and Mercedes Set to take on the BMW M5, M6 and Jaguar XFR-S
ven by Audi RS standards the numbers behind the new RS7 Sportback take your breath away: 189mph, 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds, 560bhp and a base price of £84,000. It’s one third of a monsterous group of cars to emerge from Germany in the coming months, meaning some fun group tests are in the offering. Start buttering up the editor now... Much of the technology from the RS7, including the biturbo V8, Is shared with the recently announced (and less powerful) RS6 Avant (Below). This means peak power of 560bhp arrives between 5700 and 6700rpm, with peak torque of 700Nm available between 1750 and 5500rpm. The standard A7 body has been given a thorough work-over with an angular, aggressive front bumper, side skirts and two elliptical tailpipes in a gloss black rear diffuser. The stance is much improved over the standard A7 with a choice of 20-inch or 21-inch wheels.
Updates to E63 AMG New styling More power Crazy ‘S’ version
F Inside, a chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel joins RS branded seats, while the back seats feature “pronounced contours for optimum grip”. The Audi RS7 Sportback gets cylinders that cut-off when not needed, to reduce pumping losses and improve fuel efficiency. Audi’s usual Quattro technology will ensure
ferocious grip, while active engine mounts compensate for the added vibration when the cylinders are deactivated. Adaptive air suspension will come as standard, along with brake discs featuring the weight-saving wave profile (with the option of carbon ceramic discs). As is Audi’s way with RS models, the RS7 comes with a choice
of three top speeds. As standard, it is limited to 155mph, but pay extra and it can be set to 174mph with the Dynamic package, or 189mph with Dynamic Plus. But before you start ringing up for that long-termer, remember that with all the optional goodies, this is a £100k car. It will be available from the summer of 2013.
Return of the RS6 - but 28bhp less than before
he super-estate so beloved of Audi takes a big step forward with the new RS6 Avant – surely the first car ever to combine a 0-62mph time of just 3.9 seconds with a seats-down load space of 1680 litres. No labrador will ever have travelled as fast... With this third-generation RS6, Audi has replaced the monstrous V10 of the previous model with 8
a twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8 developing 552bhp – the 28bhp deficit to the last RS6 offset by a 37lb ft torque increase. Top speed can be up to 190mph. The estate-only RS6 gets the expected RS design makeover with a huge front air-dam with Quattro highlighted in the grille. Audi claims the new RS6 is 100kg lighter than its predecessor,
thanks to extensive use of aluminium, increasing agility. Inside, the cabin features RS sports seats with huge side bolsters and a very cool, pronounced honeycomb-quilted
pattern. Lighter and faster than its predecessor, first UK deliveries will be in the summer of 2013 – with a base price of £77,000.
r o m Stuttgart taxi to supercar-slayer – the MercedesBenz E-class in refreshed form for 2013 includes a new S-model with 585bhp. The S replaces the AMG Performance pack and, on paper at least, destroys the BMW M5, Jaguar XFR-S and every other super-saloon on the planet. Like the standard E-class, the new E63 gets a much smoother look than before, but AMG adds huge intakes in the front bumper and four exhaust pipes in the sharper rear diffuser. Available with either saloon or estate bodies, the S brings the power up to 585bhp, the torque up to 800Nm, and the 0-62mph time down to 3.6 seconds. The S-model adds a locking differential, different paint finishes on the brakes, interior touches and host of styling features, such as inserts in the sills. The AMG E63 S is a car sure to grab all the headlines when it lands in June, two months after the basic E63 goes on sale.
Subaru WRX to be dropped from UK Subaru performance icon killed off
t’s a B-roads blaster, a track day hero and, in the hands of the great Colin McRae, a rallying giant. It’s a cult classic that spawned owners’ clubs all over the country, and the driver’s car that rewrote the rules on grip for a generation brought up on front-wheel drive. But now the antidote to mundane motoring that the Subaru WRX STI has been for the past two decades has come to the end of the road, in the UK at least, killed off by its carbon dioxide emissions and the increase in competition. The only good news, Oii can reveal, is that after the new year the £33k price tag will tumble to
Five grand off last few WRXs
£28,000, saving £5000. Subaru says it has enough stock to last until the spring. Subaru confirmed this week that it will no longer be importing the WRX STI after poor sales in the past few months. “We must remain competitive,” a spokesman said. “We will be concentrating on our SUVs but we still provide cars for the enthusiast with the BRZ coupe”. Subaru UK says the WRX STI (which dropped the Impreza name back in 2009) was no longer competitive on its CO2 emissions, and was struggling in the marketplace against hot hatches, such as the
Vauxhall Astra VXR and Renault Megane 265, that approached the STI’s power output. While poor sales tell their own story, the WRX STI remains a performance hero for many, brought up on stunning images of the Impreza tearing around the rally stages of the world beamed to our TVs in the mid ‘90s. The legend has much to do with the late Colin McRae, who won the World Rally Championship in 1995 behind the wheel of the Impreza. Will it ever return to our shores? Subaru’s spokesman said “never say never” but don’t hold your breath. It’s the end of an era.
Caterham release F1-inspired go kart - yours for £5,000
aterham has announced a new, single model race series for teenagers aged 13-16, using the brand-new Caterham CK-01 kart. The series will cater for up to 120 participants and will start in 2014. The British sports car firm has put a lot of emphasis on af-
fordability so a full season in the new championship will cost just £4995 – which includes entry fees, a kart trolley and the CK-01 kart itself – at a time when karting costs can often spiral into the tens of thousands. The new kart “was developed with simplicity, durability and
quality in mind,” says Caterham. It certainly looks cool in full F1 team colours, complete with a very F1-looking nose cone. But don’t expect a road test to appear anytime soon.
Industry News brought to you by Oii
Kevin Ash killed in fatal crash at launch event
Hales vs Piper: You react and ask: so what next?
We mourn the tragic passing of one of the countries leading motorcycle journalists, killed at a BMW launch in South Africa. Colleagues have released many touching statements, and we have brought you a few here.
ark Hales lost his well publicized case against David Piper last month, and may face bankruptcy after a decision which doubtlessly caught the attention of everybody involved in motoring journalism. Mark’s defence was that mechanical failure caused the Porsche 917 he was driving at Cadwell Park to jump out of gear and overrev, while the car’s owner claimed that Hales failed to engage the gear properly. The judge found in Piper’s favour, and now Hales has been handed total payments of £110,000, plus his own legal fees. Speaking to Oii, Hales said ““It has been one of the most unpleasant and stressful episodes of my entire and I still find it hard to contemplate the fact that I may yet be made bankrupt and risk losing everything I own because I drove a multi-millionaire’s car for a magazine feature.” Defiant Hales still insists he was not in the wrong. “If the episode has taught me anything, it is that I should pay more attention to the things I already know, the most important of which is to get every agreement in writing. If you don’t, people will inevitably tell lies.” Predictably, the result of the case has created many column inches of discussion. Octane magazine, who was among the publications which received the feature the Porsche drive provided, came out in support of
e begin with the tragic news of the death of the Daily Telegraph’s motorcycling correspondent Kevin Ash, who has died in an accident at a new bike launch in South Africa. Within hours of his death tributes were written to this ‘doyen’ of motorcycle writers by his colleagues. Paul Hudson, the Acting Head of Motoring at the Telegraph Media Group, wrote: “He was not only a valued, knowledgable and highly regarded correspondent, he was also one of the friendliest people you could wish to meet. His passion for motorcycles and the pleasures of motorcycling knew no bounds and his skill - both as a rider and a journalist - were held in the greatest respect by the industry and his peers.” Daily Telegraph Editor Tony
Gallagher, added: “Kevin Ash was the doyen of motorcycle correspondents. Respected throughout journalism and the motorcycle trade, he was also one of our most admired motoring columnists and will be greatly missed by both Telegraph staff and readers. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this difficult and sad time.” Kevin was also a contributor at FortyOneSix. Editor Bob Murray said: “We at FortyOneSix can’t claim to have known Kevin well, nowhere near as well as his colleagues at The Telegraph... But virtually everything on this site concering two wheels was written by Kevin, one of this country’s best known and most respected motorcycle journalists. Kevin’s daughter released this message; “The phrase ‘he died do-
ing what he loved’ sprang to mind but I would like to stamp that firmly out. He loved his family more and we love him.’ ‘As his oldest daughter, I only recently started to fully realise just how much further his parenting went than most; on receiving a tearful phone call at Stanstead airport it was a natural response to immediately cancel his press
We round-up the comments from the many articles on the broken Porsche 917 case.
launch and ride back home to teach trigonometry the night before exams.” ‘Everything he did was entirely for his children and his wife, and a little bit for his cat. ‘My parents loved each other very much and I hope that one day we can learn to live without him.’ Our thoughts go out to Kevin’s family at this time.
Grim ABC 2012 Figures The dust has settled on the ABC figures ending December 2012, and as usual, unless you include Camping and Caravanning, Top Gear is the biggest selling motoring monthly. But sales have dropped, with circulation down 16%. That alone could be seen as a catastrophe, but nearly every single motoring magazine joins it in posting declining figures, meaning more tightening of editors budgets across the industry. But are there any winners? Octane’s sales have beaten the slump, staying flat at around 33,000. Also stable are F1 Racing’s sales, at around 47,000 copies sold each month. Motor Sport Magazine declined by just over 1% year on year, weathering
better than Classic Car Weekly and Classic and Sports Car, which both dropped by 2% year on year. But these dim rays of hope are barely seen in the fog of decline. Auto Express is down by 7.7%; Autocar by 6.5%. Autosport has slipped by nearly 9%. Even the more niche magazines – Land Rover Monthly (-7%) for example – can’t pull themselves out of the slump, no matter how much off-road ability their subject matter might have. Good news for Camping and Caravan however – an increase in year on year sales of 0.07%. Perhaps we should all hitch up a trailer. Grim news indeed.
