Archive for the ‘From the archives’ Category

‘Redesign it bitch!’ shouts tooled-up Lutz

Posted in From the archives by Sniff Petrol on Monday, August 11th, 2014

Lutz successfully negotiates the repositioning of the front fog lamps on the 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, yesterday

Lutz successfully negotiates the repositioning of the front fog lamps on the 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, yesterday

Bob Lutz, the man charged with turning around GM’s fortunes in North America, is employing some interesting new tactics in order to ensure that forthcoming models are more desirable. Sources say the gnarly war veteran has decided that actions speak louder than words, and that carrying a large handgun speaks loudest of all.

Employees first became aware that the 107-year-old ‘car guy’ was packing a piece when he was on a tour of the company’s Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan. “Bob had been assured that end-of-line rectification was at an all time low,” reported one observer. “Clearly the figures weren’t good enough. Before we knew it he pulled out a revolver and started pistol-whipping our quality audit guys. I guess he was pretty pissed.”

However, more was to come on a visit to GM’s vast design studio complex in Warren, Michigan. Onlookers say Lutz noticed the signed off lower facia roll design for a forthcoming Chevrolet model and became immediately enraged at its unattractive shape and weak shutline resolution. When told that altering the plastic trim panel would add to the project cost Lutz is said to have pulled out his trusty shooter and aimed it at a senior designer’s head yelling “Redesign the goddam moulding motherfucker! Go on, redesign it, bitch!”

“Bob’s getting serious,” confided one GM insider. “Last I saw him he was heading home to get his L39 jet fighter. Oh god! Call the cops! He’s strafing the purchasing offices….”

This story was originally published in March 2002

VW in alphabet upset

Posted in From the archives by Sniff Petrol on Friday, August 8th, 2014

How the company's logo might look in future, yesterday

How the company’s logo might look in future, yesterday

VW has been thrown into turmoil this week with news that its licence to use two consecutive letters of the alphabet has expired. Renewing the licence would cost millions, leaving the German firm with the choice of forking out or changing its popular abbreviated title.

“This is a familiar problem,” observed Leighton Buzzard, Doctor of Letters at St. Angreavsie College, Oxford. “Ford’s cash reserves were severely drained in 1970 after it bought the letters ‘RS’ for a sporty Escort. Fortunately, in 1973 they hit upon a way to make some of their money back by leasing the letters to Porsche.”

Sources in Wolfsburg are unlikely to find such a neat solution and some spies suggest that the firm may have to opt for the cheaper ‘WV’ combo. “This would make the company name Wagenvolks,” says one insider, “which means ‘car people’ in German. Actually, that’s quite nice. I don’t know why we didn’t think of that before. If we weren’t known as ‘people’s car’ in future it would certainly make the Phaeton less laughable.”

However, some commentators believe that, to avoid making their familiar badge look ‘top heavy’, the car giant will dig deep to retain the rights to its current abbreviation. No one knows how much these rights will cost but it may well top the £200 million Michael Jackson paid back in 1970 for the rights to both ‘ABC’ and ‘123’.

This story was originally published in February 2002

New retro option packs for Mini

Posted in From the archives by Sniff Petrol on Thursday, August 7th, 2014

A Mini, yesterday

A Mini, yesterday

Buoyed by the success of the new Mini, BMW is to release new option packs to capitalise on the car’s retro design. The new packs will compliment the existing Salt, Chili and Pepper trims, but are designed to capture the appeal of the old Mini.

First up, the Soy Sauce package includes a unique engine management programme which will allow the car to piss oil all over your drive. State-of-the-art multiplex wiring has also allowed engineers to create deliberate ‘bugs’ in the car’s electrics, causing phantom operation of the lights, wipers and de-misting fan whilst permitting them to ‘pack up’ when a sensor detects bad weather.

A second complimentary pack, dubbed Balsamic Vinegar, comes with a feature linked to the rain sensing wipers which allows water to leak into the car when it rains. Thanks to lightweight valve technology, the water leak can be switched between ten different locations, making it utterly impossible to trace. Ever. Balsamic Vinegar equipped cars will also come with small pieces of loose metal inside randomly chosen body cavities, creating a series of irritating and ever lasting rattles which nothing short of dismantling the entire car will cure.

