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Good Oil: Pop into Harrods, pick up a Caterham
Hoity-toity Caterham roadster
There isn’t much in a Caterham roadster to personalise. Nevertheless, the bespoke British sports car company has just unveiled a new “Signature” customisation programme, where pared-down racing car enthusiasts can add their own elements to their expensive tin bath on wheels.
To launch the programme, Caterham has released a special Harrods edition car. That’s right: as in the hoity-toity London department store.
The special edition — based on a Caterham Seven 420S model — showcases ways in which customers can add individual elements to the car. But if they want the Harrods one, it’ll set them back £60,300 ($104,460), about double the domestic market price of a base-level Caterham.
Buyers of the special edition model get a custom green paint job (the same shade used by Harrods) accented with white and gold racing stripes, a tan leather interior, a wooden dashboard, Harrods logos stitched into the seat backs and a Harrods “H” on the top of the gear stick and on the ignition key.
There’s no mention of a cheese-cutter cap and string-backed driving gloves as part of the package, but track day attendees are required to salute you every time you enter the pits. Probably.
Death Race overhauled
The trailer for Death Race 2050 — a revamp of the Roger Corman-produced cult hit Death Race 2000 — is mind-bendingly strange, and a lot of fun. It looks so schlocky and oversaturated colour-wise that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally clicked on a link to the trailer for the original 1975 movie.
The original film’s tag line reads like it was crafted for gravelly piped voice-over artist Don LaFontaine: “In a dystopian future, a cross-country automobile race requires contestants to run down innocent pedestrians to gain points that are tallied based on each kill’s brutality.”
Suffice to say the remake — which stars expert scenery-chewer Malcolm McDowell and Kiwi actor Manu Bennett in the role David Carradine played in the original — will be no cheery Pixar-style affair.
In fact, judging by the trailer, director G.J. Echternkamp (Hard Candy) took one look at Mad Max: Fury Road and thought: “I’ll have some of that.” But with cartoonish buffoonery drawn from The Dukes of Hazzard, too.
Aside from a glimpse of an exploding Hummer, all the cars in the trailer are unrecognisable; designed — as the plot tells us — to kill people using protruding spikes and crushing, slashing mandibles. Think a collision between Batman’s Tumbler batmobile and a cutlery drawer.
Find the trailer online for a bit of amusement. The film will be out in January.
Bentley trials concierge refuelling service
If you’ve just donned your matching Bentley driving outfit for that trip out in the Mulsanne Speed, the last thing you want to do is risk getting filthy while — ugh — filling your luxury vehicular conveyance with petroleum.
Help is at hand for the super-rich-slash-lazy. Well, it is in California. Bentley wants to spare its esteemed clientele the tedium of having to drive to the local petrol station and mix with common folk while going through the somewhat undignified process of refuelling.
The luxury manufacturer has announced a “concierge refuelling” trial, which dispatches a tanker truck to the owner’s driveway to refuel their car.
Bentley has partnered with California-based Filld to provide the service. One simply uses the Filld app on one’s jewel-encrusted Issey Miyake (or similar) limited edition mobile phone to request the refuel service. But more than that, the mobile fuel attendant — who will apparently turn up wearing white gloves straight out of the 1950s — will also wash the windscreen and check the oil level and tyre pressure.
The app enables the car to communicate with Filld stakeholders so the service person can track the location of the car and be allowed to open the fuel tank. Bentley customers need only nominate a time for the refuelling to take place.
As far as exclusive customer satisfaction goes, Bentley might be on to something here. What do you reckon Nissan? Suzuki? A concierge refuel service for your thousands of customers? Hmm, perhaps not.