Good Oil: Hail to the new Chief's Beast
Trumps New Wheels
It has been public knowledge for some time that the United States presidential limousine fleet is due for an upgrade.
A couple of years ago the United States Secret Service invited not-so-secret bids from US carmakers to replace the 2009-era vehicle with a new limo.
What no one in 2014 would have anticipated though, is the 2017 model would be transporting Donald Trump on a regular basis.
The new vehicle (dubbed The Beast) is set to debut at Trump's presidential inauguration next year.
What's changing with the new limo? Well it seems the vehicle has now become as big as it practicably can get, so as much as President Trump would probably like his daily drive to be a gold-plated Batmobile Tumbler-style weapon on wheels, its going to remain very blocky, very long and -- outwardly at least -- very conventional.
Overall the Cadillac Escalade-based limo will repeat much of the 2009-era cars' feature set.
With bits from Cadillacs and other GM models in its construction, it's kind of remarkable to note that the vehicle the leader of the free world travels around in is a bit of a parts bin special.
The limo seats seven in a 2+3+2 layout, so the Pres can travel with a few key aides in a conference-style configuration. Handy for crisis meetings on the run.
It will, of course, feature high-tech communications equipment, video-conferencing facilities, adjustable suspension so it can get up over high kerbing and an engine of suitable horsepower (the details of which are secret).
In essence, the presidential limo is more of a run-about for the head of state. It's used primarily to get the President between official engagements and airports; a journey any longer than about half an hour is evidently frowned upon in the Secret Service operations manual. Air Force One remains the Chief's chief mode of transport. And -- as far as we know -- that's where the really cool secretive tech is.
Citroen's rally van can
Citroen is chuffed with its new mid-sized Dispatch delivery van and it has made a rally-themed video to go along with its debut.
Er, rally themed? Okay, we know Citroen Racing has taken a year out of the World Rally Championship to concentrate on building a new car ... but this isn't it, is it?
No. But having been built on PSAs EMP2 car platform (that is what the Peugeot 308 hatchback is built on), the French manufacturer is keen to show off its car-like qualities. Rally car qualities, even.
And as a manufacturer, Citroen should know what can be achieved on gravel; what with the 90-plus WRC race wins and those eight Manufacturer World Championship titles to its name.
In the YouTube clip the Dispatch is piloted by WRC driver Kris Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle from the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team. Rather surprisingly, the resultant promo clip is rather cool -- certainly the most exciting deployment of a delivery van we've seen in recent times.
Meeke manages to get some lovely drifts out of the van around a purpose-built rallycross track, while co-driver Nagle performs a few of the more mundane everyday tasks you'd expect your Dispatch to help with, such as call the local hardware store via Bluetooth-paired phone to order supplies.
Heard of Rams Nurburgring record Ewe had to be there
Usually manufacturers are trying to get around the infamous Nurburgring-Nordschleife (the so-called Green Hell) as quickly as possible.
There is also usually a distinct lack of Confederate flags adorning the pointy-edged finery you'll often find in pit lane waiting to head out on to the sinewy track of legend.
We're unsure whether the toll gate at the beginning of the 20km track features some sort of cloakroom for guns, but if it does it would have been well-stocked last week as a Swiss-headquartered importer of American cars to Europe organised for a Guinness World Record attempt for the most pick-up trucks to perform a parade lap of the track.
The pick-ups in question were big ol' Rams of varying ages and the event organiser managed to gather together a grand total of 1152, shattering the previous record -- which was set at a race track in Mexico -- by more than 700 vehicles.
All very admirable if you like this sort of thing.
But here at The Good Oil we find this gathering together hundreds of examples of the same car a bit odd. Why would you want to look at endless rows of the exact same vehicle in different colours?
Perhaps it's an ownership thing, being part of a tribe and all that, but give us a bit of variety every time.