Brazil GP this weekend
Be prepared for a late night this Sunday, as the
Brazilian GP starts at 11 p.m. Thai time. However, this should be a Grand
Prix not to miss as the four leading protagonists head down to the wire.
Second last Grand Prix in a closely fought championship
with Alonso (Ferrari) leading Webber (Red Bull), Hamilton (McLaren) and
Vettel (Red Bull). They all need good results as we go to the final GP in
Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time.
There have been five Brazilians who have won their home
Grand Prix. Yes, five. Fittipaldi, Piquet (Snr), Senna, Pace and Massa.
However, only Carlos Pace is enshrined at the Brazilian circuit, with it
being called the Aut๓dromo Jos้ Carlos Pace in Interlagos, a district in the
city of Sใo Paulo, Brazil.
With Massa (Ferrari) and Barichello (Williams) no longer
being outright contenders for the driver’s world championship, national
Latin sentiment will be transferred to Ferrari’s other driver, which will be
a boost for Alonso.
With the time difference between Thailand and South
America, the live telecast will be seen here at 11 p.m. on the Sunday night.
Nevertheless, I will be taking my place in front of the big screen in
Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR, next to Nova Park. The pub will be staying
open until the GP is over, and does sell all sorts of alcoholic beverages
with which we can celebrate, or drown our sorrows. I will be getting there
well before 11 p.m., so join me for the nail-biting action.
Want a reliable car?
An insurance company in the UK has released its list of the
10 most reliable cars, coming from their claims experience. Some of these
vehicles are not available here, but it makes for interesting reading.
1 - Honda Accord - A classy package, well put together and
feels more special than the average family car. Superb engines and value for
2 - Subaru Forester - Not quite an off roader, much more than
an estate with a sporty edge, making it the perfect combination. Great all round
3 - Mazda MX-5 - Blueprint for the modern roadster with sweet
handling and engines to match. Extremely easy to live with.
4 - Mitsubishi Carisma - Despite the name, not that
interesting to look at or drive, but that’s not the point. Here is a no-nonsense
hatchback that won’t let you down.
5 - Toyota Yaris - Superminis don’t come better. Bags of room
and perky engines. Probably the best small car buy.
6 - Honda Civic - Solid build quality and good engines are
just part of the appeal, the Civic is one of the most spacious small cars
around. Great value.
7 - Nissan Almera - A dull package, but that’s no reason to
dismiss the Almera which is practical and perfect for the smaller family who
need a big boot and utter reliability.
8 - Honda CR-V - Proof that you don’t need an XXXL 4x4. Here
is a four-wheel drive estate that is flexible, easy to drive and own.
9 - Toyota RAV4 - So few four-wheel drives are fun to drive.
This car is suitably sporty, but very practical. Expensive used buy but worth
10 - Nissan Micra (March) - The driving school favorite.
Tough, fairly roomy, but with its light controls is easy to steer around town.
Toyota Prius strengthening Thai
Here’s the chance for all the green people to buy suitable
transport. Toyota have confirmed the information that their hybrid Prius will be
made at Toyota Motor Thailand’s Gateway Plant from late November.
Thai production of the Prius, which has sales figures of two
million globally since it was launched in Japan in 1997, and follows production
of the Camry Hybrid in Thailand since last year.
According to the blurb, this local production is “part of its
effort to further popularize hybrid vehicles worldwide.
Prius is now into its third generation and is sold in more
than 70 markets globally, with most sales going to North America (939,100),
followed by Japan (826,900) and Europe (206,100).
A record 400,000 Prius cars were sold around the world last
year, helping Toyota record more than 2.8 million hybrid vehicles sales
Toyota also build (mainly for export) the Toyota HiLux and
adding to the examples of local exports will be the new Mazda BT-50 and Ford
Ranger from mid-2011 as are most of Honda’s model range.
Ford and Mazda both produce Fiesta and Mazda2 for export
while a new Suzuki plant in Thailand could produce Swift and Splash models for
Australia from 2012. Add to those exports, the locally produced Nissan March (Micra).
Ford’s new plant, being built as you read this, will produce
its third-generation Focus - currently built in Germany but to be built here
There is no reason to be despondent in the Thai Auto
Natter Nosh and Noggin
Where do the local car/bike/racing/enthusiast chaps go to
chat amongst themselves? The next car meeting will be at Jameson’s Irish Pub on
Soi AR next to the Nova Park development.
