Thursday, May 27, 2010
So its now time for me to start writing another one of my 'unbiased' points of view on a certain car or cars. The past six months have been pretty good to me in terms of motoring as I started to write for myautoblog.org and then for www.carthrottle.com. I have to thank a very old pal of mine, Chan Lee Meng of uglychickens.blogspot.com who pointed me to the direction where I should be paid for what I write as he thinks that some of my articles are pretty decent. I suppose he was right, and I therefore owe him one. Big time.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
It is 100% better to drive fast than any stock Perodua Myvi SE which sells for RM52,000. It is also better than actually spending an extra RM13,000+ on a basic Toyota Vios J with an auto box. Don't mention the Saga. That is just a form of transport slightly better than buying a Datsun Sunny.
It is the best handling extremely affordable 4 door sedan on the market. There are some issues of course. Wait for a full write up soon.
But, while testing a brand new car (the Persona was two weeks old) , I thoroughly enjoyed hustling this 20 year old car around.
Of course this wasn't the first time I've had the opportunity to do so in this car but this time, I was driving it for most of the day (swapping driving duties with the owner) as we scouted for parts shops, number plates, paint shops for the car and food for us throughout Klang Valley. I also really pushed it hard through a few corners, like the Jalan Semantan left hander down into Jalan Duta at around 80km/h.........and it was....something worth writing in detail about.
After driving a two week old car and a twenty year old car in the same day the conclusion is utterly surprising. I will also be writing about this and the cornering experience in both cars soon!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
-Y.C Foo's STI
This happened last Sunday. It was an event worth watching, even if it was really wet. I wore traditional moccasin style loafers which had their soles stitched to the insole. The water wicked through the threads causing feet to be really damp throughout the whole event. But it was worth it. Read and enjoy by clicking on the title above or here.
-Andy having a breather after a wet session
- Jun's front endA big shout out to LMY Automobile & Services Sdn Bhd (SS13 Subang Jaya), the proprietor of LMY cum car tuner extraordinaire Mr Andy Lee, Mr Foo, Mr. Jun and all the Snailz boys who attended the event and made this article happen.
- a 430 Scud and LMY's S204
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Carthrottle.com. Click on the title or here to read it.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Ah, yes.....almost nothing is sacred anymore. I wrote this piece of news for myautoblog.org and I predict that there will be nothing really "English" for us to buy anymore. Its not only about cars. British Brogues aren't British, British pottery by factories in Indonesia, etc.
No I'm not British. But its the loss of hand-craftsmanship as well as the loss heritage that worries me. I got a ride in a proper London Taxi when I was really young. But my kid may not have a chance to do so if we don't go there by the next decade or so if things go as the Chinese plan. Go on and read the article. Click on the title or where it's highlighted above.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Last weekend I had a go in a Perodua Mvyi SE. I had to help a good friend of mine move cars around as the family was preparing the front of the house for a kenduri (a get together). This car is the Myvi that Perodua sells fully loaded. It comes with seats, doors and wheels. Like all Myvis but adds tough looking front and rear bumpers, side skirts, different (slightly sportier in design) rims but still in the same size, ABS, airbags, leather seats and the latest ones come with a USB connection to play the thousands of (mostly illegal) downloaded songs through the factory sound system. There is sadly no power or handling upgrades coupled with this version of the Myvi.
This Myvi SE or Myvi Special Edition comes with everything a supermini should and could have. And because of this Perodua sells about a gazillion units of this per day. Especially in that Tangerine Orange colour you see almost everywhere. Everyone seems to like this version of the Myvi, guys seem to think its sporty, girls like it because it comes in that funky orange. Both sexes must think that they've made a fantastic choice by buying the most expensive of all the Myvis around. And they are happy with it, oblivious to the fact that the SE is actually the worst Myvi of them all, in terms of actual driving pleasure. In terms of transport, even a bullock cart can do the same function.
So now some of you Myvi owners out there may be actually shaking your heads in disbelief or may be about to start cussing and swearing at yours truly right now but I have valid reasons saying what I did above. Actually I have only two reasons why the SE is a very bad choice over the standard Myvi. And to make it a story worth reading I shall explain forthwith. Oh. Do remember that I am an experienced motorhead. I know what I am saying here.
If you are someone who is supposedly someone who likes driving fast and thinks that he's Jenson Button or a Sebastian Loeb who likes taking fast corners all the time but has a budget of around RM50,000 you should never buy the Myvi SE. The fact of the matter is that the SE, for all of its RM50,000 plus cannot take any corner faster than the standard Myvi, or for that matter any Proton out there in the known universe.
The SE, has seat coverings made from a few cows. This fact I know. But the fact that I didn't know was that the cow was used to cover one of the flattest known vehicular seats in the known universe. Perodua also didn't You see, in order to drive a car you have to get in it and sit yourself down in it. So I get into the SE that has twenty thousand kilometers on the clock, and slide in, and you keep sliding. The leather somehow gets more slippery after some time as the seats do not have any ribbing, perforations or grooves to at least make it grip the body a little. There is no product development at all. Perodua just slapped on the cows because people here think it makes the car more luxurious. More luxurious yes, but more rubbish at cornering too.
