Most of the major automobile manufacturers have moved on from experimental hybrids to autonomous cars, which will whisk us to our destination with a silent “chauffeur” dealing electronically with all the usual road hazards.
To show just where Mercedes-Benz are in this timeline they demonstrated their Mercedes-Benz S500 Intelligent Drive autonomous prototype, recreating the historic drive of Carl Benz’ wife Bertha.
This 1939 Rolls Royce Phantom (chassis 3DL70) was offered with little information on its eBay listing, but some quick Googling reveals it was recently custom built from a non-running donor car in order to replicate the factory truck Rolls used to deliver finished Merlin V12 aircraft engines during WWII. The quality of work seems to be very good, and note that the bed was donated from a 1930’s Ford pick-up. Find it on eBay in Saint Augustine, Florida for USD 150k OBO.
With RR (BMW in reality) talking about an SUV Roller in 2016, perhaps the pick-up will be the next variant?
The Ultimate Pick-up?
Spotted out along Siam Country Club Road is this rather large behemoth. American I must assume, and has been given the chop top treatment. Anyone throw some light on the subject?
Nissan in Japan has released the 2015 version of its celebrated GT-R, known colloquially as “Godzilla” for its prodigious horsepower from the turbo V6 engine. At one stage in Australia it was banned from competition because nothing could get near it! It is still one of the fastest production cars around Germany’s Nurburgring.
March 15 Grand Prix of Australia
March 23 Grand Prix of Malaysia
April 12 Grand Prix of China
April 19 Grand Prix of Bahrain
May 3 Grand Prix of Korea (TBC)
May 10 Grand Prix of Spain
May 24 Grand Prix of Monaco
June 7 Grand Prix of Canada
June 21 Grand Prix of Austria
July 5 Grand Prix of Great Britain
July 19 Grand Prix of Germany
July 26 Grand Prix of Hungary
August 23 Grand Prix of Belgium
September 6 Grand Prix of Italy
September 20 Grand Prix of Singapore
September 27 Grand Prix of Japan
October 11 Grand Prix of Russia
October 25 Grand Prix of USA
November 1 Grand Prix of Mexico
November 15 Grand Prix of Brazil
November 29 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
The F1 calendar above, and those quick with mathematics will see that there are now 21 Grands Prix slated for 2015. Is this too many? With the problems and expenses involved in a GP weekend, many teams were too financially strapped this year, with Marussia having gone completely to the wall. Caterham looks to be next. “Lotus” and FIndia are also shaky. And what is the FIA doing about it? Extra races will certainly not have improved matters. But they have at least scrapped the ridiculous double points for the final GP.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship 2015 Calendar is also released, and our new Chang International circuit at Buriram is hosting the WTCC event next November. I will be running at Buriram in the TBX Retro Escort next week and will give you my impressions of the circuit after that.
March 8th - Termas de Río Hondo, Argentina
April 19th - Circuit Moulay El Hassan, Morocco
May 3rd - Hungaroring, Hungary
May 16th - Nordschleife, Germany
June 7th - Moscow Raceway, Russia
June 21st - Slovakiaring, Slovakia*
June 28th - Paul Ricard, France
July 12th - Vila Real, Portugal
September 13th - Motegi, Japan
September 27th - Shanghai, China
November 1st - Buriram - Thailand
November 22nd - Losail, Qatar*
Last week I asked what car is this? It had tiller steering and was the first affordable series-produced car with interchangeable parts. What was it? It was the Curved Dash Oldsmobile of 1903.
So to this week. The first motorcycle (1896), retractable undercarriage and a car that would jump trenches in the war have something in common. What was it?
For someone lying on a stretcher, that “moment” could feel like hours. I know I wasn’t prepared to wait many “moments” when I broke my heel bone (called the ‘Os Calcis’ for those who want this column to be precise and correct).
Now imagine what it is like to wait 35 hours to be seen. All I hope is that someone gave the poor devil some anesthetic during that day and a half wait. That figure of 35 hours was revealed at an investigation into a hospital in Kent in the UK.
British Health watchdogs are about to issue a damning report warning of major failings by Medway NHS foundation trust, in Kent - now branded the worst hospital in the country - as it admitted to repeated cases of patients waiting more than 24 hours in Accident and Emergency (EMS in Thailand).
In recent weeks, at least nine hospitals in Britain have closed their A&E units to only the most urgent cases. The pressures came as hundreds of thousands of NHS workers went on a four hour strike, in protest over their pay. Having worked in the UK hospital system myself, albeit many years ago now, it would, however, seem as if the same old problems of public hospitals overcrowding, under-staffed, under-paid and generally just not up to the job, has continued.
Inspectors have said that the Kent hospital is in a “state of crisis” with patients “stacked” waiting to be treated, including children left without assessment, and patients with potentially dangerous heart conditions left unmonitored.
It follows national statistics showing a doubling in the number of patients forced to endure long trolley waits since last year, which triggered warnings that the NHS is entering a crisis, even before the expected increases during the cold season.
The hospital’s death rates were 17 percent higher than would be expected in 2013/14.
The new report follows a catalogue of failings, which in September was responsible for almost one quarter of England’s long trolley waits.
In the same month, five patients suffered from “serious incidents,” trust documents reveal, including a patient left with a needle in them for two months after undergoing surgery.
Such lapses are so basic they are defined by the NHS as “never events”.
In another case, a female patient placed in a side-room without a call bell, broke her hip after falling when she was unable to get help to go to the toilet.
The nursing side gets the flak in these sorts of situations, but I can assure you that the nurses are not slacking. When questioned, staff were saying they felt “under siege” as 16 ambulances queued outside. These kinds of work loads just cannot be endured.
But the patients are also suffering, as well as waiting in silence, one presumes. Like all enterprises there are targets to be met. Try this one for size - Latest figures show the Kent hospital is also missing national targets to treat urgent referrals for suspected cancer within two weeks.
So just what can be done? The government approach has always been the same - throw money at it, but even though figures of around an extra £1.5bn in funding are being mooted, it will be nowhere near enough.
A most senior doctor in the UK has urged patients to turn to pharmacies, to relieve strain on the country’s A&E units.
The simple truth is that the socialist health care model just does not work financially. In saying that, you have to compare it with the private hospital system. While it may sound like I am just blowing a horn for my hospital’s healthcare system, you will never hear of patients left on stretchers for 35 hours at any private hospital in Thailand.
The times between referral and being seen for cancer patients can be measured in hours, not weeks!
The majority of your blood test results are available in 45 minutes, though some can take an hour.
The time between having your X-Ray and it being reviewed by the referring doctor is measured in seconds.
So you pay for it, but if you are from the UK, you never had it so good!
The joint venture of the Chinese SAIC company and the CP group (including 7-eleven) reports that it will build an MG eco-car from a new factory on the Eastern Seaboard to be finished in 2015.
The Bang Saen races are now a permanent part of the motor racing calendar in Thailand, this year being held from 10-14 December.
Having driven there, I can assure you that this is a very dangerous circuit with barriers on both sides of the track and literally nowhere to run off with any safety. The categories running will include the Thailand Super Series with Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Audis all battling at the front.
Entry is free and this is your opportunity to get up close and personal with motor racing action. One of the top car/driver combinations has Anders Majgaard in the CEA Honda 1500, usually driven by Thomas Raldorf. Anders won last year. Look out for him.