Archive for the Dream Vehicles Category

Amateur Nightshots

Posted in Dream Vehicles on November 26, 2008 by Eugene

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I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves. Atop Centrepoint Carpark, I had a lot which had a nice beam showering down upon the car and decided to seize the moment. What better way to showcase her new R32 shoes too? Just need to find more cosy spots to play with my camera’s aperture and shutter speed…

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My lovely Golf

Posted in Dream Vehicles on November 9, 2008 by Eugene

After PPS and waxingA long overdue shot of my sayang, after PPS and waxing. My goodness, are apolocalyptic changes going to be done unto her soon. The Eisenmann Sport Exhaust is coming in this week, as will the Bilstein PSS10s. Modifying this car is like playing Diablo; you just won’t be satisfied till you have a level *** [insert class] with all the best weapons and stash. But despite all the hoohaa, I have embarassingly lost out to ricer-boy Touaregs, Subaru WRXs egging me on to 180km/h, and the occasional showboating Mini Cooper Asses (S), all driving without regard to the hefty price they paid for their rides.

Anyway, after having clocked about 5000km and doing an Engine Oil change, I’m so pleased with her performance. Unbridled when provoked, yet docile as a family Labrador when I want it to be. Lovely, absolutely lovely car…

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Jawdroppingly …

Posted in Dream Vehicles on October 2, 2008 by Eugene

I always like reading Jeremy’s Clarkson’s reviews on cars, his latest being the one on VW’s reincarnation of the Scirocco. It was feisty, opinionated and had little on the car’s real driving dynamics and real-world performance but there was a little phrase I did like especially. Me having just written something blurry eyed on nostalgia.

The new car is like an old girlfriend you meet after hooking up on Friends Reunited. To everyone else she’s just an ordinary middle-aged woman, but to you she’s a bit more than that . . .That’s the new Scirocco. To most people it’s just another car. But for those of us who had the old one, it arrives on the scene, after a 15-year period of nothing but grey skies and drizzle, like the warm, fast wind from which it takes its name.

Sure, I’m not old enough to have driven the old 1.8cc Scirocco and I was actually trying to convince myself that the new model, looked in fact, like a toad – a squat but stylish toad. I didn’t like its preposterous storm-trooper helmet looks and felt that it wouldn’t look out of place as a golf caddie in the death star. But who was I really kidding? I love the way it looks after glancing at it a couple more times. It’s like taking an instant dislike to Toni Collette, only to discover that she is really blessed with good looks. And now instead of “the Scirocco looks all squat and beastly” running through my head, I agonize daily: “Why, oh why, didn’t I wait another half a year more for this beauty?”

This side of paradise

Posted in Dream Vehicles on June 12, 2008 by Eugene

Every once in a while comes my mother’s injunction for her son to mind the less fortunate , “Don’t forget the starving and poor in the world!” she would say. This would be followed by her pleas to say the rosary for the fettered, harassed and downtrodden.

But on days like these when you visit the austere Mercedes Benz showhouse, empathy flies out the window. Today, I was blessed with the chance to test drive the new Mercedes SLK 200 Kompressor, and of course there were the assessing looks by the bemused salespeople. (Was I wearing the right clothes, the right shoes? Did I reveal that haughty nonchalance?)

I didn’t have to survive the mean gaze of those bureaucrats long, because my friend Dion quickly ushered me to that gunmetal beauty on the second storey. It’s a two-seater of course, and we joked that you’d only need to send the girl back. Hang the other friends and prospective parent-in-laws! They could suffocate in the boot with the golf bag for all we cared.

The interior of the SLK is breathtaking. No, it’s not the F-22 cockpit but all the impressions of being in a good sports car hits you instantly. The finish on the panels, the amazing HUD, those immaculate buttons, the gear-stick. I take an eternity to savour the details, grinning like an idiot.

