One of the hallmarks of an advanced driver is a smooth style with manual gear changes.
A car’s gearbox is a wonderful piece of engineering, rarely casing problems during the expected lifetime of fifteen years, withstanding hundreds of thousands of shifts up and down the ratios. It’s so well developed that all you need to do is gently guide where it wants to go.
Yet "snatching" at gears is common, causing an abrupt and a less than comfortable ride for passengers. Another problem is drivers who hold the gear stick constantly, refusing to let go, in order that they can make the gear changes as quickly as possible. That hand would be more use on the steering wheel.
To make the gear change smoother, let the gearshift pause for a second or two as it crosses the "central gate" or neutral zone. This alone will make your gear changes smoother – there’s no need to rush them.
Secondly, guide the gear lever with the palm of the hand semi-open with the thumb sticking out. Guide the gear lever away from you for 1st to 2nd. The thumb should be pointing down. Now guide the lever towards you for 2nd to 3rd,3rd to 4th and 4th to 5th (or even 5th to 6th). Now the thumb is pointing upwards.
For block changing (when you "skip" intermediate gears) keep the thumb down for 4th to 2nd.
And remember, around town, you can often stay in third gear and respond to new hazards early by easing off the throttle. Adjusting your speed with a fine throttle has all sorts of advantages.
As a check to see how smooth your gear changes are, take a glance at your front seat passenger’s head. Are they constantly "nodding"? If so you need to make your gear changing smoother and less hurried. Your passengers (and transmission system!) will appreciate it.
* 12 new cars launched to the world
* Halls and attractions full of content visitors
* Exhibitors report strong business leads and quality audience
* Dock Rock concerts wow crowds in evening sunshine
* Superb transport links bring people easily to and from London's Docklands
* Tickets 50 per cent cheaper and parking costs down 41 per cent on 2004
* World-class Olympic venue hosts premier league auto show
Commenting on the British International Motor Show, Tim Etchells, director of show organiser imie, said, 'On every measure of success the boxes can be ticked for a successful show. Visitors are delighted, in particular with our dozen world debuts and hugely popular attractions. Exhibitors are queuing up to tell us what good business they are doing and the venue continues to provide a first class service to all visiting London's Docklands.
'At the close of play on Monday 170,500 visitors had come to the motor show at ExCeL; I am confident that we will be able to confirm in excess of 400,000 show-goers when auditing has taken place; on a like for like basis, that means a minimum 17 per cent increase on visitors at the 2004 event. So I look forward to ticking the final box as we wrap up 2006 and prepare plans for another success story in 2008.'
The British International Motor Show is organised by imie under a licence with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. imie has adopted rigorous new 2007 ABC guidelines in auditing the 2006 show.
Motor Show exceeds Volvo targets
For Volvo, the British International Motor Show is exceeding all expectations with sales enquiries, test drive requests and off-road passenger rides well ahead of figures achieved at the last show in 2004.
One week in, and Volvo has already achieved its targets for sales enquiries and test drive requests, while the Adventure Land outdoor attraction has proved particularly popular with over 5,200 people going for a ride to experience the 4x4 abilities of the refreshed XC90.
'There is a great atmosphere at the show and everyone seems to like its manageable size, convenient relaxation areas, value and the opportunity for outdoor and evening entertainment,' commented Volvo's PR and Events Director, John Lefley. 'With the all-new C70 and S80, plus the cool C30 Design Concept, on our stand, we expected a high level of interest from show visitors but this has exceeded our expectations, given the new time and venue', he continued.
The appearance of the C30 Design Concept on the Volvo stand has also created an opportunity for Volvo to host a meeting at the show with its creative agencies to prepare marketing communication plans for the new Volvo C30 which is due to arrive in showrooms at the turn of the year.
With four more days to go before the show ends, Volvo is expecting the high levels of interest in the show and the latest Volvo range to continue.
Barabus MD learns the skills to bring new sports car to London
Youngsters have been flocking to the Careers Village to find out about a huge range of job opportunities in the motor industry. But, after visiting the village, they should head over to the Barabus stand in the North Hall, to see a real-life example of what can be achieved.
Tony Keating is managing director of sports car company Barabus, which is showing its new TKR sports car. Speaking to motor show news he said that the reason why he had built a sports car was simple: he'd taken an automotive engineering course at Bolton University that had inspired him back in the early 1990s. That, and a love affair with cars like the McLaren F1 and the Jaguar XJ220.
'The response in London has been amazing', he said. 'It's a superb venue for a global launch. We've already had confirmed orders and others on the boil. Saudi and Emirate visitors are particularly interested and these will probably be the main markets for the car.'
27 people are employed at the Manchester base where the TKR is assembled.
New Renault Clio is cut above for safety
A cut-away, full-size Renault Clio is giving visitors a clear picture of the investment the industry is making in new car safety. The EuroNCAP 5-star performer takes pride of place on the Renault stand and features a complete set of fully deployed airbags.
The car which comes with up to eight airbags, includes front to rear side curtains designed to protect passengers in a side impact as well reinforced deformation zones to absorb the energy of an impact.
