Choking on the pretzel of motoring every fortnight
DETROIT SHOW ROUND UP
The Detroit Show gives America's Big Three the chance to pretend that they're not in more trouble than Mullah Omar and his magic motorbike. Sniff Petrol takes a look at the highlights. And General Motors
The Blue Oval's star of the show was undoubtedly the 'new' GT40. However, its unveiling was overshadowed by news of theft from the Ford museum, just down the road, where staff returned from their Christmas break to discover that one of their prize exhibits, an original GT40, had been stolen. They immediately contacted police who have launched a thorough investigation into the theft. "This is my case now," spat Detective Lieutenant Frank Steele, "We got the whole of the Third Precinct downtown on this case. If I don't crack this mother the DA can have my badge. When we catch these guys they'll be doing twenty to ten in the pen." Sniff Petrol doesn't know what he's talking about, but it sounds quite impressive. Detective Steele went on to defy his immediate superior's orders before storming into his office and ending a brief, shouted conversation with the slightly sarcastic pay off "And I'm just trying to do my job, sir."
Talking of theft, police in the US and Germany are still seeking the felons who stole the space between the two names of this Americo-German car giant. "This is a very serious theft, but not an uncommon one," noted Sergeant Jan Hammer of Stuttgart Polize, "Older readers may remember something similar happened to Duran Duran, around the time they released Ordinary World"
But it wasn't all bad news for the Germo-American conglomerate: Mercedes showed off their innovative Vision GST concept car with the promise of a production version within three years. Your brain may remember that the German firm used a similar tactic with the M-class 4x4, issuing a handsome concept before unleashing the showroom version which looked shit. "I understand your concern," said Mercedes Marketing Kommander Heinz-Tomato Zoup, "Rest assured we will do our best to make the production GST as dull and underwhelming as the M-class became. Doh!"
Meanwhile concept cars were the order of the day for the American wing of this Stateso-Teutonic masterfirm, all with a distinctly offensive theme. Plymouth fielded their attractive Thrustfucker coup�, Dodge made the Slamshaft 4x4 their stand centrepiece whilst Jeep proudly unveiled the Cocksnott SUV. A spokesman for the Euro-Yanko multinational denied that their designers had been watching too many porn films: "I have come to clean ze pool" he said.
GM's new product tsar, Bob Lutz (107), ordered his designers to create a plethora of show cars for the Detroit Show with the hope of distracting people from how utterly rubbish the company's road car range actually is. The subterfuge doesn't end there, however, because each of GM's brands will be employing people to stand near the production cars on display, each issued with the instruction to shout "Shit! Look at that over there!" thus distracting anyone who appears to be in danger of noticing, say, the tossy Chevy Monte Carlo or something. Furthermore, brand managers have been instructed to cover all pictures of their cars with images of cute little puppies and naked breasts in the hope of completely distracting more determined stand visitors. As a final salvo, Lutz himself was equipped with a spinning bow tie designed to distract journalists at GM's press conference which was entitled "Snake Oil: The Next Ten Years"
A Pontiac poster, successfully obscured by a pair of puppies. And two small dogs
"Hang on a minute!
Someone's filed the chassis numbers off..."
GST: Don't worry, it won't be this nice when they make it
The Jeep Titwank yesterday
MG-ROVER IN CO-OPERATION CONFUSION
There were red faces in Longbridge last week following an embarrassing confusion over the firm's latest business venture. Late last year the motoring press revealed that the British firm was forging an alliance with China Brilliance with whom MG-R hoped to develop cars for the burgeoning Chinese market. However, following a Sniff Petrol investigation, they have been forced to admit that the new accord has actually been signed with forgotten 1980s pop group China Crisis. "We're a small, fast moving company," explained MG-Rover spokesman Laxley Cackpop, "So it makes sense to forge an alliance with a small, relatively unsuccessful group from the '80s." Although Sniff Petrol couldn't remember any of China Crisis' songs, we think they were from Liverpool. Or was it Manchester? Anyway, despite the certain knowledge that they were a bit cack and frequently entered what their record company was forced to call 'the top 45' MG-R remains confident this new link will give their cars added vim. And an irritating synth middle eight. "I think everyone will be surprised with what we can achieve," mumbled Cackpop, "And if nothing else, we're hoping to get off with Patsy Kensit."
China Crisis: "Er, lads.
The camera's over there"
(says the man on the right)
FESTIVE FEARS FOR REA
Concern is growing for gruff-voiced, car-liking singer Chris Rea following news that he once again spent most of November and December "driving home for Christmas". The rough throated Ferrari fan's musical announcement led several members of the public to contact police who have launched an immediate investigation. "We're obviously very worried about Mr Rea," said Constable John Constable of the Metropolitan Police, "We understand that he has now been 'driving home for Christmas' for about 14 years. We can only assume that he took a catastrophic wrong turning somewhere around 1988."