Mark. “Mark is one of the most gifted and respected historic racing car drivers in the business. There is good reason why he is trusted by many collectors to drive and race some of the world’s most valuable cars. “Mark has been, and continues to be, one of Octane’s most trusted writers – very few people can place the reader in the cockpit of a racing car and describe the experience quite as eruditely as Mark can.” Dennis stablemate Evo also supported Hales. “He is revered as one of the most talented and experienced drivers in motoring journalism circles.” However the waves from the story reached further than the shores of the automotive press, with the nationals running the story. For a thorough analysis of the case, we turn first to Chris Harris, via Pistonheads. “Many commenting on the story suggest that Hales was negligent in not formalising a contract with
Piper detailing what should occur should the unthinkable happen. There’s also the question of insurance - people are wondering why Hales didn’t have suitable cover and also why the magazine publishers he was working with have ended up shouldering none of the liability. “For decades these ‘deals’ have been the type of gentlemen’s agreements that reflected the gentler era in which the machines themselves were raced. Hales claims he and Piper had such a verbal agreement, and that Piper chose to forget it in court.” Andrew Frankel’s dissection of the case looked towards the future, dashing ‘hysterical’ claims that there they will be no more driving of privately owned cars for features. “My experience as perhaps the third most experienced British motoring journalist currently regularly testing old racing cars for car titles (after, of course, the inestimable Tony Dron) is that this is
all a bit over the top. “Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but my experience of owners who have let me drive their cars is that they are generous, trusting enthusiasts who understand the risks entirely and are perfectly happy to shoulder them themselves, partly because they can afford to, but more importantly, they want to see their cars in the magazine for all sorts of obvious reasons.” Mark himself said “I am devastated and ruined. I’ve been called gratuitously unpleasant, self-serving and a liar just as a result of doing my job.” David Piper, who sold the Porsche 917 replica for £1.3 million after the engine rebuild, said “I think people will think twice about lending cars to journalists [now]… I did feel quite sorry for him [Hales], but he completely burned himself in his witness statements.” Of course, our sympathies go out to Mark, and we hope this case will be the exception, no the rule.
This Month's News Richard Aucock has been promoted to Editorial Director at Motoring Research. His position as chairman of the GOMW will be unaffected.
Car leads site Motoring. co.uk have announced a new partnership with Parkers, powering all brochure and test drive requests from early March.
FoS Press Day
The 2013 season kicked off at Goodwood yesterday with the press and media day. Typically raucous, this picture shows Sam Hanson and the rest of the FortyOneSix team being pelted by gravel from the exhaust of a passing Chevrolet Camaro. Go online to check out our gallery, where we show you the twenty most exciting cars which will be appearing at Revival and Festival of Speed over the summer.
BEN has a ball BEN has further cause for celebration as the 15th BEN Scotland Ball raised a massive £8,000. Douglas Robertson, CEO of the Scottish Motor Trades Association (SMTA) commented; “Once again the Crowne Plaza provided the setting for some fine food, lively dancing and, most importantly, spending money on the live and silent auctions. I am delighted with the total raised and, on behalf of BEN and the SMTA, would like to thank all those who attended and contributed to the evening’s enjoyment. “The importance of occasions like the Scotland Ball and the generosity of everyone involved can never be underestimated.”
GOMW Announce Free Haymarket and What Car? Copywright Seminar Announce Intelligence The Guild of Motoring Writers is inviting all writers and photographers to its forthcoming Copyright Seminar. Arranged in association with leading specialist legal firm Wright Hassall, the free seminar – which will take place on Monday 29 April and is open to GoMW members and non-members alike – looks into specific copyright issues faced by media professionals in an age when it’s never been easier to share work but has never easier to ‘steal’ it, either. The GoMW seminar will explore both how they can protect themselves beforehand and how to take action afterwards if they feel their copyright has been infringed. The seminar will cover a general overview of copyright law, copyright in literary works, pho12
tographs and video, plus tips on managing your copyright portfolio and how to cost-effectively enforce your rights. The event takes place at Wright Hassall’s premises Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, from 3pm to 6pm. Go to the Guild website for Dennis has launched a newsletter by What Car?. Called more information. Intelligence, it features car market And another tie-up... analysis, insights from Haymarket’s audience polls and data from ...this time between Motor- car searches on its websites. Aimed at professionals working ing.co.uk and Confused.com, which aims to generate bro- in the industry, either in dealerships or publications, much of the chure and etst drive requests. Terry Hogan, Managing Di- research published is said to be rector of Motoring.co.uk, said; unavailable anywhere else. The launch issue includes views “Our new partnership with Confused.com will help both on the importance of a car’s parties to understand how they country of origin, as well as new can assist their respective users.” analysis on the most searched for
Irony Strikes Again: AA Chief’s Car Wrecked by Potholes The AA’s president had to call out one of his own vans after potholes completely wrecked his Mercedes-Benz. This came just days after he addressed the media, saying, “Potholes are popping up faster than daffodils.” Edmund King was filling up with fuel at a Morrisons garage near St Albans, Hertfordshire, when he heard a “sudden whoosh” sound. Speaking to AOL, Mr King said, “I was just filling up when I heard a really loud sound. I just assumed it was the car wash or the air pump, and carried on filling up
with fuel. “I saw the cashier in the garage was looking at my car but I didn’t realise where the sound had come from until I walked around the front and noticed the body was touching the wheels. The front of the car was resting on the tyres.” “The irony is of course it was only days ago I was addressing the media on the sorry state of Britain’s roads. “I am glad the damage has been fixed because as you can imagine, after filling the car with diesel and then seeing the whole front-end had collapsed, I thought it was going to be a waste of fuel!”
Performance PR Launches 3 new divisions cars from What Car?’s True MPG scheme. There’s also information on new car sales, model segment analysis and a top 10 cars which are haggled down by buyers. The newsletter is free to download from the What Car? website.
Automotive and sports specialist, Performance PR, is launching three new specialist divisions to meet customer demand from brands across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Dependent on the project or client needs, performance:digital, performance:video and performance:partnerships will work alongside the agency’s core media relations function to operate as standalone consultancy services, designed to create stories that resonate with target audiences and then to help them flourish, organically, across all channels.
New Look for Motor Sport Motor Sport magazine has undergone a major facelift for both print and tablet, with the all-new Motor Sport will be launched with a 12-page special on Ayrton Senna. The famous green masthead was left untouched. Motor Sport Editor Damien Smith said: “We believe the new design retains our renowned reputation for authority, refinement and clarity, but with an added blend of modernity that a contemporary, forward-looking magazine
must have.” New editorial features include a monthly “Racing Lives” cartoon, picture specials and a new Formula 1 technical column. The new look for the print and tablet versions of Motor Sport reflects the unique content within. Smith adds: “No other automotive title covers so much ground, from Formula 1 to grass roots motor sport, from road tests of the latest models to the world of motorcycling, and much more.”
“The move is a strategic reflection of the work we’ve been conducting on behalf of clients over the past few years, as well as growing demand,” explains Andy Francis, co-founder of Performance PR, which has offices in Kingston-Upon-Thames and Dubai. “We’re now evolving with investment in key personnel and developing new flexibility to reflect the growing role that PR creative plays across the marketing communications mix.” New jobs are being created - so keep an eye on Performance PR if you fancy a switch in careers. oversteerinink.wordpress.com
Engine - 1.2 petrol, Power - 82bhp, Torque - 87lb ft, 0-60mph 13.8s, Top Speed - 109mph, 65.7mpg, 104 g/km, £17,000
The Peugeot 208 is hamstrung by a weight of expectation bordering on madness – for every journalist that realises the company isn’t going to be able to make another 205, there are another ten who slam every new Peugeot twooh-something as being too heavy, too slow, too lifeless. Too lifeless compared to what? The legendary 205? Or contemporary rivals like the Citroen C3 and Fiat Punto, which the 206 outsold across Europe? Clearly buyers have always loved Peugeot’s supermini offerings even if hacks haven’t. So to the 208, which has arrived with equal mix of critical acclaim, so-so reviews and an advertising campaign promising another fresh start. That suggestion is not quite true however, as beneath the new body the platform is
On The Web
Peugeot 208 1.2 Vti Much-hyped hatchback
82bhp, three cylinder
the same as the 207’s. The 208 is lighter and stronger than the car it replaces by a sizeable amount – Peugeot claiming a weight loss of around 200kg for most models. We have with us a 1.2 litre petrol model, 5-door, with the manual gearbox, in Active spec. The engine gives you 82bhp and 87ft/lb of torque , and the main attraction of the three cylinder design is of course better fuel economy – with the 1.2 petrol rated at 65.7mpg and a decent 104g/km Co2. Standard kit is competitive enough, the Active spec adding front fog lights, a multifunction touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone, along with air conditioning. It’s still only mid-spec, with higher specs getting bigger wheels, folding door mirrors and
Our test car uncermoniously dumped on the road outside Oii’s student residence.
