Created with IMS Web Dwarf from Virtual Mechanics Inc.
Issue 22
31 May - 13 June 2002
Blah, blah, blah, every fortnight
No sooner has it canned the F-type sports car than Jaguar has once again created more misery than usual in Coventry by cancelling Christmas. The Ford-owned prestige manufacturer made the announcement to shocked staff last week, explaining that in the current climate it simply wasn't 'economically viable' to proceed with the yearly festival at this time. 'Obviously we regret this decision,' said spokesman Crispin Grinch. 'However, we need to divert resources into other religious and secular celebrations and, although it would have been nice to have Christmas this year, it's very expensive buying presents for everyone and such. We couldn't be certain that we receive gifts of equivalent or greater value so for the time being Christmas is on hold.' Industry analysts are divided about whether this was the right thing for Jaguar to do. 'I think Jaguar will come to regret this come the end of November,' noted journalist Finchley Road. 'Especially when rival manufacturers are getting all excited and writing letters to Santa.
'Bollocks,' countered fellow car writer Finsbury Park rudely. 'Jag knew they were over-stretching themselves with an ambitious aluminium tree and a bespoke lightweight bowl of tangerines. I think Jag's Christmas will return, but it will be part of component sharing programme, possibly using bits from Easter and the May Bank Holiday.'
Meanwhile, spies at Porsche say the company has reacted to Jaguar's news by ordering an extra big turkey. Made of gold.

An artist's impression of how
the cancelled Christmas
might have looked
With the launch of its fearsomely fast and incredibly high quality Phaeton limo, Volkswagen is 'just showing off' according to some critics. Head dissenter Klaus Leiding speaks now: 'VW didn't need to make such a car, they are just showing off. If we ignore them they'll soon stop.'
However, Wolfsburg sources have suggested that it may be harder than first imagined to ignore the German giant's attempts to be the centre of attention. At a recent dealer conference to showcase the Tuareg 4x4 delegates were stunned to note that, following a short speech about chassis parameters, suspension engineer Wolfgang Grubbel then spent the rest of his time on the podium doing wheelies on his BMX. This surprise display was quickly followed a stirring address by marketing manager Dr Walter Klaas who then premiered his fire eating act before playing the piano with his feet whilst juggling flaming torches. However, the real showing off is yet to come, according to VW spies.
Sniff Petrol has learned that new VW Group chairman Bernard Thingy is to mark the launch of the Phaeton by setting up spinning plates in each of VW's German dealerships. He will then utilise the new car's remarkable power and speed capability to race between each showroom in turn to keep the plates in the air. Although critics have been quick to point out that Bernard will do well to maintain his bizarre plate-related act, never mind flog a large executive car against established prestige competition such as Mercedes and BMW, insiders hint that the company already has it sights set on new even more ambitious arenas. 'I cannot say too much,' whispered one senior manager. 'But suffice to say Boeing had better be worried. And McDonalds. And The Pope.'

VW's Bernard Thingy (right) practises his plate spinning act yesterday
Fans of 'classic' British cars have been lefting fuming by news that the forthcoming James Bond film Die Another Day will feature more spectacular, gadget laden cars. 'Once again the Bond producers have failed to credit the sterling achievements made by the British car industry over 30 years ago,' moaned Cam Failure, President of the UK Morris Drivers Society. 'So we have yet another film in which 007 is equipped with a vehicle that can release oil onto the road or disorientate following cars with clouds of choking blue smoke. But my Morris Oxford has been doing that practically since it left the factory and what credit do its designers get? None.'
There was more pathetic whining over at the MG Enthusiasts' Group, particularly from spokesman Whet Carpets: 'This is just typical, and it's not the first time either. Remember the Bond Esprit that was set to explode if anyone tampered with it? Well my MGC has burst into flames several times since I bought it in 1974 and what recognition has this classic British car received for this forward-looking facility? The only difference between mine and the Bond car is that, rather than the bad guys it was me who got the nasty shock, and on one occasion rather severely burned.'
However, it isn't just Bond who is feeling old car buffs' wrath. 'Everyone is stealing ideas off classic British cars,' grumbled Triumph TR enthusiast Constant Misfyre. 'Only last week I took my nephew to the circus and there, bold as you like, were a bunch of clowns driving a small car on which the doors and wheels kept falling off. My TR4 has been doing that�.' etc etc etc

