Dr. Iain Corness

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 15:32

The ideal car for Pattaya?

The WaterCar Panther is probably the coolest amphibian and it’s surprisingly fast. Billed as the Fastest Amphibious Car in the World, it is available for order so if you need a new car it might just be the ideal car for you. But it costs about USD 155,000 in the US. Now add on freight and duty and you are probably looking at six million baht (very rough guess). However, at least you can put off buying a boat if you buy one.

The long awaited for “new” Fortuner is being released in the second half of this year, and although hardly likely to take Thailand by storm, it is a first time for the name plate in Australia.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 15:26

Order now for your AMG C 63 S

Daimler-Benz claim they have over 300 deposits for the new AMG C63 S high-performance sedan and estate, and the coupe version expected to be in the dealerships in Australia by 2016, having its European reveal at the Frankfurt show this year.

Even with your deposit on the table, Aussies can expect a waiting list of six months, which could even be longer.

The most powerful AMG C63 S version develops 375 kW from the 4.0 liter twin turbocharged V8 which is hand-built by just one person at AMG’s Afalterbach headquarters.

AMG C 63 S.AMG C 63 S.

Transmission is via a seven-speed Speedshift multi-clutch automatic transmission and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

With 700 Nm of torque, the C63 sedan can accelerate to 100 km/h from zero in 4.0 seconds - (faster than the BMW M3 arch rival by a 0.1-seconds - and will go on to a top speed of 250 km/h.

Despite the serious performance, Mercedes says the C63 S can still return 8.6 liters per 100 km when driven more conservatively in the Drive Select C mode. Other settings include Sport+ and Race, but the consumption figures for drivers wearing a race face were not given.

The C63’s exterior is set apart from standard C-Class models with a power-bulge on the bonnet, exaggerated bumpers with bigger air openings at the front and diffuser at the back, side skirts and front mudguards that increase the width 14 mm on each side and house 19 inch alloy wheels.

Its four tailpipes are bi-modal, remaining quiet and restrained under normal cruising conditions but become vocal when the C63 is let off the leash.

Brakes are 360 mm steel discs on the front and 330 mm on the rear, but a ceramic composite set is available as an option. AMG’s ride control sports suspension is standard fare, offering the driver three-stage adjustable damping.

Customers wanting their C63 S with a touch more practicality will opt for the Estate, which offers boot space of 490 liters with the rear 40/20/40 split-fold seats raised, and 1510 liters with the rear bench folded.

Well, we learned that the Hungaroring circuit that everyone was complaining about, produced the best GP of 2015. Action all the way down the field, with Maldonado even more of a disaster than usual with pit lane speeding, speeding behind the Safety Car, a drive-through for hitting Sergio Perez and pushing him into a spin in Turn 1 on lap 19 and subsequently being dropped to 14th with a five-second time penalty for speeding behind the Safety Car. The race featured multiple contacts, punctures, wings falling off, Safety Cars, both Mercedes looking very ‘average’ and everything else this side of a naked streaker!

The winner, and deserving it all the way, was Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari. A brilliant start to go straight into the lead, followed by his team mate Kimi Raikkonen, leaving the previously all-conquering Mercedes duo in their wake, with Hamilton getting ragged and falling off the circuit a couple of times.

Raikkonen’s moment of glory was not going to last as his MGUK (Hybrid power unit) stopped powering, ending the Finn’s back-up of Vettel.

Another poor start by Ricciardo (Red Bull) saw him drop behind his team mate Kvyat, but he soon rounded up the Russian and towards the end of the race was lining up to take both Rosberg and Vettel. However, fate intervened in the form of an overtake of Rosberg ending up with a stop for a new wing, allowing Kvyat through to second at the flag, with Ricciardo in third.

Having kept his nose clean, Verstappen (Toro Rosso) found himself fourth, but not quite as surprised as fifth man home Alonso in the McLaren Honda. Amazing! The underpowered car actually finished, and finished in the points! And even more amazing, Button in the other McLaren Honda also finished in the points in eighth.

Hamilton did manage to scrape home in sixth, admitting that he had not had a stellar day, starting from a botched start to end up understeering into Ricciardo.

Another clean noser was Romain Grosjean (“Lotus”) ending up seventh, whilst his errant team mate Maldonado was credited as being 14th, after all penalties were added up. Maldonado is no longer a joke. He is a danger and “Lotus” should hand back what is left of his USD 50 million he paid for his seat and put a real driver on the payroll.

FIndia had a disaster of a race with Hulkenberg’s front wing shaking itself off and launching the car into the barrier. His team mate, Perez summarized his race as, “The contact with Pastor compromised my race. I was as cautious around him as I could be and left him plenty of room but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.” However, many of the drivers could have said the same thing. Let us not beat about the bush, Maldonado is nothing but a mobile chicane with lots of money padding his race seat. It is pay-drivers like him which are dragging the whole of F1 down. The best drivers in the world? Not likely!

The next GP is at Spa on August 23. Let us hope it gives us as much excitement as the “boring” Hungaroring!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 15:23

Turning your Tesla into a super-duper car!

