Wednesday, 31 August 2011

At last, an honest car salesman (ohne absicht, I suspect)

Morris Minor 1000. If you have the time, 0-100 kph is possible... When I was a kid playing Top Trumps, 0-100 kph under six seconds was a sure fire winner. In those days anything under ten was good. The handbook of my first car, a 1957 Morris 1000 in which I passed my test in 1978, listed the same, er, dash, at 32.5 seconds.

It was the accuracy of that confident prediction consigned proudly to print and presented in the form of an 'Operator's Manual' to no doubt chuffed owners for whom petrol was no longer rationed, which amused me. And I had plenty of time to giggle about it as I trundled between traffic lights as fast as 48 hp could propel me at a rate, if I remember the equations of motion my old physics teacher taught me, I calculate at 0.087 G. Hardly enough to cause a rush of anything, let alone blood to the head but stamping on the brakes to kill off downhill speed induced more by gravity than Morris engineering did provide the occasional sobering rush of adrenalin.

Nowadays, sub six seconds is the norm, even for portly ever more luxuriously appointed saloons. Only less than four seconds will get you into the super car club. So irrelevant has the 0-100kph measure become that now the benchmark is how fast a car can go from 0-160 to rest again. This is good, because it means manufacturers are considering that other essential component of a car, the panic pedal immediately to the left of the accelerator.

Volkswagen amazed those interested by producing the World’s fastest production car, the Bugatti Veyron. Ferdinand Piech gave his design team a simple brief. It must have 1000 hp and do 400 kph. I like clear, concise orders, especially when backed by the resources necessary and, evidently, so did Piech’s team because they did it. But it still failed to be the fastest around Top Gear's circuit, a lesson to car designers to maintain at least a toe in the real world.

Now another German team want to raise the bar. Not by a teeny nibbly little bit, a few extra kilometres per hour here or seconds shaved off acceleration times there, but by a lot. Teutonic balls are evidently the size of planets.

Forget 1000 hp. Try 2800 hp and an acceleration time of seven seconds.

Clearly not seven seconds to 100 kph. As a yardstick this has already been debunked and with the average attention span, as measured by Fox News' bulletins, seven seconds from zero to still less than the national speed limit is soporific.

To 400 kph then, the speed Piech wanted?

No. Try nought to 600 kph in less time than it would take to recite the first verse of the ‘Hail Mary’ in a desperate hurry, never mind having time to confess all one’s earthly sins, the traditional way Catholics babble their way into the next world. Not that Catholics would even think of stamping on that accelerator with any kind of determination of course, suicide being a mortal sin and all that.

No doubt piqued by Piech’s not too shabby benchmark, the guys at Rotary Supercars Germany, are determined to give us the means to go through the pearly gates at such a velocity not even St Peter would have time to check a licence plate, let alone individual ID cards.

Dredging my brain for any last seeds sown by Mr Dawes, I know that starting from scratch and accelerating uniformly to 600 kph, my body pressed back into its seat by seven seconds of sustained 2.38 G, I will have covered just shy of 1200 metres before I could even catch my breath and start thinking about slowing down, covering a High Street a second while my shattered senses mulled over the options, always assuming, of course, that my tyres had not shredded explosively in the first nano second converting me instantly to something useful like a bio degradable sludge in the field across which I had suddenly spread myself. The nought to 100 kph dash will be covered in only 0.9 seconds, that’s over 3G.

And let’s say after a split second I bottled out? With the Dignitas Launch Control button pressed, the clutch released and a leg suddenly weighing 200 kgs, could I even move it and press usefully far forward enough on the brake pedal having bleated as far as, ‘Mother of… Christ All Fucking Mighty!!!?

It was a German and his team who put a man on the moon and if it hadn’t been for the Germans, a defunct Bugatti would have remained merely a name on some dusty document in a drawer and Rolls Royce and Bentley would be remembered only by rheumy eyed old blokes supping pints so we mustn’t under estimate them.

I would dearly love to see the terrifying machine these guys propose to create. If only as an exercise in engineering that may mean my normal road tyres are now indestructible and my car, with only 5% of the power, could do 100 miles per gallon while clicking down the autobahn at 250 clicks.

The scariest thing about this car, however, is not the concept, verdant creativity frothing within the minds of lunatics has so often benefited mankind and should be given expression occasionally, it is the company website.

RSC Germany will need to make a huge investment to realise such a car. It is worrying, therefore, that they appear too strapped to afford a decent translation service for their web site.

The most amusing bit for me was their invitation to the reader to become an owner of one of the first RSC Raptors or Predators. They go on to state in execrable English:

“Maximally 12 units per year shall leave the manufacturing plant to fulfill our highest pretence to exclusiveness”


Rotary Super Cars Germany: Pretenders to Piech's Throne... Heaven is just seven seconds away.


  1. Not just a typical school boy Wankel but a 5.2-litre, quad-turbo eight-rotor Wankel.

    I tell you, the Pope will excommunicate this car.

  2. Look up a citroen Berlingo

    thats what I drive and it's SHITE!

  3. Shite John? A bit harsh, surely?

    "Berlingo, an LCV with a Difference"

    "The Citroen Berlingo combines space with a dynamic styling and (an) affordable price tag. It's a modern workhorse with attractive styling - and will make any business look good on the road"

    "Remarkable functionality"

    "The comfort of a passenger car"

    And let's not forget it's Extenso® cabin...

    I did have to look it up as I had never heard of it.

    Maybe RSC's website isn't so scary after all. Citroen do bang on about the Berlingo's styling.

    They are as mad as Hatters!

    Give me a second hand trannie any day (I mean second hand Ford Transit, not er... never mind).

    I have just ordered a Chinese made four door pick up which, at US$25,000 is cheap for here but it has all Isuzu running gear so I hope it works out.

  4. Tt's funny John, but I always had you pegged in the mould of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall driving a beaten up classic towing a trailer.

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