Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 04 July 2013 17:12

Natter Nosh and Noggin

The car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park.  The next meeting is on Monday July 8 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m.  A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations).  Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers.  A couple of the members are scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they may have some scuttlebutt about the F1 scene, with one having just been over to the US to watch the Indy 500.  Always a fun night.  Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)!  The Car Club nights are always on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!

Last week, I asked which manufacturer of one of the supercars of the day, tried to fit a Moto Guzzi engine into a cheap runabout.  What was this car?  It was an Innocenti owned by De Tomaso, who also owned Moto Guzzi at that time.

So to this week.  Dick Seaman drove for a continental team in 1937-1939.  Who was the next Englishman to drive for a continental works team?  And when?

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 .

Thursday, 04 July 2013 10:57

Unable to “Wai”

I have been laid up with an ambulatory problem for the past week.  So bad that I have been unable to return the usual “wai’s” from the staff.  I just hope they don’t think I am being rude.

Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:20

British GP Silverstone this weekend

The British Grand Prix will be held this weekend at the ancestral home of F1, with the first ever F1 GP held there in 1950 (and won by Dr Farina in the Alfa Romeo).

Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:16

Automated motoring

The technology is here now!  Self driving cars are reality.  And if you don’t believe me, talk to the owner of a new Ford Focus, a car which parallel parks itself after you select reverse and take your hands off the steering wheel.  Not a gimmick - it does it perfectly every time, after the car measures the space to park in and away you go!

Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:13

Pro Series at Bira this weekend

The very professional Pro Series event is on at the Bira circuit this weekend.  As opposed to the other promoters, the Pro Series runs generally to time.  After getting four hours behind at the last meeting, punctuality is very much enjoyed by drivers and spectators alike.

Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:12

Antonio dislikes BMW!

I came across this interesting snippet that I had stored in my computer - and then lost, to just find it today!  This is from the Le Parisien newspaper who reported on “The Unhappy Customer Who Took Hostages At BMW’s French HQ.”

60 year old French retiree Antonio Fontana is obsessed with BMWs.  Like, Single White Female obsessed.  It started with a BMW he regretted purchasing and ended with him taking hostages at BMW’s French headquarters.  But there’s actually more to this story.

According to Le Parisien (translated), Fontana purchased a BMW 530d diesel from a dealership a few years ago, but wasn’t happy with the performance of his vehicle.

And, like any upset consumer, he took the following normal steps:

In 2003, he tried to set himself on fire in front of the BMW dealership where he purchased the car.

In 2005, he left boxes of fake explosives at three BMW dealerships around France, for which he was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

In 2008, he called in a bomb threat to BMW France HQ.

Yesterday, he fired shots at BMW HQ and took a receptionist hostage.

Fontana eventually surrendered to police before harming anyone and now faces more serious jail time.

Look for a billboard campaign from Audi of France proudly proclaiming “AUDI: Our customers don’t try to kill us.”

[Le Perisien]

Last week, I asked which racing car won a very prestigious race in 1939 and again in 1940, third in 1946 and third again in 1947?  It was the Boyle Special, which was actually a Maserati 8CTF.  And the race was the Indy 500.

So to this week.  In 1983, the manufacturer of one of the supercars of the day tried to fit a Moto Guzzi 650 cc motorcycle engine in a budget runabout.  What was this car?

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, 26 June 2013 17:28

44 People die from mosquito virus

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is alive and well, bringing with it the dangerous Dengue Fever virus.  For some reason or other, the public has not taken the notion on board that Dengue can kill.  Reading the journals I see that so far this year, 44 people have died in Thailand.  That’s more than the bird flu numbers which were about 17 for this country.  Can you see just how dangerous this virus really is?

Actually, Dengue has become endemic throughout the world.  There are 2.5 billion people living in Dengue endemic areas, and Thailand is but one of them.

I was reminded of this topic the other day when I saw that on one day alone, Dengue Fever was the reason for hospitalization of five percent of the foreign in-patients.  That is a lot!  In fact, we are getting increasing inpatient numbers including the dangerous Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF).

Dengue Fever is another of those viral illnesses, and we have no direct answer to the virus.  There is no “antibiotic” for the Dengue virus.  Like Malaria, the virus is carried by mosquitoes, this time by one called Aedes aegypti.

With the monsoon rains we have been having recently, this is one of the reasons that this disease is on the upsurge in this country - but there is something we can all do about it.

However, first you should understand a little more about Dengue.  The mosquito Aedes aegypti lays its eggs in standing water (and there is plenty left each evening after the afternoon showers), preferring the clean water found in water tanks and pots, in the saucers under pot plants and even under the pet’s food dish.  Inside discarded car tyres are another favorite spot.  These mosquitoes are not of the adventurous type and feed during the day and spend their time within 200 meters of their hatchery.  Consequently, the eradication of any local breeding areas becomes very important towards maintaining your own health, as you can see.  Keep your home free from lying water for a radius of 200 meters and you’re looking good!

Simple Dengue (if you can call it that) has an incubation period of around 4 to 7 days and then the full blown symptoms of high fever and headache begin.  The headache is usually behind the eyes and is made worse by eye movement.  From there the pains progress to the limbs with acute muscle pains, which gave it the old name “Break Bone Fever”.

With our ability to treat the viral ailments being very limited, the defense against the Dengue virus lies in Health and Hygiene initiatives, to stop you getting mosquitoes in the house during the day.  For example, do you regularly change the water in containers the Aedes aegypti mosquito might call home?  Do you have mosquito screens?  Does baby sleep under a mosquito net?  If the answer to these questions is “no”, then perhaps it is time to look critically at your own Dengue prevention plan.  Let me assure you, it is not a disease you want!  And the Hemorrhagic form in particular can be lethal.

The other precautions are to wear long trousers and long sleeved shirts, especially at sun up and sun down, when the mosquito is at its most ravenous.

The other factor to remember is “D” for Dengue and “D” for DEET.  DEET is the magic ingredient in mosquito repellents, so when you go to buy some repellent, check the label - if it has DEET, then get it.  And then remember to use it!

Some news to hand is that Purdue University in the United States claimed that papaya leaf consists of over 50 active ingredients found to kill fungi, worms, parasites, bacteria and many forms of cancer cells and sparkle up your immune system.  For dengue fever it is suggested that the juice is extracted by crushing fresh leaves of papaya.  One leaf of papaya gives about one tablespoon of juice.  Two tablespoons of papaya leaf juice are given to dengue patients three times a day - once every six hours, with miraculous results.   However, before you start crushing and juicing, the results came from five patients only!  I wonder if Som Tam is just as good?

Thursday, 20 June 2013 15:34

Supercar for anyone?

The lid has certainly come off the supercar pot, with news of thousands of exotics being examined to see if they have compliance plates, and do the modification shops actually screw cars together from spares?

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