Family Money: Offishore Havens
By Leslie Wright
For most people, the word "offshore" simply refers to a
collection of safe havens where money could be placed for greater security. In fact, it
means any place which is not onshore - the country in which you are either domiciled or
Indeed, the words "domiciled", "resident",
"not-ordinarily-resident" and "non-resident" cause considerable
confusion, but are simply legal terms used to decide your status with regard to taxation.
Domicile goes with you
Domicile is as much a state of mind as a legal
definition. You can, effectively, choose your domicile - the place you call
Although you cannot be without a domicile, you can only have one
domicile at any one time.
You are domiciled in the country of which you are a citizen, either by
birthright or adoption; or of a country in which you have chosen to live permanently or
indefinitely; or of the person on whom you are legally dependent.
These are called, distinctly, domicile of origin; domicile of choice;
and domicile of dependency.
However, you are a resident (for tax purposes) of the country you have
chosen to live in, even though you may not be a citizen or have permanent residency status
in that country.
For instance, someone born in Britain may be a citizen of that country
by birthright, even though his or her parents were not holders of British passports.
Conversely, someone with British parents may be a British citizen even though he or she
may never have set foot inside the U.K.
This latter person may also hold dual nationality, inasmuch as well as
being able to claim the nationality of his/her parents, he or she may also claim to be a
citizen of the country in which he or she was born if his/her parents were resident
overseas at the time.
Domicile is distinct from citizenship. Someone having been born and
raised in UK may have British citizenship, but may not reside there except for occasional
And provided these visits do not exceed 182 days in any one financial
year (April 6th to April 5th), or an average of 90 days a year over four financial years,
and no income is generated inside the UK during these visits, this person may be
classified as "non resident" and his/her overseas income will be outside the UK
However, such income will be taxable in the country of which he/she is
resident for tax purposes.
The term "not ordinarily resident" generally applies to
citizens of one country who are living and either working for an extended period or
gaining income in another (for example UK), and thus are liable to tax in that second
country (e.g., UK).
To help clarify these complexities, take as an example someone who was
born in Britain but who has chosen to live permanently in Thailand.
This person will still be a British citizen (if he or she has not
relinquished his passport), but is classified by the UK IRD as "non-resident"
for tax purposes, and "resident" for tax purposes by the Thai authorities.
If this person has married locally, set up home here, opened local bank
accounts and perhaps even established a local business, this all indicates the intention
in his mind of remaining permanently offshore from the UK, and effectively to have changed
his domicile from UK to Thailand.
He will be liable to tax in Thailand on income derived here, but may be
free of tax liabilities in UK - unless he has holdings there which produce an income which
is taxable (for example, a house which is rented out.)
The offshore concept
For most people, however, the word "offshore" has expanded
into a much broader concept.
It is now used for a collage of philosophies about investing, wealth
management, and lifestyle. It describes a self-directed mentality and independent approach
to living, in which a person is neither stifled by government, nor reliant on it.
In the extreme, it describes a state of living in anonymity and
drifting around the globe without ties or allegiance to any particular nation. However, it
is important not to become seduced by abstract offshore theory and ideology at the expense
of overlooking the hard practice.
The basis of offshore freedom is simple economics.
Where theres brass
There is no point in going into convoluted
intellectual exercises about offshore possibilities and trust establishment if you have no
Accumulation and investment of wealth offshore, where it is more secure
and better able to work for the individual, should always remain the focus.
Many regimes around the world have set themselves up as "offshore
financial centres", to cater to the ever-increasing number of people who have chosen
an expatriate lifestyle.
Some of these places are strictly regulated and well established, and
are able to offer a high degree of professional and administrative competence accompanied
by excellent communications facilities, political stability, and of course confidentiality
and investment security provided by well-enforced legislation.
The most strictly regulated and hence prestigious amongst these are the
three islands of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man off the coast of Britain.
All three have stable independent governments, are strictly regulated
by their own Financial Services Commissions, and have a very high degree of
investor-protection legislation in place to guarantee investors assets should the
investment institution fold up.
