Archive for the ‘Roy Lanchester’ Category

Roy Lanchester goes to CES

Posted in Columns, News, Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Monday, January 9th, 2017

Refreshed motoring journalist ROY LANCHESTER pays a visit to the Consumer Electronics Show

RoyLanchester14My relationship with the old fashioned car makers can be summed up in a simple word and that word is ‘frosty’. It can also be summed up in some rather more complicated words such as ‘legal proceedings’. Fortunately, the same is yet to apply to the really important part of the motor industry; the lavish media trips organised by the companies that supply the parts that make up our cars.

Companies such as Quilan Systems, an American concern which has realised the real brains lie in Britain and has set up facility here providing research, development and a canteen. Last year I was lucky enough to visit this and other parts of the centre, all of which are located in an area of Cambridgeshire famed for its strong technology skills, convenient transport links and two nearby pubs, and I was delighted when their PR girl agreed to take me on an overseas trip with them if I agreed to (more…)

Lanchester drives the e-GO-E electric car

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Friday, June 10th, 2016

RoyLanchester14Permanently seasoned car journalist ROY LANCHESTER tests a new electric car

How much do you know about Taiwan? Probably not a lot. Yet I would be willing to bet that in your house, as in mine, there are many things such as cigarette lighters that are made there, masquerading under labels reading ‘Renault’ or ‘Volvo Trucks’ or ‘Property of HM Prison Service’. And here is another fact that might really surprise you: Taiwan is one of the world’s most up-and-coming manufacturers of electric cars!

Leading the Taiwanian’s sterling efforts is the excellent e-GO-E from the area of Taiwan known as REMEMBER TO CHECK TOWN NAME. More fascinatingly, this burgeoning Taiwanical vehicle has been developed with assistance from researchers at Central Midlands University in Leamington Spa. I was made aware of this after a chance conversation and some chance glasses of Scotch with e-Go-E’s European PR man who is not, as you might expect, Taiwanish himself but comes from the UK and was formerly with another well-known car manufacturer until a misunderstanding over expenses on a launch event led to a sudden reduction in his personal amount of employment and indeed prostitutes.

This chap owed me a favour, not least for my attempts to save his previous career by claiming more than two of the pre-booked ladies were mine, and so I made it clear to him that I would be delighted to borrow one of e-GO-E’s pre-production cars, currently undergoing demonstration work in the UK. I also made it clear that Leamington Spa was too far from my house and he would have to bring the car to me.

Just one week later, the PR man (more…)

Roy Lanchester on safe road design

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Friday, October 30th, 2015

Well-oiled car journalist turned blogger ROY LANCHESTER looks into how roads are designed

RoyLanchester14How often do you consider the design of our roads? If you’re anything like me, I’m willing to bet it’s something you never really consider, up there with other mundane, everyday things such as where your trousers are or which wine goes with the cereal.

Given how little attention one might normally give road layout design, you can understand what happened when an invitation to discover more about it arrived at Lanchester Towers. The precious envelope was almost lost under the usual piles of post and/or sick until, by some stroke of luck, I mistook it for a missive from my personal injury lawyer. The disappointment of seeing no cheque was soon replaced by excitement at an exciting opportunity to learn more about safe road design and have lunch.

You may not have heard of Drexion Solutions. I must admit I had not, even though it later turned out that I had once crashed into one of their vans. Drexion Solutions Limited are a private company based in Banbury specialising in road safety consultancy[1]. Their services are used by the Highways Agency in the safe design of new junctions, roundabouts and sliproads[2] and in the improvement of existing road layouts, as well as the phased introduction of new technologies such as safer road sign mountings and street illumination.[3] In the financial year 2013-14 they had a turnover of £236m.[4]  [edit]

Drexion kindly invited me to their test facility in Warwickshire to see what they do and serve. Since I was ‘between press cars’ and my own car is currently considered ‘evidence’, I was delighted when the Drexion PR man showed great initiative by agreeing to give in to my repeated requests for him to send a car to pick me up. I can think of a few public relations people who could learn from this first class service in return for a promise to stop calling him!

