The Road Show #45 – Special Guest MC Wormie
Jack Mortimer August 17, 2020
Today’s interview with Aussie car Nut and Presenter MC Wormie
With all the usual features car news and motoring information
Mc Wormie talks about the Classic car scene in Australia and a bit about Bush mechanics
The show Blow – listen on Demand
Check out Wormie below
The Show Notes
So what happened in the world of cars this week? Well, Presidential candidate Joe Biden has hinted that a new all electric Chevrolet Corvette is on the way… What? I’ll be honest, I don’t really know either but apparently in a press conference, Joe Biden (that’s the leader of the Democrats) stated that “They tell me – and I’m looking forward to this if it’s true, to driving one – that they’re making an electric Corvette that can go 200mph. You think I’m kidding – I’m not kidding. So I’m excited about it.” Now, it’s interesting to hear the word ‘they’ in this as that wasn’t made clearer, but it’s quite cool to know that, political views aside, Biden is apparently quite a petrol head… well, electric head…
And also in the world of supercars, there’s been a new and quite innovative model revealed by a totally new American brand. The Hyperion XP-1 uses hydrogen fuel cells which power several electric motors. It’s four wheel drive and supposedly has, or at least will have, a top speed of 221mph and can get to 60mph (that’s about 98kph) in 2.2 seconds. Perhaps even more impressively, Hyperion say that with this set up, the XP-1 will be able to travel for around 1000 miles on a single charge plus apparently there’ll also be setting up hydrogen filling stations across America. The XP-1 is set to go on sale in 2022 and they believe only 300 will be made worldwide, so don’t expect to get one for all your family relatives.
In other news, there’s a new Skoda in the works. It’s called the Enyaq and, guess what, it’s an electric SUV. Now, I know that everyone and their pet dog’s making an electric SUV these days but actually this one’s Skoda’s first. Now, admittedly, the prototype design shots all are a little different from how the actual production model will most likely look but Skoda say it’ll ‘differ from those of our previous SUVs’. Without the need for a conventional engine, Skoda say that the Enyaq has significantly shorter overhangs at the front and back (that’s the amount of space beyond the wheels) so the car will be smaller and easier to manoeuvre in. It’ll also be significantly more aerodynamic, with a supposed drag co-efficient (that’s the amount of wind pushing the car back as it goes along) of just 0.27, which is very impressive. What does that mean to the average motorist? Well, it does mean that the motors don’t have to be so fight the wind so much to drive at a steady speed, or in statistics, the biggest battery version of the Skoda should be able to achieve a full range of 310 miles. The Skoda Enyaq is proposed to enter the showrooms of Europe next year, and will help to make up Skoda’s proposal of having a 10 electric car range by 2022.
And finally, a quick note, I tend to get my car news stories from various sources, one of which is AutoCar magazine. So, it was funny to see this week that one of their features was about the highest mileages, which is something we covered here on The Road Show just a couple of weeks ago. So, clearly The Road Show is leading the way against other automotive publications!
Right then, so if you’ve been listening to The Road Show for quite some time you’ll remember that back in November I visited the Classic Motor Show 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Now, my intentions were that I’d visit various other car meets and museums and report back here on The Road Show. Well, for obvious reasons that never happened – all the car meets cancelled and the museums closed.
The good news, however, is now things are starting to, and only just starting to, return to normality. And with that in mind, the other week I managed to go to the Silverstone Experience at, well, Silverstone. It was a fantastic day out, so why not review it for the show?
The original plan was to get plenty of recordings whilst I was there, and perhaps even to do a livestream over on our Facebook page. So, I packed my DSLR camera and my gimble (that’s a device that helps to stabilise your phone when recording video) and got there to find… all footage I take cannot be used for commercial purposes. In fact the only little snippet of recording I’m allowed to play is me talking about a TVR in the car park.
Anyway, that aside, I think we need a little background on the place. The Silverstone Circuit is known the world over, mostly as a Formula One track but in reality it’s the home of plenty of motorsports. It started out in 1943 as an Royal Air Force bomber station with three runways which would form the basis of the track, which was set up after the war in 1948 to run a Grand Prix.
As for the museum, well it’s been around for quite a while, however it has been closed for the past seven years to be renovated. It was reopened back in March by the Duke of Sussex and Lewis Hamilton, just to close back down again. But, hey, they’ve recently actually reopened and, whilst everything is fresh and new, I went to tell you what it’s like.
So the first real bit of the museum is this long dark room with position marks on the floor, the type you’d see on the starting grid of a track, and screens running along each side. You go in and these screens show you a little intro featuring various cars and motorcycles that have raced on the track, as if they’re also on the starting grid. These get older and older as you go and eventually you get your typical countdown and they all whiz past you once again. It’s pretty darn loud in there too so it’s very immersive. After that, the doors at the end of this room open and you’re overlooking the museum itself.