These rules and regulations are in some respects even stricter than
those which apply onshore in the U.K., which themselves are regarded as amongst the
strictest in the world. They certainly provide investors with a much higher degree of
security than is found in regimes with less strict laws and regulations.
Other places such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, British
Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, Cyprus & Mauritius (all ex-British
colonies, you may have noticed) have also developed as offshore financial centres -
although these have not gained quite the same international acceptance and recognition
that the three offshore British islands enjoy.
In recent years, some less noteworthy places have also touted
themselves as offshore financial centres, but being less well regulated, tend to attract
firms and individuals who are unable to obtain licences to operate in the more
well-established (and hence more stringently demanding) locales - and in certain
unfortunate instances, those who have been banned from operating in more highly-regulated
regimes, often as a result of having been caught in a variety of nefarious or at least
For expatriates of many nationalities, investing "offshore"
is relatively easy and perfectly legal. For others it can be complicated or even
impossible, due to restrictions or regulations in their own country.
A perfect example of how regulations that were meant to protect
citizens and safeguard their interests can restrict their freedom of choice as regards
international investments are those which apply to US citizens.
But more about that next week.
If you have any comments or queries on this article, or about other
topics concerning investment matters, write to Leslie Wright, c/o Family Money, Pattaya
Mail, or fax him directly on (038) 232522 or e-mail him at [email protected]. Further details and back
articles can be accessed on his firms website on www.westminsterthailand.com.
Leslie Wright is Managing Director of Westminster Portfolio Services
(Thailand) Ltd., a firm of independent financial advisors providing advice to expatriate
residents of the Eastern Seaboard on personal financial planning and international
The computer doctor
by Richard Bunch
From Sonja Mulligan, Pattaya: Help! Im at my wits end. You
may wonder why. Well, for the past ten years I have been writing a book, it seems like a
lifetimes work. Anyway, I was doing a final edit of it and am due to present it to the
publishers at the end of April. The problem is my son has deleted this and a lot of other
files from my hard disk. Although I have a backup copy it is very out of date and would
take me months to get it to the same completeness as the deleted one. Its not in the
Recycle Bin and I dont know where to go or what to do. Is there any chance that I
will see it again?
Computer Doctor Replies: The simple answer is yes and no. The
reason being that the chances of recovery depend on what has been done on the PC since.
When files are deleted, the space they take is flagged as available, thus your file or
part of it may have been overwritten. Whenever something like this happens, if at all
possible, the PC should not be used so as to preserve the status quo. The more the PC is
used the less chance there is of a successful recovery. There are a number of so called
utilities on the market which are supposed to either prevent disaster in the first place
or recover from it. Some are better than others, while some do more harm than good. I
strongly recommend you do not attempt home recovery but get expert help. If you contact me
I can give you the relevant details and costs.
From Patrick Lee, Vietnam: I have a question regarding OCR. I
have a scanner which seems to be working OK, but when I use Omni Page to scan documents
for OCR the text and background are reversed, so I get white text on a black background. I
cannot see a setting to alter this in Omni Page. What should I do.
Computer Doctor Replies: This is almost certainly down to the
settings of your scanner. The way scanners are configured varies from manufacturer to
manufacturer and model to model but look for the main scan window. Check it is set to Line
Art, and around 250dpi and that no filters etc. are selected to invert the image. It is
also best to take off any Auto setting feature. With any luck, that should solve your
Well, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5 on the 18th March 99 as planned. Now that the initial euphoria has
died down, it should be possible to download this upgrade without any real problems.
Depending on the options you select, it will take you around 3 hours. Having installed it
in the office, there doesnt appear to be any major changes over the last Beta
release, but certainly the bugs that I was aware of have been eliminated and it does seem
to work quicker.
Please let me have your questions, Ill try to help.
The comments contained within this column are not necessarily the views
of the author or Pattaya Mail Publishing Co., Ltd. Letters may be edited.
Send your questions or comments to the Pattaya Mail at 370/7-8
Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, 20260 or Fax to 038 427 596 or E-mail to [email protected]
Richard Bunch is Managing Director of Action Computer Technologies,
providing total Information Technology solutions to clients on the Eastern Seaboard.
