Properly punishing deadly drivers

Scotland could soon have new sentencing guidelines for cases involving drivers who kill pedestrians and cyclists. I’m not holding my breath on the rest of the country adopting them, though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tories campaign against them. On past form, that would lead to Kier Starmer saying Labour are against them too

FittedUK 2019

FittedUK 2019

I know, I know. What’s a Green Party member doing at a car show?

I like cars, particularly ones with a bit of individuality. If I ever get to the point where I can afford to run one, switching it to electric power will be part of the customisation. Until then, I’ll enjoy the looks and styling of other folks’ rides, and steal ideas for models for the Spinneyworld Shop.

Enjoy the Flickr album. You may have to click on the image to go to the site, depending upon how temperamental the embedding code is being today.

I just got a second hand digital SLR, so I was trying it out and experimenting with settings a bit. There was definitely a lot less noise than I got from the last camera I used in EventCity, but even with aperture priority set to its widest, and ISO at 800, exposure times were enough to introduce the occasional blur from shaking. I’ve not included the worst of those, of course. And cars with darker paint jobs are less well represented as well. The autofocus had issues differentiating them from dark backgrounds.

Because Roadkill

There’s a new series of Top Gear coming soon. It’s the programme that will never die, if only because of all the money that must be rolling in from its syndication abroad and all the international offshoots.

And, if I’m honest, I’ll probably make the mistake of watching an episode or two. But there are a bunch of far better shows about cars out there.

I’m an odd eco-worrier, in that I love cars. The designs, the mechanics, the cultures that have built up around them or use them as a form of expression. The sorts of things that Top Gear, mostly, ignores.

The Speedhunters website- set up as a promotional companion to the Need For Speed franchise- covers a wide range of car cultures through blog posts and photo galleries. For the other stuff, I’ve found a few cool online video channels.

Motortrend is a channel that grew out of YouTube videos. It is home to dozens of syndicated shows from other sources- all car related, of course- but it’s the originals that are the real draw.

Roadkill is the original. Friends Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger travel the USA, trying to get old cars up and running again, quite often rescuing them from scrapyards or having to cut them out of shrubbery. Then they attempt to drive the bangers to an arranged meet up or event. Of course, they don’t always get there.

I know this sounds like so many of Top Gear’s challenges, but there’s a big difference. Finnegan and Freiburger are competent mechanics (and bodgers, when necessary), and they genuinely want to succeed, rather than simply build up to a scripted failure. And they’re not farting around in supercars with their tame racing driver in tow. Their failures are fun and funny, and their successes all the more impressive.

Roadkill gave rise to a bunch of other programmes. Dirt Every Day can be thought of as Roadkill off-road, with excitable puppy Fred Williamson rescuing or hacking up four wheel drives to take rock crawling, trail driving or mud plugging. Roadkill Garage sees Frieburger teaming up with scarecrow genius Steve Dulcich for budget engine swaps, performance upgrades and crazy conversions. Hotrod Garage is a tidier version of Roadkill Garage, with cuddly duo Tony Angelo and Lucky Costa delivering everyman performance. There’s now a two wheeled take on the Roadkill formula- Throttle Out- which is only three episodes in so far, but shows promise.

Subscription to the channel is only £5.99 a month, and its worth it for the originals alone. But if you’re in the US, or use VPN, there’s all the syndicated stuff, and lots of motorsport, as well. Highly recommended.

YouTube is a good place to go for interesting hobbyist motoring content. The Motortrend family started there, before striking out on its own, and it is home to some others. Mighty Car Mods is my current favourite. Presented by Aussie mates Marty and Moog, it follows their adventures and misadventures in souping up cars. They’re big fans of Japanese motors, regularly taking trips to the land of the rising sun to pick up ‘nuggets’ or sample the delights of drifting and other car subcultures. They’re passionate and enthusiastic, but don’t take themselves too seriously, and episodes have fine soundtracks courtesy of Moog.

Much more British, right down to the obligatory cups of tea, packs of digestives, and oily overalls, is Project Binky. The project is a long term production, as Bad Obsession Motorsports (two guys in a garage) shoehorn a four wheel drive system into an original Mini. Episodes are sporadic, turning up when enough progress has been made to merit an update. This is an involved build, as you might guess, but it’s delightful to watch sheets of two mil aluminium bent, cut and welded into all sorts of components. The bit where we get to see the car up and running is still a way off, but it should be worth it.

So, I’ll probably fold, and watch some of the new Top Gear, but I’ll go back to the internet if I want to get some interesting car TV.