So it was that a Drexion-branded Ford Galaxy arrived at my door bright and early, ready to drive me to the Midlands. What a perfect vantage point from which to pay particular attention to the design of the junctions we passed on the way, I thought to myself as I slipped a bottle of travel brandy from my bag!

Some three hours later we arrived at the Drexion premises and while my driver went to clear up some of the mess that hadn’t made it out of the window, I was led into a large marquee erected beside a test track in which various things were on display. My quest to see if any these things might be red and in a glass was harshly interrupted by an Italian gentleman called Alessandro [RING THAT OTHER CHAP AND ASK FOR SURNAME] who told me he was Drexion’s chief engineer for lighting systems. What he was able to tell me about modern street light design was certainly illuminating (!) though I was saddened to see he took a dim (!) view of my affectionate tribute to both his accent and his nation’s role in the Second World War!

Shortly afterwards, it was announced that we would move to the other end of the large marquee where lunch would be served. I found it hard to conceal my disappointment that our hosts had failed to safely engineer a bottle of wine to arrive in front of me and I was forced to break into the emergency Merlot I’d brought with me as I chatted to Bob Yatley from The Shropshire Wasp who was his usual lugubrious self and full of the typical catchphrases such as ‘Jesus Christ, look at the bloody state of you!’ and ‘For God’s sake Lanchester, at least pour it into a glass!’ Such a character!

With a rather short but refreshing lunch dispensed with, we were invited outside to the test track where actual examples of junction design were waiting for us. Experience has told me that there is often a lot of waiting around at events like this and an intolerable amount of standing, so I was in no rush to leave the marquee and busied myself taking advantage of Drexion’s excellent decision to provide several free notebooks for journalists to take and eBay at their leisure. With that done, I made my way to a portable lavatory, thoughtfully positioned behind the marquee for our use.

When I awoke some time later the demonstration appeared to be over, perhaps on account of it having gone dark. I disregarded this minor convenience and strode forth into the darkness to find my carriage home. I must say, I only wish that the excellent people of Drexion had been able to safely design away the large ditch at the edge of the woodland the fringes their test facility. I’m sure with all their skills they would have been able to make it visible and not deep enough to accommodate an entire man until the next morning! I feel confident this is something they could do since I now know Drexion to be an excellent company and also  they are one of Britain’s foremost road design consultants and safety testing concerns.[citation needed] Refere

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for Your Hats magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

Lanchester on the 2015 Frankfurt show

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Thursday, September 17th, 2015

RoyLanchester14 Deeply seasoned motoring journalist turned blogger ROY LANCHESTER reports from the Frankfurt motor show

In so many areas of life, timing is everything and that applies whether you’re cooking a meal, crossing a road or counter-suing an off-licence again. So it was with great delight and no small amount of good timing that my passport was finally returned last week after the Spanish embassy agreed to acknowledge that I am neither dead nor a women and unlikely to become either very soon, despite what my GP says! This timing was fortuitous since it allowed me to go ahead with a trip to this week’s Frankfurt motor show.

I always enjoy Germany, notwithstanding the whimsical remarks that got me banned from all Audi events in 2004. In particular, it’s always a treat to encounter the nation’s rich sausages, strong beers and delightful Scotch and I was greatly looking forward to having these bought for me.

After a recent series of misunderstandings, spillages and misplaced alloy wheels, my relationship with the press officers at many major manufacturers is best described as ‘frosty’ but I have little interest in the machinations of the dinosaurs of Europe and Japan when the future clearly lies in up-and-coming companies such as Hangswei of China who have plans to enter the UK market very soon and, as a result, were very keen to listen to my repeated requests to buy me a plane ticket to Frankfurt and put me up in a good quality hotel. Displaying the can-do spirit that has made them north western China’s leading manufacturer of dependable and superbly priced pick-ups and light commercial vehicles, they eventually agreed.

