The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance…with very little Zen

6436574947_792e4c36db_z Back in the 70s one of the biggest selling books was “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, the story of a man, his son and a ‘phantom’ third person’s 17-day motorcycle trip from Minnesota to California.

A sort of pop-culture Zen philosophy built around the concept of quality especially when it comes to the repair and smooth running of motorcycles. Despite acquiring something of a cult status, the book had very little factual information on Zen Buddhism and even less on motorcycle repair and maintenance.

All of which is a long-winded way of introducing a whole raft of books really dedicated to the various aspects of motorcycle repair and maintenance. US magazine Motorcycle Classics is offering big discounts on its most popular DIY publications covering such things as suspension, electrical systems, tuning and modifying, etc.

The Fuel Systems Techbook, for instance, ranges from the airbox intake to the exhaust tailpipe, not just carburetors and fuel injectors. The first few chapters look at the theory before moving on to superchargers, pumps and electronics and construction.

Other publications in the Techbooks series cover restoration, basic repairs, airbrush painting and engine management systems. There’s little or no Zen involved, although a bit of patience is essential for carrying out many of the tasks, but if want any technical information on offer advice about US, British, German, Italian or Japanese bikes, these are the books for you. no2

Full details @ Motorcycle Classics


Special Ops’ British Racing Green Berets pounce on world’s biggest car collection



It’s got to be a joke! How can any individual own 543 classic cars, 365 pedal cars and 365 pieces of memorabilia including model aircraft WW1 and WW2. But it’s no joke and what’s more Jaguar Land Rover has probably forked out about $100million for the full collection.

So who is this obviously obsessed and now very, very rich collector? Well, his name is James Hull and he’s a dentist, only he’s not your average run of the mill ivory snatcher. More an ivory polisher, in that he set up and owns the largest chain of cosmetic dentistry outlets in the UK.

With no room to park a multi-million pound rare Jaguar, Winston Churchill’s Austin, or a Bentley once owned by Elton John outside James’ flash pad in Kensington, west London, he built himself a vast warehouse in Herefordshire to house the entire collection.

hullsBut the effort of fighting off a few bouts of life threatening cancer has led him to think it’s time to take things a little easier.

“Travelling all over the world to build the collection over the years has been a labour of love and a life’s work, so my primary motivation was not to get the maximum price but rather to secure the future of the collection in this country with the right custodian.

“I have got to know Jaguar Land Rover well in recent years and they have borrowed cars from the collection for events such as the Mille Miglia and supporting Jaguar in China so they are the perfect custodians to take the collection forward and I know it is in safe hands,” he said.

Each car has its own story and all have played a part in the history of British motoring. A number of Dr Hull’s cars have appeared at motor shows around the world, competed in the Mille Miglia Italian road-race and even been used for the Queen’s 80th birthday parade.


There are also dozens of cars which have won concours awards, and a collection of British campervans from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, as well as early Land Rovers, classic Range Rovers, and a Sinclair C5 from the 1980s.

Jaguar Land Rover had to fight off a huge number of collectors to obtain the collection, but the close relationship between the company and James and his desire that the collection remain in Britain helped carry the day for one of pioneers of British Racing Green.


According to Graham Searle, from the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, James is a well-known Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club member with an immense passion for Jaguar cars.

“Most of his cars are original, or restored to original specification, with great attention to detail and over the years he must have won more concours awards than any other Jaguar collector.”

James Hull made his money after founding James Hull Associates in 1987, becoming the market leader in cosmetic dentistry, specialising in teeth whitening, veneers and implants. He was devastated in 2006 when vandals broke into one of his warehouses, before hotwiring the Jaguars and crashing dozens of them. Police later said they had treated the cars like dodgems.


The collection has at its core over 130 Jaguars and includes early Swallow sidecars and Swallow coach built Austin Sevens, plus a full and diverse range of pre-war SS models, 7 XK 120s including a rare alloy-bodied example, C- and D-types, an XKSS, 8 E-types, 30 classic Jaguar Mark’ model saloons plus 19 XJS models and over 20 XJ saloons with interesting and famous previous owners.

