Good Oil: Honda going in right direction
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Honda seems to be getting it from all sides within the Formula 1 maelstrom. This year it looks to have supplied the long-suffering McLaren team with a duff engine for the third season in a row, causing even the normally aloof Fernando Alonso to suggest, point-blank, that the only thing stopping the team from obtaining podium placings is its association with Honda.
You have to feel for the Spanish eyebrow enthusiast, however. Since rejoining McLaren in 2015, Alonso has not appeared on the podium in 41 races. Not even near it. So far this season his best finish is 14th.
Here at The Good Oil we can’t help but feel a bit sorry also for the Japanese manufacturer. After all — and to take an analogy from cinema — no one sets out to make a bad movie, do they? But unfortunately, sometimes, despite the best will in the world, that’s what happens. And after three straight misses, Honda has become the Adam Sandler of the motorsport world.
The difference, we suppose, between them and him, is that Honda does care. You can tell. And so does new Formula 1 owner Liberty Media. With a slight sting in its tail, Liberty Media has suggested Honda’s performance isn’t a good advertisement for the sport.
New F1 CEO Chase Carey talks like a man who will be happy only when there are 45 cars on the grid for each race. A big entity like Honda struggling to perform will put other manufacturers off. Or worse, send them over to — ugh — Formula E, where Jaguar and others are already racing electric-powered open-wheelers in the biggest game of slot cars seen.
For its part, Honda looks to be trying to resolve the situation. There has been a bit of personnel shuffling, too, in recent weeks, suggesting it isn’t just the actual oily bits in the back of the race car that are causing issues.
“We are still behind our rivals,” a Honda spokesperson told US media. “But we are going in the right direction.”
Yes, well. A race car that works only in reverse would be slightly concerning.
Custom BMW K75 just too beautiful to race
When old-school bike builders and industrial designers get together, the recipes they cook up are almost always worth taking a closer look at. This BMW K75 is one.
The designer, Mehmet Doruk Erdem, is from Istanbul and the bike builder, Mark Atkinson, is from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Designed to be a Bonneville Salt Flats racer, it’s almost too beautiful to sit on, let alone race. But its shark-like nose, carefully aged leather and hand-built engine are, allegedly, all destined for Speed Week action.
The BMW project is known as Alpha and, aside from every rivet dripping old-school cool, it has been designed to take a land speed title. We hope they give it a good rinse in the local Wash World afterwards; all that salt will be murder on the brushed metal.
Bits of a Porsche 911 ... on your wrist
Okay, so you may not be driving the Porsche 911 of your dreams yet. You may still be semi-reluctantly settling for that — ahem — first-generation Boxster in resale-proof yellow. Or even that Mk 7 Volkswagen Golf (hey, it’s the same family).
But here’s a way of owning some authentic 911-ness, and spending only a couple thousand dollars: get one destroyed and then reshaped into a wrist watch.
And you don’t need to scour online auction sites looking for genuine Porsche engine components to take to with a mallet, either. Someone else, someone much more talented, will do that for you.
You see there’s a Kickstarter company that manufactures rather beautiful wrist watches out of salvaged Porsche 911 parts.
You can even choose between three styles depending on your particular Porsche penchant: vintage, contemporary or turbo.
The maker says every watch comes with a highly precise Miyota Calibre 9100 automatic movement engineered by Japanese watchmakers, has a Vehicle Identification Number engraved on the side along with a brief bio of the 911 your watch was constructed from.
Each dial is unique, says the manufacturer, because each timepiece uses a different salvaged Porsche part.
Everything is designed to remind the wearer of the 911’s design attributes, whether they be a feature of the dashboard, something reminiscent of a Fuchs alloy, or the font of the badging.
Nice. Although such wrist-wear would be complete only if it features programmable alarms which shout phrases along the lines of “Get out of my way!”, “I’ve got a 911 don’t you know!” or “It’s pronounced ‘Porsh-uh!’”