So it was that I found myself on a flight to Frankfurt and, quite by chance, sitting next to dear old Cyril Nape from the Kendal Sentinel. In fact, the entire Airbus was packed with other muttering rotters on their way to the show leading me to quip that I hoped the plane didn’t crash on a mountain, forcing me to eat some of the familiar reprobates on board. ‘You’d only complain that they didn’t complement the wine,’ he jested back before excusing himself from further conversation by claiming he had to read the in-flight magazine. Cyril has always been a quiet sort of chap and I didn’t hear another peep out of him until I was requesting another (annoyingly small) bottle of flying wine when he grumbled something about ‘fifth or sixth’ and ‘barely 8am’ and then went back to sleep.

We arrived safely in the Fatherland and I was collected from the airport in one of Hangswei’s excellent WXK55833-844K minibuses which transported me smoothly, comfortably and well-equippedly to the show with class competitive economy and emissions levels as well as amazing value for money when it goes on sale in the UK next March.

Press day was already in full swing and I headed immediately to the Jaguar stand to check out one of the stars of the show, the brand new F-Pace SUV. This is something of a departure for the Coventry company, as is their refusal to serve alcohol at 10 in the morning whilst issuing petty complaints about ‘trouble in the past’ and ‘your vomit on the stairs’. No matter, for my next port of call was the hall next door and the all-important Alfa Giulia which promises the robust character and strong flavour of the Barolo they wouldn’t give me no matter how loudly I asked.

Back across the way at Infiniti I was delighted to check out the new Q30 compact crossover which offers British-built style and a back seat spacious enough to relax in whilst cracking open the emergency Merlot I’d brought in my bag. This car could certainly get new customers to Infiniti, a company that often struggles to be noticed, unlike their European PR operative who I spotted from a distance and was able to evade before he started harping on about some ‘damaging things’ I once wrote about, and did to, his cars.

Moving quickly on, I found myself in the self-contained Mercedes hall which boasted a number of delightful features, none more so than a young lady called Kristin who agreed to get me a large glass of something refreshing and then another one. After this, I spent some vital time checking out the highlights of the German company’s spirits selection and then remembered I was due at the excellent Hangswei stand to interview their new head of European operations, Mr Lim.

Upon arriving at their excellent and great value exhibition area I was greeted by the European PR chief who brought me up to speed with several things, most notably his concerns about my appearance and odour. I reminded him that I had no time for such idle chit-chat and that it was of the upmost urgency that I used the lavatory before meeting Mr Lim for our chat which I hoped would be useful, informative and over lunch. Unfortunately, the rather noisy music and a small amount of disorientation on my part led to a misunderstanding as to which was the entrance to the toilets and, having walked around the back of the stand, I found myself in a very small store room full of brochures and cleaning supplies, just as the door slammed behind me and I discovered there was no handle on the inside. The loudness and relentlessness of Hangswei’s excellent on-stand music clearly made it very hard for anyone to hear my knocking and cries for help. I quickly realised it was futile and thanked my lucky stars I had stopped off at the cloakroom en route to retrieve from my suitcase a bottle of a chunky Rioja and some small contingency gins. I would simply have to wait in the store room until someone opened the door and found me asleep on the floor whilst shouting, ‘My God, it stinks in here’, which they did around 6:45pm.

As you would expect from a company as dynamic and exciting as Hangswei with its commitment to value and practicality and over 14 UK dealerships coming soon, their PR honcho was sympathetic to my plight, fully accepting that he should have given better directions to the toilet and that the dustbin would be useable again once it had been given a thorough rinse. By way of some small apology, he fully agreed to pay for my dinner that evening and didn’t even quibble with the number of extras on my hotel bill, unlike some manufacturers I could mention!

As I flew home the next day I reflected on the Frankfurt show and wished that other people were as accommodating as Hangswei, notably the UK customs authorities and their idiotically low idea of what would constitute ‘for personal consumption’!

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for Holistic Knitting magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

 

Lanchester goes to a funeral

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Friday, April 17th, 2015

RoyLanchester14Extremely seasoned motoring correspondent ROY LANCHESTER receives some sad news

An ordinary morning at Over The Limit With Roy Lanchester Towers was disrupted last week by the unusual sound of the telephone ringing. I picked up the receiver to hear the familiar North Of The Border tones of Alan McTavish, chairman of the Northern & Scottish Motoring Correspondents’ Association. ‘Oh Christ, it’s you,’ he muttered. ‘I was trying to call Roy Lansbury from The Runcorn Bugle’. And they say our Scottish friends don’t have a sense of humour!

