The Defender Went Out of Production Still Wearing Parts Designed by Oil Lamp

I AM AMERICAN, so it’s easy for me to talk about Jeeps. You know the drill. The first Jeep, the ancestor of today’s Wrangler, helped win a war. An entire marque from the crucible of wartime engineering. Early Jeeps were once derided as little more than farm implements, but there are now family Jeeps, comfy Jeeps for old folks, cheap Jeeps for young people. There is the Wrangler, the base model of which makes 270bhp and can literally climb mountains, but there is also the 700bhp Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with the kind of elephantine accelerative violence that makes you wonder if Detroit engineers snort ground-up hallucinogens for breakfast.

Because I am American, I once attempted to eat a hamburger while launching a Trackhawk at full blat. Flecks of bun flung into my nose.

If The Price of a W16 Bugatti Today is Sterile Battery Power Tomorrow, Can’t We Find a Middle Way?

NTERESTING FACT: when the Apple iPhone was launched in 2007, Twitter users were tweeting 5000 times a day. By 2010, that had grown exponentially to 50 million. Now it’s 500 million – nearly 6000 tweets per second.
On the other hand, the TV licensing authority recently revealed there were still 7161 black-and-white TV licences issued this year, more than 50
years after the BBC first introduced colour TV in the UK (for the vividly green 1967 Wimbledon tennis tournament, in fact). The TV agency is confident it’s not just people dodging the higher cost of colour; apparently there are still 7000 people who prefer to watch snooker in black and white.

Everyone Needs a Place Outside Their Normal, a Way to Unplug; The Garage As a Sanctuary

By Sam Smith, The Gear Head

WAR IS HELL, as the man said. More so if the main weapon is a garage full of rump-logs. I have been engaged of late in a furious and titanic battle with my dog. When no one is looking, she sneaks into the garage, hides behind a car, and poops.

I am afflicted with several vehicles. Most are slightly tatty, because owning and using good cars on a writer’s budget often involves tattiness.
The only nice machine in the stable is a 2001 Acura, an Integra Type R. Unmodified, original paint, tight and clean, no rust. Not coincidentally, the Acura is the only car I own that lives at home, under a roof, behind a locked door. One of the best front-drivers in history. I like it. Its presence is calming. This is almost certainly why the dog dumps at it.

When Fitted to Manual Cars, Electronic Parking Brakes are Hateful Devices

HE LATE RUSSELL Bulgin’s favourite pop group, the Pet Shops Boys, sang ‘It feels so good’, and everyone from Michael Jackson to Stevie Won-der, from Kanye West to Charles Aznavour, has sung about ‘feel’ too. (‘Can you feel it?’, ‘You can feel it all over’ etc.)

And that’s the trouble with so many modern cars. They have no feel. From steering to brakes, from gearshift to throttle response, from switchgear
to radio buttons, most moderns are about as feelsome and deliciously nuanced to operate as your iPhone’s on-off button.
Take the parking brake. Just 37 per cent of all cars are now fit-ted with manual handbrakes. The rest are electronic. Only Dacia and Suzuki have conventional handbrakes on every model.

Those Who Drive Pickups With Crew Cabs Are 6% Less Likely to Vote for Obama Than Those Who Do Not

By Mark Walton, The Incurable Enthusiast

I OWN A Subaru, but would I consider myself a ‘Subaru Man’? Not sure. To be honest, playing the word association game, ‘Subaru Man’ makes me think of lads in modified Imprezas, gold wheels, big exhausts, enough bass to set off a burglar alarm. I drive a battered Forester diesel and listen to Radio 4.

I also own two classic Land Rovers, but does that make me ‘Land Rover Man’? Oh God, I hope not – ‘Land Rover Man’ drives a Series III covered in checkerplate, he wears camo and is an active participant in his local 4x4 club, along with his long-suffering wife, Barbara.

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