Created with IMS Web Dwarf from Virtual Mechanics Inc.
Issue 70
February 2006
The disgraced Lib-Dems of motoring, every month
The motor industry was in shock last night following news that all good looking car design has been 'used up'. The startling discovery came following the unveiling of the new Ferrari 599 which, even by the dubious standards of modern Ferraris, is pretty ropey. "It is true," wailed one of the CAD/CAM jockeys who worked on the 599 project. "When we started the car we went to the 'attractive design' cupboard and we were shocked to find that it was completely empty. Our only solution was to instead take as many design cues from old cars as possible along with some elements from the 'currently trendy but ultimately rather hollow and derivative' shelf and use those instead. This is why the car looks like, 'ow you say, the 'dinner of the dog'. Or, to put it another way, 'shit'".
Industry sources say the good lookingness shortage has already hit hard, as demonstrated by the Fiat Croma and whatever the bloody hell Ssangyong are playing at. "We started experiencing the good looking design shortage before most others," said one BMW insider. "We went to the car design warehouse to pick up some attractive shapes but they were all gone. And by then Staples was shut so we couldn't even buy a new ruler, that's why the 7-series turned out all wonky".
Although no one has yet admitted responsibility for the handsome car shortage, many car company insiders are already pointing the blame at Jaguar sketching boss Ian Callum. "I went down to the pleasant styling storage facility a couple of years ago and Callum was there with a long-wheelbase Transit," claims one senior car designer. "Him and that Julian Thompson were cackling like nutters and they seem to be taking away a lot of curves. The next S-type better be bloody good, otherwise we'll all have to suffer the Lotus Europa and that piss poor SAAB 9-5 facelift for nothing".
The Ferrari 599 looking somehow not as nice as it should do, yesterday
As the Institute of Advanced Motorists proudly appoints Nigel Mansell as its new president, IAM insiders are privately expressing relief that this marks the end of a long search to find someone boring enough. "This hasn't been easy," said one wheel shuffling insider. "We looked at very many candidates including Ron Dennis, Tim Henman, that bloke out of Coldplay and two people who were actually dead. We even looked at a band called the Pet Shop Boys after we were told they recorded a song called Being Boring. But it turned out to be a bit melodic and interesting for our liking, plus I read in the Daily Mail that they're filthy bummers". However, despite dispatching almost everyone in the selection process, IAM sources say it wasn't a completely clear run for the former F1 champion. "In the end it came down to a choice between Nigel and a machine that generates a constant tone to test phone lines," revealed one slightly smug, badge-in-the-windscreen shuffler. "But in the end Nigel was actually even more boring than that". Sniff Petrol tried to ring Mansell to get his reaction to his new appointment but all we got was a dull insistant drone. Oh, hang on�
Oh God can you even imagine what he's saying now, yesterday
After a recent mix-up in which Corgi accidentally revealed the next generation Aston Martin Vanquish in model form, there were more red faces this week as it emerged that the toy maker had given away yet more Aston secrets. Although the offending DBS model has been removed from display, delegates at a current toy fair were surprised to see an early prototype of the 2007 Corgi Gaydon Activity Centre which included a 1/43 scale model of the Aston styling studio complete with design recycling machine, realistic lazy inability to think of some new ideas and authentic phoning-it-in action. Attendees were especially impressed with the level of detailing which extended to a hi-fi system constantly playing a stuck record and with the promise that the whole toy wouldn't break and therefore there was no need to fix it. As if that wasn't bad enough, over on the Fisher Price stand toy expo visitors were stunned to discover a working prototype of the 1/24 scale Aston Martin Engineering Center (ages 3-10) which includes fun activities such as attempting to iron out steering judder and battery flattening glitches in the DB9. Aston is said to be furious about these inadvertent revelations in miniature form, not least because they have diverted attention away from the company's own model car range which is delightfully faithful to the real thing, particularly since none of the cars appears to be capable of moving unless you push it by hand.
An Aston DB V9 Vanquishtage yesterday

Our used car expert - who wasn't, and has never been, based on the late John Coates despite what a couple of people have suggested - talks about something.

Up the hammer at Smelding last Wogan, blinking was flimsy, saw some squeal grasp a sweet cheese on a Freeloader, full breeze, grunty onions, some lumsden. This is no way to run a hotel. Squeaky.

Same Darren, poking was lightly on a greasy Vecturd. No one slides the pork style. 12 Peters, full towelling, sweaty orbs, priest. I think that smell came from your sister. Lovely.

Bad time of lug for the Gary to be shifting a Rachel Festa. Wet parping, grease bisley, nork holes. Five porpoise and it's smooth. For your sake I hope you've folded that properly. Knobbly.

Touched the bum of a low duct Schemer three last lemon. Old yoghurt, still stiff, well bunged on the moo, blow and chat. Felt moist, hard rasp, nice chives. It's probably her who stole our toast rack. Minty.
Something else not actually that super, yesterday
There was hilarity in Formula 1 this week with news that back markers elect and comedy 11th man team Stupid Aguri haven't got any engines. The foolish making-up-the-numbers last row sitters' embarrassing error came to light when one of the team's engineers was spotted ahead of the forthcoming season skulking around a branch of HMV trying to buy an F1 car sound effects CD. "Yes it is true, we have no engines," admitted a shamefaced insider. "Instead our drivers will propel the car with their legs in the manner of Fred Flintstone whilst a lightweight in-car stereo system plays the appropriate noises from some speakers mounted in the side pods. Since we're going to get lapped a lot anyway we thought no one would notice".
However, the rubbish recording-based plan is only the tip of the pointless entry iceberg. "We are delighted to have signed Takuma Sato," said another nameless team source. "Thanks to a sophisticated in-helmet microphone Takuma will be able to add his own audio embellishments such as popping on the over-run and the distinctive noise of him twatting into something. For a second driver we are hoping to recruit the man who played the amusing Sgt. Larvell Jones in Police Academy".
Nonetheless, some F1 observers have been puzzled at Aguri's inexplicable motor loss situation since they were widely understood to have signed an engine deal with Honda. "Ah yes, I can explain that one," said a Stupid Aguri spokesman. "You see, we were meant to pick up the engines from our local Honda dealer, but we forgot. Just like we almost forgot to sign up with the FIA but then we simply promised that we would hand over the $30 and it was all sorted out� $30 million? Oh God, I have to ring the bank�"
From the Sniff Petrol advertising vault, here's a classic BL ad from the mid-1970s

� 2006. Sniff Petrol every month. Geneva Show and F1 '06 special issue out Monday 6 March

Written by Sniff Petrol. With thanks to Mike Davison and Paul Powell