McTavish spent some two or three minutes rather aggressively repeating rumours about me which are not true and cannot be proven now that the money has been returned, after which he got to the reason for his erroneous phone call, which was to tell Roy Lansbury from The Runcorn Bugle that legendary motor industry PR Johnny Bauvais has received some bad news. The news in this case being that he was about to die, a prediction that immediately turned out to be accurate.

I was so shocked by this I almost dropped my breakfast wine. I had known Bauvais for a long time, I believed that he still owed me £27, and I can say without fear of contradiction that he was a absolute gentleman. I mean that in the truest sense of the word, not just because he was one of those people who often wore a bow tie. Truly he was a car press officer of the old school and wherever he worked he brought dry humour, a relaxed attitude to panel damage and a relentlessly open bar tab.

I remember once being on a launch somewhere in the Far East when I became separated from the rest of the group and was forced to find my own entertainment for the evening. I later confronted Johnny about this and suggested that, since I was a guest of his employer, I should be reimbursed for my evening’s outlay. Quick as a flash, Johnny replied that he would be happy to, as long as I had a receipt. ‘Oh wait,’ he added, impishly. ‘Prostitutes don’t give out receipts!’ He later had to re-pay my £142 because actually this one did!

We don’t see the likes of Johnny Bauvais in the car industry these days, something I was reminded of when I attempted to borrow a press car in order to get to his funeral. It’s a sad reflection on the state on our industry that press officers at several major car companies will refuse to give someone a car on compassionate grounds and prefer instead to trot out tedious grievances relating to previous bookings such as ‘substantial bending of the roof’, ‘one of the wheels missing’, and ‘overwhelming smell of faeces’.

So it was that I found myself getting the train from Harrogate to the funeral location in Marlow via London. The journey was long but I had packed accordingly with a good book and an even better Burgundy, and these items easily saw me to a well deserved pit stop at The Parcel Yard pub within King’s Cross station. From there it was just a short hop to Paddington station’s The Mad Bishop & Bear for a swift lunchtime livener and then on to my destination, The Marlow Donkey just near Marlow station. From here it was just a brief walk to The Prince of Wales and then on to poor old Johnny’s funeral, via The George & Dragon.

The scene outside the church is one that would have warmed the great man’s heart, if only it hadn’t stopped working. Truly the great and the good of the motoring industry were out in force and, despite the solemnity of the occasion, the usual hilarious banter was much in evidence with joshing aplenty and typical cries of ‘Oh Christ, what’s he doing here?’, ‘For fuck’s sake Lanchester, how much have you had?’ and ‘Aren’t you that bloke who did a shit in a Nissan?’, swiftly moving on, following a slight commotion, to the old ‘Oh my God, you awful man, get out now!’

I like to think that dear old Johnny was looking down on all this and chuckling. We will not see his kind again and I find that almost sobering. What saddens me most is that I will never get to sit with him in the hotel bar on some far flung launch and say, ‘Hey Johnny, remember that time I was sick on your widow’!

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for Your Stoats magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

Lanchester on fuel injection

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Thursday, February 5th, 2015

RoyLanchester14Seasoned car journalist turned blogger ROY LANCHESTER looks into the fascinating world of fuel injectors

If you are of a certain age, you will remember when all cars boasted the humble carburettor. I can certainly recall this simple yet complicated device with its various foibles and problems. It often needed adjusting, it was prone to causing trouble and it made an unreasonable PR man extremely angry when he discovered that I had removed it from the press demonstrator and swapped it for the lower specification one on the Peugeot 205 belonging to my then-wife. Funnily enough, until a few years ago I used to see that very same Peugeot still driving around town. Unlike my ex-wife, it looked in tidy condition for its age and I was technically allowed within 30 feet of it!

