1971 Dodge Challenger R/T

Lovingly restored to original condition complete with decals

The car comes with a very clean interior retaining the factory fitted seats and wood rim steering wheel
The 390HP V8 Overhead Valve engine has been fully rebuilt and tuned in our workshops

Own a classic American Muscle Car…

…With a grill that will make your neighbors jealous!

It can be yours for $70150 or very near offer – contact Martin’s Garage for details.


Screenshots from Car Mechanic Simulator 2018

I think we all know that fictional things usually mirror real life. Certainly that is true of simulations on the PC to a greater extent – they wouldn’t be simulations otherwise. Sometimes that fiction stretches to the possibilities for the human future – Star Trek has often predicted things that are now daily reality. Here’s a personal one…

Much of my driving in Euro Truck Sim recently has been in trucks with automatic transmissions. That’s how the real world is in Europe. In the US I usually drive manual because that seems to be a preference for a lot of privateer drivers that I see on YouTube – though it looks like some companies are going down the automatic road and buying Volvo VNL 670’s and the like. Obviously I’m only seeing the US market third hand so I’m making assumptions.

April 19th was a sad day for me. I consigned my beloved Peugeot 206 HDI to the junk yard. 17 years old and still sharp on her toes. We’ve surprised a few boy racers together over the last few years – I guess they made assumptions because she doesn’t say GTi on the back. Put a 2ltr turbocharged diesel in a very small car and… It’s a shame that she has to go but there is a need to consider all factors. There is a strong anti-diesel movement in the UK currently. This is because of the discovery that diesel engines produce more NO2 emissions than petrol engines and also a lot of particulates if driven hard. Road tax has been going through the roof for older diesel cars. As of May this year the MOT tests change and older diesels will be in the crosshairs of a regime that is intended to reduce pollution. Of course, the new rules will also affect owners of petrol vehicles and other areas relating to safety will be higher on the agenda. Unfortunately, like most changes to vehicle licensing, it will hit the less fortunate hardest. I’m lucky that I got a lump-sum on my retirement last year and was able to earmark money to replace the Peugeot – many poorer people aren’t in that position 😦

So how does this tie in with mirrors? Well in the case of computer game vs real life – I’ve been driving mainly automatic trucks in Europe and my new (secondhand) car is also an automatic. My good lady suggested getting an automatic a couple of years ago but perhaps didn’t expect me to take it on board. Now she’s on the spot because she’s never driven an automatic ever! I told her to practise on the computer 😉 For the record we now have a Skoda Fabia and it’s been a pleasure to drive so far – it hasn’t graduated to being a ‘she’ yet because I’m still getting to know it 😉 It actually has 20HP more than the Peugeot but as you know diesel’s are all about torque which is where the brisk acceleration used to come from. This new car has so much technology built in that I’m going to need another post in a while to tell you all about it but the experience built up driving automatic trucks on the computer has stood me in good stead because driving an automatic is a different technique to the manual. A gentle brush of the pedal when moving off and achieving 94-95% economy In my first few days of driving the car (according to the on board computer)!

So there we go – Life mirroring fiction! While I’m on the subject of mirrors though – there’s a big update due in Euro Truck and American Truck. One of the changes will be to the way the reflections in the mirrors of the trucks are implemented to make them more realistic. I’m guessing that’s gonna break the mods again so it’s time to park up Silver Dollar……Remember the problems I had with the FLB’s mirrors last time! But my Scania S in Euro Truck……shouldn’t be affected because she’s a part of the official game. Fingers crossed, the update shouldn’t affect the mirrors on my Skoda 😉 Otherwise I’ll have to take it back to the factory…

When I looked up the challenge that Cee set for this week my thoughts turned to the past and the toys I had when I was young. Then I thought about how times have changed for the present generation. Sadly, my old toys have long since gone so words will have to suffice as photos are not possible. I can remember a large red metal crane that worked and provided endless hours of fun digging up the back garden. I had a electric trainset from the age of 8 – a highly detailed Hornby Doublo set. I even got an Action Man doll when they came out!

One of the most enduring current toys is the Thomas the Tank Engine range. But when I was a child Thomas was limited to the story books written by the Rev W Awdry. I had the pleasure once in the mid- 1970’s of seeing the Rev Awdry at a model railway exhibition in Westminster. The trains on his layout were all accurate models rather than the Thomas we know and love but each operation on the layout was accompanied by a story-like commentary. Televising the stories in the mid-1980’s changed that and created a spin off market for Thomas toys. And this has been a pattern – TV series and kids movies, which ironically include ‘Toy Story’ and its sequels, creating the modern toy market. It all became quite circular with the toy manufacturers like Mattell and Bandai commissioning cartoons to sell their toys. Here’s a car from the Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 series……One of my Son’s discarded toys.

Something else happened in the 1980’s too. Home computers and games consoles arrived to challenge the traditional toy market. A lot of traditional toys saw their market devastated and many disappeared or had to seek a new approach. I think the toy market today is compressed into the formative years of a child’s life – ages 0-10 – whereas when I was a child the toy market probably extended into early adulthood. Electronic games now take the place of the traditional toys of the 10-18yo market. So we find my Son playing Assassin’s Creed on his PlayStation……Or Overwatch on the PC along with a whole host of other games.  ps – his hair is a bit of a mess because he only just had it cut.  It looked a lot better after he had a shower and combed it! 😉

The thing about console and PC games is that they have extended the age of playtime into adulthood and beyond. At an age when my Father would have been content to sit down and read a book by the fire whilst listening to radio or perhaps watching some TV, I find myself playing with my toys……A steering wheel that is better than the one in my real-life car and headphones with infra-red head movement tracking for my simulation games.

What happened to the traditional train set? I’d love to show you some shots of a model I’m working on. I have often looked at getting back to building a layout. But, with a lack of space it’s a project that’s always getting ‘shelved’. And I’ve found that driving the old 4mm to the foot electric mouse is not quite the same as driving the Railworks locomotives. Suddenly, when you put on the headset and begin shunting those wagons you find yourself in a 12 inches to the foot world even if it is a virtual one…

The traditional toy market has moved on though. The aim now is to produce small volumes of highly detailed limited edition models rather than toys. These are pricey items that appeal to both the serious modeller and to the collectables market. Here’s an example of modern model buses……Limited editions both.

I hope my thoughts were of interest. It’s a complex subject that could do with a more in-depth analysis than I have given. I’d like to thank Cee for firing up my brain with her Black & White Challenge this week 🙂