Ford Fiesta rival
leather interior trim. So after all the fanfare, how did it feel to us? Like every road tester’s nightmare. Unless you nit-pick, there is very little to write about; the 208 isn’t terrible, or great, or extraordinary in anyway, aside from the canny way they have managed to hide the dials behind the steering wheel no matter how tall or short the driver is. Quite honestly my main memory of the car is constantly leaning forward so I could see what speed I was doing. Other problems include poorly set up controls, such as over servoed brakes and a clutch with a biting point way too high and way to sudden. You won’t see many of these as learner cars, as intuitive to drive it is not. We haven’t kangarooed away from junctions like we did
“Build quality seemed much improved too, until we noticed a fizz emanating from somewhere on the dashboard” in the 208 in quite a while, and there was even the occasional accidental (and embaressing) wheelspin in town. Much of that is also down to the three-cylinder 1.2-litre engine, which has quite a lumpy power delivery. It can feel gutless at times, but also seems to have a turbo-diesel like ability to suddenly climb into a power band and give you more thrust than you want. Once you get it planning however, it feels much better – the ride is acceptable, the refinement no worse than the car it replaces despite the weight loss. The cabin looks fine, with a handful of glittery details offset by the touchscreen system which is awkward to use when driving. Six buttons for the stereo and separate controls for the air conditioning would work much better. As it is, it’s preferable to set a radio station and destination before you get going – so not a system for channel hoppers. The 208 does have plus points. The 14
The 5-door 208 does without the cool chrome dash behind the side windws - a nod to the 205 GTi. The interior is handsome, even if Peugeot (who have been building cars for over 100 years) seems to have forgotten where to put a steering wheel and dials.
handling is not as leaden as the light steering might suggest, and B-roads aren’t the chore they used to be in the 207. Build quality seemed much improved too, until we noticed a fizz emanating from somewhere on the dashboard. Any feeling of solidarity was taken away every time you had to change gear through the sloppy gearbox too. Overall however the 208 is the slight disappointment we all suspected it would be. Not class leading in anyway, except perhaps for looks (which are of course purely subjective), the theme of the deeply average Peugeot supermini trading mostly on image has not disappeared with this new iteration. Even more concerning then is the plight of the GTI, which arrives in spring to even more hype but with an uninspiring base to work with. Of course, Oii would never expect another 205 GTI, would we... oversteerinink.wordpress.com
Engine - 1.5 petrol hybrid, Power - 122bhp, Torque - 128lb ft, 0-60mph 9.1s, Top Speed - 124mph, 65.7mpg, 104 g/km, £20,070
HONDA CRZ Electric Sports Car
his striking looking car is a Honda CRZ and when it was released in April 2010, it was the World’s first hybrid
sports car. Translated – alongside a regular petrol engine, there is an electric motor that helps out when needed, giving the car either an extra shove of power, or aids economy and efficiency. The idea being to give this little coupe the economy of a far less sporty car. It may be years since it came to market but you wouldn’t know it from the reception the CRZ got while I took photos. I’m used to admiring stares and appreciative glances – and between the Honda and me, we drew a small crowd, however most people were most interested in the angular car – specifically, how rear visibility was through the split rear window. The price for all this technology and zany sense of style? People were shocked to be told prices started from £17,360, or £20,070 for this mid-range model with leather. The interior has a space age feel, with
Pretty CRZ draws a crowd quickly, thanks to nice details. Interior (below) is as futuristic as you would hope.
buttons everywhere and a glowing, digital speedometer sat in the middle of the large dials. When you press Sport mode, the speedometer glows red to indicate the electric motor will be helping your progress. Go into Eco mode and the throttle response softens, your mpg improves and the electric motor spends more time charging up than assisting. You also have a lot of fun can be had from watching the various graphs and read outs on the dashboard as they indicate how little fuel the car is sipping, before watching them topple in sport mode. Sports mode here is where the car really impresses. Whereas Honda could have just used the term ‘sporty’
French coupe flagship Classic lines Forgettable handling Eds 'Current' Favourite
as a cynical marketing ploy, it has actually provided a very good car to enjoy quiet roads on. The front is keen to turn into a corner but more importantly the overall balance is playful witha hint of exuberance from the rear end. It feels up on its toes and ready to change direction, the firm suspension offset by the comfy seats. The car develops 122bhp with both engine and motor and the 0-60 time of 9.1 seconds is accompanied by a rorty exhaust note and a fantastic, slick gear change. If the best thing about this car is its niche, technical nature, the worse part is also its niche, technical nature. This is not a mainstream product, with its cramped rear seats, poor rearward visibility and myriad of dashboard controls. The cabin lets off an occasional squeak and wind and tyre noise never fades away. However, if you fall for its futuristic charms then you can overlook its faults and find a unique technical marvel, capable of delivering far more fun than a green, planet saving car like this has any right too.
Engine - 1.6 petrol turbo, Power - 200bhp, Torque - 202lb ft, 0-60mph 7.6s, Top Speed - 146mph, 41mpg, 159 g/km, £25,064
Engine - 1.6 petrol turbo, Power - 190bhp, Torque - 177lb ft, 0-60mph 8.4s, Top Speed - 124mph, 37.2mpg, 175 g/km, £21,165
Nissan Juke T Light catching Golf rival
esigned to tempt buyers away from a Golf or a Focus, the Juke is the car Nissan will point you to if you don’t need the space of the larger Qashqai. The shape is very colour sensitive – bright blocky colours like red will pick out the sensational profile, including the unusual sloping roof, while darker colours reveal subtle surface detailing otherwise hidden in the flanks. The way light plays along the sides is truly beguiling. On the road the Nissan drives smartly, sharing cornering loads evenly between the front wheels and resolutely resisting the pitch and roll you’d expect from a high-riding crossover, although again the CVT gearbox is a weak spot, taking away a degree of driver involvement. Road noise can also be a distraction, due to big wheels and wide tyres.
The gearbox grates me a little though. While the idea of an effortless automatic suits the tech-laden Juke, in practise the CVT gearbox seems unsettled and busy, especially in Sport mode. But put your foot down and the Juke thumps down the road with conviction. The acceleration feels quicker that the claimed 0-60mph of 8.4 seconds, which seems conservative, but this sort of behaviour won’t help the fuel economy, which hovered around 20 mpg for most of the test. This now leads me to my conclusion, which is difficult to pin down. If my criticisms seems petty its because they are; right now the Juke is a deeply desirable and polished car, easy to recommend, but I think it could be improved further by ditching the CVT gearbox and trick 4wheeldrive system. The £20,445 model I drove is a solid 8/10 but if you can forgo the top spec and take the manual, the resulting car would be faster, more efficient and around £4,000 cheaper
he French company’s new flagship came out in the summer of 2010 and was tasked with bringing some energy into Peugeot’s lacklustre range. The main selling point of the RCZ are its fantastic looks. From whatever angle, it merges modern and classic lines and without doubt it’s a certain future classic, based on the looks alone. The design has caused some compromises with the practicality. It takes no small amount of acrobatics to fit in the rear seats, which could only be more awkward and less comfy if you were sharing the space with a crocodile. From the front however, you can admire the fantastic cabin. It’s liberally covered in leather and smart touches, such as the analogue clock in the middle of the dash. Thankfully the driving is less compromised – with a taut ride and accurate steering. Accompanied by the strong turbocharged 1.6 engine developing either 200bhp, the RCZ is an efficient partner in crime on a twisty road, but don’t expect too much raw excitement from the stable front-wheel drive chassis. The range starts at £20,895 – matching the more-common VW Scirocco on specification but beating it on performance – while the top spec £25,595 RCZ takes the fight to the similarly-priced base Audi TT. But we'd go for either of those rivals. oversteerinink.wordpress.com
On The Web
Watch the video of the MX5 GT Concept Track Test online at oversteerinink. wordpress.com
Engine - 2.0 petrol Power - 205bhp Torque - 144lb ft 0-60mph - 7 seconds Top Speed - 140mph Transmission - 5-speed manual Wheels - 17 inch Economy - unknown CO2 Emissions - unknown Price - £30,000
azda has confirmed a limited production run for the MX-5 GT Concept after a positive reaction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Which really is a good thing, because it is an awesome little car – as confirmed when we were one of the first people outside of Mazda to drive it. Lower, stiffer, more powerful and more orange than any production MX-5 before it, the GT Concept is inspired by the success of Mazda’s MX-5 GT4 cars in the 2012 British GT Championship.
The highlight of the Mazda MX-5 GT Concept is the engine – uprated from the standard 160bhp to 205bhp with new cams, new intake, new exhaust and a remapped ECU. The car remains naturally aspirated, and therefore retains a sharp throttle response, a high rev limit and a great noise. The engine was built by Jota Sport, who build the GT4 car and also supplies the uprated MX-5 engines for the Morgan Supersport. The engine in the GT Concept is very similar to that in the Morgan, so is therefore well proven.
‘The rev limiter is at 7,500rpm, so just keep going until you hit that. You won’t break it, its very strong, so rev it and rev it and rev it!’ enthuses engine builder David ____ from Jota Sports. This is echoed by race driver Jade Pavely, who will be driving it up the hill climb in the ‘First Glance’ category. “Make sure you launch with at least 6,000rpm” she tells me, so I merrily sidestep the clutch with 7,000rpm dialled in and we slither away from the line. The engine note is great, deeper and far more aggressive than the standard MX5, and we’re at the top of
second gear before the first corner. 0-60mph takes around 6.5 seconds. A small dab on the brakes – this is a oneoff concept, remember – and it tucks into the first right hander. The turn-in is sharper than the standard MX-5, thanks to the stiffer suspension, but the car retains a little bit of roll – just enough to get the feeling of what tyres are working hardest. As always with the MX-5, it’s a combination of all four – the general balance is still very neutral. But with the sharper turn-in, comes the feeling that you don’t have to use any power to tighten
the nose onto the line – the front tyres can grip just fine, thank you. What is new, however, is where the power is – very high up. We pass under the bridge still singing along in second gear, and brake hard for the left hander – a little late and still slightly on the brakes as we turn in, but the chassis doesn’t feel like it minds. Stay in second up the hill, into third to pass the flint wall, and bang! We haven’t crashed, but the power and torque have been left behind. We rediscover it in second gear, and hold it there until we fly across the finish line with engine
bouncing off the limiter. If the engine noise and power delivery reminds me of the rev hungry mk1, the sharper handling is like no other MX-5 before it. It feels like a well judged upgrade to the standard MX-5, much harder but still accessible and predictable. We await release date and pricing details, along with a proper road test of a production version, with plenty of anticipation.
Turn over for the exclusive track test oversteerinink.wordpress.com
It Gets Better !
The future of the MX5 – we look at the next development of the affordable sportscar with an exclusive track drive.
o it’s wet, its windy, and I’m exhausted. It’s the Monday after the 2012 Festival of Speed, a weekend guaranteed to take a lot out of you, but one of the highlights was a brief chat with the Mazda UK PR boss Graeme Fudge, which turned into a drive up the hill in their one-off prototype MX5 GT Concept. Now we are stood around the same bright orange prototype, this time in the sodden paddock at the Goodwood racetrack, a stones throw from the festival site. The track is ours for the day, as is the car. We have an exclusive track test of the next step in the Mazda MX5’s evolution. Some background on the MX5 GT Concept. Recently Toyota has been making waves with the announcement of the GT86, a back to basic sports car with sweet handling and a modest price. The motoring press have been in raptures, but seemed to be forgetting that Mazda had been doing this for years… Timed almost impeccably to coincide with the eventual (and often delayed) launch of the GT86/BRZ twins, this Mazda MX5 GT is a response to the Toyobaru. It’s designed to remind us all that sweet handling and modest grip is something the MX5 has been doing, and doing well, since 1989. Mazda UK of course deny this; the GT Concept is therefore billed as a tribute to the success of the Jota Racing teams GT3 Mazda’s – one of which grabbed a podium at Brands Hatch this year against much more powerful opposition. The GT Concept is a home-grown car too – thought up and delivered by the team at Mazda UK.