Nowadays the carburettor has gone the way of the wire wheel, the starting handle and the ability I have to borrow cars from Peugeot. What has replaced it of course is the fuel injection system. I bet most of us pay very little attention to this marvel of modern engineering. I must admit, I gave it very little thought and this situation did not change, even when I was invited to visit the British manufacturing plant of Akeisan Injectors. However, I later learned that lunch would be included and realised just how interesting fuel injectors are.

The Akeisan fuel injector factory is in Loughborough. I found myself ‘between press cars’ on this occasion, but the trip by rail simply flew by and required only three trains, two arguments and some help from my good friends Mssrs Whyte and Mackay. After the third argument of the day, resulting from a need to remind the Akeisan PR man that it was not his place to question how late I was nor what I smelt of, I was handed a useful USB stick containing a potted history of the company.

For example, did you know that Akeisan was founded in 1957 in Nagoya in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan and swiftly became a most valued supplier of fuelling systems within the vehicle industry of its home nation. The 1980s was a time of great expansion for the company with new factory facilities in the United States, Canada and Europe, as well as a growing customer base of many global manufacturers. The Loughborough plant was opened in 1987 and grew with the phase 2 expansion in 1998. It supplies fuel injectors, lines and pumps to OEMs in the UK and across Europe. Page 2 For more information please contact the UK press departm

Since it was now lunch time, I was delighted to be informed that we would not have to look at any fuel injectors since lunch was being served. This was where the good news ended, however, since I was then told that proceedings would take place in, of all places, the staff canteen! I reminded the unctuous PR gentleman that I was not staff, I was a journalist! His idiotic claim that it was ‘part of the experience’ was nothing to his frankly rude insistence that they did not serve wine. Mercifully, I had brought a bottle of pretty stout Malbec in my bag which I was hoping to keep for the journey home but which I regretfully uncapped in order to accompany the turgid lamb that had been plonked in front of me. It is a general rule that journalists such as myself ask the questions and PR lackeys answer them but today that could not have been further from the case as the press chap for Akeisan became quite the Jeremy Paxman, unreasonably harrying me with a barrage of nonsense: ‘Was it you that took all the notebooks from the meeting room?’, ‘Why have you got so many of our pens and a mug in your bag?’ ‘Where did you get that wine from?’ and so on. As if to compound the problem, he then insisted that they had a ‘strict no drinking’ policy on site and attempted to remove the welcome libation from my very hand.

Akeisan is an excellent company manufacturing many excellent and fascinating products, and I must in particular commend their excellent policy of not pressing charges, even when one of their employees claims to have been ‘assaulted’. The next time you drive your car, remember the fuel injection system it uses. It makes the use of carburettors seem like another world in which we all wore different clothes, you could drink without being bothered and Marie hadn’t left me.

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for Folk Explosion! magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

 

 

Roy Lanchester on used cars

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Friday, November 28th, 2014

RoyLanchester14Seasoned car journalist turned blogger ROY LANCHESTER on the experience of buying a second hand motor

As a motoring journalist I’m often asked what I drive myself and the answer, of course, is ‘press cars’. Recently, however, I have found myself ‘between loans’ for rather longer than I would care for, as a result of misunderstandings, errors, arguments, accidents and, in one case, what a grumpy fleet administrator called ‘a ridiculous amount of sick in the glovebox’.

With no bookings forthcoming and at least one legal action pending whilst my solicitor explained to a well-known German car maker that the fuel was legitimately mine to syphon, I found myself in the ludicrous position of having to buy my own car! Happily, my dear friend eBay has been kind to me recently and my cashflow was looking relatively healthy. Who knew miscellaneous spare wheels and parcel shelves were so sought after! Happily, selling all 21 items meant  I could set my budget at a heady £500 and set out to purchase a runaround to tide me over, at least until a certain Japanese company accepted that the driver’s seat ‘stank of urine’ when I got the car.