Successfully Yours: Dieter Floeth
by Mirin MacCarthy
Floeth could be either a fisherman turned restaurateur or a restaurateur (out / gone /
going / escaped ) fishing. In his case it is most likely to be the latter. However,
Dieter, tall, happy and expansive, can be found playing mine host most nights behind the
bar at his Deutsches Haus restaurant, Soi 4 Pattaya. You can immediately recognize him by
his white fishing hat, which, it is reported, he wears 24 hours a day.
Dieter has two restaurants, one here and one in Map Ta Put and a 65
foot charter game fishing boat, "The Seeadler" which is German for "Sea
Eagle". His restaurant in Map Ta Put, although named "Old Germany", serves
international food and business lunches and dinners. Whereas Deutsches Haus, whose walls
are studded with rods and reels and barracuda, sailfish and grouper trophies, offers
hearty German homestyle meals in a warm Germanic atmosphere with music by
"Ronnie" in the background. One word of warning though, if you are chatting with
him, stay away from the schnapps, it is impossible to walk after several of them.
Dieter has been in Thailand for twenty-five years. He married a
beautiful Thai lady, Pat, and has been running Deutsches Haus for twenty of those years.
He met Pat at an embassy function in Bangkok where she was the translator. Thailand is
home for Dieter and this is where he plans to stay. In fact he says, "It is Thailand
I am homesick for whenever I go back to Germany."
Born and schooled in Bochum, Germany, Dieter joined the German air
force at age 18, teaching maths and physics and he was the youngest lieutenant and
captain they ever had. At twenty-nine he had the urge to travel and took a job at the
International School in Bangkok.
He was there for just over a year before he and three teacher friends
opened a German restaurant, Haus Munchen, which they ran for two years. Dieter laughs,
"It was more of a drinking experience for us and a complete disaster for myself. A
little bit horrible experience, especially with the Thai staff before I could adjust to
In 76 he decided to escape to Pattaya. "It was beautiful
here then. There was no pollution. I remember my wife and I played in the water in the
mornings between 6 and 8, it was just so clear."
About the same time as he opened the restaurant, "For another
challenge," Dieter started fishing. "We hired boats and got a lot of fish. We
caught 200 a day back then. Two years later I charged 400 Baht for fishing trips, which
was 50 DM, today I still stick to the 50 DM, thats 1000 Baht now."
Ten years ago he bought the "Sea Eagle" from an American, it
was just a steel hull and worth about 200,000 Baht then. Today it is said to be worth
several times that. Dieter has it fitted out with two decks, cabins, a galley, fishing
chairs and game fishing rigs, even fridges, international telephone and video. A
days fishing trip starts with breakfast at the restaurant, fishing all day
interspersed with lunch and a swim in a secluded bay and a fish dinner back at the
restaurant. He even has videos of his fishing trips playing in Deutches Haus for everyone
to enviously watch them reeling them in.
When he is not fishing or driving between his two restaurants Dieter
loves playing golf. "Im an average golfer. My handicap is 18, though I
dont have much time for that lately as Im busy building my house at Green
Valley Golf Club. I have to be the carpenter, plumber, electrician, everything."
His plans for the future are to find managers for both his restaurants
so he can spend more time golfing and fishing.
And what does he consider to be success? "Having at least one Baht more than I
need and an easy life with not too much work." Dieter, the restaurateur cum
fisherman, has certainly got his boat headed in the right direction.
Snap Shots: The black and white
by Harry Flashman
Black and white photographs were once all you could get.
The photographic world had not learned how to do colour processing or make colour film. If
you wanted colour it was hand done with paints and inks and Im sure all of you have
a photo of your grandmother tucked away in an old album somewhere done in this way.
advent of colour film and rapid cheap photo processing the world forgot about black and
white - other than pro shooters who knew that black and white prints have something colour
does not have. That something is dramatic impact. Those "knock em dead"
landscapes by Ansell Adams would be nothing in colour. It is the sharpness of the
contrasting blacks and whites that give his shots that presence. The black and
white nudes done by Man Ray in the 1920s are in a similar genre. In colour they
would just be interesting shots of a young lady. In black and white they are stark,
dramatic, thought provoking and mysterious images.
