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The Carchive: The E12 BMW 5 Series

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It’s Friday afternoon, and before you press Control+Alt+Delete on your workstation to savagely end the day’s work, throw your wheely-chair aside and abandon your cubicle while muttering breathy obscenities, I suggest you invest a little company time to pay a visit to The Carchive.

In a moment we’ll take a trip back to 1976, but before we do that, let’s see if we can get an argument started. Which BMW would prove to be the most influential for the brand? It’s a tricky question, but I’m tempted to nominate the E12 5-Series. See what you reckon after the jump.

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So, What Makes For Good Auto Journalism?

Chris Haining November 3, 2015 All Things Hoon

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I love Automotive Journalism and feel honoured to sit on the periphery of it, dipping my toes slightly deeper in the water when any opportunity arises. In fact, there’s a very real chance that Automotive Journalism is the only thing I love more than cars themselves, and it’s never been a more interesting, nor more frustrating world than it is today.

The internet is fatter than it has ever been before. It is made plump by website upon website all claiming to perform “Car Reviews”. It’s increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff- it’s probably a 100:1 ratio between insightful and intelligent and insulting your intelligence. I for one don’t mind, if I find something intolerably awful I can just close the browsing tab and never go back. As long as the garbage remains on The Internet and doesn’t begin to dilute those precious print titles I love and revere, I’m down.

Considering this, I found myself trying to put my finger on that specific quality which keeps me reading magazines.

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Diecast Delights: A McLaren F1 in 1:18 Scale

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I guess it was just a matter of time before I featured this model. When you were 13 years old your bedroom walls wouldn’t be covered with posters of Ford Mondeos, would they? Well, they might have been if you were me, but you’re not, are you? No, every self-respecting teenager would have walls lined with F40s and Diablos, or perhaps the superest supercar of all, the McLaren F1. You’d probably want a 1:18 model of it, too.

Well, you were in luck as there were several versions to choose from. If you were blind or had only ever had the F1 described to you vaguely over a crackly phone line, you could opt for the hilariously misshapen and gloopy looking Guiloy. There was a Maisto, too, which was pretty decent. Alternatively, you could save up a bit of extra pocket money and go for the F1 by UT models, and that’s what I did, making my purchase at one of the ’90s London Motorshows.

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On trying to become an Alfa Male

Chris Haining October 27, 2015 All Things Hoon

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“It’s better to regret something you have done, than to regret something you haven’t done” Wise words from electronic dance music stalwarts Orbital, taken from the opening of their glorious cacophony “Satan”, a song actually written about the joy and frustration of Alfa Romeo ownership.

Actually, I’ve been there before. I once , but only briefly. Five years ago I bought an ’05 Alfa 156, a beautiful Grigio Veloce. It was by far the newest car I have ever owned yet after only paying two grand for it I was struck by immediate, and terminal, buyer’s remorse. I loved driving that car, but was acutely aware that I had spent money on what was still a depreciating asset. Money which, at that point, would have been really handy for a mortgage deposit. So I prematurely ended my relationship with the Alfa, selling it on for a very welcome thousand pound profit.

The problem is, I’ve still never quite managed to get the idea of an Alfa Romeo out of my head.

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Diecast Delights: A BMW 850i in 1:18 Scale

Chris Haining October 26, 2015 Diecast Delights

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Apart from as a tactile, tangible means of celebrating recognised classics, I always consider that owning a well-executed scale replica of a car is at least a token replacement for owning the real thing. The Ferrari 456, for example. Bburago’s version has been in my collection since I was twelve (and has sustained accident damage to show that my 1:18 driving was as reckless as you’d expect for somebody of that age), and now I’m 34 I don’t feel completely empty about my abject failure to have ever owned a 456 in 1:1.

As Carchive on Friday reminded us, there’s a lot of love out there for BMW’s lantern-jawed, broad shouldered coupĂ©, the E31 8-Series, and they can actually be bought these days for remarkably small sums of money. But the expenditure seldom ends once you’ve secured the keys. Keeping an 850i in the manner it is accustomed to will require pockets of mineshaft depths.