The acquisition is part of an increased commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to protect and nurture the rich heritage possessed by both brands. It follows the recent creation of Special Operations, which has been established to develop and oversee heritage and the creation of special vehicles, such as the recently announced Jaguar Project 7, a limited edition F-Type, which takes its inspiration from the legendary D-type. The Project 7 name refers to the seven outright Le Mans victories scored by Jaguar.

As for James, he’s rumoured to be on the look out for a new hobby which his wife hopes will be more in the line of a stamp collection or old 45s that would have to include this from Tommy Steele:


AMG 4.0-ltr V8 biturbo is a real hot inside V



Mercedes-AMG is putting the AMG 4.0-ltr V8 biturbo engine at the sporting heart of the new Mercedes-AMG GT. With peak power of up to 375kW (510 hp) and maximum torque of up to 650Nm the new engine follows a V8 tradition that started in 1967 with the M100 in the 300SEL 6.8 AMG racing car.

Two turbochargers are mounted on inside in a V configuration, often referred to a ‘hot inside V’, the benefits of which include a compact engine design, optimum response and low exhaust gas emissions.

Dry sump lubrication allows the engine to be installed lower, which moves the centre of gravity closer to the road to form the basis for high lateral acceleration.

Merc claim that the combination of hot inside V and dry sump lubrication is a world first for a sports car engine and that a dry weight of 209kg also makes it the lightest engine in its competitive segment.

With a displacement of 3982 cc, in terms of technology the V8 is closely related to the AMG 2.0-litre turbo engine in the A 45 AMG, CLA 45 AMG and GLA 45 AMG. Both AMG engines have the same bore/stroke ratio and use third-generation direct petrol injection with piezo injectors.

enigneThe aluminium crankcase is produced using sand casting technology and features a closed deck design that increases strength whilst keeping the weight as low as possible, and enables high injection pressures of up to 130 bar. The cylinder bore surfaces feature nanoslide technology that is claimed to make them twice as hard as conventional cast-iron linings.

Nanoslide was developed by Daimler and has been used in over 200,000 engines and is also being deployed in the new Mercedes F1 V6 turbo engine. ‘Spectacle honing’ is another measure to reduce friction and fuel consumption. In this complex process, the cylinder liners receive their mechanical surface treatment when already bolted in place.

A jig resembling spectacles is bolted to the crankcase in place of the cylinder head mounted later. Any cylinder warpage that might occur during final assembly is taken into account or eliminated as the cylinder liners are honed.

Dry sump lubrication eliminates the need for a conventional oil pan and allows the engine to be dropped 55 millimetres and ensures direct oil extraction from the crankcases for optimal engine lubrication, even at high speeds on bends.

Dry sump lubrication deploys a suction pump, a pressure pump and an external oil tank with a capacity of 12 litres. The oil suction pump extracts oil directly from the crankcases, cylinder heads and valve body assembly and delivers it to the external oil tank at a pump output of up to 250 litres per minute.

The lubricant remains there for just five seconds before being pumped back around the high-performance engine. On-demand control of the pressure oil pump takes into account the engine rpm, temperature and load characteristics stored by the control unit.

image112000_bThe cylinder heads are made of a zirconium alloy and four overhead camshafts control a total of 32 valves. A combination of biturbo charging and direct petrol injection, with spray-guided combustion, increases thermodynamic efficiency reducing fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions. Piezo injectors spray the fuel at high pressure into eight combustion chambers, multiple injection occurs on-demand and the delivery of fuel is electronically controlled and fully variable for a fuel pressure between 100 and 200 bar.

Electronically controlled blow-off valves ensure a very immediate and direct response. The maximum charge pressure is 1.2 bar; the turbochargers have a maximum speed of 186,000 revolutions per minute. For combustion purposes, 2.3 times more oxygen atoms are pressed into the turbocharged engine, as would be the case in a naturally aspirated engine.

The two firewall catalytic converters in thin-walled ceramic material positioned down from the exhaust gas turbochargers respond very quickly due to their close-coupled configuration. In conjunction with two metal, underfloor catalytic converters, the AMG 4.0-ltr V8 delivers effective emission control.

There is an exhaust flap on either side of the rear silencer, which is actuated variably on a logic-controlled basis depending on the transmission mode, driver’s power requirement and the engine speed. At low loads and engine rpm the flaps remain closed. This causes the exhaust gases to cover a longer distance and flow through an additional damping element so that the engine sound is pleasantly subdued and irritating frequencies are effectively suppressed.