Anyway, the first thing in the museum is actually a sort of overview of the track itself, showing you what all the corners are called and giving a little background on what is raced there. I think that’s a nice little touch given that it’ll be most likely visited by families and some members might actually know nothing about the track. In this area there’s this scaled down (yet still pretty massive) version of the track with a projector shining down on it. It proved to be a very visual and effective way of conveying information.
And so, time to move on. Another nice little touch which was nice to see was quite a bit of information on Silverstone before racing began. Now, naturally the biggest focus in this area was regarding the RAF and it was good to see they had plenty of items to show from this era. Perhaps one of the most touching areas in the whole museum was a room which told the stories of various people who all had some connection to Silverstone, yet never made it back after fighting for their country.
But as well as that, there’s a lot of interactive stuff the kids, and let’s face it, the grown-ups alike will love. I didn’t go on everything there but what I did use was great fun. For example, there was a sort of flight simulator with a sea of dials, a joystick and a voice telling you what to do. During my time at the museum I only found one thing that wasn’t working, which isn’t bad as these things do help to make the day out more fun. Oh and one more thing. With all of these activity bits there was always plenty of hand sanitiser and surface cleaner to use before and after use.
Anyway, let’s get on to the motorsport side of Silverstone. As I’m sure you can imagine there’s plenty of it. There’s old trophies and publicity for the first ever Grand Prix from 1948, stories of famous drivers, the clothes that they wore on the track, even holograms (well, as close as we can get to holograms) starring famous faces such as Jackie Stewart. But obviously, one of the biggest reasons you go to a motorsport museum is to see the cars, and Silverstone Experience didn’t disappoint. One such car was a vintage ERA from the late 40s that visitors could sit in. Again, I was very pleased to see that a member of staff was constantly sanitising it after anyone tried it for size (and I use that phrase because, for someone whose 6ft2 it was very small indeed).
Anyway, most of the cars and motorcycles can be found on the ground floor, and they’re all categorized into eras. There’s plenty of signs telling you what everything is, so again you don’t have to be a diehard Silverstone fanatic to appreciate the collection. Perhaps one of my favourite bits of the whole museum was a bit which just explained how a car works. Like all of the museum, the way everything is explained is simple enough for a child to understand, yet is still interesting for adults to read. Plus for every component there was a nice little demonstration. At the end, there was also a simulator in which you had to prepare a motorcycle for a race during particular weather conditions. This involved choosing the right components for the job and afterwards seeing if the brave rider managed to stay on!
What’s nice about the Silverstone Experience as well is that they dedicated a room to the potential motorsport giants of the future. Again, you have descriptions of each person and what they’ve done leading up to this moment which is incredibly nice to see alongside the famous faces from the past and the present.
But perhaps the most impressive part of the whole experience came at the very end. After a member of staff tells you there’s no going back (well, by that I mean they ask if you’ve seen everything in the museum) you go into this cinema room with a huge panoramic screen pretty high up. The film is as if you’re going round the track alongside various other cars, motorcycles and even World War Two fighter jets. The whole thing was quite immersive and certainly a great end to the experience. From there you enter to the gift shop and cafe, neither of which we spent too much time in.
But there was one other cool thing we did. From the café, you can actually enter and walk around on a section of the Silverstone Circuit itself. Well, admittedly, it’s an incredibly small section of it, if you went too far I feel that someone from security would quickly stop you, but after the video it does feel quite magical. Underneath a bridge now there’s a giant graffiti painting of Lewis Hamilton that you can go up to which is also very nice.
In all, the Silverstone Experience is a very nice place indeed, and that’s even if you don’t really care for motorsport. Currently tickets can be considered a little pricey at £20 for adults, but children up to 15 are £10 and concessions are £16 so, for families, it’s quite good – especially considering what you can do there. I spent around two hours there, however I would say that if you wanted to do every activity then you could easily spend three. Oh and one more thing, for now at least, remember to book in advance. This just lets them know at what time you’re coming and helps to reduce crowds and make social distancing a lot easier.
Volkswagen Golf Story Part Three:
It’s that time, once again, for us to look at a car’s history that’s so big it would be impossible to do justice in a single ten minute segment. As I’m sure you’re aware, lately the car we’ve been looking at is the Volkswagen Golf, the family hatchback which has been with us for over 45 years. Last time we took a look at the first generation, so this week let’s travel back to September of 1983 when it was officially replaced by the mark 2.