This explains then the heavy involvement of Jota Racing in this project. The engine mods for the GT Concept go much further than a plain ECU tune up and the new exhaust tips that manufacturers usually pedal-out. Nor is there a response dulling turbocharger – this is tuning, race team style. To that end Jota have designed a whole new exhaust system, a new intake manifold along with some awesome looking and oldschool sounding throttle bodies. New cams complete the mechanical overall, and once the ECU was adjusted to match the overall power had risen nearly 40%, from 158bhp to 205bhp. The GT is lowered 35mm on stiffer springs, but the standard dampers remain, as do the standard brakes. Response and grip, however, are improved by stickier tyres on bigger 17inch wheels, and a chunky carbon-fibre bodykit is added to boost the usually plain MX5’s visual appeal. Get up close with it though and it’s clear this is a rough, working prototype. The car is way too loud for a normal UK track day, and as soon as it rolls into the car the marshals are nervously glancing at noise meters. Set up isn’t yet complete either - Graeme warns me of a slightly light feeling at the front end that will be cured soon. Also on the to-do list are changes to the throttle, which was changed from electric to wire to allow the new throttle bodies. This is currently a bit sticky, so the car is easy to stall. and the engine warning light is constantly on. Traction control and ABS are both disconnected. Finally, the orange paint is actually a wrap, oversteerinink.wordpress.com
Right: The new concept siting side by side with its GT4 inspiration. Below: New bodykit compliment the extra power, while interior featrues real carbon fibre
applied over a black car plucked straight from the production line, and when you open the bonnet you can see where the rough wrap finishes. The engine is also completely naked – although Graeme tells me if the car was to make production, it would have a carbon-fibre engine cover. If. It’s a word we here constantly during the day, but I feel confident we can largely ignore it. Before I get in Graeme tells me the reception to the car was brilliant, with huge interest from the major UK publications. They are yet to drive this car (unlike me) so it’s refreshing to find him so relaxed about letting us loose on the wet, tricky Goodwood circuit… Doors closed, and inside the GT Concept is much the same as the standard MX5. The only differences are a load more carbon fibre across the dash, a plaque (this is, apparently, car 1 of 1) and a bit of loose wiring in the glovebox. Fittingly for a car tuned by the oldschool, the ignition is a simple ‘turn the key’ affair and the engine starts with a shout and settles quickly into a burbling, even idle. A blip of the throttle and you can feel the throttle bodies opening and closing, and the gruff note is most unbecoming for a usually demure MX5. It sounds awesome. And it goes like stink too. I of course floor it immediately out of the pit lane onto the wet, deserted track and stroke it up through the gears, allowing the engine to clatter into the limiter, grinning like an idiot. There are no official figures yet, but it feels like 0-60mph would take around 6.5 seconds. Traction in these slippery conditions doesn’t seem like an issue but under hard braking the front wheels lock up with ease. Tipping gently into the first corner doesn’t reveal any nasty handling traits however, so I can focus on getting a feel for the car. Through the faster corners that make up the majority of the Goodwood track, it feels planted and stable, with the body moving solidly over bumps. It reacts much worse to the kerbs through, kicking through the steering and bouncing off sharply. In the tighter turns it feels more alert and sensitive, with a sharp initial turn-in before settling into a neutral stance. Up the ante and the car, and its aggressive, dry-oriented tyres, gets much more ragged. The front remains super-sharp, but the rear can only just keep up and careful throttle application is required to stop lurid slides all the way front entry, past apex and well into exit. It’s entertaining and predictable, but snappier then the standard car, as you would expect. It’s clear
it needs fine tuning though – it’s not the easy slider the extra power would have you believe, sometimes needing a few stabs of opposite lock and not settling into a slide. The brakes too are difficult to modulate, proving slightly snappy shorn of ABS. But even if it needs some detail adjustments, it’s certainly an interesting study in how to make an MX5 a sharper drivers tool. It maybe more direct and slightly less forgiving then the standard MX5, but even so it’s a far better handler then a Z4, TT or 370Z, a bit cheaper proposition than a Cayman and much better value then both of them – even at the £28,000 for the GT muted by Mazda UK. And, in contrast to the GT86/ BRZ twins which seem to be missing some edge, this GT Concept proves that modest power can be hung together with racier, tighter grip and go. And that noise. It adds a whole new character to the car with its keen, hard edge roar. It proves too much for Goodwood strict noise limits, and we return to the paddock. It’s a good job too – we’re nearly out of petrol. Oii oversteerinink.wordpress.com
LOSING focus Ford's new Focus is the first of a new breed - the truly global car. We pit new against old to see how it stacks up, and what the change in scope means for Britain's drivers
tâ€™s been a long held belief of mine that for any task on any road, the Ford Focus is all the car you need. It is an economical load-lugger capable of being comfortable and refined for four adults or a family, and could be entertaining when you flicked you full beams up on your favourite back road. In fact, despite owning a Focus a few years ago purely for its cheapness and economy, it rewarded me with some of my favourite ever drives back when I lived on the Isle of Wight, with its gnarly lanes and scarred roads
And now there is a brand new one out, the mk3. Bigger and more refined, it is also one of the first truly global cars, to be sold in identical configuration worldwide. Aside from minor trim and equipment changes, the Ford Focus you could buy in Stoke would be exactly the same as the one you could buy in Moscow or Beijing. And this is significant, because despite the previous iterations of the Focus being sold in a huge number of markets, it always felt perfect for our tiny little island packed with heavy traffic and bumpy, twisty roads.
cheekily check how warm I had got the tyres – it’s a still a great driver’s car. All the important stuff – the weight of the controls, the chassis balance, the bump absorption – are well judged, meaning you can throw it at corners, use a lift of the throttle to change your line, and measure out the grip accurately. It’s not exactly heart-pounding stuff, and you can feel the weight of the estate body and long-wheelbase dulling response, but the all-independent suspension makes for an absorbing drive none the less. Now to the new one, a 1.6 Ecoboost with over 160bhp from its turbocharged engine. Straight away the engine feels punchier, much quicker from lower revs and with greater midrange punch despite its smaller capacity. It makes short work of overtakes, so it’s a shame it’s so muted – a little induction purr would be great. But the major improvement from new to old is the ride quality. It’s so good it immediately makes the old one seem antiquated, the
new car pouring itself down any bumpy road with neither unwanted suspension thump nor discomfort. The ride of the new Focus is, without a doubt, sublime. And the cabin remains spookily quiet too. And this translates into the ability to really cover ground fast. You suddenly realise you were making allowances for the old car, backing off to stop it becoming deflected by mid-corner bumps. The new Focus carries greater speed and remains unruffled by any surface. It has lots of grip too, but lacks any of the adjustability of the old one. Nowhere is this composure over bumps more relevant than around the triangle of roads just outside the main town of Newport that I have always tested cars on. Just about wide enough to fit two cars through, overtaking spots are rare but traffic is thankfully light. Turn right off the fast main road onto a scarred and pitted B road with lots of straights and fast sweeping turns. Overhead the sun is shining bright and I even spy a red squir-
rel. The peaceful countryside is at odds with the sheer speed I’m carrying in what is just a family hatchback. Cars that do well on these roads are ones able to carry the most speed over the many mid-corner bumps, meaning the advantage of light nimble sports cars is trimmed. The Focus seems built for this road. But… It’s impressive and competent, but not fun. And it’s purely because the car is so good that it lacks involvement. You no longer have to drive the road and car, considering your inputs to gain speed. You just carry speed into, through and out of the turns. And the Control weights are all over the place; the steering is too light, the throttle response lethargic, and the brakes far, far too sharp. So around familiar roads I can’t help feeling the Focus has left me cold. It couldn’t match a ten-year old estate for adjustability and feedback, even if it does monster the old car for refinement, comfort and composure. To Surrey.
“The old Focus feels not at all dated, except for the awful fake wood...”
The older car looks rough, but wears well. By contrast the modern car is ergonomic slickness.
The new one however has to appeal to big markets like Russia, USA and China. And the way to do that isn’t through driving thrills, but dollops of refinement, space, comfort and equipment. So has this new Focus gone soft on us? To find out I will be comparing the New Focus with the old on familiar roads on the Isle of Wight. Then I will go for a more tedious schlep around the motorways and A-roads of Surrey. But first I must get reacquainted with the Focus’s past. The Isle of Wight is a pretty place, not quite as captivating as the Isle of Man or west Wales, but certainly pleasant. Away from the congested towns you find a few roads worthy of attention – the Military Road is particularly famous. An understanding friend is giving me some time with his mk1, 2-litre petrol estate, which I can throw around some familiar roads whilst he gets a cup of tea on. Climbing into the decade old Focus feels odd as it is both smaller and narrower but it also feels solid, comfortable, not at all dated – except for the awful fake wood trim that came with the old Ghia models. Most telling of all however was my friends puzzled face when I finally pull up and oversteerinink.wordpress.com
Focus Estate 1998
Focus Diesel estate 2013
Engine - 2.0 diesel Power - 110bhp Torque - 180lb ft 0-60mph - 12.6 seconds Top Speed - 118mph Transmission - 5-speed manual Wheel - 16 inch Economy - 55mpg CO2 Emissions - 140g/km Price - £17,000, 1998
Engine - 1.6 diesel Power - 115bhp Torque - 199 lb ft 0-60mph - 11.1 seconds Top Speed - 120mph Transmission - 6-speed manual Wheel - 16 inch Economy - 67.3mpg CO2 Emissions - 109 g/km Price - £21,065
And a different car too. For the second part of my test, I’m back in an estate. The new Focus Estate looks big, but inside it feels usefully narrower than a Mondeo and you quickly forget all the length behind you. This one is a 1.6TDCi with 117bhp and a 0-60 time of 11.1 seconds. Of more importance to most buyers will be the economy, which is quoted at 67.3mpg, or the CO2 figure, which at just 109g/km qualifies it for £30 a year road tax. Driving at random along dual-carriageway and motorway, I settle down and play with the many gadgets onboard. The Zetec comes equipped with voice command for the radio which is a bit of a gimmick, but all the bits that I would expect to flap and move on their own in a modern car do so, and that’s pretty much all the gadgetry I want from a car. What isn’t present is the refinement that the hatchback provided back on the Isle of Wight. Ride comfort is still great, but all the fresh air in the back echoes to a few more thumps than the hatchback version. Aside from it’s grown up maturity, if this
small diesel estate has a saving grace it’s the fuel economy. Not quite hold the front page and stop buying Bluemotion Golf ’s good, but still enough to further mess up the argument for hybrid family cars. I averaged about 50mpg without really trying. So a comfortable cruiser – just about better than its rivals too. But as much as the new Focus is a marked improvement over any Focus before it I feel less inclined to praise it. Engineering in great comfort and refinement isn’t as much of a challenge if driving thrills are left out of the balance. The Focus is a very easy car to recommend, but not if you really enjoy driving. It’s not Ford’s fault; it’s just the way to go if it wants to chase even more sales globally. So the Focus is still a good car. Solid, quiet, comfortable, worthy. I just don’t expect to ever be buying one, which is a shame, because I still have fond memories of the old one. Oii Thanks to Bob Murray for bringing the new Ford Focus to UCA and to Andy Trimmer for supplying the mk1 Ford Focus.
