Driven 2016

So, what you have here Is an event where those who didn't make it on to the Fast and furious set, made their own up and decided to spend oodles of cash souping up generic brands from the sublime to the ridiculous.  OK! So your 19 and you want to a "ludicrous speed button" on your dash board.  If you’re lucky enough to have the kind of pesos to buy one already made especially for you, i.e.; Lamborghini or Ferrari then you are set.  If you are not amoungst the coveted 1%'rs, you do the next best thing.  Go on Kijiji, buy an old Honda Civic and beg, borrow or steel the $100,000 you need to make it look somewhat decent.  Most of the guys there were doing their best to have their "look at me moment", but the reality is.  It’s all a bit faff.  Maybe I'm too old, but I can remember the time I souped up my 1972 Ford Cortina GT, only to have it blow up in my face one to many times.  After replacing three transmissions and one too many clutches and starter motors, The game for me was over.  You try telling these kids that though, this is their passion.  So it's a bit pointless telling them that what they are doing is a bit silly.  I don't have too.  The parent in them in ohhh 20 years will be doing all the talking.  Dad's just don't get it.  Yes well do actually! we all did it, when we were your age in fact.  Thing is, we just grew up.  Just because Paul Walker (Rest in Peace) did it, that doesn't mean that was the beginning.  This started many many years before that.  So I may put the boy racers down a bit, but I am allowed.  I was one.

So, changing to 2nd gear.  Speaking to the owner of a Lamborghini, which incidentally he looked like he was about 25.  So either he has rich parents or sold a .COM business when he was 12.  It doesn't matter, jealously is not in my character.  I was curious as to why he told me he always drives the speed limit.  I'm not sure if he was being honest or careful.  Thing is, if you are buying a Lamborghini and only want to drive the speed limit! What’s the point, you may as well just get a "Car to Go" membership.

Personally I think a little bullshit fell out of his mouth.  But that's OK.  It doesn't matter.  The only thing that matters here were the kids, their toys and what they achieved.  It’s really something to be proud of.  So, after raking you all over the coals, just know that I was there once and I know the feeling. Just remember to take it easy and drive the speed Limit, just Like Mr Lambo............

Heath Cox Editor Intouch.NEWS

2016 Calgary International Auto & Truck Show

How do you sum up the numbers and come up with the the correct answer, when it comes to mans favorite pastime. Well, for some of us it does include ball bearings.  Not the kind you press into a shotgun casing, but ones used in a wheel hub assembly or a universal joint.  Our love of cars continues, with an all out ensemble of fenders from Ford's to Ferrari's.

OK! so the vast majority now all seem to look the same, from plastic dashboards to headlights, car companies now seem to swap parts with each other and make it seem new and improved. Gone are the days, when you had to push a button to make it work.  It's all storks and sticks. Men love to push and turn buttons. Have you ever seen anything more sexier than a dashboard on a series one E type. Exactly! ...  So we have a few differences from last year, but on the whole nothing has changed.  We see the same cute girls splashing out quip's about perfect weight distribution and turbo lag reduction.  The reality is, they couldn't explain what torque is anymore than I could, or you could for that matter. Maybe It just sounds better coming from a size two "super" model.  I was somewhat impressed with the Ford driving simulator. It was a bit over the top and unnecessary, but the kids enjoyed being Tom Petty for 5 minutes.

Everything here seems to trundle along like we're all stuck in a playground zone.  Every Acura looks the same as every other Acura. Except maybe some have a fatter ass than others.  Things were becoming as interesting as a rented apartment, that was until we got to the Aston Martin - Bentley arena.  There is something about sitting in one of these that makes you feel uberly important.  Yes I have leather seats in my car, but the seats in a Bentley!!! You have just entered a world where few will have the pleasure of the real ultimate driving machine.

It's like sitting in a channel handbag!  The interior is a place that transforms you and instantly turns you into a one percenter.  It's like putting on a Tom Ford.  You feel smarter, you look smarter, suddenly everyone is looking at you.  It's the same with the Aston.  Once inside, clutching that thick carbon laced steering wheel, your whispered off to a place of grandeur.  After many thank you's and hand shaking, we took ourselves to, well. What else, of course.  The house of Mr Balboni's home turf.  Lamborghini.  Yes they were big and brash, but I have to be honest, the Lamborghini's that I grew up with had no windows, just cat flaps with a stick shift.  These were my pin up's.  I somehow can't see myself putting up an Aventador on my wall.  Maybe I'm well past the sell by date on wall posters, but the lambo's of today seem to have lost that bedroom image.  I know they cost more than most second homes and yes they still have those silly doors, but I look back at the Aston and I'm sold every time.  When the brand manager of Rolls Royce invited us in.  We clocked eyes on the Phantom and thought, no;  there is no way we will ever get this close.  Well, as it happens, we did.  Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, as they say, this 20 foot monster steps in. 

