The clean cars of Tokyo

This week finds me in Tokyo, a city where you can see many interesting things but dirty cars is not one of them. As a Japanese friend explained to me on my last visit, any Japanese man with self-respect washes his car when he comes home – every day.

Yesterday it rained, and a couple of hours after the rain stops, these four policemen could be seen polishing their cars by hand before the next call to duty (which, given the low level of criminality in Japan could arguably be after the next rainy day)…


Aston Martin Works – as good as it gets


Over the last years the restoration of classic cars and supply of original car parts have become a small but increasingly important business for leading brands such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and of course Aston Martin. Under the name Aston Martin Works, the specialized units provides all services connected to its classical models. The beauty and quality of the work is amazing, as illustrated under the following link. Clearly, it doesn’t come cheap – a reliable source/friend told me last week that the asking price of the beautifully restored dark blue DB6 Mk 2 that can be viewed on the site is a very respectful GBP 460.000. The same car would have yielded about a third of that value no more than 5-6 years ago…



How to lose €4.6m on a Veyron…

You have not found and will not find any reporting on our blog on the VW scandal, quite simply because it has precious little to do with the thrill of driving. The Bugatti Veyron on the other hand has a lot to do with thrill behind the wheel, and I therefore felt this small anecdote that appeared in the FT this week was worth passing on.

As you know the Veyron was built in a small series and with a hefty price tag of around EUR 2.3m. According to auto analysts at Bernstein Associates, in spite of that VW managed to lose a staggering EUR 4.6m on each Veyron sold. It thereby ranks on par with the Phaeton, another loss-making car within VW (however no numbers are public here) that will not have a successor, as well as what seems like a generally quite lofty expense policy at the company, including notably 6 corporate jets. It may well be that that money could have been needed before the last lawsuit in present scandal has been settled…


Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, €2.3m to -€4.6m in 2.3 seconds…

Spain to Scotland and back in a week – Days 3 and 4

Part 2 of Spain to Scotland electric vehicle trip with Tesla Model S – (reblogged)

Drive & Dream

It was nearly 6pm when we left Portsmouth. Three hours later than planned, but we had a full battery and only 250kms to go.

How did we choose our next stop when we’ve never driven an EV in the UK before?

The way we plan trips is partly based on where we want to go and partly on the overnight charge options available. Overnight charging is key because the car is stopped anyway.

In the UK there are a growing number of motorway services with 22kW charge points (Ecotricity have set up many) but sleeping in a UK motorway service stop is not high on my list of things to do.

One day will have a filter option for hotels with charge points but the only resource I know of now is the excellent site. They have helped many UK hotels install 7kW outlets, which is the bare…

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The first two days – Madrid to the South of England

Very interesting article describing a trip from Madrid to Scotland in an electric Tesla Model S! To be continued…

Drive & Dream

So, the whole point of Drive & Dream is to make electric car touring as easy and pleasant as possible, in order that people can overcome their worries and start buying electrics by the million.

This means that we are always doing something for the first time, because after that it’s easy.

On this trip we were to try the first long (24h) ferry crossing with on board recharging. All the rest, I thought, was just routine. Ah, how innocent. 🙂

If you recall, back in September we did the first Tilburg to Southern Europe trip. Then, it was a challenge just to locate and book a hotel or lunch stop with a reasonable (7kW+) charge point. We drove down through Belgium and France to home in a weekend and on the way confirmed places like the Parador in Lerma as great places to stop.

So on this trip day…

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40 years evolution in the car industry

The enclosed picture, courtesy of Swiss business bi-weekly Finanz & Wirtschaft and German car magazine Auto, Motor und Sport, is an interesting illustration not only of Mercedes-Benz evolution over the last 40 years, but also of the car industry as a whole (for the Swedish audience by the way, it also provides a good example of why Saab post-GM never stood a real chance of survival, being a mass-market producer).


In 1974, Mercedes was present in three segments; luxury cars with the S-class and the 600, mid-sized cars with the 8 sedan and coupé, and sports cars with the W107 SL and SLC. 40 years later and very much like the other brands that dominate today’s mass car industry, the three segments have become seven, with a far larger number of cars in each segment. And where there was previously not a segment/model, one has been invented (think shooting breaks and grand coupés, to name but a couple). 40 years ago, Mercedes built 6 different models, today it’s 25.

Obviously this is the result of quite an amazing production development in terms of common parts and platforms, but also of far-reaching but often little-known collaborations between brands on different levels. However, what has fundamentally not changed over these 40 years is the usage of petrol and diesel engines under the hood, although these have obviously been heavily developed and refined. When we look at the same picture in 40 years, when we’re gray and old, is that perhaps the big change we will see? What are your thoughts? Comments are as always welcome!