We set off from Alexandria to Tuas, a necessarily long distance to put the car through its paces. The first thing you feel is that the SLK’s not torque laden. Its in-line 4 cylinder power plant churns out only about 181 horsepower; its supercharged compressor engine kicks in on the highway when you floor the pedal, and everything’s going hazy because it doesn’t seem to let up after that! I mean, look at the length of the bonnet, it’s as long as South America; There’s certainly oodles of power to utilize, even at 130km/h! Slopes, undulating surfaces and even pasty little Subaru WRXs don’t deter it…

So we tried all sorts of fun along the way, cruise control; taking off the folding roof, ramming the accelerator with abandon etc. The handling also seems just about right, (I did not test the heavier 6-cylinder SLK350) and the SLK experience just seems to be richer the further you drive. And all this while, my heart is just a butterball of desire and speed…

So imagine the dismay when I had to turn in the keys to this piece of heaven, which at the cost of $196,000 for the entry level, is way beyond my meager reach, unless I plan a diet of Colgate and Darlie for the rest of my life.

Oh yeah, for those with infinite pockets with an eye to this blazing car, please contact my good friend Dion Yong, official Cycle and Carriage dealer, and destroyer of peace in mens’ hearts: Dion.yong@cyclecarriage.com.sg

The Immaculate GTI

Posted in Dream Vehicles on May 31, 2008 by Eugene

Motor advertising is tough. I haven’t seen any really outstanding advertisements on cars that I love for eg. the Audi R8, but they had a nice tagline of “the slowest car we’ve ever built”, with an assemblage of all 3000 odd mechanical parts coming to fruition.

Not bad.  But here’s one that really caught my attention. The boy is a bigot and a bully. He rolls over his dad, crushes old bicycles, leers at women on the street, and finally owns a GTi. But the way the car reverses at the end is really something. Kudos to the advertising minds who were spot on masculinity.

Pain on the road

Posted in Dream Vehicles on May 4, 2008 by Eugene

There are many visions of happiness as there are of love, riches and sex. But my favourite reverie rests on Henry James’s idea of paradise as a “perfect automobile going thirty miles an hour on a smooth road to a twelfth century cathedral”.

But take that perfect car, outfit it with the Grille of the Peugeot 207 Gti, and you have the most consummate grimace mounting the frontal intakes. It’s the grimace of high pressured winds buffeting against one’s face. The grimace of Ugolino gnawing upon Archbishop Ruggieri in Hell – “ La bocca sollevo dal fiero pasto quell peccator

Then there is also the Audi R8’s twinking succession of 24 Light Emitting Diodes below its headlights, applied like tearful mascara beneath its eyelets. Nothing Moulin-Rouge about its appearance. Just pain, speed and tears on a smooth road…the perfect start to that paradise.

Audi Redux

Posted in Dream Vehicles on September 25, 2007 by Eugene

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Why am I still hounded by the Audi R8 ? It’s an unattainable dream even if I saved enough from 3 lifetimes for Audi’s Magnus Opus. Blame it all on Dan Neil, whose one-of-a-kind reviews of cars, blended with oh-so-funny astute cultural observations, have poisoned me further.

Congratulations (and damn him) Dan, for winning the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism! 🙂

Here are some excerpts:

“Despite the R8’s evident exoticism — the car is low, wide and mirthless, its gimlet eyes fixing you with white-hot LEDs like it was brooding on ways to wreck your marriage

“Only when you start wringing it out, teasing the 8,250 redline in the lower gears, does the full shove-in-the-back aggression make itself felt. And then, oh the sound: a moltensugar contralto that dances on wending treble clef, a sound to make angels grab a hanky.”

“With its wide-track posture, low center of gravity, mid-engine layout and gluey, 19-inch Pirelli tires, it’s no surprise that the R8 has formidable lateral grip. Antaeus doesn’t hug the Earth like this”

“the R8 is a fistful of weaponized cool thrown in the face of the sports car status quo: seductively styled, comprehensively engineered, flawlessly executed. Needless to say, Porsche and Aston Martin’s life just got a lot more complicated”