From the “I thought you were dead!” file: British sports car manufacturer TVR is planning four new models over the next 10 years using brainiac car designer Gordon Murray’s iStream carbon manufacturing process.
The first will be built around a lightweight carbon-fibre composite tub and shell, produced using Murray’s methods. TVR chairman Les Edgar said it’s adopting construction methods that have been the preserve of high-end supercar manufacturing but will offer the technology at a fraction of the price.
“We have made sure that our new sports car can really shine and deliver beyond expectations,” said Edgar.
“The carbon manufacturing process really is a game-changer, and one I’m delighted to offer to all of our early adopter Launch Edition customers within the package cost.”
As far as The Good Oil can ascertain, no actual price has been mentioned yet.
While the company’s aims are certainly lofty, not everyone is taking them with a pinch of the proverbial. Three hundred fans have put down deposits for the new car.
The Good Oil can only applaud TVR’s ambitions. But in order to be a true TVR, let’s ensure the cabin smells a bit like industrial-strength bonding glue, that the exhaust note is so ear-bleedingly loud it’ll rattle windows two suburbs away, and the process for starting the car is convoluted enough to require three different steps, one of which needs to be performed while standing outside it.
MODEL BEHAVIOUR FROM FIAT
Zoolander was a great film. Probably not one that demanded a sequel; but a great film nonetheless.
Now that there actually is a sequel on the horizon, the inevitable rolling thunder clouds of product placement have started blotting out the light of artistic endeavour.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a car tie-in.
Derek Zoolander (played by a possibly worn-down Ben “oh all right I’ll make the damn sequel” Stiller) is the star of a new advertising campaign for the Fiat 500X.
That’s the supersized five-door version of the Fiat 500, which Fiat Chrysler has cringingly started insisting is “so hot right now”, with all the misplaced enthusiasm of a drunk uncle at a wedding.
Actually, the commercial isn’t half bad (check it out at driven.co.nz). It features the ridiculously good-looking Stiller being snapped by a red-light camera in his Fiat 500X and ... well, reacting as only a professional model would.
In theme at least, the Zoolander campaign follows the genuinely hilarious Dodge Durango series of advertisements from 2013, which featured Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character from another comedy sequel, Anchorman 2.
Fiat will be hoping for similar sales results. Dodge claimed sales of its Durango model (known as the Journey in New Zealand) rose by around 40 per cent; an increase they put down in part to the Ron Burgundy campaign. The idea of using a TV or movie character to endorse a car certainly isn’t new.
Nigel Tufnel (aka clever clogs actor Christopher Guest) once appeared as his Spinal Tap band-member self in a Volkswagen commercial. And though not a character — but perhaps in character — hot-head weirdo actor Gary Busey once fronted an advertisement for a Kia (not the manufacturer but, shockingly, a local Kia dealership) in which he did that “Gary Busey thing”; all disjointed pronouncements, pressure-cooker reactions and flailing arms.
You could probably even argue that the memorable early 1980s “Crumpy and Scotty” advertisements for the Toyota Hilux featured a character, although anecdotal evidence suggests Barry Crump the man and Barry Crump the identity were pretty much the same person all along.
Finally, a good use for snow
Picture / supplied
A person waving the Stars and Stripes as a Jeep Wrangler tows them on a snowboard through the blizzard-choked streets of New York City. It sounds like the cover art for some awful country singer’s latest album, but it’s much, much cooler than that.
In the wake of the enormous blizzard that effectively brought the eastern seaboard of the US to a standstill last weekend, some great images have surfaced. National Geographic magazine ran some lovely shots on their website of snow-covered NYC landmarks set against clear-blue skies. But here at The Good Oil, we prefer the video uploaded to YouTube by Casey Neistat, showing him and a couple of snowsuit-clad pals tooling about the semi-deserted streets of Manhattan at the end of a towrope.
5 OWNERS TVR’s first boss was founder Trevor Wilkinson
325 POUNDS The first TVR was sold in 1949 to Wilkinson’s cousin