When the driver accelerates, the flaps progressively open so that although some of the exhaust gases cover the longer, acoustically dampened distance, most travel the shorter distance. Under full load at higher engine speeds, both flaps are fully opened, thus allowing the occupants to enjoy the powerful sound typical of an AMG V8.

Other sophisticated solutions deployed on the engine’s periphery include:

  • Separate cooling-air flow for the exhaust gas turbochargers under high thermal load;
  • Active engine mounts for excellent lateral dynamics with no loss of comfort;
  • Auxiliary units efficiently powered by two short, low-friction belts with four grooves. Intelligent positioning of auxiliary units virtually neutralises belt forces on the crankshaft;
  • Two-mass flywheel with centrifugal pendulum prevents torsional vibration on the driveline for a smooth ride;
  • ECO start/stop function and alternator management to save fuel.



Holden Cruze stars in Tassie short film


The Holden Cruze Z-Series has starred in a new short film shot in beautiful Tasmania by photographer, Nathan Kaso and director, Timothy Melville. The duo set out from Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters with a pair of Cruze Z-Series to explore the island state and its stunning landscape for a two-week period of filming.

The short film features the new Cruze Z-Series exploring Tasmania using unique time-lapse footage similar to that for which Kaso received his previous accolades, Miniature Melbourne.

The excursion put the new Cruze Z-Series through its paces on various road surfaces, from lakeshores to mountain summits, with the car playing the lead role in the film.

After two weeks of intense filming, both Nathan and Tim were pleased with the resulting footage in which the Cruze Z-Series performs exceptionally.

“We wanted to make something unique that would appeal to a wide audience and incorporating cars into the time-lapse process was an exciting challenge and something that has not been attempted before,” said Nathan.

“It was an ambitious project to undertake, but we were really fortunate with the conditions and came away with some beautiful footage.”





VACC calls on Grim Reaper not to kill off a nice little earner



Motorists in Victoria being warned of a huge increase in the number of unsafe vehicles if the state government changes the roadworthy inspection system is the latest in what looks like a pretty crude scare campaign from the VACC.

One can’t blame an association for standing up for the interests of its members, which after all is why it is there in the first place, but does a small change to a transfer system that will bring Victoria into line with the other states really merit such emotional rubbish as depicted above?

All VicRoads is proposing is the removal of roadworthy inspections on the transfer of vehicles under the age of three or five years, which will mean little or nothing to most motorists, but a hell of a lot to those that carry out the inspections.

So it’s not surprising that the VACC immediately voiced its opposition and has continually informed the government that any change to the system would have a devastating impact vehicle safety and endanger lives.

According to the organisation’s press release ‘many’ vehicles inspected by licensed vehicle testers are death traps and even the Grim Reaper himself would think twice about driving one.

Undoubtedly there will be vehicles that fall into this category but the VACC is being less than genuine when it does not say how many is many and also whether any of these so called death traps were in the three to five year age group outlined in the changes.

The organisation points out that the current system has served Victoria well for more than fifty years as if the technology of the motor vehicle has remained unchanged in that time and completely ignores the fact that most new vehicle’s sold in the last three years carry warranties for the bulk, if not all, of that period.

Anyway, the pressure seems to be paying off with the Victorian government having already delayed for nearly two years a move into the 21st century.


A view of traffic from the window of the VACC office in Melbourne

A view of traffic from the window of the VACC office in Melbourne


Lego gets into the classic Mr Bean Mini



At long last someone has come up with a great way of owning that overpriced sardine can commonly referred to as a classic Mini. The Lego Group is expanding the fleet of its product series Creator Expert to include the original version from the UK.

As of August 2014, a classic Mr Bean Mini will be available as a 1007-part Lego set, providing authentic building and driving fun for all fans of the popular plastic bricks and the tin can. The designers based their model on the last generation of the Mini Cooper built up to the year 2000.

When fully assembled, the British Racing Green car is 25 centimetres long, 14 centimetres wide, 11 centimetres high – the roof, exterior mirror caps and bonnet stripes in white, the checked pattern on the beige seats and the additional headlamps on the hexagonal radiator grille.

