I might well be the only person here who’s even slightly interested in the following, but on the offchance, here goes. The Mercedes C111, shown above, was an experimental car that was used to attack a series of world records for diesel powered cars back in 1978. It was fitted with a standard 5 cylinder, 3 litre diesel engine, similar to those found in all those cabs and passenger cars that you see everywhere, I’ve owned three. I’ve long been a diesel fan and ever since this event I’ve been curious about it and some years ago I wrote this piece; what intrigued me was that though they came incredibly close, they were never able to break the 200mph average speed record though they came within .0055mph of doing so, but that record eluded them.
Now pay attention back there, this is dull and uninteresting and it might require a little concentration, turn on the music if it helps. It’s a piece from that era that the drivers might have been listening to, assuming someone thought to fit a cassette player in the car.
Autobahn – Kraftwerk

The 1978 Mercedes-Benz C111-III in pursuit of diesel world records at Nardo.
Daimler-Benz set out in 1978 to demonstrate the power potential of the diesel engine on the lightly banked 12.6-kilometer circuit at Nardo, Italy on April 29/30. The C 111-III car, which had been optimized not only in aerodynamic terms, with a sensational drag coefficient of 0.195, was fitted with a three-liter five-cylinder diesel engine developing 230 hp with exhaust turbocharger and intercooler. Nevertheless, it consumed an average of only 16 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers. In the course of the 12-hour record-breaking run, six world best performances were clocked up over distances from 100 kilometers to 1000 miles, with a further three best performances over 1, 6 and 12 hours. Over the entire 500-km distance, an absolute top average speed of 321.860 km/h was measured for this record-breaking car which was designed for speeds of up to 325km/h.
The drivers were Rico Steinemann, Paul Frere, Moch and Dr. Hans Liebold and records achieved during the 12-hour record drive were:

100 km at 316.484 km/h
100 miles at 319.835 km/h
500 km at 321.860 km/h — ie 199.99453 mph.
500 miles at 320,788 km/h
1000 km at 318.308 km/h
1000 miles at 319.091 km/h
1 hour at 321.843 km/h
6 hours at 317.796 km/h
12 hours at 314.463 km/h

Some technical data:

Manufactured in 1978, a 5-cylinder inline OM 617 A, placed before the rear axle, longitudinally and standing upright, a four-stroke diesel with pre-chamber injection, a mechanically operated Bosch injection pump, turbocharger and intercooler, bore x stroke 90.9 x 92.4 mm, 2999ccm = ca. 183.2 cu in, compression 1:17.5, maximum power output 230 PS (NOT 320 PS!) = 169 kw at 4.200-4.600 revs, maximum torque 403 Nm at 3.700 revs, engine block made from grey cast iron, cylinder head made out of light alloy, detachable, 2 valves per cylinder, one overhead camshaft driven by duplex-chain, firing order 1-2-4-5-3, one glowplug per cylinder, electrical Bosch starter, vented disc brakes front and rear, rear-wheel drive, double plate dry clutch, ZF 5-speed manual transmission with integrated axle drive, central floor shift, recirculating ball steering, length 5380 mm [17.6ft], width 1715 mm [5.62ft], height 1045 mm 3.42ft], car weight 1400 kg [3086 lb], engine weight 244 kg [538 lb], one seat place, fuel tank 140 litres [37 gal], top speed 325 km/h = 202 mph, ((other sources report a top speed of 327.3 kmh = 203.4 mph)), drag coefficient 0.183, another DC source says 0.195, diesel consumption was ca. 16 litres/100km = ca. 17.6 mpg UK = ca. 14.7 mpg US.

You will notice that all those records were above 314.463 km/hr [195 mph] and that the highest average speed attained was for 500 km, 321.860 km/hr, ie 199.99453 mph. The average speeds declined after that to 198.273 mph for 1000 miles and to 195.398 mph for 12 hours. No matter how hard they tried, their lap speeds dropped every lap ’til the end, they were unable to break the 200 mph average speed barrier.

So the question is why were they not able to do so even though the cars max speed was 325 km/hr – [202 mph] and the car constantly lost substantial weight due to fuel usage and what simple modification to the engine would have allowed them to break the elusive 200 mph average barrier?

Shirley You Can’t Be Serious

Not this week anyway. Apparently, Airplane! turned 30 last week. Which reminded me of how funny i found that movie, even as silly as it was. Free for all, what were your favorite comedies? A few of mine – Animal House, Caddyshack, Fast TImes at Ridgemont High, Pink Panther movies, and more recently Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.