As seen in Amsterdam… the Artega GT

On a recent trip to Amsterdam walking down one of the main shopping streets, I passed a quite beautiful car I’ve never seen before. Having read up on its history afterwards I suspect I may not be the only one to which this was a new discovery, and I am thus happy to introduce you to the Artega GT from the German brand Artega! Image

Artega was founded in 2006 as a small car manufacturing company. The first and only model GT was shown in Geneva in 2008 and production started in 2009, in a new plant built in the German city of Delbrück. It was powered by the 6-cylinder, 3.6 litre 300 hp engine that was also found in some VW top models,  along with the VW six-speed DSG gearbox. The limited weight of around 1300 kg helped it to a 0-100 km/h time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of over 270 km/h. Marketed at a very reasonable price of around 75.000 EUR as new, the Artega GT received quite a lot of praise from the automotive press. Chassis and handling and value for money were deemed very good, the somewhat dead steering feel, the oversized rearview mirrors and some typical small-manufacturer tweeks less so. 


Unfortunately, as with so many small scale manufacturers, the 35-employee Artega car company didn’t survive for long. After a couple of company restructurings and plans for both a convertible and an electric hybrid version, production ceased in 2012 after as little as 130 cars produced. Obviously most of these are still around today, but it’s still far from a car you risk seeing on the next corner. There are currently 12 Artegas for sale on the German site, with prices starting just below 50.000 EUR. For a very rare car likely to preserve value quite well, no doubt offering quite a lot of driving thrill and based on an engine and gearbox that can be serviced at the next VW garage, that is actually quite a bargain…

Oldtimer Sunday Morning Meeting

From late spring to early fall, the Swiss city of Zug hosts an oldtimer event called the Oldtimer Sunday Morning Meeting, a nice gathering with a beautiful mix of 150-200 cars from the 10’s (1900 that is) to the 80’s. The official end of the season is celebrated with a parade through the city center of Zug, which is reserved for the oldtimers for this occasion. The 2013 parade took place today, and even though the weather gods could have been friendlier, it was a great day of which a few pictures can be seen here below.


One of the oldest participants from the somewhat forgotten brand American la France…


 .to the more recent, beautiful 50’s curve on this early Corvette.


 Under the hub of a Ferrari 365. 12 cylinders, 6 carburettors, 100% mechanic…


Mercedes 540 K.



 .and a beautiful Bugatti with an even greater sound from the 20’s. 

 Image And finally, Swissness obliges!


VIDEO: Porsche 911 mot Boxster S

CAR and DRIVER har gjort ett jämförelsetest mellan Porsche Boxster S och Porsche 991 Carrera. David möter Goliat. De testar både bankörning och drag race.

Det är toppmodellen Boxster S med 315 hästar som får kämpa mot den enklaste versionen av storebror 911 Carrera (991) med 350 hästar. I gengäld har 911:an 60 kg mer att släpa på; 1455 vs 1395, vilket är mindre skillnad än jag hade trott.

För att göra det hela lite jämnare har de tagit en Boxster S med all sportutrustning (Sport Chrono, PASM, PTV, etc.) och matchat den mot en 911 som är helt standard. Båda bilarna är manuellt växlade.

Det hela är mycket intressant, inte minst kommentarerna kring hur bilarna upplevs!

Oväntat resultat? Det låter jag vara osagt…

PARIS: Ferrari och bagage – hur hänger det ihop egentligen?

Ferrari FF är en oerhört praktisk bil. Jag skojar inte. Provade att sitta “bakom mig själv” i baksätet och det är mycket bra långfärdskomfort för fyra(!) vuxna. Och bagageutrymmet är stort, se bilden på de bruna väskorna nedan (det är alltså stora väskor även om det inte syns på bilden). Som en jämförelse kan ni också se hur mycket bagage det går in i en 458 Italia; inte så dåligt det heller i och för sig, för en så extrem bil.

En nyhet för i år på FF är att det går att få ett glastak som skapar stor rymd i coupén.

Egentligen är FF den ultimata bilen; praktisk och extrem på en gång. Synd bara att jag fortfarande inte kommer överens med utseendet…

Bilfestival i Kungsträdgården – och lite skvaller om BMW-nyheter

Ett axplock av de bilar som visas är: Audi R8 GT Spyder, Porsche Boxster S, Porsche Cayenne GTS, Porsche 991 Carrera S, Fisker Karma, BMW M6 (i snygg Singapore-grå) och nya 3-serie Touring. Dessutom finns en hel del kul för barn (och vuxna) som bilbanor, radiostyrda bilar och TV-spel.

Jag var där igår fredag och snappade upp (trovärdigt) skvaller om nyheter från BMW:

  • Coupé-versionen av 3-serien kommer att heta 4-serien och släpps nästa år.
  • Nästa M3/M4 får en bensin-V6 med trippelturbo.
  • M6 Gran Coupé kommer! Den perfekte bilen för min familj?! Senare kommer även trippelturbodieseln i 6-serie Gran Coupé (M650d).

Efter att jag varit på området själv, tvingade jag min kära och tålmodiga(!) fru att gå ett varv och frågade henne därefter vilken bill hon skulle ta med sig hem. Svaret kom reptilsnabbt: 991 Carrera S…

Evenemanget pågår idag och imorgon söndag.

För övrigt har jag provkört två intressanta bilar i veckan. Sammanlagt 14 cylindrar och 822 hästar, om än ojämnt fördelade. Återkommer!