19 February, 2018 - 07:42 John Smith's Ford Taunus 12M with its smart new paintjob. Picture: John Smith John Smith Motor trade apprentice John Smith faced a serious challenge to bring his first car, a Ford Taunus 12M, up to his standards. But, unfortunately, his labour of love did not last long. John Smith's Ford Taunus 12M ready for its respray. Picture: John Smith My first car was a Ford Taunus 12M acquired at the age of 17 in 1964 after completing my first year as an apprentice in the motor trade – starting a career that has lasted 55 years here and overseas. Unlike many of my peers, I went straight to cars rather than motorbikes, however my well-known passion for these began in my late 20s with reasonable success in motocross, then known as scrambling. The car was made in Germany, and left-hand drive, imported from Libya by an ex-Serviceman returning home in 1953 and was something quite different from the norm at the time. I knew the car well before purchase as it … [Read more...] about My First Car: Ford Ford Taunus restored… then wrecked
Spain has been forced to slash its national speed limit from 120km/h (75mph) to 110km/h (68mph) due to rising oil prices sparked by the crisis in Libya and the Arab region. Spain relies heavily on imported fuel and the BBC claims it gets 13 per cent of this from Libya, where violent clashes and security fears have forced the price of oil up. Overnight, workmen in Spain placed new 110km/h stickers over more than 6000 signs with the previous 120km/h limit on them. Deputy prime minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said: “We are going to go a bit slower and in exchange we will consume less petrol and pay less money.” The “exceptional” move is temporary, according to the Spanish government, and will stay in place until the end of June at the earliest. The move has not proved popular with everyone, however. Spain’s main opposition party, the Popular Party, said: “What next? Will the government make people go to sleep earlier to reduce their consumption of … [Read more...] about Spain cuts speed limit to 68mph
The deadliest place to travel by road is the African state of Eritrea, accoridng to the World Health Organisation's first report on global road safety. According to the WHO figures, there were an estimated 48 deaths per 100,000 people in the former Italian colony in 2007, a world record. As in most countries, the number of men killed through road accidents vastly outstripped that of women, in Eritrea's case by three-to-one — the same ratio as in Britain. The only other country to come close to Eritrea's record was the Cook Islands, with 45 deaths per 100,000 people. The tiny South Pacific nation has a population of just 13,325, five of whom died in road accidents in 2007. Next up were Egypt (41.6) and Libya (40.5). Britain records 5.4 deaths per 100,000 people, making it about as safe as the Netherlands and marginally safer than Germany (6) and France (7.5). The safest country was the Marshall Islands, whose 59,000 inhabitants own just 2487 vehicles and suffered just one fatal … [Read more...] about World’s most dangerous roads
Toyota/Lexus has perfected the modern gas-electric hybrid perhaps more than any other manufacturer. Though it trailed the original Honda Insight to market by some nine months, the Prius clearly brought the gas-electric hybrid into the automotive mainstream more than the smaller, less-versatile Insight ever could have. However, primarily because of the recent unrest and violence in several Middle-Eastern countries, the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and the uncertain future of the Gadaffi regime in Libya, oil-price speculators have bid up the world price of crude-oil (and gas-prices at the pumps) to levels not seen since the summer of 2008. So, it is not surprising that hybrids, among other alternate-fuel vehicles (diesels, plug-in electrics, E85 ethanol, etc…..) are currently quite popular (premium gas reached over $4 in my neighborhood just a couple of days ago). While I’m not going to go into the politics of the current high oil-prices too much (that, again, is … [Read more...] about On the Road With the 2011 Lexus CT200h
Spain has taken an unusual method to counter high and rising oil prices – slash the national speed limit! The Spanish government has lowered the 120 km/h national speed limit by 10 km/h to 110 km/h, which they say will save 15% on fuel bills. The move is temporary, and will stay in place until the end of June at the earliest. Deputy prime minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said: “We are going to go a bit slower and in exchange we will consume less petrol and pay less money.” The José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero government also introduced other measures, which include cheaper train travel and subsidies for energy-efficient light bulbs and low-rolling resistance car tyres. Needless to say, the move is not universally popular with Spaniards. Naturally, the fastest man from Spain isn’t too happy. “I don’t support this measure. There are other much more effective measures to reduce fuel consumption than this one. At 110 km an hour, it is even … [Read more...] about Affected by high oil prices, Spain slashes its speed limit!