The Good Oil: Mansell signs with Mitsubishi
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Retired F1 drivers - particularly world champions - have a propensity to turn their successful driving careers into other successful non-driving careers after their racing days are behind them.
Niki Lauda started an airline, Jody Scheckter runs an organic farming empire, Martin Brundle is one of the best motorsport commentators in the game and Jacques Villeneuve is the world's leading expert on Jacques Villeneuve.
And Nigel Mansell? Well he can now sell you a Mitsubishi!
The famously mustachioed Brummie whiner has just opened a new dealership on British Channel Island Jersey which he runs with his son, Leo. It is attached to the service station that the pair opened 14 years ago and has sprung from the "Mansell Collection", a used car dealership.
US website Autoblog says the two Mansells recently attended a two-day dealer training session, where Nigel wasn't actually widely recognised by attendees ...
So why Mitsubishi? Apparently the Mansells were adamant they wanted a volume brand as opposed to high-end exotics. So again, we ask, why Mitsubishi?
At least some lucky Jersey residents can now say, "My mother-in-law just bought a Mirage off Nigel Mansell!" Bet you never thought anyone would EVER say that!
Spider and the EcoBeast
It seems Fiat has filed trademarks for "124" and "124 Spider" as model names, leading to speculation that the Fiat version of the Mazda MX-5 - that was supposed to be an Alfa Romeo, remember? - will resurrect the famous name.
The chances of an Alfa being based on the joint MX-5 venture were scuppered when CEO Sergio Marchionne said Alfas had to be built in Italy (presumably so the rest of the world would know who to blame), so a Fiat or Abarth became the next most likely choice.
A new 124 hardtop and Spider based on the MX-5 now look likely.
The second trademark filing just before the end of 2014 that has us excited is Ford's filing for the name - wait for it - "EcoBeast".
With the EcoBoost name now known and accepted around the world because of the thoroughly excellent range of engines it is attached to, it seems Ford may be about to wind things up a bit with a bit of excessively powerful EcoBoost silliness.
We would imagine something like an F-150 Raptor or Mustang would pack an engine called the EcoBeast, but the possibilities are endlessly tantalising ...
Of course, filing for a name and using it on something that goes into production are two vastly different things ...
In the dying gasps of the year that was 2014 two recalls were issued that have to be The Good Oil's absolute favourite of the year. And for very different reasons.
The first is a tribute to the ruthless mathematical efficiency of German manufacturers, when Porsche issued a recall on December 29 for some Cayennes that might not have had the suspension alignment on the front and rear axles tightened with the specified torque.
The number of cars affected in North America? Two.
That's right, Porsche issued an official recall for two cars. Almost as if it was taking a humorous crack at the recall pain suffered by GM in North America this year ...
The second recall is a testament to the enduring stupidity of the human animal, particularly those in the North American continent.
It seems Ford had to issue a recall for 13,574 Lincoln MKC SUVs to move the start button to "prevent occupants inadvertently shutting off the engine while driving".
Yep, apparently the start button had been placed too close to the touchscreen.
Does that mean the MKC's ride is so crap that it is possible to miss the touchscreen and hit the button?
Or that your average American can't tell the difference between a touchscreen and a big red button marked "Start/Stop"?
We may never know ...
We are the world
• Four people in a minivan in Michigan, USA had a harrowing ride early this week, when their vehicle became stuck underneath a semi truck.
After sliding into the back of the big rig due to the slippery conditions, the vehicle was dragged 25kms along the interstate until police could stop the 18-wheeler.
The Roscommon County Sheriff received a call from the surely panicked driver around 1:57 AM.
Photos taken by the officers showed the van caked in snow, which led to the van's occupants being unable to tell dispatchers exactly where the vehicle was located.
The passengers only knew they were going northbound on the I-75. The truck driver also wasn't aware of the stricken minivan attached to the big rig.
Deputies from another county eventually helped find the semi truck and minivan and brought them to a safe stop.
While the front of the van took heavy damage, there are not believed to be any serious injuries to those inside, though the four occupants of the van were still taken to a local hospital to be checked out.
• France has announced that "only" 940 cars we set alight on New Year's Eve. The government believes that roughly 80 per cent of the fires were started by people looking to make an insurance claim.
Koenigsegg has recalled the only Agera sold in the US.
Toyota's recall over "unintended acceleration" in 2010.
General Motors' ignition switch recall keeps growing.
The number of cars recalled in the US since 1966.