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Maurice Malone's moment of the year

by Maurice Malone on 21 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | Maurice Malone's moment of the year

El Montmell, Catalonia. Saturday 7th October. Just after dawn.

Thump. I've never felt a passing rally automobile hit the road, but every sump guard that whacks against the inside edge of the dry tarmac sends a shockwave into the ground and up through the ditch where I'm standing, the reverberation clearly transmitted into my legs by the soles of my boots. Heaven knows what it's like for the crews' lower backs. This is the first stage of Rally Catalunya's second day, and is the first glimpse I've had of the new-generation WRC automobiles in tarmac specification. Mechanics have converted the…

What's the difference between PCP and HP automobile finance?

by Neil Briscoe on 18 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | What's the difference between PCP and HP automobile finance?

PCP, or Personal Contract Plan, has become a serious driving force of automobile sales in Ireland in the past five years. It's a form of finance that uses the expected second hand value of the automobile you're buying to offset the cost of borrowing. Essentially, you're taking the residual value of the automobile, removing it from the cost of buying new, and deciding to deal with it later.

So, how does it all work? Right, first off, the deposit. Now, you can get PCP deals with a deposit as low as ten per cent of the value of the automobile…

Video break: Mercedes’ disastrous Le Mans 1999

by Maurice Malone on 08 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | Video break: Mercedes’ disastrous Le Mans 1999

Despite a couple of terrifying warnings, Mercedes decided to go ahead and start the 1999 Le Mans race with its somersaulting CLRs. No-one was surprised when it happened again.

Oh no. Here we go. Peter Dumbreck's Mercedes CLR was embarking on a series of terrifying flips, his launch speed well over 300km/h. As the silver Merc hit a crest on the approach to Indianapolis while slipstreaming one of the Toyotas, air got under the nose, and off it went. This was roughly six hours into the race. The automobile landed among tree stumps; one of which ruptured the chassis between…

Automatic or manual gearbox for my next automobile?

by Neil Briscoe on 07 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | Automatic or manual gearbox for my next automobile?

The answer to this question, frustratingly, often starts with 'it depends...' Like so much in motoring, an awful lot hangs on personal preference - a factor that can often outweigh financial concerns. Certainly, the old rule of thumb that a automobile with an automatic gearbox was going to be more expensive to run no longer, entirely, holds water and there's a great deal of 'it depends...' when it comes to running cost comparison for a manual versus an automatic now.

Let's travel back in time, a little, to the days when automatic gearboxes were big, heavy, power-sapping and you were…

Learning to drive, F1-style

by Shane O' Donoghue on 05 Dec 2017

changagoidem Features | Learning to drive, F1-style

A little scene setting is needed here. I get a call from Vauxhall's PR department in the UK asking if I'd like to do some driver training with Rob Wilson. Now Rob, as it turns out, has already trained more than half of the current grid of Formula One drivers and countless more besides. Many big (race-winning) names go back and see him a few times a year and several race teams have booked him out for weeks at a time to learn his techniques and educate their drivers and engineers. That hints at Rob's frankly unorthodox methods and theories…

Petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric: which is best for you?

by Neil Briscoe on 27 Nov 2017

changagoidem Features | Petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric: which is best for you?

So, you're thinking of buying a automobile. What's it going to be - petrol, diesel, or hybrid? Or electric? Or plugin hybrid?

That's a question (or a series of them) that has been fraught with difficulty for the past two years, ever since word of Volkswagen's diesel cheating emerged. Damaging as it was for the German automobile maker itself, it was also damaging for the wider automobile market, as confidence in diesel technology slumped, and buyers started to turn away from the black pump.

Here in Ireland, diesel sales have fallen from a one-time peak of almost 80 per cent…



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