This slip-sliding does not stop. The leather seats are so slippery that when you do a sharp right or left turn your butt heads towards the outside of the corner. If you really take a right hand bend at faster than usual speeds you are surely to end up on the passenger side if you don't hold on tightly to the steering wheel. This is disappointing for a guy that relishes in the finer points of handling .
If you bought a basic Myvi, it would come in cloth seats. Of course the seats have the same lack of side support and the same lack of under tigh support as the SE, but the fabric used (like in other cloth seats) tend to grip to the clothes you wear. Hence you get slightly more support during corners. So if you took a corner enthusiastically, your butt would at least remain where it is supposed to be. So if you think you're driving the sportiest and most expensive Myvi out there by getting the SE, you're terribly wrong. The fastest Myvis are those with cloth seats. Really.
The next thing that made me slightly upset is the brakes. Really crappy ones at that. The brake pedal is spongy and travels a fair bit before there is a semblance of bite. In other words it lacks feel and progression. It feels as if I'm stepping on a sponge cake or on jelly. Hello Perodua, pedal feel please?
But this problem afflicts all Myvis (maybe less so with those basic models without ABS as ABS robs some feel sometimes), so there is not much you can do about it other than improve the braking system by better pads, brake fluid, discs and maybe steel braided hoses. You may be able to get some pedal feel from this close to a thousand Ringgit investment on the braking system.
Maybe you get monkeys if you pay bananas. The Myvi tries to cover all bases. It covers looks, space and practicality well. It has above average build quality for a car that costs in the RM50,000 region. It has all the stuff an average Malaysian wants to have in a car. Except for brake feel. It will stop. But it lacks tactility and feel. And I hate sponges. With the exception of a certain Mr. Squarepants.
But I can now understand why Jeremy Clarkson didn't like the Myvi, claiming the brakes, seats and the interior were rubbish. He is right in at least two of the three counts. I find the interior of the Myvi decent. It won't cause headaches to anyone buying this car for RM50,000 or thereabouts. If it costs RM2 million, then I'd really bitch about the spartan interior. Its a cheap car for Godssake.
- SO, If you are a girl, or a guy who thinks that it is just a funky kind of car that just allows you to go from here to there, then you can go ahead and enjoy that SE of yours without a complain from yours truly. You have my blessing.
- BUT, if you are an SE owner who purportedly likes motorsport, fast driving and handling and you are now reading this, let me put it plainly....You BOUGHT THE WRONG CAR.
- OR if you still feel you bought the right car, well, it has the WRONG seats then. Buy aftermarket seats with proper support. Even cheaps one would do. Trust me on this. Anything is better than the stock leather seats.
So there you have it. Two major flaws in the Myvi SE. In the base Myvi, you can at least take corners without worry and without the bodykit and sporty looks, the car is no longer a pretentious piece of machinery. You feel normal and its not like driving the SE, which is supposedly special, but isn't special.
If you actually like driving and want to buy a car at the price of a Myvi SE, buy a basic Myvi and use the money you saved to modify the brakes or then again don't bother. Buy any Proton Persona, Gen2 or heaven forbid, the only for hobbits, Satria Neo. At least these cars come in proper seats that at least have some waist and hip hugging seats. Slightly bad quality nonetheless, but at least they corner well.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
This piece of news is interesting to me and that is why I am posting it here.
"Last night at the Hotel Matignon in Paris, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has awarded seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher of the Legion of Honor.
Among the guests at the ceremony held in honor of the person making his return to F1 after three seasons of absence, could see his former boss at Ferrari and current FIA president Jean Todt and his great friend Jean Alesi.
"To find a relevant comparison, we must go back to the origins of Formula One and the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio, your only rival, "said the Prime Minister, we know a great lover of motorsport.
Earlier this month, the Lotus team manager Tony Fernandes had received same award for his contribution to aviation French (Fernandes is head of Air Asia).
Created by Napoleon in 1802, the title of Officer of the Legion of Honor is the highest honor that France's government may grant a non-French citizen." From Autoblog france.
1. Tony Fernandez contributed to French Aviation? How? Putting more croissants into his airlines? AirAsia for sure does not have any direct routes to France. Maybe lots of French tourists use AirAsia, in Asia? Maybe French people like giving out awards to people who've accomplished a lot throughout the world. Too many maybes.
2. Schummi on the other hand may be quite deserving of the award. He surely had tons of people throughout Europe admiring him for his achievements in motorsport. A whole lot of young Frenchmen would want to follow in his footsteps. But maybe they should become chefs and cooks as the French create beautiful food.
But Dato Tony Fernandez?
Anyway, now that Schummi is under a PETRONAS sponsored company and knowing the Malaysian way of doing things, I predict that Herr Schumacher will be given one of those awards from Malaysia soon. Like Dato' Jean Todt. We may see a Datuk Michael Schumacher soon.
Remember. If you read that Malaysia was giving Schummi an award.....YOU READ IT HERE FIRST!!!!!!