B&W has not died with Ansell Adams and Man Ray, however. The clever
people in the film laboratories have come out with film that can be processed in your
standard One Hour film processor, in colour film chemicals, yet the end result is black
and white prints.
Kodak and Ilford have one of these C41 friendly black and white films
on offer. Both are fairly high speed films with 400 ASA rating, so they can be used for a
good range of subjects and lighting too. A little more expensive than the usual colour
print varieties but not over the top.
So how do you use these films in your camera? Same way as your standard
film, it is that easy. Just remember to reset your cameras ASA rating to 400 if you
have not got automatic DX coding.
However, there are some differences when you use black and white film.
When you look through the viewfinder you must imagine that everything you see is a shade
of grey. The usual sharp contrasts made by colour alone will not necessarily be so
contrasted in black and white. Separating foreground from background by colour will not
work at all.
All of a sudden, you have to acquire the photographers eye. You
are now looking for size, shape and shadow. These are the elements you must use to pull
the subject out of the picture. A girl in a blue dress in front of a red door is no longer
a great image in black and white - somehow a girl in the grey dress in front of a grey
door does not have the same impact. Does it now?
So now, look again and make your subject the largest item in the
picture. It may mean you have to walk several yards closer - but make the subject stand
out with size first.
Now look at the shape. Can you contrast a smooth subject with a rough
background? Every little bit helps with black and white.
Next look at where the shadows lie. Remember that shadow is the item to
give your subject form. No shadow, no form. Shadow also comes out very black in black and
white prints so can give plenty of contrast to lift the subject off the photographic
print. Again, this may mean you have to alter your position when taking the shot so that
there is discernible shadow to be seen.
Now shoot film, take it to your favourite photo processor, wait one hour and be
prepared to marvel at your skills as a black and white photographer! Best of luck!
Modern Medicine: Self prescribing
- is it safe?
by Dr Iain Corness
Most of the expat community in Pattaya have grown up in countries with
very strict prescribing legislation that applies to the medical profession. Those laws are
very rigidly applied, and there are also regulations to prevent the dispensing of drugs at
the pharmacy without prescription.
As with many things in Thailand, there is not the restrictive
legislation, so self medication and self prescribing is very commonplace. There are those
who will say that this is a good thing. "Everyone knows to take some penicillin, and
youll get better." Indeed, in many cases, you will get better - but there are
also some "hidden costs" to the community and personal dangers that should be
Prescribing antibiotics is actually not a simple procedure. Did you
know there are over 150 antibiotics in common use, for example? If one group were all that
was required, just why do we have all the others?
Before you tell someone to pop over to your local pharmacy and buy
another box of "Wondercurecillin" next time they are ill, think about the
following: the most important "patient factor" is allergy to any proposed drug.
Penicillin allergy can kill. Are you prepared for that?
Another point to ponder is the production of antibiotic resistance in
the community. This often occurs through indiscriminate use of broad spectrum antibiotics.
The western world is worried about the over-prescription of antibiotics in teaching
hospitals producing resistance problems. What happens in a society where anyone can use
antibiotics, whether they are appropriate or not? Is this the reason it has become
difficult to shift bronchitis in Pattaya, no matter what antibiotic you take?
Another factor that a doctor has to take into consideration is whether
the infection is caused by one microbe, or by many. A single antibiotic may be quite
ineffective against the total onslaught of many microbes and again promote resistance in
the other microbes.
Knowledge of the excretion of the different antibiotics is also very
important. If you want to get an antibiotic into the kidney, for example, then your doctor
would choose one that is concentrated and excreted through the kidneys. Do you know which
ones do this?
Inappropriate prescribing can also occur through the specific inability
of the body in some disease processes to eliminate an antibiotic drug. The build up in
some instances can reach toxic levels. Another case where an antibiotic that
"works" on the disease can actually kill the patient. The treatment was
successful, but the patient died!
It takes many years to become a doctor and even more years to become
experienced in the prescription of antibiotics. If it were so easy, my professors would
not have spent so much of their time and my time to teach me how to prescribe. Think about
it next time you are tempted to self prescribe. It really is safer to be guided by your
I am a single American male who has lived in Pattaya for
8 years.. Ive had a few relationships but now I am madly in love with a beautiful
woman. The problem is she has a relationship with 2 children.
