Dr. Iain Corness

Thursday, 09 May 2013 15:26

Spanish GP this weekend

Two years ago I wrote, “The Alonso fans will be out in full voice, hoping that this will be the GP at which Ferrari comes on even stronger, and the Spaniard fulfills all their dreams, even if Massa was dragging the chain two weeks ago.”  Seems nothing has changed since then.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 15:23

A compact SUV for Mercedes-Benz?

The Shanghai Auto Show saw M-B reveal the GLA compact SUV concept.  The Mercedes-Benz GLA concept becomes the third A series model and the first baby SUV to take on the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X3 and Audi Q3.

I am sure most of you have heard of the Ariel Atom, a strange vehicle looking like it is made from bent water pipes, and no creature comforts at all.  Bad weather?  Leave your Atom in the garage.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 15:18

The Bangkok Grand Prix

Despite all my initial misgivings (right through to incredulity and disbelief), it certainly does look as if the Thai Grand Prix will go ahead.  The Sports Authority of Thailand is reported as saying that the route for the night race has been approved by foreign experts.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 15:17

“Classic” cars

Many years ago, I was asked if there were any “classic” cars in Pattaya, and whether the owners would be interested in tailored “classic car” insurance.  I replied that the closest thing in Pattaya that went to being “classic” was probably a 10 year old Isuzu baht bus!

That was then, and the scene in Pattaya has changed dramatically.  Every day we seem to be unearthing more and more old cars, and there is now a viable market for both sellers, buyers and restorers.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 15:16

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 May 13 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.  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 mentioned that the Cosworth-Ford DFV engines were designed to be a stressed member of the chassis, but were not the first.  I asked which car was the first?  It was the Lancia D50, remembered for the two pods between the wheels, used as fuel tanks.  Six were made, and Juan Manuel Fangio won one of his World Driver’s Championships in a D50.

So to this week.  A 30 cylinder engine was built during WW2.  What was it used for?

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, 09 May 2013 10:07

Untimely, and unnecessary

A friend of mine died recently.  He was a chain smoker, and was always seen with a cigarette in his mouth and had that dry smoker’s cough.  He was only in his mid-sixties and died (fortunately quickly) from his lung cancer.  It was not a nice way to go.

Unfortunately, cigarette smoking is so much part of our society, it is difficult to imagine life without tobacco.  Governments pay lip service to Quit campaigns, while raking in the tax in every packet.  How two-faced is that?

Unfortunately, when you start smoking, it becomes very difficult to stop smoking.  This is because smoking is not just a habit like chewing on a pencil when concentrating.  Smoking is an addiction.  What you have to realize is that nicotine is more addictive than heroin.  I know that’s probably hard to believe, but that really is the crux of the matter.  You take nicotine into all of your metabolic pathways until you “need” to have nicotine to be able to function.  Nicotine becomes part of your metabolic chemical chains, and they don’t work properly without it.  Now you can see just why you feel so dreadful when you go without cigarettes (nicotine) for any period of time.

To give up cigarettes there are many, many ways, ranging from acupuncture, hypnosis, the I Ching, acupressure, Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), chewing gum, patches, nasal spray and many others all the way through to Cold Turkey.  Hop onto the internet and you are besieged with offers, all of which will make it ‘easy’ for you to stop smoking, and all of which will cost you money!

Interestingly, all of the above methods need the smoker to become committed to ceasing cigarettes.  The success rate really hangs on that commitment.  Leaving aside hypnosis and acupuncture, about which I know very little, but the good books tell me do not enjoy high success rates, let’s look at the other methods.  The majority rely on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).  All the gums and sprays do is to make nicotine available for you in measured doses - much like cigarettes do.  You get the craving, you chew the gum.  You get the craving, you squirt the spray.

Patches are slightly different.  They deliver the nicotine slowly over a 12 or 24 hour period and are supposed to stop the craving before it happens.  But often do not.