The monthly meetings are on the second Monday of the month,
so this week it is on November 8 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. This is a totally
informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and
motorcycling) loves and hates. Many interesting debates come from these
evenings. Come along and meet guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes,
and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers. A great
no-pressure evening. We would certainly welcome the local enthusiasts who enter
the Autotrivia Quiz, and last month a chap bobbed up who is building a Bugatti
Type 35B - from the ground up. As he said, “Of the 285 Type 35’s that were made,
only 602 still are in existence.”
Last week I mentioned that Messrs Capel, Carless and Leonard
changed the face of motoring for ever in 1896, and are still remembered for
their work today. What was this momentous event? It was the fact that they
registered the name “petrol” as a trade name!
So to this week. What was the first car offered with a
reversing light? Clue - it was 1921.
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email email@example.com
The development of diesel engines
The name ‘diesel’ comes from a Bavarian engineer, Rudolph
Diesel (1858-1913) who developed a theory that revolutionized the engines of his
day. He proposed an engine in which air was compressed to such a degree that
this produced an extreme rise in temperature in the cylinder. When fuel is
injected into the piston chamber at a critical point with this air, the fuel is
ignited by the high temperature, causing an explosion to force the piston down.
On February 27, 1892, Diesel filed for a patent at the Imperial Patent Office in
Germany. Within a year, he was granted Patent No. 67207 for a “Working Method
and Design for Combustion Engines - a new efficient, thermal engine.”
first diesel engine
The first fuel he used was coal dust, an ingredient which one
of his financial backers had more than a slight surplus. This fuel source
resulted turning the first engine into something akin to a hand grenade, almost
killing Rudolph Diesel! However he persevered (but not with coal dust) and it
was Diesel who first began to use ‘bio-diesel’ fuels successfully.
Diesel demonstrated his engine at the Exhibition Fair in
Paris, France in 1898, where it used peanut oil - now considered the “original”
bio-diesel. Like many ‘visionaries’ he hoped that his invention would benefit
the ordinary man, particularly the smaller industries and farmers, and stop the
dependence upon the petroleum industry.
Unfortunately Diesel did not live long enough to see the full
force and longevity of his invention. With the First World War looming on the
horizon, Rudolph Diesel did not agree with the politics of Germany and was
reluctant to see his engine only used by their Naval fleet. With his political
support directed towards France and Britain, he was on his way to England to
arrange for them to use his engine when he inexplicably disappeared over the
side of the ship in the English Channel. Did he jump? Or was he pushed? We will
never know. All that we do know was that this was an untimely end for an
Work on refining the diesel principle continued, without its
eponymous inventor. The largest problem facing the diesel engineers was the
timing of the injection of diesel fuel into the cylinders. Too early and not
enough power was produced, and the fuel poorly burned. Too late and a similar
problem emerged. What made this an even greater conundrum was the fact that the
point in the cycle changed as revolutions of the engine got faster. This was the
problem in adapting diesel engines into the motor car, as up till the early
1920’s diesel engines were almost always used for slow revving marine engines
(including the German submarine ‘Wolf Packs’ in WW I).
The 1920’s brought a new injection pump design from the
Robert Bosch company, allowing the metering of fuel as it entered the engine
without the need of pressurized air to propel the fuel mixture into the
cylinder. This was a marked improvement.
The diesel engine was now small enough to be adapted for
automotive use. 1923-1924 saw the first trucks built and shown at the Berlin
Motor Fair. In 1936, Mercedes Benz built the first commercially produced
automobile with a diesel engine - the Type 260D.
On the other side of the Atlantic, engineers were also
refining the diesel process, with Clessie L Cummins, a mechanic-inventor who had
been set up in business in 1919 by the investment banker William Glanton Irwin,
purchasing manufacturing rights to the diesel engine from the Dutch licensor
Hvid. He began by looking at the instability created by the fuel delivery system
and developed a single disk system that measured the fuel injected.
With diesel engines now small enough to be installed in cars,
Cummins began experimenting and marketing his engines. 1929 he installed a
diesel engine in a limousine and took his financial backer, Irwin, for a ride,
assuring further investment. He installed another in a Duesenberg, setting a
speed record at Daytona (so the Le Mans Audi’s were not the first). He drove a
truck with a Cummins diesel engine coast to coast for $11.22, and established an
endurance record of 13,535 miles at Indianapolis Speedway in 1931. Cummins’
diesel engines proved themselves and trucks as well as other fleets began using
them, and still do.