Top: Photos of an ST badge are much more fun to look at (and easier to find) than photos of a tatty diesel Focus estate. New ST also looks at home in the pitlane (Below)
The Art of the
Passenger Ride Sometimes even the most self-assured of motoring journalists must step aside and let somebody else do the driving – whether it’s because the car is a development model or because the driver is someone special. Here are two examples of times Oii has sat in the passenger seat.
Industry News brought to you by Oii
bout the time we sent flying a small marker cone flying coming out of the final chi cane I realised just how much an ex-Formula One driver and Le Mans winner can push a car. Johnny Herbert was giving his opinion on the Lotus Evora S that we have here at the Goodwood circuit, and I took the opportunity to have a few passenger laps with him. And despite the screaming tyres he probably wasn’t trying that hard, as we were able to have a pretty good chat as we went round. “It has a little bit of understeer to begin with, but…” he pauses to let the car run from apex to exit, steering more with the throttle then any actual steering input. “It’s very well balanced and predictable” The Lotus certainly felt good from where I was sat. Flat round corners but supple over kerbs, it never looked like Johnny was having to fight the car. He praises the steering
owler is a small company, based on a farm in Derbyshire, which makes some of the most extraordinary vehicles granted permission to drive on British roads. Started in 1985, the company started making Rally Raid cars to challenge the Paris-Dakar, but recently an official tie-up with Land Rover has meant an increase in publicity. With this has come the chance to launch a softer, road orientated version of the Range Rover sport based EXR. The Bowler EXR-S – ‘the ultimate all terrain supercar’ according to the company – is anything but soft however. The addition of a tax disc doesn’t dampen the cars outputs, but in fact the lack of competition regulation mean they grow to an astonishing 550bhp and 625Nm torque. The engine is a heavily reworked version of the Land Rover 5.0-litre Supercharged V8, and it gives the EXR-S 155mph capability, as well as a 0-62mph dash of 4.4seconds. Huge, 22” wheels are wrapped in Kumho tyres and the suspension is double wishbones all round. The price is around £170,000, depending on the extras you go for. At some point, all these fantastical numbers lose all relevance, and if Bowler said it could fly I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. But what bought all these figures into perspective was the best reality check of all – a ride in one, with Bowler test driver Jim Wheeler. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed press day the Bowler EXR-S stands out, even against the Aston Martins, Ferraris and Lamborghinis joining it in the supercar paddock. Inspecting it up close is fascinating – It’s huge yet compact, and when you peer underneath everything is double the size you’d expect it to be. Getting in requires a bit of a clamber, as
the passenger seat is not only about three feet of the ground but hidden behind a large roll-cage. Inside, it looks light and mean, with none of the ergonomic slickness you would expect of a £180,000 car, but all of the carbon-fibre. There is even a Pioneer stereo and a large space behind you for shopping. I wonder if Bowler could make you a four-seater version. When the engine is fired up it sounds a strange mix of agricultural and aristocratic – it may be a huge 5-litre but it revs up fast and high, with a V8 blare like a supercharged Nascar motor. We finally pull up to the line, peering down on the marshals below us. Then he smiles and waves us forwards, and the EXR-S explodes forward, instantly rubbishing my assumption that it would feel swift but heavy. It honestly feels as light as violent as anything I’ve ever sat in, perhaps because of the height and pitch. We hit over 80mph before the first bend, the EXR-S leans, squats back a little and then fires round it with a real feeling that the rear is helping to steer. It feels fast all the way up the straight past the house and when the brakes come on for the tight Molecomb I’m hanging in my belts. The back slides a little under full power and just as I’m beginning to really appreciate Jim’s driving he blasts past the Flint Wall at full throttle, chucking steering at the apex to get the rear unsettled again. What a driver, what a car. So, the Bowler EXR-S is a beast – violent and fast, and aggressive beyond belief. Oh, and according to these photos from Bowler, it can fly.
(making his points not with words or hand gestures but with dabs of opposite lock) and we chat about Lotus’s handling prowess – he obviously still feels a lot of affection for the company. And he proves himself a real enthusiast in my eyes when I somehow manage to slip in a comment about my own MX5, as he likes those too. “It’s good when the tyres get hot, means we can slide about a bit more” he remarks after leaving another set of thick black lines before the apex of Lavant corner. It’s amazing how much Johnny can throw the car about – I wasn’t expecting that the mid engine, 345bhp Lotus could be driven so aggressively. But he could probably make most cars look easy, and to watch how he keeps the car on that knife edge between under and oversteer is an absolute masterclass. Controlled aggression just about sums it up. A very hot smelling Lotus, a firm handshake and one last cheeky grin. A passenger ride to remember. Brilliant.
Lotus Evora GP with Johnny Herbert at Goodwood Circuit
Goodwood Hunting Nick gets the job of donning a cap and hunting down star drivers at the Goodwood Revival... But, unfortunately, not on the track...
ho are these people who run about, pestering people to sign their names for them? I have never really understood autograph hunters. At the Festival of Speed, I saw Hieki Kovalinen suffer a pack of them whilst trying to get to his chauffer driven buggy. He nearly had a pen shoved up his nostril by one man who really looked old enough to know better, and the hysteric calls of “Hieki, Heiki” reminded me of seagulls fighting over a bag of chips. Madness. Imagine the scenes if these people were given press passes, with access to the startline, or press conferences, or the gated and guarded areas where drivers congregate before races… Well, partly to annoy the pen wielding mob and partly because I was told to, I kept pen and program close by everywhere I went at this years Revival, in the same pocket as my press pass. This also gave me a chance to see how accomodating these star drivers would be when pounced on just when they feel safe… The first signature was from… well, he was wearing a race suit, and speaking in a press conference, so I assumed he was important. Maybe I panicked as he was my ‘first’, but I spent the rest of the press conference searching through my program to see who he was, wondering how common this is for autograph hunters. Until a short bold man bumped into me and made me drop my program. Turned out he was Sir Stirling Moss, who smiled at my 32
The Goodwood Revival
he Goodwood Revival takes the circuit back in time to the late sixties, with historic racing cars and a unique atmosphere. It has run since 1995 and rescued the circuit from disrepair. The circuit was originally closed in 1966 due to noise complaints from nearby residents - yet when you see the circuit, its paddocks and infield restored back to its former glory, with the intoxicating buzz of noise, smell and atmosphere, you can’t believe anybody could object to it This year was the biggest yet, with several unique, once in a
”One got away, and it was quite a big one“ immediate request and did a modest squiggle. A polite nod of the head and he was off, to speak with the assembled press. Just a few moments later I had another chance, as ex-F1 driver Jochan Mass had finished having his photograph taken nearby. I tried to catch his eye as he flirted with female F1-driver Desire Wilson, but to no avail. She eventually disappeared to sign some copies of her new book, and in front of a large group of journalists asking Jochan serious questions about historic motorsport, and feeling decidedly unimportant, I thrust pen and program under his nose. For the rest of the day I was too busy being told off by marshals, so didn’t catch any more stars… But looking at the driver line up for Saturday’s St Mary’s trophy, I knew I could get a big haul. At Goodwood, the cars and drivers meet in an assembly area next to the main pits, where the cars are pushed in by teams of mechanics and the drivers shuffle out of the pre-race briefings. It’s a very busy place and closed to the public – the ideal place to put a star’s patience to the test. I checked some names in the program against the cars being pushed in and waited for the drivers to arrive. And waited. And waited. Finally, out they came, led by Jochan Mass (still chatting animatedly to Desire Wilson). I pounced. First I squeezed my way past some mechanics and interrupted Christian Horner as he put his helmet on. The Red Bull team principle duly signed, mumbling something about 34
being in a rush. I think he was surprised, to be honest. Next came Tiff Needle. “Time for a quick squiggle?” I asked, and he hastily signed the wrong side of the program with one foot already in his car. Behind me I could already hear cars thundering out onto the track. A quick look around and I saw the only driver not yet in his car – and it was BTCC star Anthony Reid, who smiled broadly as I approached and happily put his signature down. Then I got out the way before I was mowed down by Martin Brundle in a noisy Austin A35. Just three, but job done. And to top it off, I spotted car designer Gordan Murray peering into an Alfa Guiletta later in the paddock, and got an autograph off him too. But one got away, and it was quite a big one – Jackie Stewart. I’m happy to tell you he is a polite bloke, but not one that is able to sign a book, put a helmet on, hug several small children and talk to his mechanic at the same time. So an insight into the world of the autograph hunter. And with the excitement and satisfaction of grabbing a star, and spending a few fleeting moments with their attention, engraved in my memory, has the experience given me a kinder opinion of these scribble desperate fans? Not really, I’m afraid. Yes I’m quite fond of that program now, and it was fascinating to meet these people. But I just don’t like the begging nature of it. Maybe I’m too egotistic for it. So I will leave it to the experts and pray that they never get their hands on a press pass… Oii
lifetime opportunities to see some cars that will be hidden away in garages almost as soon as the Revival finishes. For instance the coming together of 30 Ferrari 250 GTO’s, with an overall worth of £300 million. Or the legendary Silver Arrows from pre-war Germany, which havent been seen running together since the dark days before WW2 Tickets are expensive, but for when Spitfire’s are overhead, Martin Brundle is walking past and shrill whistles are splitting the crowd in front of some priceless race car being rolled back to it’s paddock... well, nothing beats it Seperating the legends from the squiggles 1) Formula One team principle with an energy drink induced foot tapping problem. Yep, Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principle. 2) Australian designer of the legendary Mclaren F1, Gordan Murray. Very tall. 3) Touring car star Anthony Reid. Scottish, but don’t hold that against him. 4) Knighted for services to motor racing, Sir Stirling Moss was also once given a 12 month driving ban for speeding in a mini. 5) Silly Nick. Turns out this is Karsten Le Blanc, a private banker and Aston Martin racer, and an influential figure in historic motorsport. 6) Like any good racing driver, if you search for Jochan Mass online the first few hits are of spectacular crashes... 7) Noisy lover of oversteer and infectiously enthusiastic TV presenter Tiff Needle.
