Dr. Iain Corness

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 17:24

Tesla’s Electrorocket

Tesla Motors has unveiled an all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of its Model S sedan, returning staggering performance from the all-electric drive train.

The Model S is a rear-wheel-drive car, which has hurt sales in snowier European and American climates. The new ‘D’ variant from Tesla adds a second motor to power the front wheels that produces acceleration figures of 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, absolutely in supercar territory.

Tesla STesla S

The new AWD version has a top speed of around 250 kph, compared with 210 kph for the current version. Elon Musk described the modes available with the car as luxury, sport and “insane.”

Paint us keen.

There are new autonomous features that can detect red lights, stop signs and pedestrians so it can stop accordingly. The radar that detects it can work through fog, rain and snow between speeds of 8 kph and 240 kph, though what is the driver doing at 240 kph in poor visibility!

Another autonomous feature is Self-Park allowing you to step out of the car when you get home and it will park itself in the garage on its own. It can also connect to your digital calendar and be waiting for you when it knows it is needed.

Though already breaking cover with this variant, dates of availability and the price have not been revealed.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 17:22

Wottle she do?

Anyone who drives any sort of performance car will have been asked “Wottle she do, Mister?” Welcome to the Texas Mile.

The Texas mile has been held each March and October at the Goliad airstrip since 2003 and it has now attracted a national following and a global reputation for beckoning the man on the street to “Drive in Your World, Race in Ours!”

Students from the University of New South Wales have designed and built a solar powered electric vehicle which recently set a new world speed record for vehicles of its type.

Sergio Marchionne’s current five year plan finishes in 2018 and Marchionne states that he will not be standing for the CEO position after that. “I will not do the next plan. It’s impossible, right. There’s a point in time in which you leave the room for young punks,” Marchionne said recently.

He noted that in 2004, he was the fifth CEO at Fiat in two years. He and Fiat Chrysler chairman John Elkann have agreed they will “never allow that to happen again” as they do extensive succession planning.

“People, they come on the list. People come off the list,” Marchionne said. He noted that he spends almost two months a year reviewing the career tracks of nearly 2,000 employees at Chrysler. “All organizations fail because of bad leadership choices. I am a very firm believer that bad businesses are caused by bad leaders.”

Marchionne said the company is focused on making sure the next generation is in place. “I can replace a lot of things. I cannot replace a great leader.”

Elkann was asked if the company would agree to be part of the auto industry consolidation. Both he and Marchionne said Fiat Chrysler doesn’t need a partner to survive.

“If there was the right opportunity, definitely that would be something that we would look very seriously at,” Elkann said. Marchionne said the company needs to be “very, very careful” before it took on another partner.

“It took us five years to create the right environment to get here,” Marchionne said of the Fiat Chrysler merger. “I think the next one would have to be equally thought through about execution - because the trick is execution.”

There is no doubting that Marchionne has turned Fiat Chrysler around, so one hopes he does find his successor by before he leaves in 2018.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 17:19

Biking at Bira

Some good news from Graham at High Side Tours (HST). On Mon 3rd and Tue 4th November 2014 they have exclusive use of Bira Circuit. They have 1 ER6N still available for hire for one or both days. 10,000 baht/day all inclusive [+ deposit].

Or you are welcome to join with your own bike for 1,200 baht. Please call to reserve as they are limiting the numbers. Please do not just turn up on the day as you may be disappointed if they have to refuse you.

For New Year they are planning a trip to Kaeng Krachan Circuit again. Probably the 29/30/31 Dec 2014 or possibly the 30/31/1. 4 x ER6 available at the moment. Contact HST for pricing packages with/without hotels, etc. Email contact is graham. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 17:19

Marchionne takes another set of reins

Fiat Chrysler CEO and now new Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne vows the Italian team will fight back under his leadership following on from the departure of Luca di Montezemolo.

With Marchionne at the helm, some fear the return of the bean-counters and men in suits that oversaw a long, lean period in the F1 shadows that covered much of the eighties and early nineties, Marchionne appears to be taking his team’s return to the front very seriously.

“We’ve got to kick some ass and we’ve got to do it quickly. It takes what it takes. We might screw up, but we’ve got nothing to lose, right? Let’s risk something.”

“I keep getting reminded racing is not a science, that a number of factors influence performance,” he added. “Then I go to Monza and see the first six cars are not Ferrari or powered by a Ferrari engine, and my blood pressure just popped.