Well, actually, before we do that, let’s go a little further back so we can see how the Golf’s rivals had changed. When the original Golf launched in 1974 its main rivals were cars such as the Austin Allegro, the Citroen GS and, perhaps, the original Ford Escort. All of these cars were saloons, not hatchbacks and not all of them had front wheel drive yet, so the Golf was quite a breath of fresh air. Fast forward to 1983 and practically all small family cars had hatchbacks and were front wheel drive. There was the third generation Ford Escort, the original Vauxhall Astra (or Opel Kadett D), the Austin Maestro and the then brand new Fiat Uno, to name a few.
In short, because the original Golf had shown the world what a good family car could be, they’d also given everyone else a blueprint so they could make a competitor. The new Golf had to keep its reputation and innovate further to stay at the top. The original design for the Mk2 Golf, penned by Giugiaro (one of the most famed car designers in the world) was rejected. Interestingly enough, the following year, this design was picked up by SEAT, who really were only just starting to build their own cars, and it became the very successful Ibiza.
Anyway, the design that was approved of was longer, wider and taller than the original, perhaps as fuel economy wasn’t skyrocketing in price as much as it was in the early to mid-70s. There was also a brand new platform, called the Volkswagen A2, which would be used all the way up until 1998 on some models such as the SEAT Toledo (as by this point Volkswagen had bought the company), the Chery A11 (a Chinese saloon) and the Vortex Corda (a relatively unknown Russian car). But, hey, I’m going a little off-topic here. What you need to know is Volkswagen were serious when it came to developing a very up to the minute car with the second Golf.
The new Golf launched at the Geneva Motor Show of 1983 and was offered with a 1.3, a 1.6, a 1.8 or a 1.6 diesel, in either naturally aspirated or turbocharged forms. This meant that a lot of preferences were covered. The 1.3 gave good economy for the time, supposedly averaging almost 40mpg (that’s 7.1 litres per 100km) and the diesel could get an even more impressive 56.5mpg (albeit with some aspects of performance sacrificed) whereas, on the other side of the scale, there was the 1.8 that could get to 60mph in 10.2 seconds and had a top speed of 111. You could get a Golf as a three or five door hatchback or, from the following year onwards, as the two or four door Jetta saloon.
However, despite the changes to make the Golf better than the original, sadly it wasn’t Car of the Year, with the Fiat Uno getting the highly coveted award instead. Then again, it did get What Car’s ‘Car of the Year’ award 12 months later, which is a bit confusing given it wasn’t a new car by then.
Nevertheless, it sold tremendously well the world over. In America, this was technically the first Golf as the original model was sold under the name Rabbit. The chairman at the time, Carl Hahn, thought that it would be more effective if Volkswagen names were standardized the world over. Over in Japan, they were all fitted with fuel injection and catalysed engines in order to comply with the strict emission regulations, and as a result sold tremendously well, along with its smaller sibling, the Polo.
But, of course, the new Golf needed to take on another challenge that its predecessor triumphed in – the hot hatch model. It actually took until 1985 for the GTI to release and sadly there wasn’t too much of a difference mechanically between it and the late Mk1 models. It used the same 1.8 litre engine fitted with the same Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system that produced a still very impressive 110bhp. But, as time progressed, some new developments were made. The following year saw a 16 valve model enter production, and if you were in America you could also now choose a 2.0 litre engine for even more power. But the most sporty model of them all was the GTI G60, featuring the same 1.8 but now with a supercharger. This Golf could produce 158bhp which was enough to get it to 134mph and to 62mph (100kph) in 8.3 seconds. Bearing in mind that this was still the same hatchback you could take your kids to school in, that was mind blowing and certainly gave the Golf some serious credibility.
There were some other weird and wonderful additions to the range, too, such as 1986’s Golf Syncro. This used a Steyr-Daimler-Puch developed four wheel drive system which was fully automatic. Sadly these were significantly both heavier and more expensive so very few were sold in their three year production, so if you find one out in the wild, well done! Or if you wanted a sportier Golf at twice the price of a standard GTI then how about the Rallye? With the same G60 supercharged 1.8 litre engine this Golf certainly was quick off the mark but also benefitted from the four wheel drive system and more modern styling. Sadly, again, these were very expensive and therefore very rare. In fact, over in America, Volkswagen outright rejected to sell them because they were regarded as a budget car brand (oh how times change).
Then again, I think the most interesting Mk2 Golf wasn’t a sporty model at all. It was the Golf citySTROMer, a fully electric Golf Mk2 released in 1984. It used 16 gel-electrolyte batteries which were positioned under the rear seats and boot area and had a range of, get this, 31 miles (that’s 50km). As I’m sure you can imagine the technology wasn’t there yet so it was also pretty expensive and only 100 were built. However, with the launch of Volkswagen’s ID range very near, it just goes to show how long the company has been itching to provide the world with electric vehicles.
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