Random cars we like

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The 2017 MINI Clubman JCW

MINI will travel to the Paris Auto Show to introduce the JCW version of the second-generation Clubman.

The John Cooper Works Clubman is powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and direct-injected and makes 228 horsepower from 5, 200 to 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 all the way up to 4, 500 rpm. The turbo four spins all four wheels via MINI’s All4 all-wheel drive system and either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

The 3,400-pound JCW Clubman hits 60 mph from a standing start in six seconds dead regardless of which transmission it’s equipped with, and it goes on to a top speed of 147 mph. The extra power is complemented by a JCW-specific suspension that’s lower and stiffer than standard on the rest of the Clubman range,  a sport exhaust, and Brembo brakes all around. An adaptive suspension is available at an extra cost should you require that little bit more from the suspension.

The JCW stands out from a regular Clubman thanks to a full body kit that includes a new front bumper with bigger air dams and side skirts, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels and dual chromed exhaust tips. Nonetheless it is a tasteful rather than an in your face body kit, suiting the overall new Clubman ethos very well. MINI has also upgraded the cabin with sport seats for the front passengers and matching fabrics on the rears.

The 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman will go on sale nationwide in December. Pricing information will be announced in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.

This would work perfectly in the Beastmaster stable, the problem being we don’t want to let go of anything we have to make room for it. We simply love it though.

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The Transcend DrivePro 200 Dash Camera

Time to invest in a dash cam for PaceBeast and after reading the review below from we went for the DrivePro 200.

The DrivePro 200, also known as TS16GDP200, is a reliable, easy-to-use dash cam that was released in late 2013 by the renowned Taiwanese memory card manufacturer, Transcend. They include a free 16GB SD card with the device.
At a bit rate of 15 Mbps, this camera records excellent day time video, and night video quality is also good. It is becoming increasingly popular due to its high reliability, its Wi-Fi capability and because it is relatively easy to use.
This camera is one of the very few to offer Wi-Fi support. At 160 degrees, its angle of view is larger than most other dash cam’s. It comes with a 2.4” screen for comfortable video playback, or you can configure it from your tablet/smart phone via the Wi-Fi function.
Many buyers will be happy to know that configuring the DrivePro 200 is a breeze, even for the technically challenged. After connecting it your car’s cigarette lighter for power, it will come on by itself, prompt you for the time and date (on first time setup) and then start recording automatically whenever your car’s ignition is on.
It comes with a G-sensor so your video files will be saved if a sudden breaking maneuver or impact is detected. It also has a large emergency button that you can use to the same effect for any footage that you would like to keep for whatever reason.
You can choose whether you wish to record video clips 1, 3, or 5 minutes in length. We prefer 1 minute clips because they are more manageable. Recording is seamless, there are no gaps between the video files.
The Wi-Fi function is useful for changing the camera’s settings, and you can also use it to update the device’s firmware should this become necessary. You can even use it to view your video footage, but bear in mind that these are large video files, so transferring them wirelessly will be relatively slow. Plucking your SD card into a computer is the easier option, or just use the camera’s internal screen.
The Transcend DrivePro 200 is not one of the smallest dashboard cameras, but it isn’t terribly large, either. There is a narrow silver ring around the lens that reduces its stealth somewhat. We would have preferred an all black casing.
All the regular dash cam features are there, such as auto on/off, loop recording, impact detection (G-sensor) and date/time stamp on video. A word of caution though: Several users have reported an issue with the camera not being able to keep the date/time settings for more than a couple of days when it is not in use. This is apparently due to the camera using a relatively low power capacitor instead of an internal battery. However, there are also many users who do not seem to be having this issue at all.
The camera’s build quality is solid, and even taking into account the date/time issue, customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Furthermore, Transcend’s after sales support have been reported to be very helpful and respond quickly when needed.

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HD DVR Dashboard Camera


I saw one of these on the dash of a MINI at a recent MINIACS Only car meet at Tintern Abbey. Aaron Ewers who had the camera was very helpful and explained how it works.