FEATURE Steve Miller, Course Leader, UCA Farnham
think the most exciting story coming is the new wave of electric cars. The new GM Volt and Ampera are real game changers, achieving genuine medium distance all-electric operation and 150mpg potential, and are in UK showrooms now. The hybrid pioneer Toyota is also upping its game.
Jim Holder, Editor of Autocar
Lots of new technology and performance measures to grapple with - battery technology and weight, charging times, electric range, real-world economy, performance under electric and petrol power... Prices of these new cars need to come down but it’s the start of a real paradigm shift.
he biggest challenge will be explaining the BMW i cars technology without loosing sight of the fact that they remain cars, and that they should be good enough to justify the prices tags. Any new tech divides opinion, but reporting that tech accurately and keeping an eye on everyday factors such as price, running costs etc is a hard balance.
Bob Murray, Editor, FortyOneSix
he big challenge for motoring writers is to up the journalism. As long as they have mastered the media, they know their audience, know their subject and are passionate about it, the challenge should be to find out stuff no one knows and convey it in the most entertaining way possible. And – an even bigger challenge – make a living out of doing so.
Andrew Noakes, Course Leader, Coventry University
t’s clear from the responses that change is coming, particularly with the arrival of electric technology. ‘Real’ journalism will have to be performed to find out what impact these new electric cars will have on peoples lives. An it might not be traditionall motoring writers, but bloggers who perform this work. So keep up on Twitter and hone your reporting skills, according to these lot.
James Batchelor, Editor of Car Dealer Magazine
he industry is slowly - and begrudgingly adapting to the rise of the blogger and the ‘untraditional’ journalist, while local newspapers are fast becoming less important for motoring content in both readers’ and manufacturers eyes. 2013 will see more bloggers and less regional journalists writing about our industry.
ike all journalists, those in the automotive field are watching a gradual decline in print publishing, particularly in newspapers, and the migration of content to online outlets – together with new content platforms such as Twitter. Some will leave automotive journalism because they will be unable or unwilling to embrace new types of content and new methods of working. In addition the automotive journalist has to face
an uncertain future for the motor industry, as it deals with the rising cost of oil and the increasing concern over the environmental impact of the motor car. Automotive journalists will play a crucial role in explaining new technologies, guiding readers through a host of new and difficult choices, and assessing the merits and demerits of new cars and new technologies as they appear. To survive this turbulent era automotive journalists
will need to learn new skills and understand new automotive technologies – and they might just need a little bit of luck. Specifically for 2013 I think there will be a greater awareness of the need for clarity in agreements between private car owners and journalists over what happens if something goes wrong - the fallout from the Piper v Hales case a few months ago.
Richard Aucock, Chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers
he biggest challenge may be the need for ever-greater immediacy and the growing requirement for multi-channel reporting. Journalists are required to tweet, update Facebook, blog and provide video, on
top of traditional reporting. The former are considered as important as the latter. Some are better at this than others, and gaining a significant advantage: all other journalists are challenged with catching up here,
without diluting quality. It’s tricky, and some will be better than others: the competitive order amongst established writers may thus shift as skills across these different platforms play out.
Smile and wave to mum
Schemes to let children get a taste of driving are springing up all over the country. We take a look at the best but, sadly, we weren't tall enough to partake
t’s important to get young people thinking early about driving safety – the efforts of teenage drivers to wipe out Britain’s collection of hedgerows and 1-litre Polo’s is well documented. The long wait until they reach the age that they can finally sit next to a driving instructor is frustrating beyond belief – so why wait until 17? As motoring journalists – whose words are often read by impressionable young motoring enthusiasts, do we have a responsibility to promote safe driving? Oii looked at options for young driver training that can be reported on and supported by the industry. There are a few options to combine safety training and fun, and driving is definitely fun, but unless they have a big empty field and spare room in the garage for an old banger, readers are probably going to be interested in the many young drivers courses around the country. As soon as the race driver-in-waiting is tall enough to reach the pedals they can be given tuition at the Goodwood circuit. The Goodwood Mini Drivers combines mini kids with a fleet of actual Minis, with fully accredited driving instructors
To find out more about any of these fun day events, including dates, visit their websites www.goodwood.co.uk www.youngdriver.eu www.mercedes-benz.co.uk www.trackdays.co.uk
Above: Goodwood Mini’s line up before hitting the track - every child has a qualified instructor wth them, and safety is taught over speed. Opposite page: Children enjoy taking part - especially if it involves getting ,uddy
joining the youngsters out on the famous Goodwood circuit. Lessons take the form of missions, from basic car control such as starting, stopping and steering around cones, to more advanced stuff like practising on a pretend roundabout and performing a sharp brake and avoid manoeuvre. All the way around, the instructors encourage a discussion about awareness, hazards and safety. The fact that it takes place on a race track makes it an effective lesson. “We have children as young as 9, 9 1/2, right the way up to 17 plus” says instructor Mark. “It’s a fun day, plenty of atmosphere, friendly etc.” Prices start at £99 per session, but apparently the delight of watching your child navigate a tricky ‘reverse around a corner’ is priceless. If the nostalgic venue of Goodwood Motor Circuit won’t tempt your readership, perhaps the similarly historic Mercedes-World at Brooklands will be enough. Here young drivers get to grips with a Mercedes A-Class in sessions designed to teach the basics of car control, but for a real challenge, Mercedes offer a Kids 4x4 driving experience, where 10 acres of axle twisting terrain can be conquered.
Prices start at £45 for a half hour lesson, rising to £90 for an hour of mud-plugging. Predictably most car companies want to get involved and offer courses from time to time. One nationwide scheme sponsored by Seat has locations in Scotland and the South West (great if Goodwood and Brooklands are little too far away). It’s called Young Driver and it’s cheaper than the Brooklands events – at £57.99 for a full hour – but instead of a track the scheme takes over car parks and indoor arenas. Both beginners and more experienced young drivers can practise knocking cones over and waving to mum to their hearts content. But if its track based lessons you’re after, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and the Bedford Autodrome all provide a fitting place to learn the basics. Prices start at £99, provided the child slips under the 6 ft 7 height limit. Oii believes it's of the utmost importance to stress to impressionable readers, wh inevitably try to mimic the cross country pace we portray, that road safety come first. Featuring these schemes is a good place to start. Oii oversteerinink.wordpress.com
Industry Analysis brought to you by Oii
Why and how you should add narrative in magazines
Add some polish to a finished production
Long term inclusion of running jokes and nods to the past build a relationship with the readership - as Evo shows
We speak to EVO Magazine’s sub-editor Ian Eveliegh to discover the tools of his trade.