In the past, if I needed a used car I would have headed straight to Boroughbridge and my old mate in the motor trade, Chris Gritley. Unfortunately Chris is now dead, probably for tax reasons! Instead, I took a stroll via The Rifleman’s Arms to a second hand car dealer not far from Lanchester Towers where my interest was aroused, firstly by The Royal Oak next door and then by a reasonable looking Toyota Yaris on the forecourt. Appraising an old motor like this is a simple matter for those of us seasoned in the car business but it’s vital to follow a visual inspection with a thorough test drive and not to get fobbed off if the salesman refuses because you ‘fucking stink of booze’. Upon encountering such a dismissive attitude, I immediately turned tail and headed smartly back to The Oak to reflect on the shabby attitude of certain used car traders!

The next day I approached a different dealer, the excellent Dengham’s Used Car Centre on Adley Road, just off the A59, only one mile from Harrogate town centre, directly opposite The Brown Horse pub. The latter is strictly off limits to yours truly following an argument with the very rude landlord over which of his kitchen items might reasonably be used as a lavatory. The welcome I was given at Dengham’s Used Car Centre on the Adley Road, just off the A59 could not have been more of a contrast, however, as their excellent salesman Mark Spright gave me an excellent tour of an excellent 51-reg Kia Rio in an excellent bright green which he had excellently received in part exchange and which, to his excellent credit, he was happy to let me drive away for an excellent discount off the £500 asking price, in return for a brief mention in this column for Dengham’s Used Car Centre on Adley Road, Harrogate, just one mile from the town centre, where the pre-owned car of your dreams could be just waiting for you!

If there is a moral to this tale it’s that buying a second hand car doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you buy from a reputable and excellent outlet, such as Dengham’s Used Car Centre of Harrogate, the pre-driven car dealer you can trust! I must say, I am delighted with my excellent new car, not least because it rather disproves the claims of a senior employee from a certain well-known Korean car manufacturer who said ‘after seeing the amount of damage to the carpet, I promise you will never drive a Kia again!’ Well who’s laughing now, Mr Kim!? I am. In my £485 Kia. Excellent.

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for Hedgehog Enthusiast magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

Roy Lanchester on vans

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Friday, October 24th, 2014

RoyLanchester14Have a look around your home. If it’s anything like mine it will have many consumer durables within it and, from the Peugeot pen to the Monroe shock absorbers desk lamp, all of these items had to come from somewhere. How do you think they reached the shop or market stall or press launch? It was almost certainly in a van. Yet we take vans for granted and none more so than the products of Kangjai, better known as Korea’s fifth largest van manufacturer.

I had long overlooked these myself, not least because their press officer was a former Renault man who I had fallen out with in an argument about whether the spare wheels from press cars were mine to remove and sell. It tells you all you need to know about this particular chap that he insisted they weren’t. Fortunately for me, just six months after taking up his position at Kangjai he had to leave the job due to circumstances out of his control, specifically a heart attack and then death. It certainly looks like I had the last laugh there!

His replacement was much more amenable to speaking to me on the phone without swearing and, though he claimed not to have heard of me, he finally agreed to invite me to his next event as long as I promised to end the conversation and get off the phone. It helped of course that I write a website that is now in the top 85 for car-related blogs in northern England!

Just five weeks and three more phone calls later I was delighted to receive an invitation to try out the revamped Kangjai 400 and 600 light-to-medium vans at Broughleigh House Hotel in North Yorkshire, conveniently situated just 15 minutes from On The Limit with Roy Lanchester Towers. Naturally, I was really looking forward to trying these excellent machines.

Shortly afterwards I arrived at the charming Broughleigh House Hotel, its close proximity to my home meaning I could be there bright and early, ready to check-in to my room and prepare for the day ahead. Making my way downstairs again for the technical briefing I encountered Kangjai’s new PR man for the first time in person and what an enquiring fellow he turned out to be, firing endless questions at me such as ‘Have you been drinking from your minibar?’ and ‘No seriously, it’s 11am, have you really been at the minibar?’ I parried his rather impertinent line of questioning and, together with two dozen other ‘muttering rotters’, entered the allotted conference room where a Korean gentleman stood at the front and began to address us. I was sitting next to a rather dull chap from Van & Vanning who failed to see the funny side of my humourous interjections during the presentation and eventually gave me a rather terse explanation of the difference between North and South Korea. Rather pathetic in my view. I’m sure it’s not the first time the Korean gentleman has been called ‘Kim Jong-van’ in a jocular manner!