After stabilizing on the NRT it is time to bring the dosage down, which is the next hurdle at which many fall.  The end result can be cigarette smoking plus NRT - a potentially fatal combination.  In fact, I strongly believe that NRT should only be done under close medical supervision.  Too much nicotine can kill too!

So what is the best way?  The bad news is that it is called Cold Turkey.  The proof is in the numbers.  There has been enough research done and the prime factor is that the quitter has to be committed to the concept of becoming a non-smoker.  Doing it (quitting) for somebody else, because you lost a bet, because you are being nagged into it by your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend is doomed to failure, I am afraid.  This is something which requires your total commitment.  100 percent all the way.  When I gave up smoking (yes, in my teenage years nobody thought that smoking was bad for you.  Smoking was being cool and ‘adult’) and I thought it would be a bad scene for a couple of days, and then found that it was a couple of weeks of torture.  Here I am, four decades later and I could begin smoking again tomorrow.  It requires dedication and commitment.  Yours!  No one else’s!

So, I admit that those who go Cold Turkey may go through a rough time with withdrawals initially, but the majority are still non-smokers after one year.  The same cannot be said for the others.  The “hard” way is ultimately the best way.

You have to make the decision to quit.  You set the day.  You tell all your friends that you are now a non-smoker - and you stick to it!

Become a non-smoker today!  And never forget that the ‘Marlboro man’ died of lung cancer!

Thursday, 02 May 2013 14:48

Nitto 3K series at Bira this weekend

The very popular Nitto 3K Series has a meeting at the local Bira circuit this weekend.  Saturday is mainly Qualifying and Sunday mainly races.

These meetings attract large numbers of entries, ranging from road-registered vehicles including 4WD Subaru Imprezzas and the like, right through to super hot 2 liter race cars and the Isuzu One Make series pickups, with plenty of action there.

Thursday, 02 May 2013 14:48

Insurance claims in the UK

The insurance industry is bemoaning the fact that drivers have a poor grasp of Highway Code leading to accidents.  Road users putting on make-up, changing CDs and arguing with their passengers have all contributed to traffic accidents, according to recent insurance claims.

According to one of the UK’s top insurance comparison websites, one driver was involved in an accident after claiming they saw an unnamed celebrity walking along the street.  The “celebrity” turned out to be a normal member of the public.

Despite the humorous nature of these claims, many of these accidents betray a shocking ignorance of the Highway Code and basic driving skills, which only go to force up insurance premiums for other drivers.

“We never cease to be amazed by some claims,” said Paul Gilbert, customer services director of InsureAnts. co.uk price comparison website. “It’s almost as if some people pass their driving test and immediately forget the basic rules of the road.”

Ten of the favorite claims included:

“I was changing a CD and I didn’t notice the bend in the road.  I ended up sideways in a field, and walked out through the hole where the windscreen was, listening to Led Zep.”  (Sounds a bit like Kim Fletcher!)

“I thought I saw somebody famous walking down the pavement, and took my eye off the road, causing the crash.  [Mr Not A Celebrity] saw the accident and kindly agreed to be a witness.”

“The other driver said he was too busy looking at the map to notice that he had gone the wrong way on a one-way street.”

“I was trying to swat a fly with the ice scraper and didn’t see the other car.”

“The other driver said they had just driven off the ferry after a week in France, and forgot to drive on the left.”  (That one is very possible - I’ve done that myself!)

“I saw somebody getting undressed in their front window, and crashed through their wall.”  (Haven’t done that one.)

“We were driving up to the traffic lights just as they turned red, and pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.”  (Happens every day in Pattaya!)

“I saw a police car, panicked, and drove on the pavement by mistake.”

“I was driving along a country road and the pollen from a nearby field made me sneeze and I ended up in a ditch.”  (Come and see the allergy clinic!)

“The other driver was too busy putting on their make-up to see me coming the other way.”

And finally:

“I was practicing what I’d do in the event of a car crash, and crashed.”  (Must have been a boy scout!)

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