Classic car night or Natter, Nosh and Noggin

The second get together for the Automaniacs this year is being held on Monday 11th (2nd Monday of each month) at Shenanigans at 7 p.m. Meet up with others who enjoy things motoring. Bring scrapbooks, magazines, old photos, assorted girlfriends and let’s share! Generally we meet in the back room, but just ask any of the Shenanigans staff where Dr. Iain is and they’ll point you in the right direction and give you a push! Last month we had a good roll-up and discussed everything from old motorcycles to new Nissan Cefiro’s. You don’t need to own any of these, just have an interest in things automotive. Shenanigans have their cheap steak night (B. 195) on Mondays too, so we generally chat over food and drink - hence, “nosh and noggin”.

23rd Bangkok International Motor Show has manufacturers gearing up

The 2002 Bangkok International Motor Show will be held from 29th March through till the 7th of April. The venue is, as for the last two years, the BITEC complex at Km 1 at Bangna.

With the enlargements to BITEC, there will now be adequate space to keep the auto exhibits and the parts and accessories in separate areas. Despite the enlarged areas, all the booths and stands are already sold out, so leave a full day to get around the show. The organizers, Grand Prix International, expect some new concept cars from the Frankfurt and Tokyo motor shows and there will be some new right hand drive European models being debuted as well. The Japanese contingent are bringing some of their small capacity city cars, which I would imagine are their sub-660cc cars, many of which would make sense in our congested capital city.

International interest in our motor show is running high with journalists from Australia, Japan, Europe and America already registered. This time, even the Thai government has realised the economic importance of the event, one which attracted almost 2 million people through the turnstiles last year.

The Jackson #1

Never heard of a Jackson? I must admit I had never heard of one either till a bloke called Jeff Jackson rang up one day and asked if I would like a test drive. It turned out that the Jackson chap and his father had built the number 1 Jackson in South Africa and had imported it into Australia with the idea of manufacturing and marketing Down Under.

It was one of the smallest cars I have ever seen. 1020 mm high on a 2036 mm wheelbase. Reasonably pretty with a space frame and a GRP body. It was rear engined, with a Cooper 1275 Mini engine powering it.

What the Jacksons had done (pere et fils) was to lift an entire Mini front subframe with engine and drive shafts, suspension and brakes and stuff it in the back of their brainchild. Locking up the steering gave you an instant RWD Mini.

A second front subframe was then tacked onto the front of the car, but with no engine. This gave them a front suspension, brakes and steering. The space in the middle was filled with a tubular steel chassis and there you have it.

Since it weighed less than a Mini Cooper S, it went like stink, but it had a problem. By shifting the motor to the rear, the gear change came out of the transmission on the “wrong” side. The Jacksons brought the gear shifting rods through under the engine and into the cockpit, but while you got an H pattern, it was a mirror image. First was to the right and up, while fourth was to the left and down. This was something you could get used to, but it made for very hesitant gear changes. Especially when the vehicle wasn’t yours and it was the only one in Oz!

I doubt if they made another one, but it was certainly a well engineered little project - other than the gear shift.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week we looked at Marcos. This was the amalgamation of the founders Jem Marsh and Frank Costin and they built an amazing car with a wooden chassis. The shape of the original Marcos can still be seen in the new Marcos models today, but the original was sensational. As well as the Marcos sports cars, they also built a little horror called the Mini-Marcos. A dreadful fizz and buzz box, but it did distinguish itself once and I asked what did it do to get the “distinguished service” award, and the clue was 1966.

The answer was that the Mini-Marcos was the only British Car to finish in the 1966 Le Mans! Believe it or not.

So to this week and do you remember Count Van Der Straaten? His team owned some race cars that were known as the “flying brackets”. What was the model of these cars, and why did they get that strange title? Look at the photo for the clue. Remember I want the model, not the brand!

For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to fax 427 596 or email : [email protected] Good luck!

The Maybach returns

After showing a prototype at some auto shows, DaimlerChrysler are well down the track towards production of the new luxury flagship to be branded as a Maybach. A purpose-built Maybach service centre is being built in Sindelfingen. This service centre is to function as a “Centre of Excellence” and will serve as a model for other special Maybach consultancy centres to be set up by DaimlerChrysler most likely in America and Japan. All these centres will be in close contact with the Maybach “Manufaktur” and the development centre in Sindelfingen, so that designers and engineers can be involved in the individual design process of the luxury saloons at any time.

The Maybach was a synonym in the 1930s for superior quality and exclusive style, and now this name steeped in tradition is being used to designate the new luxury car brand at DaimlerChrysler. The Stuttgart automotive group has scheduled the presentation of the new Maybach saloon for autumn this year.

“We’re using the name Maybach to emphasise the unique character of our future premium-quality product,” commented Professor Jrgen Hubbert, board member of DaimlerChrysler AG, “and to carry on the tradition of a legendary brand, whose exciting cars were the ultimate in design and technical perfection in the years between 1921 and 1940. We are pursuing these very same goals in the development of the new Maybach. Based on state-of-the-art Mercedes technology, the vehicles will set new standards in the world of premium cars, thus paying due honour to the great name of Maybach”.

The name “Maybach” and Mercedes have actually been linked before, as in 1900 Wilhelm Maybach, technical director at Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and long-time companion of Gottlieb Daimler, developed the first Mercedes; with its front-mounted aluminium engine, twin camshafts and advanced-design honeycomb radiator. It was a milestone in automotive engineering of the day and paved the way for modern passenger cars. In 1907 Wilhelm Maybach left the company in Stuttgart and devoted his efforts to the design of large engines for Graf Zeppelin’s airships.

In 1921 Maybach’s son Karl began production of luxurious and technically perfect motor cars at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. His flagship was the powerful twelve-cylinder model, the Maybach Zeppelin DS 8, the biggest German luxury car of the 1930s.

If you want a Maybach it is not a case of popping down to the showroom and asking do they have one in green. Maybach saloons will not be designed by referring to a catalogue or to a list of standard equipment; instead, a detailed exchange of ideas will first take place between the customer and a customer consultant. The customer can choose from a range of materials, colours and innovative technical details, ranging from individually designed trim, through inlaid work, to high-specification business equipment in the rear. This means that every example of the new Maybach is a unique, valuable, custom-made piece.

It will haul ass as well. A newly developed V12 engine with bi-turbo-charging will provide the performance while at the same time meeting the high comfort requirements of the new car brand. DaimlerChrysler expect to produce up to 1500 Maybachs a year with the biggest target markets for the luxury car being the USA, western Europe and Japan.

What do you do with a cheque for $1?

You frame it, that’s what! Look carefully at the date - 1972. I did not cash this cheque for two reasons - the first is what can you do with $1? The second reason was because it was my first motorcycle race, and by winning cash I theoretically became a “professional” on my first outing. Mick Doohan, Barry Sheene and Max Biaggi eat your hearts out!

I actually won the equivalent of $2 on my first motor race in 1965 too. I think they paid to 17th place or something. I did cash that one. I needed it for petrol money to get home.