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Issue 51
June 2004
The Telewest of motoring, every month
Following last month's announcement that Michael Mauer is to replace Harm Lagaay as head of design at Porsche, industry spies say the former SAAB styling boss is already furiously preparing for his move to Germany. Sources close to the German designer suggest that, following close scrutiny of the 997 model, Mauer has already brushed up on many of the key techniques required in his new role.
"Stylists often talk of a 'design language,'" noted car design pundit Fnrk Hamsandwich. "But at Porsche that literally means learning the correct language. Michael will have to be familiar with phrases such as 'phoning it in', 'not bothering' and 'exactly the fucking same'." Experts also believe Mauer is well on his way to deliberately 'unlearning' important words such as 'change', 'radical' and 'brave new direction'. The 41-year-old designer is also said to be practising the actions required for the Porsche style position, by sitting around doing bugger all.
However, some car design analysts have been quick to point out that it's not all loafing around for five years and then deciding to make the headlights a slightly different shape. Now that Porsche has the Cayenne, Mauer must also get used to catching sight of one driving past his house and the subsequent two hours spent sitting in a darkened room gently sobbing.
The car design world was in turmoil this week following a new and potentially disturbing discovery - cars are growing beards.
"We first noticed a slight beardiness in the Volkswagen Golf GTI concept," claimed made-up design pundit Fnrk Hamtoastie, who also appears in the story above. "But the real shock was the new Audi A6. I think there's little doubt that it has a full goatee. Then the new Rover 75 V8 appeared, which also has one of those strange mouth surrounding beards much favoured by mature students and George Michael".
Experts have been quick to point the finger of blame. "The Golf and A6 both come from VW Group, which is run by Bernard Whatsisname," noted one industry observer. "And the 75 V8 is from MG-Rover, run by Kevin Howe. Both these men have goatees themselves - they're trying to make cars that look like they do".
This new and profoundly unsettling finding could have serious and unattractive consequences for global car design, beyond bits of food stuck around the radiator grille. "I think we have to hope for the best," observed one industry noter. "At the moment there are mercifully few other beards in senior positions at car companies. We just have to pray that someone at, say, General Motors doesn't go inexplicably mental and makes Noel Edmonds managing director".
However, others were less upbeat. "God, what if Ross Brawn became head of Ferrari road cars," muttered one senior insider. "He's not just got a beard; it's a really shit beard."
The new 997
Some beards
Some more beards
Following the resignation of CAR magazine editor Angus Steakhouse, speculation is rife that his replacement will be none other than disgraced Mirror knob Piers Morgan. "It's just too much of a coincidence, isn't it?" said a source near to Peterborough. "I mean, one minute Angus resigns, the next minute Piers Morgan becomes available. You couldn't make it up. Well, Piers could, but we couldn't."
Sniff Petrol tried to contact CAR's editorial team, but it doesn't seem to have one any more. However, one East Midlands source did confirm that the magazine was preparing for Morgan's arrival and has cancelled a group test of four ton trucks.
A twat
Following the drama of 'we've got a massive diamond on the front of our car� oh no, we've gone and lost it' in Monaco, Jaguar F1 has streaked ahead of rival teams in the key area of getting undeserved publicity for cocking about with lame stunts. Although the team is utterly rubbish at racing, motor sport experts say if there were points for just making a big fuss and getting coverage that is in inverse proportion to the actual usefulness of the car, the Ford-backed team would almost certainly be in line for the world championship.
"Jaguar have been very forward thinking," noted Maurice Ital of Every Other Sunday magazine. "They are the first team to truly appreciate that modern F1 isn't about engine reliability or chassis balance or pulling a sensational overtaking move around the outside of another driver. No, it's about coming up with shit schemes that will get your name mentioned in the papers. Mmm, that's good sponsorship coverage."
Spies within the team's Milton Keynes HQ say that Jag's engineers are now working flat out to think up new stunts to pull for the rest of the season. If there's any time left, they might also have a go at making the car handle better. "I can't say too much at this point, but we've still got plenty of developments to come. I mean, a female driver in F1 again would be quite something wouldn't it? Christian Klien's already got a girly earring and, well, surgery is remarkably cheap these days�"
Christian Klien, quite soon
� 2004. Sniff Petrol every month. Next issue 9 July.
Written by Sniff Petrol. Thanks to John McGregor (Piers Morgan thing) and Poo (general organisation and support).