The doors, bonnet and tailgate of the Mini Cooper can be opened, providing a view of other precisely replicated details. The four-cylinder engine is transversely mounted and the steering wheel, gear lever, handbrake handle, backrests and headrests are all movable. The luggage compartment has a fully packed picnic basket complete with a checked blanket.

All in all it sounds much more exciting than the real thing and about the same value for money!

An Ingemium by any other name will still have a natural quality


Natural quality, natural character; nature, disposition, temper, inclination, intelligence, natural capacity are all dictionary definitions of the word Ingenium. You can take your pick what Jaguar had in mind when it chose the word for a new family of diesel and petrol engines based on a strong and compact aluminium block. Here’s what the company has to say about what Engine Builder magazine reckons is a pretty hot unit.

Sharing the same bore, stroke, cylinder spacing and 500cc cylinder capacity, these blocks allow flexibility for future development of smaller or larger engine options. This modular design also enables both petrol and diesel variants to share common internal components and calibration strategies.

74837jag-e1.thumbThis reduced complexity, simplifies manufacturing and raises quality, while allowing for quick reaction to changes in global demand. All diesel and petrol Ingenium variants will be equipped with turbochargers that improve performance, particularly at low speeds, and help reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Additional features include high-pressure central direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and start-stop technology.

The Ingenium engine is undergoing a series of integrity and durability tests, which include more than 72,000 hours of dynomometer testing and two million miles of real-world testing, to ensure these engines will meet and exceed all customer expectations. The first Ingenium engine to go into production, a 2.0-litre diesel will be known as AJ200D.


The Ingenium engine features innovations that will deliver outstanding low-end torque, effortless acceleration and excellent emissions performance with low fuel consumption. To accomplish this, a strong focus has been placed on reducing internal friction of powertrain components.

Ingenium engines feature six key technologies that combine to reduce friction, increase refinement and improve performance. They include:

  • Roller bearings on cam and balancer shafts, instead of machined bearing surfaces.
  • Computer-controlled variable oil pumps that save energy by delivering the optimum amount of oil at all speeds, engine loads and temperatures.
  • Computer-controlled variable water pumps that adjust the amount of coolant flow, based on temperature, speed and driving conditions. The split circuit (two path) cooling system offers the benefit of lowered emissions by enabling fast warm ups, and also quick cabin heat on cold days.
  • Simplified cam drive system designed for modular applications.
  • Crankshafts that are offset from the center of the block.
  • Electronically controlled piston-cooling jets to improve efficiency in the oil pump circuit. These jets are switched off when piston cooling is not needed. They also enable the engine to quickly reach its operating temperature, helping to reduce emissions.

Courtesy of


Meguiar’s MotorEx brings out the crowds and the best of breed in hot wheels.



Meguiar’s MotorEx has been and gone for another year with an audience of over 28,000 in Melbourne eclipsing last year’s 25,200 in Sydney. As usual, the event was stacked with muscle cars, street cars, pro cars and lots of others all competing for various awards.

We particularly liked the Best of Breed championship where we expected to see a spruced up poodles and a pretty flash corgi, but it was a Datsun rather than a dashound that ran off with the top award. To be fair, the full title of the competition was the Best of Breed Street Machine championship, which was won by Nathan Borg’s superb Datsun 1200 ute.

Nathan_Borg2During one of many rebuilds, Nathan has stuck with the theme of polish, followed, by paint, followed by polish, etc. For example, the 700hp, turbo 13B engine is painted, the bellhousing is polished, half the Tremec TKO-500 gearbox is painted, the other half polished and on it goes.

Body mods are numerous and all the exterior panels from the doors backwards have been fashioned from scratch. At the other end, the guards, nose cone, along with the panels that wrap down into the engine bay, have all been moulded into one piece. The quarter vent windows are gone, so too are all the factory moulds, which allows the glass to be mounted in flush.

Then there are a couple of monstrous 22-inch rear wheels. The interior is all custom, lots of fibreglass and leather with the seats sunken into the panel work and a centralised digital gauge cluster with the design of its triangular bezel repeated on the rear firewall.

So much for the ‘little guy’: What about some of the big boys? They were all out in force but it was probably Holden that put in the best effort with a display made up of three of its most loved concepts.