Bottom line I ordered one. A tenner from EBay and to be fair it’s a lot of kit for a tenner. The video is good quality though sound if you choose to use it is a bit scratchy. Video recording starts when you switch on and stops when you turn off. It makes short recordings the length of which you can determine, sat three or five minutes and immediately records another once the first is done, until you switch off. Should you have an incident you need the film for then it will be in a smaller more managable clip.

Put simply then, I’m very pleased with this.


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Car Of The Week -AutoBeast Test Drives The F56 JCW

  This morning we finally got around to taking a closer look at the new F56 John Cooper Works courtesy of Cotswolds Cheltenham. The car has been reviewed many times over on the net with generally favourable reviews, so I am not going to go down the same full on review. In those terms suffice to say, it is quick fun and very polished – we like it a lot. Here though is a bit of the detail that caught our eye.

The one I drove was automatic with chili pack and other extras giving it an on the road price of £34000. For this we got a Heads up display unit, which because of the driving assistance pack gave you three bits of information – your speed, the speed of the road you are on and a graphic rev counter, its position can be adjusted to suit your eye level and  instantly I loved this – the information you needed just where you needed to see it.


The next thing I noticed were the seats. These are  I believe the standard works seat, a mixture of fabric, alcantara and leather. They look fabulous and are instantly vey comfortable and very grippy. Yep sold on the seats.

   The steering wheel felt good in the hand and looked very professional, it suited the whole car interior which looks premium and polished. Then there is the auto box. Well for me it was awesome. I loved it and would definitely have it in this version. First, the car is quicker as an auto than a manual. Secondly, autos are dull a sports car should be a stick? Well… Not really, you see with a stick you get to drive the car one way i.e by changing gear. With the auto however, you get options.  Stick it into drive and let the car do the work. Fun and you tend not to look an arse. Alternatively put into a manual sport mode and change up and down yourself using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.  What a blooming hoot. Trust me it’s great fun. Thirdly the car has the fuel saving stop/start function. My wife, Mrs P still hates this on our Paceman and JCW but matched to this auto box, it is just so smooth and simple. You slow down by braking and come to a stop. The engine switches off, the lights go green you move your foot over to the accelerator and you just go. So so smooth. Spot the bit of red below seeming to stick out of the side of the inner part of the steering wheel. Well actually it is in the middle of the centre console flick switches. It is a shiny red start button. Yep a shiny red start button. Mum… It’s got a shiny red start button can I have one Mum can I?

  It’s fast too and yet refined if that is how you want it to be. the ride is sporty when required but comfortable and refined (by MINI standards) if you need it to be.  So put simply I was impressed. So… Am I getting one? No. Why not, well we love our JCW Coupé so we would want this as well as the Coupé, not instead of and to be honest we haven’t got a spare £34K this week, in fact nor next week either. But if I had, yep I’d have one of these in an instant.

For my money there are a number of very special MINI models. The First Generation GP is one and one I still hanker for badly, Don’t know about the second generation GP to be honest. The R58 MINI Coupé JCW is for my money another very special MINI and now I think this one is too. This one is probably the most accomplished all round JCW of the lot but car lovers have no rationality or logic, it’s all about the heart and the seat vibrations that stir the heart so a GP owner or a MINI Coupé JCW owner will probably be just as disgustingly happy with their cars.

Conclusion – make no mistake this car is a cracker all the way down to its crackling good exhaust.

Cars and The Importance of Dreams

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Le Mans

We have a dream, it’s a wild dream, in our case we have this dream because we know that life is not forever. Lady P is a believer in a kind of fate, a set of circumstances that come together to make things happen. This has been the case with so many of the big things in our life. Timing, opportunity, a real sense of it is meant to be. Lady P has always wanted me to have a classic Porsche but now she fancies a new one to share. A silly dream, beyond our pay packets, but it doesn’t stop the dream. Then as you nourish the dream, sometimes if it is meant to be, things happen, they conspire, to tell you that you are on the right path. Poppycock maybe, but it is so often the case, that fate plays a card, to point the way. A bargain offer at the Photo Show on a Fuji X-M1 was an example of this just a few weeks back. Getting our Opel GT had a fate about it. Walking into the first apartment we viewed in France and it being the one was fate. Getting a watch , or it passing by – there is a fate element to it.
So here we are dreaming of a Porsche, nourishing the dream and then bits of news emerge.
First Dick Lovett announce a new Porsche retail centre at Tewkesbury, half a mile from where I work.
Then, Porsche and Le Mans team up, and we love Le Mans and are planning to be there again this year.
French Porsche Experience Centre
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the German firm Porsche, which is making its comeback at Le Mans this year in an attempt to add to its victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours, will open the only Porsche Experience Center in France in 2015. The contract was officially signed on Wednesday 12th March at Le Mans. You can read the full story here on ACO.
So, let’s carry on teasing and nurturing our dream…