he monthly magazines – EVO, Car, Top Gear – all have something the weeklies lack. But is it something Autocar et al should be including it too? I’ve indulged in the Evo archive recently and one thing that strikes me is the sense of narrative throughout the magazine’s history. There are recurring jokes, themes, characters and plots that stretch for years. For instance, one of the corners on the much frequented Bedford Autodrome is occasionally called the Bus Stop Chicane in track tests. I never gave it any thought, but looking through the Evo back catalogue I notice it is a reference to John Barker taking a variety of mad vehicles around the track for Evo’s 100th issue including, amongst other things, a double-decker bus, which he stopped at the chicane to drop-off some nauseas passengers. More recently, Roger Green had to leap out of a burning Lotus at the Nürburgring – now his helmet is proudly painted with flames, and a sly photo of it crops up in every Evo race car feature. Normally a picture of a helmet wouldn’t be selected against the exciting cars being driven, but it reminds people of Roger’s brush with fire, and acts as an inside joke. The narrative doesn’t just extend to long-term jokes that run through the magazines – even the writing style of the magazine is deliberately loose, so while many writers come and go, each is memorable. Every personality is allowed to shine through the writing they do; Metcalfe rambles, Harris swears, new boy Sam Riley takes the proverbial out of Jason Barlow. And talking of taking the Micky, the profiles of the testers on every Car of the Year event are often amusing. In his first eCOTY, a young Henry Catchpole’s picture was replaced by that of Victor Meldrew. A few years later and he got his revenge, writing all their profiles with more than a hint of ageism. It’s incredible Henry got this far at all, because he states in
(Above) ‘Flaming’ Roger Green dives out of his Lotus, while Editorial Diresctor Harry Metcalfe (Top) introduces the Mercedes G65 AMG
one article that while on work experience with ‘a well-known weekly’ he stuffed a Mitsubishi Lancer VII into a tree. On a deserted airfield. The article was asking members of the EVO team to describe their best moments with the magazine, deliberately aiming to allow the readership ‘behind the scenes’. So Evo has a carefully constructed narrative, but it’s not alone. Top Gear TV festoons its studio with notable cars featured in previous episodes – the famous red Toyota Hilux has its own plinth. Car Magazine has inside jokes and quips about various team members, lending it the feel of a cheeky set of mates rather than an expert consumer magazine focusing on products worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. The weeklies, however, lack such camaraderie in their writing. What Car?, Auto Express et al stay behind a curtain of professional efficiency. Why is this? It’s about perceived authority. The weeklies aim to be like the evening news bulletin: they present fact. You read a factual road test, based on numbers and the objective comparison to a car’s rivals. Then you skim the news, which is said to feature no speculation but only insider knowledge of the car industry. To show any ‘mucking about’ would dilute the authority of such a factual source. It happens of course, but not to the same extent. But do the monthly magazines lose the same sense of authority? Not for the big events, such as comparing the Ferrari 458 to the McLaren MP4-12C. These are the kind of cars that demand space to elaborate within the prose – you don’t just need facts, you need opinion. More than that, the special moments that these cars create are just as important as their statistical qualities. The relaxing of styles, which is even more obvious in the biking world, allows for a connection between the audience and the editorial team. Without it, we wouldn’t know the characters working on the mag, and it’s knowing these characters which give their opinion so much importance for the reader. Oii
ou know the old joke. “There’s no I in team” says one; “There is when you’re subbing it” comes the retort. But we all should know a good sub-editor does far more than dot the t’s and cross the i’s. Ian Eveliegh describes his task to me as he goes through a typical spread in EVO’s fleet section. The page comes straight from the designer with copy dropped straight into the layout. This means the amount of text that can be fitted in has already been decided, and can’t be changed. So, the copy needs to be checked for length – how much over or under is it? You will need to know that later. Then, the page numbers need to be checked against the page planner, before changing any photo credits at the bottom. Aside from the main copy, most of the information on the page will be wrong. Ian tells me this is because there is a set amount of page layouts a magazine will use, so when he receives the page, information like car specifications and so on are actually carried over from last time the layout was used. One surprise was Ian being responsible for all the picture captions for the pictures. Ian points out it’s his responsibility to come up with the snappy captions and entertaining quips that add so much to the articles, and quite often form a large chunk of the editorial voice.
(Above) Ian Eveliegh has been working at Evo for 4 years, and his long term cars have included a Renault Twingo (Top), Nissan 370Z and (Bottom) a Mazda RX8
Now finally you get on to the copy proper. Bear in mind how many lines you have to gain or lose from the text (you checked at the start). Sometimes you can lose an entire sentence, but usually it is just a process of trimming it by a couple of words here and there. Other things to look out for are stylistic. Everything needs to be checked for house style, such as how ‘146 bhp’ or ‘MINI’ is written. Both of those examples are wrong. Finally, Ian shows me a little trick to beef up the look of the text. One of the paragraphs finishes with a line of just two words – leaving plenty of wasted space to their right. Further up the paragraph is written ‘evo 160’, referring to an earlier copy of the magazine. However, ‘evo’ is at the end of a line, clinging to the precipice and separated from the number ‘160’. By adding a hard space just before the number, he not only joins the two together again, but increases the length of the last line and fills the space. All in all, sub-editing is one of the most important roles within a magazine, as it brings it all together and gives any publication a polished, professional look. It’s sub-editing which makes a magazine appear finished – and money or time saved at this stage will be false economy for publishers. For journalists looking to switch to sub-editing, it is a skill that’s in demand and will stand out on your CV. Oii
FEATURE What you need You can choose between Avid, Adobe Premier Pro, Final Cut Pro or Edius for your editing software. Your computer should be quite manly, as some rendering video takes some heavy processing power and uses plenty of RAM.
Where to visit The site www.lynda. com should tell you all you need to know about editing with any of these programs. For advanced editors, and users of After Effects, go to www.videocopilot.net for some very pretty and impressive tutorials.
Instant Expert: Video Editing P
icture the scene: You’ve applied for a film production role at a publication, but the only snag is you may have exaggerated your experience a little... Oii of course would never get itself into this situation (ahem), but that scenario is the inspiration behind our Instant Expert series. For this guide to editing we are going to assume you have the equipment (if not, check out the right hand panel) and know the basics – that’s stay organised, and drink lots of tea. Now let’s imagine we are shooting a car review at a track and on the road.
First of all, lay out the footage quickly and roughly in the order you want to present it, with the all the presenter’s pieces to camera in the right place and all the smokey drifts you need selected. Now make use of your B-roll. This is footage that sets the scene or reveals details, and is vital in guiding your viewer through the video as well as hiding cuts in speech during any interviews. You do this because you want to avoid jump cuts – which occur when you have two consecutive shots with the exact same camera set up but a slight difference in the subject. With people, remember to stay on your plane. Avoid crossing the imaginary 180-degree plane you
filmed from, so you keep a natural perspective for the audience. This of course isn’t applicable when showing detail shots of a car, but may explain why videos sometimes feel ‘odd’. When you cut during action, cut on motion. That is because motion, say the turn of a wheel or opening of a car door, distracts the eye, and is much smoother than cutting from an action that has finished. Occasionally it is useful to use wipes, which are when a frame fills up with one element (say, another car driving through your shot) as again these smoothen cuts for the viewer. Cutting on similar elements, such as a round badge and an al-
loy wheel, look creative and professional. A good example is in Apocalypse Now, when there’s a cut from a rotating ceiling fan to the blades of a helicopter. Remember to match the scene. In a film, if somebody exists frame right they should enter the next shot frame left, and the same is true of watching a car sweep along a road. A good example is the drive-by shot, when a car speeds towards the camera on the side of the road, and as it passes the shot changes to one looking in the opposite direction as the car speeds away. Finally, find a motive for every cut. Sometimes it will be “someone walked in the way” or “the
Who needs it?
“When editing and putting in cuts, remember three things – rhythm, movement and sound”
According to Nick Trott, Evo Editor, video editing is becoming an absolutely vital skill for all motoring journalists - so we all need it.
Be inspired by camera shook”, but ideally it will be something like “the presenter mentioned handling agility so here is the car turning through a tight corner”. But not always. Balancing all of these against the story you are trying to tell and the rhythm you are trying to keep is a balancing act. The basic rule when trying to create excitement is to increase the pace of cuts, shortening the amount of time each shot is on screen. Accelerating this (eg. holding a shot for ten seconds, then eight, then six) adds to the drama, but don’t jump around all over the place as it’s the rhythm and acceleration that does the work. If you want the viewer to pay attention to dialogue or speech it’s best to leave
a steady rhythm between cuts. And even during a fast paced video, it’s important to let your viewer breathe, using slow wipes and fades between wide shots to create a moment of calm. As for story-telling, all because it’s a car video and not a film doesn’t mean the use of scene-setting wide shots and other story telling methods shouldn’t be ignored. When filming a sequence of corners being tackled, keep in mind the Kuleshov effect, which explains why viewers assume an actor looking off the screen is actually looking at the object in the next shot shown. For a car video, keep the car travelling in the same direction until it reaches a corner, and
don’t repeat shots that look similar. As to the technical side of editing? If you really enjoy technology then there is plenty to sink your teeth into, particularly within the Premier Pro vs Avid vs Final Cut Pro debate. But if you just want technology that works, the good news is that the latest editions of all three now work well and not only that, work in a similar way. If you are proficient at one a switch to another shouldn’t be too challenging. Some general tips - save often, learn some keyboard shortcuts, and watch as many videos as you can. Instant expert accomplished. Oii
Everything from Apocalypse Now to early James Bond. Once you know what you are looking for, you will see it everywhere, however Top Gear and Evo are still the leaders in producing series quality motoring videos
Don’t say My favourite cut is to dissolve into a window-blind
Do say I take inspiration from Top Gear and Hitchcock
fleet 1990 Mazda MX5
Mileage: 67,500 Costs: £2,300 Highlight: Learning to drift Lowlight: It’s falling apart...
o put it bluntly, car ownership has once again kicked me in the teeth. Early Mazda MX5’s had a weakness where the engine’s crank was likely to fail. No prizes for guessing what was at fault when my car developed a nasty knocking sound from under the bonnet. Before I start bleating it’s only fair to remember you make your own luck in life. I was aware the car needed a good service and oil change; I wasn’t aware of the slight head gasket leak that meant the oil level had been low for a while. One thing I have learnt is not to trust an oil pressure gauge. It was however possible to replace the engine and I had enjoyed my time with the MX5 enough to get it back on the road before I went to university. So £1100 and a few grazed knuckles later, G223 ADL had a lower mileage and slightly newer 1.6 engine in place – with the only teething troubles being a leaky radiator pipe and a clutch failure soon after the swap. It never rains but it pours… But once I was at university, the MX5 shone. It was, by a whisker, just large enough to carry everything I own on moving in day, in one of those man-and-machine bonding moments as I left home again. The MX5 didn’t have a quiet life, with regular trips to the midlands and even to west Wales. As the miles racked up it needed two replacement rear tyres – the wide, curved entrance to the university car park proving too much to resist. After all this time with the MX5 I have, predictably, grown quite fond of it. But it does have problems (even
Clockwise from top: Happier times at the beach, playing with loose surfaces, new engine, the colourful windscreen surround, and posing for pictures with no engine. G223 ADL will return...
putting aside the expensive engine swap). To discuss whether a MX5 is any good is really to analyse what you expect from a car. For example, it can only carry two people and a small amount of luggage, in noisy and sometimes uncomfortable conditions. The reliability is solid when compared to other old sports cars, but compared to modern cars, the fuel economy, performance, cornering speeds and build quality fall short. You’re also exposed to some flex from the body as you go over harsh bumps and you should treat anybody who says their MX5 doesn’t rattle with scorn. I couldn’t really recommend the MX5 as a good car, because it isn‘t. However, none of what I have mentioned should matter to anybody who wants a sports car. Because a sports car doesn’t need to do the same humdrum duties as a normal car... The mk1 MX5 is an antidote to modern sanitised motoring. Its best attribute is an ability to bring you into the centre of the driving experience, where you are exposed to and involved in everything the car does. Unassisted steering gives you perfect feedback allowing you to feel your way to the tyres limits rather than guess, and a balanced chassis means cornering relies as much on the throttle control as
the steering wheel. Without commitment the car will doggedly under steer, forcing you to drive the car hard. This encouragement is matched by an engine that performs (and sounds) best at high revs and an accurate gearshift which snick-snacks satisfyingly across the gate. It is quite simply, the best car I have ever driven for driving involvement - more endearing and relevant than a Nissan GTR, Jaguar XKR or any other high performance sports car I have been lucky to drive. It demands to be driven well, and when the mood takes you, hard. The MX5 supplies communication at all levels, which unfortunately includes a noisy ride and heavy controls. You have to put a lot into this car to get anything out, so it’s tiresome for those drivers used to efficient and capable modern cars. If you think this all sounds a bit pointless then feel free to retreat to the safety, security and smugness of your modern mile-muncher. But for those who really enjoy motoring, and want a car that can both teach and reward you, step this way. With prices of the mk1 MX5 at around £2000 for a good one, and poised to rise in the near future, it has never been a better time to buy. So I heartily recommend one. My one, however, is not sale – I intend to see many more miles in it yet.