Lord in heaven, as a motor car this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Mercedes and Audi.  You may as well pack up your suitcase right now and head back to fatherland.  OK, so BMW took hold of Britain's most prized possession and welded together the strongest aluminum body in the automotive world, thanks for that at the very least.  After that the Brits took over and did what they do best.  Apart from drinking lots of tea and having to find new Careers since Maggy closed down all the pits.  The Brits still have the talent to put together, what is simply the finest car money can buy.  Options are endless.  So, If you have deep pockets,  this is where you stop looking and place your order.  So to are the Ferrari's. I have to be honest here too,  the Ferrari's of today do look amazing, but they seem to have lost that 60's sex appeal.  Think about it.  There is nothing sexier than a testarossa or a P4/5. I'm not talking about the square place mat you find in Miami vice, I'm dating back to the world when designers used Marilyn Monroe as inspiration, not a Mach 2 jet fighter.   The worlds designers now have moved on to aerospace technology and materials from Mars.  It's seems that that molds used to make the DB5 are now extinct. While I am happy to see companies like Eagle have a bash.  It saddens me that the rest of the world doesn't share the same opinion.  The mood now is cup holders and hockey bags. You just know when your best friend gets married and his wife punches out a couple of kids, the minivan is where your heading.  What a shame that is!  We still have lots of somewhat attractive looking cars out there, but Dodge thought, I know, let's take away his manhood and offer up something so sad, it makes you feel you had a level 10 lobotomy.  Let me put it this way, when I was 9. We had 6 in our family, we got by with a rover P5. "And we had a dog".  We went all over Europe.  Yes we also had cup holders.  

I guess we have one saving grace. I once saw a 12 year old putting her soccer shoes into the back of a drop dead sexy black continental GT.  I agree not everyone can afford one which is a shame but we should have more options available to us.

So, moving on.  There we were, looking at what I call Gods creation.  The absolute best in engineering to date. If allowed we should have been on hands and knees, as we are certainly not worthy of the P1. Some of the worlds best brains got together and produced the finest wine and carbon fiber soufflé man has ever made.  So why did this 12 year old beside me waffle on about the prancing horse and how much better they are.  Why, well cause he is 12 and knows only two things, how to play call of duty at home and how to tell people at school how good he is at call of duty. Oh the joys of having teenagers! They know everything.  So. People of Fiat, Acura and Honda.  When you next decide to design a car, think of Dita Von Tess, not a dinner plate.  I know which one can go through the air faster, but I know what I would rather look at.

Heath Cox.  Editor  intouch.NEWS


50th Annual World of Wheels

Passion: Some regard this as what Karl Benz invented when he first decided that it was time to ditch the horse and cart and go for a new method of transport.  Yes, the steam engine was an amazing achievement, but it proved to be too cumbersome and impractical.  The people that mattered best decided that they continue their lives on trains and ships.  The triple expansion was no match for what is now mans “greatest invention”.                                  

Born unto us, or rather created, the hallowed internal combustion engine .  I’m sure when Karl was writing out his patent forms; he would have never envisioned what he would be letting himself in for.  Take some kerosene, some air, put it under pressure and there you have it.  Now there have been many variations since his idea took hold.  Everything from the 2 stroke to the Wankel.  When you think about it, this little idea sparked such a revolution that is so strong today; we just can’t comprehend the amplitude of it.  NASCAR, Formula one, monster trucks, drag racing, Le Mans, hyper cars, minicabs, group B Racing, Police interceptor movies, and the list is endless.  They all have one thing in common.  Mans need to fill the void between marriage and a new engine hoist.  It is an interesting time we live in as the world is changing.  We are now being faced with Electric cars, hybrids, gas power, solar, even wind.  Mr. Fusion may not be that far off.  Thing is though, no self-respecting petrol head will ~McQueen down Hollywood boulevard in an Electric Datsun. 

There is something about the internal combustion engine that draws crowds in their thousands.  Club rallies, car collectors and Concours d'Elegance.  They all love cars, they all love the point where you push that magic little red button and listen to the cylinders comes to life.  I don’t think those at Pebble beach would be waking up at dawn to see an array of finely polished Priuses.  Millions upon millions of us take for granted what Karl has done for us.  Yet we are now mining Lithium to change the world.  I’m sorry, but when you’re taking resources from the earth by the tonnes to save the planet, well you’re not really, you’re just changing the basic dynamics of how were going to get from A to B.  As long as there is a market for the V8 Mustang or a V10 R8.  We will continue to go there.  Power and speed is what drives us.  Yes you can honk at the maniac in front of you that is doing a hundred and twenty miles an hour.  But we all know it’s what we want in our lives. 

Calgary’s 2016 World of Wheels is testament to all things’ that pray “suck squeeze bang blow”.  The fire breathing dragons on display here are a testament to those who have spent countless hours scraping, sanding, tuning, grinding and polishing.  Ah yes, the meat of a man’s heart.  The Restoration; Ask a man to do laundry, he will look at you like you just grown a wart out of your forehead.  The same question, but in auto-mechanical form, well, and then you have it.  Man’s love of all things aluminum, cast iron and leather cannot be tarnished by the thought of home economics.

Standing over at the Ford stand, I was introduced to a carbon copy of the infamous 427 Cobra.  The designer the late Mr Shelby insane's need for speed brought UK’s motorways to its knees.

 Bureaucrats and lobbyists were having none of this on their roads.  No…No…No.  Thus the 70-MPH speed limit was born.  Big thank you to the gentlemen who allowed me over the rail and let my lens do the talking, also a big thank you to Mr. Shelley.  I should have asked for his last name.  He was kind enough to allow me entry and let my brain compute at all the work that went on to making this show a success that it has become.

You know, I love the sound of an XJ singing at 5000 rpm.  Who doesn’t?  It brings us all together, it creates smiles and people love that.  Look at the crowd.  They all took their Ford’s and Chevy’s to look at other Fords and Chevy’s.  Ask anyone here if they would like to own and drive a 68 Charger or a 38 Ford.  Of course!

I hope the internal combustion engine is here to stay for my life time, my kids and their kids.  Because when the world changes back to steam, the passion will have gone.


Heath, Editor InTouch. NEWS