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Formula One 2014 – Is it Turning Into Farce?


We saw some ludicrous happenings in the 2013 season, such as the race of the empty stadium at South Korea, as Formula 1  seems hell bent on chasing the dirty lucre.  Then there is DRS – the drag reduction system introduced in 2011 to increase overtaking and make F1 “more exciting for spectators” – former Williams, BAR and Renault driver Villeneuve amongst others has hit out at this.

“Once you start going down that route you cannot stop, you have to make more and more of it,” he said.

He then went on, “What’s the next thing that will come? It becomes more and more artificial and, instead of having a positive effect, you end up making it where people don’t respect it any more.”

The current stack of drivers seem to lack personality too, as their tongues are tied by large pay packets that prevent them speaking out against these changes and the decline into farce.

One major change for the 2014 season is the decision to award double points at the final race in an attempt to ensure the fight for the world championship lasts as long as possible. There has even been talk of extending double points to the last three races of the season! Now this is beyond the ludicrousness of racing in remote South Korea. This latest F1 ruling is  frankly ruinous, it is ridiculous, a notion of such game-changing idiocy and crassness  that it suggests a sport in retreat,  running away not just from the principles of fair play, but from reality too.


As said, the 2014  season will see the last race of the  season carry double points. On November 23 the winner of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will receive twice the reward of the winner in Brazil 14 days earlier. Or the winner anywhere, for that matter.

From Singapore to the United States, the winner receives 25 points — until the circus hits Abu Dhabi, however, when the same success is suddenly worth 50 points. Tired of finding ways to prevent the dominance of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull,and failing  miserably, now we get an arbitrary scoring system that could see the championship awarded to an undeserving pretender in a casual  travesty at the final knockings..  It is like the Premier League being decided on the last day by a cup final! And this is called sport.

Under these regulations the 2008 champion would have been Felipe Massa, not Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso would have landed a third title at Vettel’s expense in 2012.

So was Alonso the best driver in 2012? No, Vettel was. So why should he be champion? How is that a  positive outcome for F1?

Vettel is the fastest driver in the world it is up to the rest of this characterless bunch of drivers to beat him. . That is what keeps the competition healthy, not some manipulation of  numbers to create an artificial sense of excitement and challenge. This way, why struggle to overtake Red Bull when a team might fluke triumph on one moment of good fortune instead? Victory will be hollow  if the driver and his team know they have got to the top of the podium only by default — the beneficiaries of a crazy plan from the marketing department that, by some miracle, those at the helm of motor racing got behind.

Sport has to be fair, there are always flukes but generally the best man or team wins. To move from that very foundation of sporting principles is to take F1 off the racing circuit and into the backwaters of music hall comedy.  The sport is frightened by the decline in viewers, well get real, stop chasing the highest bid and make sure it is on terrestrial TV where all can see it, where it can be perceived as a sport for the people, sort that out rather than tinker with the rules, all to stop Vettel and trying to make it “exciting”. If this ludicrous rule changing continues this sport – sorry it is already more of a “soap sport” than a real sport – will go the way of boxing, where the glory days of Ali and Frazier are but memories hung on the walls of sporting pubs. Splinter groups will leave F1 and form their own World Circuit and soon we will see two World Champions as we have seen  in boxing. The sport is on a slippery slope and the best ceramic brakes in the world will not stop FI coming off the track while this ludicrous carrying on continues.