Last month I invited she and her family to a party. Her husband did not
come as their youngest child was ill and he had to work the next day.
This woman stayed after everyone had gone. She gave me the impression
that she wanted to have a relationship with me. Even though I am in love with her, I
resisted because I had a bad feeling about it. I explained my feelings to her and she left
After she left, and even now, I regret I did not follow my feelings.
What should I do?
Dear in love,
I believe you acted correctly.
If you cannot handle unpredictable circumstances, better look for
someone who has no family obligations and is free.
Maybe this woman is your ideal, but she is taken. Dont get your
hopes wrapped up in illusions. You deserve better than spending all public holidays and
vacations alone, crying while your loved one is probably having a ball with someone else.
Listen to your head, not to your heart unless, of course, the person is going through
Be careful: There is the possibility to end up as the object of a short
term romance, as a lover for a few months (or even a few years). Is this what you want?
You deserve someone whos mind and heart is 100% free for you.
You are looking for a honest, loving relationship, and that means not
getting involved with someone elses partner. You cannot change peoples
Dont put yourself through the pain of trying.
After very hard work in Europe, I came to stay for a few months with my
parents in Thailand. Recently I went to a business party. We came a little bit later than
the other guests and I met this handsome, single man. We were chatting for about ten
minutes and unfortunately, he had to leave. He gave me his business card and wrote his
home number on it. He told me that he would like me to call at my convenience. Now I am
not sure if I dare to do so. After all, I talked to him only for a few minutes. Do you
think I could try?
Afraid of Calling.
This man is single. This man is handsome. This considerate man is a rare jewel. There
is no time to play hard to get. Call him.
|Ghost tax misfires
An insincere farang in a clergymans suit who stood at a
Bangkok toll plaza this week waving down motorists has been arrested. In return for 100
baht, he promised that the spirits of drivers and animals killed in accidents would
"spare" the travelers and ensure their safety on the freeway. Gerald
Fotheringill, 44, told arresting officers that he was simply rehearsing being an April
Fool, but they insisted that he needed a work permit no matter what the state of his
mental health actually was.
Motorbike scamsAlthough most dealers are honest, dozens of motorbikes in
Pattaya are reported stolen every week. A goodly percentage are scams perpetrated against
farang renters who are then expected to cough up 40,000 baht or more to pay for a
replacement. When you argue, expect the police to be called and your passport withheld. In
a typical case, the bike will go missing from outside your hotel in the middle of the
night using the duplicate key trick. If you must rent a machine, take the precaution of
buying your own security chain and lock.
Before not afterFarangs wanting to extend visas at Pattaya immigration bureau
report that your application form and passport must be handed in before or on the expiry
date. Otherwise you will be charged 200 baht a day by way of a fine. In the old days,
there was no charge if you were late because of weekends or public holidays. The new
ruling puts the onus on the farang to be sure he or she does not forget or make a mistake
about when the office will be closed.
Bumpy road aheadThe opening last year of the border crossing between
Aranyaprathet and the Cambodian town of Poipet has led to more stalwart farangs using the
land route to reach Phnom Penh. However, tourist visas for Cambodia are not available at
the crossing and must have already been obtained from the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok or
through your travel agent. Expect to pay around 1,000 baht. The journey from Poipet to
Phnom Penh takes at least eight hours and the road in places is full of potholes. During
the rainy season, the route can be closed to traffic altogether.
|Victim of inflation
A South Pattaya, Kloster loving Britisher who accepted a bar bet
of 5,000 baht he would not dare to swallow a screwdriver inevitably landed up in hospital
this week complaining of violent stomach pains. Doctors also removed six nails, a magnet
and several pieces of wire. Larry (The Dong) Tonks from Leeds complained about the steep
rises in hospital charges which were ruining his particular way of boozing at other
peoples expense. His most recent feat set him back 27,000 baht.