That joke isn’t funny anymore

1 Straight In At 101 Los Campesinos! want it to feel more like post coital, less like post rock…
2 Religious Songs Withered Hand how can he be happy listening to death metal tunes
3 Playboy Hot Chip Drivin’ in my Puegeot – 20 inch rims with the chrome now – Blazin’ out Yo La Tengo – Drivin’ round poppin’ with the top down ….
4 The Key Of C Jim Noir i want to be in the key of c, it’s easier to play it.
5 A Man Walks Into A Bar Jens Lekman
6 New Year’s Kiss Casiotone For The Painfully Alone not on a balcony with champagne lips..but in the pantry against the pancake mix

1 Against The Wall Jimi Tenor / Tony Allen I wanna do it dance hall – got my tightest pants on
2 Separated At Birth DJ Format (Featuring Abdominal & D-Sisive)
3 Public Park Ballboy
4 Cut Your Hair Pavement look around, the second drummer drowned, his telephone was found
5 Fonz Eugene McGuinness
6 Faraway Eyes The Handsome Family

1 Worries Gisli if you had a penis you’d worry about who to screw
2 The Happy Song The Aliens I’m happy every day even tho I’m stuck in Fife
3 All The Records On The Radio Are Shite… Ballboy except mine
4 Bad Cover Version Pulp heard an old girlfriend had turned to the church, she’s trying to replace me, it’ll never work.
5 Don’t Let The Record Label Take You Out To Lunch Jeffrey Lewis
6 Hell Is Round The Corner Tricky
Continue reading

Cover yourself – in glory?

One of my favourite albums of the last few years is God Help The Girl – the album (and much more) from Stuart Murdoch’s side project of the same name. God Help The Girl

I particularly like the re-working of the track Funny Little Frog which originally appeared on Belle & Sebastian‘s The Life Pursuit and here gets a funky face lift, turning it into a sort of soulful torch song.

I always find it interesting when an artist takes another bash at an old favourite of theirs – and I don’t mean a remix or an acoustic version – I mean a whole new take on a song. Same lyrics, same chords but with an entirely different feel to it.

Diana – Prefab Sprout

Version one appeared as an extra track on the double-pack 7″ single of When Love Breaks Down. About five years later, a much slower and more downbeat version turned up on the Protest Songs album.


Felicity – Orange Juice/James Kirk

This early live favourite from the floppy-fringed, Glasgow art-school pospters first saw the light of recorded day in February 1980 when a live version appeared on a flexi disc given away with a fanzine. A slightly more polished version turned up on the band’s debut album, the seminal You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever in 1982.

Orange Juice are thought by many to be synoymous with Edwyn Collins – and of course Edwyn was always at the forefront of what made Orange Juice great but it would be wrong to underestimate James Kirk’s contribution to the band: a contribution which included penning Felicity.

Many years after Orange Juice‘s demise, James Kirk embarked on a solo career, the highlight of which was the 2003 album You Can Make It If You Boogie. And the album included a reworking of Felicity – a less-frenetic, more thoughtful version, I think you’ll agree.

Pop trivia: when The Wedding Present recorded their own version of Felicity, David Gedge introduced it with the words “this is a William Shatner song” – a reference to the songwriter, James (not T) Kirk.


You’re The One For Me – Jonathan Richman

In 1990, Jonathan Richman recorded a whole album of Country songs under the title Jonathan Goes Country. Alongside some Country & Western classics, he reworked a number of his own songs, including You’re The One For Me, a semi-autobiographical song which had originally appeared on the 1983 album, Jonathan Sings.

Both versions are fab …

You’re The One For Me
You’re The One For Me

Funny Little Frog – Belle & Sebastian/God Help The Girl

The inspiration behind this post. I had known the original B&S version for years before hearing the more soulful version which features on the God Help The Girl album.

Funny Little Frog
Funny Little Frog

And here they all are in one handy clickable thingy:

So there you have it. I've chosen four examples from my own collection which (I hope) illustrate what I'm wittering on about, but I know you've all got your own favourite reworkings …

Sausages and Mash with Onion Gravy

We haven’t had a food post for a while, so I thought I’d post one.

OK, it was a coldish and wet evening and I wanted some proper comfort food tonight – sausages with whole-grain mustard mash and onion gravy.

Sausages and mash is just one of the truly great things to eat. Porky loveliness plus silky mash and rich gravy. It is just heaven on a plate.

The sausages were Waitrose Gloucester Old Spot with sage, given a nice slow cook in a heavy black iron pan with a slick of oil (Matthew Fort-style sausage cooking) and the mash was made with Desiree potatoes that I put through the ricer and then reheated with butter, milk, Maille whole-grain mustard and finely chopped parsley.

For the gravy, I slowly cooked two thinly sliced red onions in some oil until they were coloured and beginning to caramelise, I added some flour, stirring to amalgamate the oil with the flour and added a slug of Marsala, making a roux to which I added some beef stock (I cheated here because I used a powdered beef stock base rather than a fresh stock) and simmered until it thickened slightly.

I love sausages with mustard, so I had a dollop of Dijon Mustard on the side, but English mustard would work well too.

As this was a hearty dish, most red wines would go well. We drank a Rhône red wine, a 2008 Vinsobres AOC, a wine that is a blend of Syrah and Grenache and a lovely fruity, spicy wine.


Erm, NC < 17 warning, just so's u know.