Using a special 'map', Sniff Petrol plotted the sounds-like-he-smokes-too-much singer's possible course from his pop star mansion with ample garaging, somewhere in London, to his home town of Middlesborough. Our conclusion is that it would be impossible for Chris to drive around Britain for over a decade becoming increasingly lost with every turn because factory fitted sat-nav systems weren't invented until after he had set off on his epic drive. The only answer is that the growly guitar geezer has driven into the sea. The police remain more optimistic; "We think Mr Rea may be out there, but rather confused," said Constable Constable, "During his endless quest to get 'home for Christmas' several events have taken place. He may, for example, be baffled by the sudden appearance of the M40. And if he is still driving the same non-fuel injected car, he may have trouble understanding what 'LRP' is. We just hope we can find Mr Rea before next October. Then we won't have to hear that fucking record again."
Chris Rea as he might have looked 14 years ago
(if he'd owned a Citroen BX GTi 16 valve)
TWATTED TIRADE TURNS TT TEAM TURTLE
The development team behind the Audi TT has been turned 'turtle' by a drunken outburst from one of the car's designers. The boozed up blurting occurred at a leaving party for one of the body-in-white engineers when former exterior stylist Freeman Katalog, who had been getting quietly 'turtled' on strong German beers, stood on a table and delivered a shocking expos� of the true influences behind the successful coup�'s design. "You idiots with your belief in restrained Teutonic style," he spluttered angrily, "It's not Bauhaus or minimalist you fools. It's just meant to look like a turtle." The TT team was said to be 'turtley' shocked by this bizarre new insight: "What are we going to do?" wailed one senior marketing manager in 'turtle' disbelief, "We've spent a fortune on those nice adverts with shiny buildings and posh cameras in them. Perhaps we should have used a picture of a manatee or something." Other baffled staff seemed to be in 'turtle' denial and attempted to reason with the 'turtley' shitfaced designer: "Are you sure it isn't post-modernism or structuralism that influenced you?" pleaded one, in 'turtle' desperation. "No," spat Katalog defiantly, "I just like turtles."
FFEARS GROW FFOR FFRENCH-CONSTANT
Fears are growing for cuddly motoring writer Anthony ffrench-Constant after news that he has become tangled in one of his own sentences. The incident occurred last week as the large breasted journalist worked on his monthly column for CAR magazine. As we went to press fire crews were still struggling to release him.
"It's quite common at this time of year," notes Thelonious Plinth of London Fire Brigade's Linguistic Rescue Unit, "inexperienced writers turn over a new leaf and try writing much more complex sentences. We often rescue hacks who've bitten off more than they can chew, but to find a writer of Anthony's experience lost at the end of a metaphor is a surprise."
The rescue workers' job is being made harder by the sheer confusing density of the tangled sentence: "We normally start by finding the subject of the verb, but that was a complete wild goose chase," notes Fire Officer Lazirus Miasma, "We found a hyphen, which offered some hope, but as soon as we followed it our attempts were thwarted by a semi-colon, and the sentence just carried on again"
In the meantime, the best rescuers have been able to do is make a small hole in the sentence through which they are able to keep the well rounded writer going. "We've got people on hand 24 hours a day to feed in a constant supply of cigarettes and cider," says Fireman Miasma, "I just hope that's his mouth under there."
A fireman removes part of the tangled sentence wreckage
LAUDA ENJOYS F1, 2002 STYLE
Following his drive in a Jaguar R2 F1 car, Jag team boss Niki Lauda has clearly acquired a taste for modern F1 practise. "For sure, I have realised that I should wear some stupid wrap around sunglasses all the time," the former world champion enthused, "and I need to chew far more gum. Also, for sure I need to speak in a narcoleptic monotone in interviews. For too long I have been saying interesting things and actually giving information to the press. But for sure, this is 2002 and things have changed since I was a driver. From now on I will be uncharismatic and dull." Jaguar spies say the Austrian legend has even been taking lessons on how to be an F1 star, 2002-style, from one of his own drivers, Eddie Irvine. "For sure, Eddie has been real helpful," Lauda confirmed, "For sure I am learning fast and by the start of the season I hope to have forgotten my former racing glories and become an arrogant twat whose cocky attitude is singularly not backed by being any good or actually winning anything."
"Leggy lovelies? Okay. And what does 'shagging' mean again?"
IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE
MARINA: The easy way to lose your wife and family!
TALBOT TAGORA: Those electrical faults in full
AH! IT BURNS! Your leaky battery tales
IN THE BUFF! Polishing tips for beginners
PLUS: Affordable unreliability; the Lancia Prisma / Oily rags and finger bandages tested / New Year, New Gear; Get into second by summer! / And Reader's Welders photo pull out!
� 2002. Next issue 25 January. Probably
Thanks this issue:
Jim Wood, MD, Simon Hacker, Colin G for the Autocar piece, Poo
Got something to say? Here's where:
1. Why is cars so fast and sideways you drive when god them me crayon wank you over love you love you love you stab stab kill? S. Need, Kent
2. Why can't you write properly? B. Words, Bloomsbury
3. I'm a bit short Steve, but I can fix you with a couple on Tuesday, okay? Chico Dave, Battersea
4. Hi Steve! Remember me? C. Goodwin, Woking
5. Who ate all the pies? G. Insters, Sheffield
Five questions Steve Sutcliffe refuses to answer on Autocar's new 'Ask Sutcliffe' website