Tesla have announced an upgrade to their Model S which they have called the “Ludicrous” mode.

I would have to agree looking at the touted performance figures of zero to 100 kph in 2.8 seconds. This puts it in with the LaFerrari (2.9s), and matches the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Koenigsegg Agera, but it is still beaten by the 2.5 sec time of the Bugatti Veyron. However, the Veyron is much more expensive.

The amazing Mr Musk said technological advances were made to ensure a 10 percent improvement to performance.

“Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, requiring a big gap between the normal operating current and max current, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery,” he said. “It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty.

“That was combined with upgrading the main pack contactor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade super-alloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current. The net result is that we can safely increase the max pack output from 1300 to 1500 Amps.”

So now you know. Obviously if you are having problems with your Tesla, you take it to the Tuk-Com electronic counters, and not your average auto workshop!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 15:16

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what car was this? It was capable of running on petrol, as well as battery, of carrying four passengers, and employing four-wheel drive. The system is still being used today. Clue: Think pre WW1. The car was the forerunner of today’s hybrid vehicles and was built in about 1902 by Dr. Porsche and it was called the Lohner-Porsche. So nothing’s new under the sun.

And so to this week. What is significant in the automotive world about the number 0251?

For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 13:23

“Sugar” in the (medical) news again

Diabetes (“sugar”) is in the news again, but it isn’t “good” news. There are 60 million people living in the UK (I’d probably say ‘surviving’ in the UK is more accurate) and 2.1 million of these have been diagnosed as Diabetic, of which 1.8 million had the Maturity Onset form of the condition. Official estimation from the UK would also suggest there were another 1 million walking around with Mature Onset Diabetes that did not even know they had it. That’s a worry. Not for me, but for them.

So who gets it? Are you more than 40 years of age? Are you overweight? Do you have a blood relative who has Diabetes? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you may have Mature Onset Diabetes. If you answered “yes” to all three, then it is pounds to peanuts that you do have it. (If you come from Holland, you can make that guilders to gooseberries!)

Before we go much further, just exactly what is Diabetes? Quite simply, it is an inability of the body to handle glucose correctly. Insulin is produced by the body to keep the glucose system in balance and if the insulin production is lacking, this is called Type 1 Diabetes. With Mature Onset Diabetes (also called Type 2, or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus) the cells become less responsive to insulin, and there may be a reduction in insulin levels as well.

Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells.

When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause many problems. First off, your cells may be starved for energy, so you begin to feel tired. Secondly, over time you may develop heart disease (cardiovascular disease), blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), and kidney damage (nephropathy).

So how do you know if you have developed (or are developing) Mature Onset Diabetes? The main symptoms to look for include a lack of energy, hunger (which comes from the fact that the cells are ‘starving’), excessive passing of urine combined with thirst and a dry mouth, insufficient sleep because of the need to pass urine at night (though this may be due to prostate enlargement in males) and blurred vision (again not to be confused with reading difficulties – short arms – which is called Presbyopia and occurs after 40 years of age), slow healing of minor cuts and sores.

How does Diabetes cause such diverse symptoms? Large blood vessels may be damaged by atherosclerosis, which is a major cause of coronary artery disease and stroke. Other long-term complications result from damage to the small blood vessels throughout the body. Damage to blood vessels in the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye causes the visual impairment (diabetic retinopathy). Diabetes also increases the risk of developing cataracts.

If diabetes affects blood vessels that supply nerves, it may cause nerve damage. There may be a gradual loss of sensation, starting with the hands and feet and sometimes gradually extending up the limbs. Loss of feeling, combined with poor circulation, makes the feet and legs more susceptible to ulcers and gangrene. The nerve and blood vessel damage may also produce impotence in men (which Vitamin V may not be able to fix).

Damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys may also lead to further complications. Damage to the nerves controlling the body’s internal functions (autonomic neuropathy) can lead to problems with low blood pressure on standing (postural hypotension) or disturbance of the GI tract (vomiting or diarrhea) and increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

So if you think you might have it, or are a likely candidate, what next? A simple trip to your doctor and some inexpensive blood and urine tests will confirm or deny.

In the initial stages, dietary measures may be sufficient to control this condition, but oral medication and sometimes insulin injections become necessary as it progresses. But find out if you have it first!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 15:58

Hungarian GP this weekend

As a racing venue, Hungary has a long history, with its first GP run in 1906, and regular events in Budapest since 1926. Built with state backing, and laid out in a natural amphitheater, the Hungaroring opened in 1986 and attracted an estimated 200,000 spectators.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 15:55

Chinese auto market in trouble?

The Chinese auto market has hit a downturn, and the decrease in sales is affecting the growth of the industry in China. Where once new dealerships were springing up everywhere, now the dealers are losing money.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 15:49

Want to buy a slice of Ferrari?

Ferrari SpA, the legendary supercar maker is being spun off by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, which is close to filing for an initial public offering (IPO), Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said.

“We are days away from filing the prospectus,” he told reporters after a panel discussion at the Toronto Global Forum.

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