Crime of the weekA Rayong man bled to death after his wife hurled a carving knife
when he asked for a second cup of coffee as the couple were watching TV. His wife said in
court she was not ready to serve it. She clarified that her husband had only himself to
blame as he had violated an agreed house rule there would be no talking during the twice
weekly Chinese soap opera which screens on Tuesday and Thursday. "Previously, he had
only asked for second helpings at weekends," added the accused woman apparently
hopeful of an acquittal.
Pleasurable eating outA very good choice of European cuisine and Thai food at
OHenrys Restaurant in the Flamingo Hotel in the Day and Night soi off South
Pattaya Road. The portions are generous and the main dishes come with a tureen of freshly
cooked vegetables for you to select. Congratulations on just about the cleanest restrooms
in town. The imported wines are excellent value for money in these days of rising
inflation. Hosted by the genial resident host Jaap.
Two million baht scamYet another na´ve tourist has lost a fortune after being told
by his girlfriend he did not in fact need a non immigrant visa to own a car in his own
name. She would arrange everything which she certainly did. The brand new Range Rover was
duly delivered, the number plates actually arrived and the farang had a trouble free week
of glorious motoring. Then, awesome to relate, the vehicle was stolen from outside the
house. The farang appeared with his ownership papers at the police station to report the
theft, only to be told the true owner in the Thai documents was none other than his
girlfriend who amazingly has not appeared since. The lesson is if you cant speak
Thai, leave your megabucks in the bank.
Animal Crackers: Fishy History
by Mirin MacCarthy
Koi Carp have been around for 2 1/2 thousand years. They are all
descendants of the common black carp, called the Magoi. Originating in Eastern Asia and
China they were introduced to Japan by the invading Chinese in 200 AD. Around the
seventeenth century the Japanese rice farmers put carp in their rice irrigation fields and
began breeding them as a food supplement for their snow bound winters. Fortunately they
did not eat them all! The first colours were probably produced by accident, but since then
selective breeding has resulted in the many colours and varieties popular today.
Small Carp or Big Goldfish?
The Japanese still lead the world in producing
the best quality koi. (Nishikigoi as the fancy varieties of carp are known.) These
beautiful fish have become extremely popular throughout the world with their spectacular
colours and patterns making them prized additions to many garden ponds, be they Eastern or
Western. Good Japanese koi are hugely expensive, though those from other breeding
countries, including Thailand, are improving constantly and can present excellent value.
Part of the fun of koi-keeping is landscaping and
water gardening. Pottering around in the water is fascinating enough on its own for many a
hobbyist, but with perseverance these graceful fish can become quite tame, eventually even
feeding from your hand, more than doubling your fun.
Good fortune goldies
According to Asian and Chinese mythology
ornamental fish are the symbol of prosperity and harmony. This is why an aquarium of gold
fish is often seen beside a cash register in oriental restaurants. An odd number of fish
reputedly keeps away the evil spirits and carp represent long life and perseverance.
Careful planning is required as it is not a
simple matter of throwing a couple of fish into a small garden pond and finding a school
of them three months later. The best advice for would be koi keepers is to research the
subject, then get advice on pond building and filtration, shading the koi pond, and
checking your budget.
If you can maintain a swimming pool then koi-keeping may not be a
daunting prospect. Water quality is vitally important and much consideration must be given
to water pH and hardness, nitrogen cycles, ammonia, nitrates, chlorine, temperature,
oxygenation by fountains or waterfalls, and mechanical and biological filtration as well
as regular maintenance. Not just a simple fish bowl full of water.
Find a sympathetic and experienced gardener who will be happy to
do all the hard work and leave the enjoyment to you.
Auto Mania: A pug in every
By Dr. Iain Corness
Peugeot are not lying down to quietly die or be
swallowed up by FoMoCo (like Volvo did after falling on their Swedish sword). In fact, the
froggies are coming out fighting for their new cause and ambition - world domination! Now
Im not sure that this is what you would call an "attainable goal", and by
crikey its a big ask!
Peugeot say this can be done through their association with the Prost
F1 Team. The General Manager of Peugeots Motor Car division, Frederic Saint-Geours
has said that his company wants to double its sales outside Europe within the next
five years. He went on to say that the company feels this will be best achieved using the
power of F1s global attraction.