Suffice to say, the presentation was excellent and gave a highly informative view of these excellent commercial vehicles, as did the electronic press pack handed out afterwards which reminded us that Kangjai strives for the utmost quality and value in the purchase and ownership of a new commercial vehicle and the company has seen a significant 11 percent rise in sales YTD in 2014 which the thorough revamp of core models will build upon as the company bolsters its brand positioning in Q4 and beyond for more details call the Kangjai press offi

Following the presentation, we were invited into an adjacent room for an excellent lunch during which there was plenty of opportunity to ask the waiter to bring some wine and then to sample it. The representatives from Kangjai, however, seemed less keen and began muttering some irrelevances about a ‘driving exercise’ with the excellent new vans that afternoon. I diffused the situation with another large red livener and regaled them with a tremendous anecdote about a visit to Korea with Daewoo many years ago during which I encountered the most extraordinary prostitute.

I had barely reached the part where she removed the apple from whence it had been inserted when I found myself being bodily removed from the room by three or four exceedingly angry men, none of whom would cease in their desire to escort me from the premises, even when I was attempting to be sick. To my disappointment, I was bluntly informed that I was no longer welcome on the launch event and bundled into the back of a vehicle to be driven home on a pile of towels.

Can you guess what sort of vehicle it was? No, me neither. However, I presume it was a Kangjai van and therefore excellent!

Roy Lanchester is the motoring correspondent for Your Knitting magazine and founder of the blog Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester.  (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

 

Roy Lanchester on the Mitsubishi Mirage

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Thursday, July 31st, 2014

RoyLanchester14Road testing cars is one of the most important parts of a motoring writer’s job but do not assume for one moment that car manufacturers are queuing up to give out their wares, even to highly experienced former local newspaper journalists whose Over The Limit With Roy Lanchester blog is now one of the top 109 car-related blogs in the country. Indeed, for every ‘oh alright we’ll lend you one for a day’ there can be just as many cases of ‘oh we thought you died in 2004’ and ‘oh do piss off you delusional alcoholic’!  However, despite the odds being stacked against him, you will not find this ‘muttering rotter’ filling his blog with blandly complimentary reviews just to keep himself in test cars!

Nonetheless, I was especially looking forward to testing the excellent Mirage, which is an excellent new small car from those excellent people at Mitsubishi. The test car arrived looking excellent in a vibrant shade of green which I was able to admire at length while a typically grumpy delivery driver bent my ear about the ‘hours’ he had been waiting on my doorstep. It’s simply not my fault that lunch at my local pub became a little longer and more refreshing than anticipated, a fact he seemed unable to grasp even as I gave him details of the walking route to the bus stop that would take him to the other bus to the station.

The next day I was delighted to be able to take the excellent Mirage out for a spin and discover just how excellent it is. First impressions are of a commanding driving position with all controls falling easily to hand. It’s out on the open road, however, where this excellent car really excels. The ride is excellent and would shame a Rolls-Royce whilst the whole car truly corners as if it is on rails. Performance is excellent too with impressive numbers on the Mitsubishi website such as Max. output kw (bhp) at rpm 59 (79) 6,000 Max. torque Nm (lb.ft) at rpm 106 (78) 4,000 Acceleration 0-62 mph secs 11.7 Maximum speed mph (kph) 112 (180). When behind the wheel, performance feels even more excellent than that.

In controlled conditions I was able to really open her up and saw impressive speeds in excess of 80mph. The Mirage handled this with excellent aplomb and I’m pleased to report it is also impressively composed when the driver is passed by a police car going in the other direction, remembers the amount of wine he had with lunch and is forced to swerve into a field, dump the car behind a hedge and walk home through the woods.

If I had one criticism, which I don’t, it would be that the Mirage has simply no flaws whatsoever and is excellent. Excellent.