Far better to own a nice well-behaved eighteenth scale version, like this ancient model by Revell.

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The Carchive: The BMW 8 Series

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It’s time once again to dress up in wellies and a wax jacket and head out to the muddy farmland of automotive past and get busy with the metal detector of hindsight. Welcome once more to The Carchive.

After getting a bit bogged down in the weird world of JDM recently, we’re heading for the Black Forest. Or near there, anyway, to a place where a group of talented Bavarians were justly proud of their new creation, the range-topping BMW 8 Series.

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Bangle’s Legacy: Reassessing the E65 BMW 7-Series

Chris Haining October 22, 2015 All Things Hoon

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On its global reveal the new G11 BMW 7 Series elicited a collective shrug of “Meh” from a healthy proportion of the global motoring population.

It’s easy to forget that the most controversial period of the 7er’s lineage began over twelve years ago, with the release of the E65 generation. Created under the close supervision of BMW’s then Design Chief Chris Bangle, whole swathes of the public found it absolutely repellent. The car was widely condemned as a stylistic affront, sullying the name of BMW’s flagship after the proud history that went before it.

These charges have never been officially dropped and I’m going to venture that now might be an appropriate time for a retrial.

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GOT WOOD? The Interior Trim Debate.

Chris Haining October 21, 2015 All Things Hoon

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Due to the fact that it’s a Rover Group product of the late ’90s, the dashboard and many other interior surfaces in my car are clad with burr walnut veneer. There is an advantage to this; owing to its high wood content the Rover is actually classified as a moving wardrobe and is duly exempt from certain traffic legislation.*

Of the various slabs of forestry on board, I can confirm that at least two are 100% definitely tree-sourced, four or five of them are, I’d say, about 70% likely to have started life in woodland, but I’m suspicious that the other half dozen or so pieces might have never been near a timber yard in their life. I’d say, if you’re going to have decorative wood in a car, at least make it out of wood.

Or don’t put it in there at all. I’m going to throw the debate wide open. Is wood good?

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Brief Review: Smart ForFour 1.0 Passion.

Chris Haining October 20, 2015 Quick Spin, Reviews

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Smart was in danger of becoming an ironic name. The smallest Daimler-Benz product always sold on the virtues of novelty and wantability more than anything else, and in recent times was beginning to look increasingly irrelevant. Now, thanks to platform sharing with Renault, the New Smart may well finally be a vehicle useful enough to justify the epithet.

The brochure for the ForFour is full of images of young people with fashionable beards clearly having fun, so it seems reasonable to investigate whether the dressed up and up-priced Germanised Twingo actually lives up to what their marketing department promises, delivering entertainment as well as intelligence. Take the jump to find out.

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Diecast Delights: A Porsche 550 in 1:18 scale.

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I always detested being dragged around Tesco by my parents, but the weekly trip to the supermarket could be rendered bearable if a little competitive shopping-cart Grand Prix activity was introduced. I’d have a small, light, Superleggera kart and my Dad would take the full Gran Turismo, further ballasted by a stack of groceries of ever growing proportions. The extra joy of our elicit aisle to aisle racing exploits would inevitably lead to matrimonial tension between Mum and Dad on the way home, though, so I had to play that particular card wisely.

Another ploy guaranteed to get your kid on-side when it comes to retail drudgery is to promise them a new toy. Big supermarkets always have a bulging toy section but it’s entirely down to luck as to whether it’s stocked with delights for the junior car enthusiast or just lowest-bidder pieces of brightly coloured plastic crap. Occasionally, though, the stars would align and there would be a stack of Maisto 1:18 diecast models to nag mum about.

This one, who’s box bears the legend “Imported by Tesco” gives us a fantastic opportunity to discuss diecasts vis-a-vis Toy or Model. This Maisto Porsche 550 is GOOD. Way too nice for a screaming brat in a supermarket.

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