Interior details for race and drift cars

1:35th scale Land Rover roof rack

I took a break from writing about zombies and vampires to do a bit of designing for 3D print. Having recently bought the Italeri 1:35th Land Rover Series 3 109″ hard top kit, I want to design some suitable accessories for it. The first is this roof rack. It looks simple enough, but it was painstaking work getting all those uprights and cross members aligned.

Of course, once I have my Landie kitted out with survival gear, I’ll probably be putting it in a post apocalypse survival diorama. So I didn’t really get away from zombies at all.

3D printed model cars for OO gauge

Not some of my 3D designed products, but definitely ones of which I approve. Digitawn has designed a load of variants on popular cars (all Fords so far, I think) from the 60s to 80s. Originally available in 1:87th (HO), they’re now also in 1:76th (OO).

My first car was a Mk2 Escort estate, and, as far as I know, this is the first time it’s been available in this scale. There are some very good diecast models available, but they don’t have the variety of versions that Digitawn offers.

Source: digitawn by digitawn – Shapeways Shops

Going sideways. Sipping champagne.


I don’t understand the rules of competitive drifting, but I do love the spectacle of it*. I also appreciate the humour an No-Fucks-Given attitude of many of the participants. Particularly when the result is something like this stealth black Rolls Royce drift car, built for a pro drifter as part of a TV documentary.

What I always wanted to see was a chopped, sectioned and channelled Roller, kustom style. The nearest I’m going to get to that is building one as a kit. I started one based upon one of these Minicraft Silver Cloud IIs, but butchered it. I need to buy another and have a go again.

*Motorsport could be considered a guilty pleasure for a Green. I don’t care.

Land Rover Range Rover Sentinel- big and bulletproof

Maybe I’ll write one of these into a future Rain & Bullets story. I’d really like to do a car chase.

Designed in-house, the Land Rover Range Rover Sentinel can withstand impacts from incendiary bullets, grenades and even a 33-pound charge of TNT.

Source: Land Rover Range Rover Sentinel | News, Pictures, Specs | Digital Trends

Think Small

Amongst my many tried and tested work avoidance techniques is trawling eBay for things I can’t afford or don’t need. This morning I hit a cool seam of small cars in the classic car section.

$_57It started with this a “Mini EL” electric trike, which has a sort of ’80s vision of the future’ vibe to it. A more practical (but still single seater) Sinclair C5. Needs work to get running, and then lots of forms filling out to register to drive on the road.

lambrettavanThe Mini EL led me to this Lambretta micro van, which looks just like a yellow version of Postman Pat’s van. Ugly but endearing, and sort of practical.

vespamicroThe micro car theme continued with this Vespa, which has the cutest little face and rear opening ‘suicide’ doors. It needs a lot of work, with the floor all but gone and engine seized, but it’s just begging to be lowered a little, painted a deep glossy red or blue and powered by a new bike engine.

goggoThis Goggomobile isn’t as cute as the Vespa, but it’s in better condition. Again, it needs a new engine, but if you’re already on eBay, that shouldn’t be a problem.

So, that’s how I waste time on a Sunday morning. These are just the cars I looked at that I could string together a theme about. I expect one of you with more money, space and mechanical ability to take one of these and produce an awesome miniature kustom car. Or wait until I’m selling enough books to afford to do the project myself.

(All images taken from the relevant eBay listings, therefore belong to the sellers. I’m sure there’s some version of fair use I could cite if I knew more about that sort of thing.)

Should we knock down the Mancunian Way?

In 1point1 the future centre of Manchester had been changed by the destruction of a span of the elevated section of the Mancunian Way, with the now impassable remainder of its length converted to a garden in the sky. This was an interesting location at the time, rather than a serious suggestion, but this article about the benefits of removing inner city highways makes me wonder if it could be beneficial.

Object of Desire- a brand new 1932 Ford

I love hot rods. It’s unlikely I’m ever going to own, let alone build, one, but here’s something that would make it easier. Ford’s own component sales division offers brand new reproduction parts for some of their most iconic vehicles, including a full 1932 Model B five window body. This is the little deuce coupe the beach Boys sang about, only straight from the factory.

It’s not clear from the article whether this is just a body or if the chassis is included, but it is fresh sheet metal to begin working on. And, as the article suggests, it could be the basis for builds that would be considered sacrilegious if done to an original. Hybrid hot rod anyone?

via One Of Ford's Most Exciting New Products Is An 82-Year-Old Design.