A Spitfire demonstrates its Bond-like 'handbrake cable snapped' function, yesterday
Just days after replacing Stephen 'Pants On Fire' Byers as Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is facing his first scandal following an accusation by Oasis star Noel Gallagher that the MP stole his eyebrows. The Mancunian guitarist claims that he first noticed his distinctive hairy brows were missing last month when he saw a tape of himself performing on Top of the Pops. 'I was fookin' angry that someone had nicked me eyebrows,' the outspoken songwriter spat. 'At first I thought it might have been our kid playing a joke but he denied it. Then I see this Darling joker on telly yesterday and he's got my fookin' eyebrows on his fookin' face, bold as fookin' brass.'
The Department of Transport was quick to rebuff the rock star's claims, issuing the following statement: 'Mr Darling has never met Mr Gallagher, never mind stolen any of his body hair. Whilst we concede that the minister's eyebrows may look very similar to those once sported by Mr Gallagher there is no question that they are anything but his own work, even though they may not match his hair colour and therefore look frankly strange.'
The denial clearly wasn't enough for the man behind such hits as Supersonic and Wonderwall; 'Those are my eyebrows man and I'm gonna fookin' get 'em back. I wouldn't mind but they don't even fookin' suit him. I'll make sure I get 'em before he tries to dye 'em grey or sells 'em to buy some new trains or something.'
This is not the first time a musician has been involved in an alleged hair theft case. Back in the mid-1960s Art Garfunkel stole a Belgian fan's beard during a concert in Amsterdam and used it as a hairstyle for over two decades.

Darling: 'eyebrows'
Gallagher: 'no eyebrows'

Bosses are Haymarket are said to be furious this week after a management decision to make What Car? editor Steve Fowler the boss at weekly sister title Autocar ended in fiasco. Sources say that thanks to a sloppily worded memo there was an outbreak of confusion which has resulted in the Autocar post instead being given to Pauline Fowler from popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. Meanwhile, respected journalist Steve Fowler has now found himself as a cast member in the long running TV series, playing a crabby old bint who works in a launderette. But not everyone is dismayed by the error: 'I think it could be very exciting,' chuntered Mimsy Goosewipe from TV serial magazine Soapy Wit Tank. 'Already the producers are talking about giving Steve's character a controversial storyline in which the Queen Vic, the caff and several other public buildings in Albert Square are subjected to a very thorough 'comfort test'. The only possible drawback is that, with Barry Evans also in the show, this could be one tubby car enthusiast too many.'
Staff at Autocar are less impressed: 'That bloody Pauline Fowler keeps making us do soap powder tests,' grumbled Food Test Editor Steep Gutcliffe. 'And all her editorial is about what she thinks of that woman from the pub and why her Martin is such a tearaway. Mind you, it is a bit more interesting than what I was going to write�'

Steve Fowler takes a break from filming in the launderette yesterday
Guess which recently announced ultra-performance exec car has a trick suspension system so complex that even a senior chassis engineer from the company that makes it struggled to explain how it works? (He eventually just resorted to saying 'It's really good')
I never got the chance to meet Russell Bulgin, although I still managed to annoy him. Last year Sniff Petrol ran a piece about him and he wasn't amused. In retrospect it may have been a little cruel but it was truly based on a genuine affection for his unique style. It is to my lasting regret that I never got to tell him that in person.
If you love cars, and reading about them, you'll probably have your own favourite Bulgin piece and you don't need me to tell you why he was one of the few truly inspired writers in modern motoring journalism. You'll also read plenty of tributes to the man from those who did know him. But for what it's worth, I'd like to add that Bulgin was a hero throughout my unhealthily car-obsessed childhood and ultimately inspired me to become a car writer, without which you probably wouldn't be reading this.

� Sniff Petrol 2002
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