“A non-winning Ferrari on the F1 track is not Ferrari. I can live with periods of bad luck, but it cannot become a structural element of the brand. That continues to be my main objective in terms of Ferrari going forward.”

Unfortunately, strong fighting words from the top do not make up for personnel that are lacking, compared to their opposite numbers in other teams.

Michael Schumacher had the ability to fire up a technical group around him to make for the winning team. Can Vettel do this? Or did Vettel win the championships because he joined the best team that was already there?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 17:17

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that the Mazda MX5 and the Mitsubishi 3000 GT both were released in Japan, but they had a modification in common during their production run. I asked what was that? That was easy, when released they had pop-up headlights, but later in the production life they changed to fixed headlights.

So to this week. What car is this?

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 .

Quiz carQuiz car

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 15:39

Stonefish - Australian to the bone

Peter Papanikitas, the MD of the renowned Australian wine label Stonefish Wines, made a quick visit to Pattaya last week. Tahe occasion was the Stonefish Wine event, held in the Pedro Gastrobar of the Hotel Vista on Soi 4 Second Road, celebrating the slew of medals won by the label in the latest wine shows in China and Hong Kong.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 15:21

The history that saved me

“Almost” had a heart attack last week. As part of my annual medical the hospital arranges for an Electrocardiogram (ECG) as well as appropriate blood tests and the like, but I had managed to miss my ECG appointment. Never fear, the happy and efficient staff in the Check-up department, rescheduled the ECG for me, and I was all present at 8 a.m. on the Thursday.

After the ECG trace was completed, the sheet is sent to our Cardiology department, where one of our cardiologists reviews the tracing and sends the results down to the Check-up department.

All that went like clockwork, other than the fact there was a slight irregularity in the trace from one of the leads. Was this an impending heart attack? At that point I changed from being Dr. Iain, into patient Iain and an appointment was made for me with the Heart Center.

Now I won’t say that I was totally unworried by all this. After all, until me, no male member of my family had ever seen his 57th birthday, and all croaked with cardiac conditions. Was I next for the cardiac high jump?

I sat down with Dr. Prinya, one of our cardiologists, who asked me the standard questions covering was I a smoker (no), any chest pains, shortness of breath, swelling feet and legs, how much exercise did I do etc., and all my answers were the “correct” ones.

Dr. Prinya then scrolled up my history on his computer and all the blood tests from the past few years were very satisfactory.

He then brought up all my ECG’s for the past eight years and smiled. The slight irregularity was there in the previous readings, and had remained unchanged since 2006. The slight irregularity was not significant. The celestial invitation was not in the post.

The records from the past eight years had saved me from having exercise stress tests, angiograms, echocardiograms and more. That ability to be able to look back made it such that I could look forward too!

So where does all that leave you?

True story. A friend of the family has a brother who is diabetic and a nephew who is diabetic. The condition runs in the family, so obviously my family friend knows what his blood sugar is as well. But he doesn’t. No history which can show when (or if) the blood sugar starts to rise. No record of his blood circulation to the legs. No record of the condition of the blood vessels in the eye. No annual records of his blood pressure. Nothing!

Of course he has had good intentions to go and have a check-up, but other things just seem to get in the way. As they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

No, a good strong medical history is worth its weight in gold (or perhaps worth its weight in medicines you are not going to need)!

Look at this very simple fact - the longer you leave a medical problem in your system, the harder it is to cure it, but if you can nip it in the bud, it is easier. And even better, when you know there is a family history of some condition, being aware and watchful on that annual basis you will very easily be able to control it, and diabetes is a classic example.

Once again, looking into your medical crystal ball, unfortunately everything is exacerbated by smoking. Not just lung cancer, but all cancers, blocked arteries, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, the list is almost endless. The worst thing you can do for your future is to smoke cigarettes. The best thing you can do for your future (life and health) is to stop smoking. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Going back to the start of this week’s message, it is not too late to start getting your medical history in order. Every two years if you are under 20 and do not smoke. Every year after the age of 40. The hospital has some bargain priced check-up packages generally available during December. Try and stay out of trouble till then!

Thursday, 16 October 2014 13:31

Rolls-Royce unveils its “city slicker”

Rolls-Royce must be getting desperate for the Names Department to come up with “Phantom Metropolitan” as the name for the 2015 models. The last time “Metropolitan” was used was on a Nash, and that was eminently forgettable too.

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