Roy Lanchester is the motoring correspondent for Amateur Scaffolding magazine and founder of Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester a blog which takes a sideways glance at the world of motoring (blogmaker.com/freeblog/overthelimitwithroylanchester57)

Roy Lanchester on tyres

Posted in Roy Lanchester by Roy Lanchester on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

RoyLanchester14Seasoned motoring writer ROY LANCHESTER tells us about the importance of tyres.

How important are tyres? They were certainly important to the PR man from Rover back in the 1990s when he discovered that I had taken the wheels off his press car to clean them and then accidentally put them onto my now-ex-wife’s Metro. In fact, he was unreasonably cross about this. Just 12 years later the company went bust, thus showing the folly of such pedantry.

The truth is, tyres are tremendously important. It’s why I didn’t want my now-ex-wife driving around in her Metro when I noticed its original tyres were practically bald because back then I still liked her. It’s also why inadequate tyres can cause your car to fail its MOT, even if you give the tester a branded Jeep pen and a Citroen Xsara Picasso mid-life facelift fleece.

However, if you think tyres are important on cars, that’s nothing to how important they are on lorries and coaches. Think about it. Lorries and coaches weight a lot and can contain many important things. To ignore the benefits of good tyres is to be, as a Rover PR man once said to me, ‘a bloody unbelievable idiot.’

That’s why I was delighted to accept an invitation from Hangwangbong, China’s fourth largest manufacturer of coach and lorry tyres, to learn more about their products. Our destination for this fascinating symposium was the Woodshore test track in Warwickshire where the invitation said we would be given a demonstration of the company’s products and then lunch.

My progress to the event was rather impaired by the non-arrival of my latest press car. It turns out the Hyundai press office had withdrawn the promised i40 and do not look kindly on people who attempt to make bookings using false names, readership figures and number of driving bans.

Instead, I was forced to leave Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester Towers in Harrogate on foot, get a train to Leeds and then another to Birmingham from where a Hangwangbong representative kindly collected me in a Chinese-made Proud Lady minicoach wearing guess what make of tyres! That’s right, I think it was Hangwangbong although I forgot to look. In truth, I was a little weary upon my arrival in the Midlands having refreshed myself with great success on the train using all the miniature bottles of red I had liberated from the Yung Bu shock absorbers event last week.

Upon arriving at the Woodshore visitors’ centre, we were given a presentation by their head of technologies, Mr Wu. This was fascinating and excellent, giving a real insight into how much effort Hangwangbong puts into its excellent and class leading tyres. When I awoke it was time to venture out onto the test track itself and see how a lorry and a coach coped in a variety of simulated conditions whilst wearing the very latest of the company’s excellent products.

At the risk of sounding like a copy and pasted press pack, Hangwangbong strives for excellence in the design and manufacture of a range of tyres for all sizes and weights of commercial vehicles and promises optimum endurance, grip and value in all market segments page 3 please turn over.

After the demonstration, we retired back to the visitors’ centre for the promised lunch which was an adequate buffet, although I found the salmon a little tasteless. I have heard much about how the Chinese wine industry is improving and hoped to sample some of these products. Sadly, the wine on offer turned out to be Australian but it seemed rude not to try it, especially as no one else was bothering with their share.

We were then given an informal opportunity to question Mr Wu and his colleagues about their company and its excellent tyres. From this, I learned that Hangwangbong hopes to make more excellent tyres. I also learned that Mr Wu is the kind of man who remains unamused by my affectionate portrayal of his countrymen and eventually gets one of his henchmen to ask me to leave.

So, the next time you’re on the motorway behind a coach or lorry, just think about its tyres for a moment. Perhaps those tyres could be excellent tyres made by Hangwangbong tyres! Just don’t shout ‘ahhhh-so’ at them and then pretend to do a karate chop!

Roy Lanchester is motoring correspondent for North Yorkshire Style, a quarterly free magazine distributed to over 4000 homes in North Yorkshire, and founder of Over The Limit with Roy Lanchester, a blog that takes a sideways glance at the world of motoring.