Wednesday, January 18, 2006

(#12): Update

Hey there. Apologies, I’ve been out of action for a couple of days…going to plug you in with a little update, let you know where I’m at with the start of my second term.

First off, it’s perhaps my fault – maybe I missed the email – but I haven’t got any results to tell you about so far. Last term we handed in:

  • An aide memoir on law for journalists
  • A local government article
  • A central government piece
  • 1700 words split between several pieces (automotive topics)
  • 1300 words of “reflective writing” relating to the 1700 words and/or the “newsday”, where we produced a 16 page magazine
  • 3000 word article on an industry subject

But as yet I haven’t heard anything. This term is shaping up to have a pretty heavy workload, but I should be able to manage it without too much difficulty so long as organize myself properly.

Anyways, to get you to Tuesday (today), here’s my motoring week (and a bit).

SUNDAY, January 08.

Having left home on Saturday, but detoured via a friend’s, I drove from Canterbury to Coventry on Sunday afternoon. As already reported, this was a much better experience than I expected, given the weather conditions. The moment with the guy on the sliproad is still making me start a little when I catch myself thinking about it unintentionally, though – which is dumb because it wasn’t that big of a deal; obviously I’m not working hard enough yet to take my mind off it. Coming soon, I reckon.

MONDAY, January 09.

A bit of running round today led to the following, in this order:

Saw an unmolested Renault Clio Williams (sorry, don’t know if it was a 1, 2, or 3) about two minutes out from my accommodation while walking to the supermarket. That’s rare enough, but this example was piloted by a cute, unpretentious looking blonde – now why can’t I meet women like that?

Then I saw my first proper Focus ST – that is an actual one owned by an apparent member of the public, rather than a show car. Yes, it was in eye-scorching metallic orange, just as it should have been.

The third thing I saw was a little less cool. Fortunately travelling on the opposite side of the dual carriageway was a car (Peugeot I think, should it matter) which appeared to have its windscreen held in by masking tape… There was one big strip across the top of the screen at the roof join, and two others that started about half way up the glass and carried over into the middle of the roof. Scary stuff.

TUESDAY, January 10.

3pm saw our first class of the term. Not a great deal of action otherwise. We were given an outline, and spent most of the time figuring out magazine issues for the publication we have to do this term. Turns out we didn’t do too good a job of this as the majority raised themselves again today…oops.

WEDNESDAY, January 11.

Class was delayed in order for us to attend a talk by Tony Stelliga, the Canadian owner/director of Marcos – a British sportscar manufacturer (previously) of acquired taste he’s rescued from death. In a lecture intended mostly for design students – the third year undergrads are doing a project involving the company– he spoke at length about the gestation of the current line-up, the drop top TSO and fixed-head TSO GT, and the Marcos design process. Most convincing argument for the use of imported engines and drivetrains; by using the running gear from the American Corvette rather than home grown produce, Marcos has access to a regulations friendly package that enables them to market their cars overseas without the expense of emissions approval, and so on. The company, under Stelliga’s guidance, makes considerable use of computer-aided technologies – not only in terms of design, but also engineering models, and manufacturing, allowing them to outsource much of the build process and still rely on getting a high quality of finish. Most intriguing, however, was talk of using the LS7 engine and drivetrain from the Z06 model Corvette, a car I am very much enamoured with. Given the good press the GT’s been receiving I’m looking forward to seeing the result...

THURSDAY, January 12.

Autosport International, of which I have written about already.

Got back to an intro class on the Journalism Themes and Issues course we’re taking this year. Was fun as I got to freak everyone out about our technologically infested future when given the task of providing ten points on “Media” in 2020. Might return to that if I can tie it into cars in a proper fashion. Heheh.

FRIDAY, January 13.

Was my birthday. No classes. My mum sent me an amusing “mini cake” from M&S, and I opened some cards. Celebrated by buying the recent Dukes of Hazard film on DVD. Watching it again (I saw it in the cinema) I was struck – again – by the awesome car control. The movie itself is trite, though it does have Johnny Knoxville and Burt Reynolds in it, but the car control… My favourite example is when “Bo” is navigating an inner-city ‘circle’ and The General remains in an absolutely constant state of oversteer drift around the outside of other moving traffic for what seems like minutes. Beautiful.

SATURDAY, January 14.

Historic Rally Car Register open day at the Heritage Motor Centre, in Gayden. The open day wasn’t all that special for a casual observer – but then that wasn’t its purpose – and although the turnout of cars was quite low, there were some interesting vehicles there. I particularly liked the couple of Lancia Fulvia Sports, which were just gorgeous. It did give me an opportunity to look around the museum, though, which I hadn’t done before. Not that big, but really cool because not many of the cars are fenced off – you can actually walk all around them. Amongst the really unusual stuff, like Towns designed city cars there was also an Aston Martin DB7 Zagato (fantastic looking device), oh, and Lady Penelope’s enormous six-wheeled pink Ford from the live action Thunderbirds movie. You’d never be able to park it.

One other thing; on the way out of Coventry again that evening, saw a new Civic on massive polished rims. It looked like a spaceship. They make everything else on the road seem so last century. Just read today that Volkswagen have brought forward the release date for the next version Golf to 2008, and suspect the Funky Honda may have something to do with it. You can almost hear Ford (for example...) going ‘bugger’ from here.

SUNDAY, January 15 + MONDAY, January 16.

Was out of town. Thankfully the return journey proved to be less memorable than the previous one.

TUESDAY, January 17.

So here I am, sat in the library.

Be back with you again soon.


Marcos official website

Heritage Motor Centre

T#12: Autosport International [internal]

#10: Gearknobs and grab handles [internal]

T#4: I miss my bike [internal]


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