In 2005, Holden took the covers off the EFIJY, a wild 21st century hot rod, cum FJ reincarnation. A radical pillar less custom coupe boasting V8 Supercar power under the bonnet, EFIJY utilises a Chevrolet Corvette underbody and state-of-the-art automotive technology throughout.

The ‘Soprano Purple’ paintwork highlights its curvaceous 5.2-metre body, reinterpreting the classic design cues of the iconic 1953 FJ Holden.  It delivers retro, mumbo and gizmos in one glorious package.

Never intended for production, EFIJY was a passionate side project for some Holden design team members and a long-term dream for Holden’s design director, Richard Ferlazzo, who said that the car was all about fun, emotion and imagination. Those were the days when manufacturers gave their design teams a heap of cash and the freedom to please themselves!


And so to celebrate Holden’s 60th anniversary, a play team came up with the Coupe 60, a two-door performance thoroughbred, which in carspeak, “exemplified sporting luxury combining racing looks and technology into a road going sports car experience.”

Racing-derived enhancements include a V8 Supercar-inspired cockpit layout, side-exiting chambered exhaust system with billet alloy tips, a full flat underbody, rear underbody air diffuser and functional rear deck-lid spoiler with unique LED tail lamps.

The interior has several unique features including one-piece carbon fibre bucket seats with leather and suede pads, a sports-inspired flat-bottomed steering wheel with integrated shift light display and LCD sports instrument cluster.

Under the bonnet there’s a 6.0 litre V8 with active fuel management and calibrated for E85 ethanol fuel. Even the paint is a one-off with ‘Diamond Silver’ giving a liquid aluminium finish that almost slides off the bodywork.


Code-named RD 001, the Hurricane is a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car said to incorporate a remarkable array of innovative features and technology that was way ahead of its time.

These include electronic digital instrument displays, station-seeking radio, automatic temperature control air conditioning, rear vision camera and an automated route finder which 42 years ago could well be claimed as ground-breaking.

CoolDrive light for an outback night



CoolDrive Distribution has extended its range of Cannon LED off-road driving lights with the introduction of its biggest unit yet, the Vision X 6.7. Throwing a spot beam of 1000 metres of useable light from its 50w LED, the off-road driving light is available as a single unit or in kit form, which includes two lights and a wiring harness for quick and easy installation.

Housed in a lightweight, durable, hybrid aluminium/polycarbonate case to endure the worst that the off-road environment can throw at it, the Cannon Vision X 6.7 comes with a universal single bolt mount and both a two-pin Deutsch plug and socket connectors on 500mm pre-wired leads.

Optional snap-on polycarbonate covers provide versatility, enabling the standard spot beam to be changed to a Euro or flood type beam or, for operational visibility, to be further enhanced in fog, snow or dusty conditions through blue, amber or red lenses. The covers also provide an extra level of protection against stone chips or impact damage in the forest or bush and when the Vision X lights are not on, have a luminescent ‘X’ for that cool look at night.

Winter woes hit stranded motorists



The battery has gone flat and you’re stranded by the roadside, but if you’re counting on a Good Samaritan to stop and help then you might be waiting a while, according to a recent survey by Budget Direct Roadside Assistance.

The survey found that just under half of Australians are unlikely to stop and help someone whose car has broken down and not surprisingly, the majority of those that do stop are male.

You’re slightly luckier if a member of the ‘older generation’ happens by as they are more likely to stop (62%) compared to 43% of Generation Y and if it’s a country road then 65% of motorists are likely to stop and help.

Forty percent of Australian drivers don’t feel comfortable jump-starting their vehicle, which accounts for why only 13% would try fix the problem themselves, 20% would ring up a friend and 66% would wait for roadside assistance.

Other data from the survey shows that over the past six years the number of call-outs for flat batteries on average increases by 26% during the autumn and winter months. According to the Battery Council International, at 27 degrees Celsius a fully charged battery has 100% of its power available, but when the temp drops to freezing that same battery only has two-thirds of its power available.

During winter the battery also needs to work harder as oils can thicken and the chemical reactions needed to fire a battery are affected by the cold. One of the easiest ways to combat battery problems in winter is to garage the vehicle overnight, but according to the survey 25% of owners never park their vehicle in a garage with Melbournians the most likely to leave their vehicles on the street.