Saint-Geours went on to say that this is something Peugeot and Prost
have in common. He confirmed that the association with Prost will be long term and that
the French racing team will be given "all the necessary resources available"
(read: Money, buckets of) to enable them to achieve their ambitions.
Returning to the subject of world domination, Saint-Geours added,
"Our involvement in Formula 1 racing is a natural part of our global strategy, as
Formula 1 reaches new markets, such as China."
So there you go, Peugeot hope to be in front by a nose! If Alain Prost
pulls this one off theyll make him President for sure! In the meantime, General
Motors continues to build the new plant at the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate to build
Actually, the new Pugs are quite a nice bit of gear. The one we
took around Bira was most impressive in the suspension department. One gets too used to
Japanese sloppy softness, sorry about that Mr. Toyota.
Last week we looked at the NSX, a sports car of
which legends will be written, mark my words. Top speed of the road going version was 165
MPH, which is the answer to last weeks question. For a street registered vehicle
thats quite some top speed. Unfortunately, in most countries it isnt possible
to do these speeds without incurring the long arm of the law. In America and Oz there is
even the famous "Pigs in the Sky" patrol who clock you from planes and
helicopters. Theres just no way you can speed and get away with it any more. (No
wonder I left!)
I realise there are still lots of people in the world who will mumble
"Speed Kills". It doesnt. Its the sudden stop that does it. In
trained hands, in the right place, you can do 200 MPH with safety. But thats the rub
- "trained" hands. If you drive faster than your capabilities, then you are
"at risk", no sweat. Think about doing a course in driver training.
A couple of weeks back I mentioned the Berkeley range of cars and Craig
Blackie from Projects Asia in Bangers has contacted the Editorial Office with the
following fax: "I was indeed the proud owner of a Berkeley T60 (the nasty little 328
cc three wheeled version - my quote). It was a sort of love/hate relationship over 3 years
from 1968 -70, it being off the road as much as on. The unusual thing about it was the
front wheel drive, with a motorcycle gate shift gearbox, 3 forward and one reverse. Top
whack was about 65 MPH with a tail wind. It was quite treacherous in snow as the back
wheel slid from side to side between the ruts. Another problem was people signaling you to
overtake and then accelerating rapidly when they spotted the 3rd wheel!" Thanks very
much for that information, Craig, and next time you are down in Pattaya Ill buy you
a beer for that fun piece of info.
This weeks question comes from Terry Hawkins, an enthusiast of
American Iron. He popped up with this one and I must admit it had me stumped. See how you
go - the first correct answer into the Editorial Office wins the legendary Automania FREE
beer. Fax 427 596 or email [email protected].
OK, the question - which American car had a central headlight that swiveled with the
direction of the front wheels?
Bits about Bira
A bunch of auto enthusiasts came up with me to the Bira Circuit last
week for the first race meeting of the year. A little on the "low key" side, as
most first meetings are in the season. However, the new Toyota Team Thailand Corolla was
very well turned out and driven to a maiden victory by the works driver Natavud.
The next meeting at Bira is on the 12th - 14th April, during the
Songkran Pattaya Festival, and is the South East Asian Zone Touring Cars meeting. This
will be a "full on" race meeting and I will give you some more details on this
next week. The dates as given to me correspond to a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday which could
present a little bit of a problem for some people, but Ill check.
While I remember, spotted two very delectable cars in the paddock at
Bira. A black Porsche Carrera and a black Mercedes SLK Kompressor. Whilst I remain a total
Porsche enthusiast, that little Benz is a very attractive motor car. If anyone knows the
owner - give me a call please!
Now lets look at the world championship in F1 - the Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang
race meeting has to be a red hot venue for us all. Lets schedule it to coincide with
visa runs or whatever. The date is the 17th of October so mark it in your diary now. If we
can get enough people together we can get discounted seats and even discounted hotels,
etc., if we are lucky. I also have a couple of motor racing contact friends in Malaysia we
could use to secure seats, etc. It has to be the best way we will get to see F1 in this
neck of the woods. Drop me a fax if you are interested, Id like to get some idea of
the numbers before I contact the folks down in Malaysia.
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Created by Andy Gombaz, assisted by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.