Continuing the old-skool theme, dealers will now offer a new deal to compliment the revolutionary TLC servicing scheme. For an extra £100 customers can chose the PITA (Pain In The Arse) option which will attempt to replicate the elusive 1970s BL dealer experience. Your car’s service will be done in a really half baked way and your Mini will be returned scratched, dirty and smelling of spaniels. Some lucky customers may even find that their car has been lent to a 17-year-old apprentice who has had sex in the back seat and then crashed it into some sort of tree.

This story was originally published in December 2001

Ferrari ultimatum to Brawn

Posted in From the archives by Sniff Petrol on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Ross Brawn, yesterday

Ross Brawn, yesterday

Ferrari’s preparations for next year’s F1 season have been shaken by a management ultimatum to technical director Ross Brawn. Bosses at the Italian team have insisted that they cannot maintain a satisfactory working relationship with the British engineering maestro until he decides whether he has facial hair or not.

“Ferrari management have been very tolerant of Ross’s shaving policy,” said one insider, “but the team is determined to be more focussed than ever next season and that must be reflected in our staff’s grooming routines.” Brawn’s beard has had a chequered past, having disappeared several times in the past, only to re-appear looking as if it was being grown yet somehow remaining at an awkward ‘not quite stubble or a full beard’ stage for weeks on end.

“Ferrari team management have become sick of people asking if Ross has a beard,” says another Marenello mole, “In some lights you can hardly see it at all. In others you might be forgiven for thinking he just hasn’t shaved for five days. Then you’ll see him on TV and swear that he is, in fact, a man with a beard. But a rather vague one.”

However, some commentators suggest that the Prancing Horse team is being too hasty: “People with vague beards do have a history of success,” notes Dr Mack Threa, head of hair studies at the San Francisco Institute of, Like, Stuff, “Look at Dave Richards or Alan Sugar, for example. On the other hand, it does make you look like a scruffy twat.”

This story was originally published in November 2001

Highways Department loses motorway

Posted in From the archives by Sniff Petrol on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Missing M6Motoring organisations are warning of travel chaos in coming weeks after the Highways Agency admitted that it has lost a section of the M6.

The stretch of motorway, just north of Stafford was last seen two weeks ago when workmen were trimming the verges and clearing the hard shoulder. Now Agency bosses are red faced after confessing that they don’t know where it’s gone.

“We thought the missing bit of the M6 might have been over there, behind that hedge,” said Highways Agency spokeswoman Lacier Rasp, “but it’s not. We’re hoping it might just turn up. You know, the way the kitchen scissors do when you lose them.”

The RAC is unimpressed with the handling of this embarrassing error. “This is going to be a right pain in the tads,” muttered their Head of Traffic and Travel, Munty Flatwisp, “and it’s not the first time the Highways Agency have done this. We all remember back in 1994 when they removed the A1(M) for cleaning only to put it back in the wrong place, some 70 miles to the right. Very handy for anyone wanting to drive through the North Sea but of tits-all use if you needed to get to Durham, for example.”

The Highways Agency remain optimistic, however. “I’m sure we’ll find it somewhere,” said their spokeswoman, “we’ve got someone looking down the back of the fridge as we speak.”

This story was originally published in September 2001

I designed the Lotus Esprit roars drunken Giugiaro

Posted in From the archives by Sniff Petrol on Monday, August 4th, 2014

Giugiaro, yesterday

Giugiaro, yesterday

Car design maestro Giorgetto Giugiaro has reacted angrily to accusations by some bloke that his recent work has been a load of rubbish.

“I designed the Lotus Esprit” snarled the Turin-based designer, “and you didn’t”.

Critics maintain that much of Giugiaro’s recent work has been bland and derivative, with none of the flair or intelligent detail that earned his early work such acclaim. The man himself is unrepentant: “Which cars have you designed?” he shouted when asked for further comment; “The Lotus Esprit. Oh no, wait a minute, that was me wasn’t it. That’s right, ME. I designed the Lotus Esprit and no one else did so NURRR.”

Colleagues and fellow designers are clearly alarmed by Giugiaro’s anger. “This is very sad,” notes British designer Peter Stevens, “and anyway, I did the facelift.”

This story was originally published in the very first edition of Sniff Petrol, August 2001