‘The MX5 is an antidote to modern, sanitised motoring. You are exposed to everything it does’ oversteerinink.wordpress.com
fleet Ford Ka: First Impressions
Mileage: 3,450 Costs: None Highlight: Fuel economy Lowlight: That colour scheme
his is the car that will be fulfilling my ‘running about’ duties and it certainly doesn’t need a set of daytime running lights for anybody to see it coming. It’s a Ford KA 1.2 Digital Edition, and while it won’t be setting the track alight here at Goodwood (but maybe a few retinas) once I have put my journalist and road tester hat on, it will answer a few questions in its time here with us. Of particular interest to me is comparison to the Ka’s close sibling, the Fiat 500, which is nearly identical underneath the retro styling. If you are an enthusiastic driver looking for an economical city car, should you plump for the 500’s obvious charms, or does the Ka offer a better drive? On first impressions, the Ka feels better tied down with less bounce and quicker responses, so that could well be true. And I’m certainly not missing the 500’s head turning appeal. Our Ka’s Digital Edition colour scheme pairs the white paintwork with lime green stripes featuring ghosted ‘ones and zeros’ that can’t be easily seen in photos but sparkle in sunlight. The colour scheme carries on inside, with the same bright green highlighted on the centre consol, instrument binnacle, seats and door handles. The oily bits are a 1.2 petrol engine with 69bhp and a 5-speed manual
Top: Ka meets Nick’s .MX5 - niether are difficult to spot in a car park. Below: Student fuel budget starts to show
“I’m excited to not be losing it in a car park this summer”
Ford Ka vs Fiat 500
he Ka is the result of a tie-up between Ford and Fiat that aimed to make higher profits from the competitive city car market. Fiat created a huge sales success in the 500 – the Ka, despite being virtually the same underneath, has been in the retro-styled shadow of its close sibling since launch. But while the 500 is great to look at and own, it’s also a pretty bouncy ride when you push on, and the light 46
gearbox. Claimed fuel consumption is rated at 57.7mpg, and the 115g/km makes the yearly tax bill just £30. Reactions to the car have been interesting – I’ve been told the stripe makes it look like an angry Herbie, and my terribly witty friends have already nicknamed it ‘Toni’ and me ‘Guy’ - but I don’t want to let that distract from the car that’s underneath. City cars should have some simple objectives and hit them all in the middle, and over the next two months I will be looking closely at the way it handles, rides and saves me fuel. It might even get a run in an actual city too. For now I have the tank brimmed, the Bluetooth connected, and a wallet full of CDs stuffed into the doorcard. It’s not just the first time I have driven a Ford Ka, it’s also my first long-termer and I’m excited to not be losing it in a car park this summer.
Above: A rare wash for EF12. Far right: The Ka lines up on the grid at Goodwood, after taking a tour of the grounds.
steering and pedal weights dampen enthusiastic driving. First impressions with the Ford suggest it is flatter through corners than a 500, with a much more desirable feel to the steering and pedals – you actually feel connected to the car, which is nice. The throttle response is sharper too. The trade-off is predictable, as the Ka feels slightly leaden over sharps bumps, and transmits more road and engine noise into the cabin. The cabin itself feels similarly cheap but looks
significantly different. The main practical difference is a larger boot in the Ka, which is gained at the expense of rear legroom. Practical considerations such as fuel economy seem to tip the Fiat’s way, thakns to the Twin-Air motor. Side by side, the 500 makes the better case for ownership, even if they are as common as a wet day in April. But if I had access to both I would rarely feel the need to take the 500, as the Ka provides more fun on a give and take road.
Ford Ka: Driven Hard
funny thing happened the other day – and while it was totally unexpected I had actually been waiting for it for a while. The roads were quiet and I had a chance to grab FortyOneSix’s Ford Ka by the collar and manhandle it down a twisty road. It was lacking somewhat in steering feel and the brakes went heart-in-mouth-soft after a just a few corners, but... Where other city cars feel like they
are being bullied when driven hard, the Ka stood up much better. It gripped gamely, with far less roll than it looks like it should deliver. And the balance, while still completely in the margins of safety and security, showed just the smallest hint of a chassis that can be teased with trail-braking to help the front tuck into a corner. The car feels pretty natural from behind the wheel, with the controls nicely weighted and matched for response. Compared to any other city car I’ve
driven the Ka is a revelation, as the by now, err, ‘bedded-in’ front tyres show. Which is also an indicator that time is flying by, and its nearly time to say goodbye. So long, Toni!
Pistonheads, London £17,000
Jobs and Temptations... brought to you by Oii
Oii is looking for a top-drawer designer, who can magic away annoying spaces like this and massage in some style to this fresh magazine.
February Round-up Expansion at Blackball Media gives us one half of our jobs highlight this month – as the team behind Car Dealer Monthly look to add both a junior and senior staff members to the writing team, for a ‘new, exciting project’. Sounds intriguing, and we know they’re a friendly bunch down in Gosport. Messages straight to James Baggott on Twitter please. Meanwhile British Superbike fans can apply to report on the series for MCN, the world’s biggest motorcycle newspaper. That could be a useful foot in a very important door – full advert at http://www.journalism.co.uk/media-jobs/british-superbike-reporter/s75/a552230/
s there a car builder more in ascendancy than Jaguar right now? We think not, and what better way to join the party with this brooding old XJ. For the same price as a new Ford Focus, this executive saloon has a 2.7-litre diesel V6 that will whisk you from 0-60mph in a subdued 7.8
Applicants must like MX5s and sharing Rich Tea biscuits. The role is unfortunately unpaid at the moment... But the perks include my lovely Yorkshire Terrier in the office!
Staff Writer, Land Rover Owner
duPont REGISTRY is currently seeking a self-motivated individual with strong writing skills and a passion for exotic and luxury cars. This is an entry-level position responsible for conceiving, researching, and writing stories for their blog and news area.
Land Rover Owner International is recruiting for a staff writer to join the editorial team – an exciting and varied role across our market-leading print and digital offerings, with great career potential. The future for LRO is apparently very exciting too…
They are looking for avid bloggers with a working knowledge of SEO - people who love cars and love to write about them. Apply today at internships.com
As staff writer you’ll get to write news stories and features, oversee regular sections of the magazine, and be a key contributor to LRO’s website and social media pages. And, to enable you to do that you’ll
more important than you really are. Something these Ultimate Black coloured Jags are quite good at; Downing Street had a fleet of these, you know.
, £6,950 Car and Classic Kit Car, Surrey
Entry Level Automotive Journalist, DuPont (America) A full-time, paid internship in America has cropped up -
seconds and on to a top speed of 141mph. Sure, the Ford won’t have over 60,000 miles on the clock, but it also won’t have a knack of making you look far
have plenty of opportunities to experience amazing adventures, enjoy getting dirty offroad, and meet like-minded Land Rover nuts. To apply, send your CV, a covering letter outlining why you’re the best person for the job, and a 600-word story on enjoying your Land Rover to: Mike Goodbun Editor, Land Rover Owner International firstname.lastname@example.org
Autotrader, Mayfair £9,350 If the Honda CRZ review on page 16 has got you hankering for a sporty hybrid, then this high mileage/low price model might tickle your fancy. Top spec, with leather everything, a reverse paeking aid (who needs a functional
rear windoow?) and even free 7-day drive away insurance. It’s done 78,000 miles, but at under ten grand its still a bargain. Looks pretty on cobbles too.
What did Oii ever do for us? finally...
Aurasma app sees your content leap out at your readers - is this magazine 2.0? The monthly section where Oii brings you good ideas to shock your editorwith. This month, a dinosaur at Buckingham Palace and a racy M&S ad. Moving pictures in a magazine. It’s not Harry Potter, or Star Trek, but an app called Aurasma, and with it you can link the videos on your website to the pages of your publication. In an industry which is consistently blurring platforms, or adding new ones, giving your audience instant access from one platform to another is priceless. The beauty of Aurasma is that it will always be bigger than your publication - so support will continue and grow. The idea is a community of Aurasma users create ‘Auras’ (basically a video or animation) and attach it to an image. When you have the Aurasma app activated, you point your device at famous land marks or iconic images and the app loads up the video and plays it. It automatically scales it to size, so you can move the device around and the video will stay within the correct frame. Popular Auras include King Kong climbing the Empire State Building, 50
and iconic movie posters springing to life. For a motoring publication, the applications are only limited by imagination. When video content online accompanies a feature or review in the magazine, use a small information box to direct readers to point their Aurasma device to an image. When they do so, the video content will then spring to life, apparently out of the magazine. See it happen and it looks much slicker than can be described. It can also be monetised – if readers are regularly scanning every page of a publication, perhaps looking for hidden content, there is no reason adverts can’t literally jump out at the readership. To see how it works download the app – search for Aurasma – and point your device at the main picture on this page. If you can use it, check out www. Aurasma.com, and remember to send us a thank you note with some biscuits. Oii