But new car safety is not just about protecting occupants in a crash. Increasingly, cars like the new Clio are being designed with technologies that prevent an accident happening at all.
Some of these 'active safety systems' are revealed in a display next to the cut-away Clio. They include traction control and ESP, an electronic stability control system designed to enhance stability by braking individual wheels during under- or over-steer. Anti-lock brakes with brake force distribution ensure control and support during emergency braking while double-distance Xenon lights ensure better visibility at night and during adverse weather.
Aussie writer reveals all
There's no doubt about this motor show's international credentials. That's the view of freelance journalist, P H Cheah, who came from Australia to take in the first British International Motor Show in London for 30 years.
The motoring man from Quakers Hill, New South Wales said he was hugely impressed with the event. And he is a man who should know his stuff; he's been covering British shows – and others throughout the world - since 1975.
'It is one of the most pleasant motor show days I've had,' he said. 'I've come straight from the airport after flying in from Singapore; I took the train and it was easy to get to the venue. I have three or four friends who are also coming, just because the show is in London.'
He added, 'It's great to see major launches like the Land Rover Freelander and Jaguar XKR in London. People come to a motor show to see new cars and it's important that British car makers support this fabulous British show.'
THE stars of the Used Car Roadshow Jason Dawe and Penny Mallory will be at the British Motorshow next week to help launch the new promotional DVD for top car cleaning product Diamondbrite.
The launch, which takes place on Tuesday July 18, sees the start of a three year endorsement of the premier brand by the ITV Men and Motors presenting duo.
Diamondbrite, which is produced by Kent based company Jewelultra , is a technologically advanced protective layer that gives a hard high gloss finish to your car that is guaranteed for six years.
Once applied it protects the paint from the damaging effects of road salts, traffic film, acid rain, tree sap and bird lime. With the added bonus of virtually eliminating the fading effect of ultraviolet light, using Diamondbrite means you never have to polish your car again.
With such extravagant claims Jason and Penny decided to put the Diamondbrite protection system to the ultimate test.
The pair took a brand new Ford Focus ST for a drive along some of the muddiest and grimiest roads they could find and then let it all dry on in the midday sun. Add to that a healthy dollop of bird muck and sticky tree sap the challenge was then on to see if the Diamondbrite claims to be able to return the car to a showroom shine were true.
Jason said: "At the start of the day the car was immaculate, straight off the forecourt by lunchtime it was a complete state. We quite literally threw everything at it. When the sun had done its work drying it all on like concrete we really thought there was no way it would get back to its new state without a full professional valet.
"But within minutes it was back to showroom shine and condition."
Penny added: "It’s a fantastic product and having seen the results with my own eyes I cannot recommend it highly enough."
Diamondbrite is a two stage process that is professionally applied either by a franchised motor dealer or an authorised valet centre.
To find out more about Diamondbrite and the full Jewelultra range click on to the website on www.jewelultra.com, where you can also take a look at the new DVD featuring Jason Dawe and Penny Mallory.
Grand Prix Masters and the British International Motor Show have teamed-up to bring you the ‘Best of British’ this summer. Anyone booking two grandstand tickets for the forthcoming GP Masters of Great Britain (12th – 13th August, Silverstone) before Thursday 20th July will receive two free family tickets for the new-look British International Motor Show. This special offer is effective immediately. Set in the stunning riverside location of ExCel London from 20th – 30th July, the new format British International Motor Show boasts exclusive global car launches, hands-on driving experiences, celebrity appearances, shopping opportunities, motoring demonstrations, live music concerts, al fresco dining, late night openings and of course all the Star Cars!
Adding to the star-studded British International Motor Show billing on Saturday 22nd July will be former Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell and other GP Masters drivers who in addition to appearing on the GP Masters show stand will also be driving at a location nearby the all-new, 200mph two-seater GP Masters race car.
The GP Masters of Great Britain at Silverstone and British International Motor Show are THE must-attend events this summer!
White lines are a familiar part of the road landscape, but they all do a different job. The information they are intended to impart varies, despite the fact to the busy driver they all look the same.
As a rule of thumb, the more paint there is on the road surface, the more danger or potential danger there is at that point.
For example, do you know the difference between a short white line on the middle of the carriageway and a longer white line? The first marks the boundary of the lane, without any other information. The second also warns of a hazard: a potential danger point.
How about if there are two solid white lines running down the middle of the carriageway? This is to divide two opposing lanes of traffic and you cannot cross it except in certain specific circumstances – turning into/out of an entrance, passing a stationary vehicle or overtaking slow-moving vehicles, pedal cycles or horses. From time to time you will see a single solid white line, coupled with a dotted one, either on your side of the carriageway or the other. The line nearest your side of the road is the important one – if it is solid, the rule above applies!
One that gets forgotten sometimes is that it is an offence to park where there are double white lines in the centre of the road – even if there is room.
If you are ever uncertain of the meaning of a white line, make a point of checking the Highway Code. Things do change and it is quite important to keep up to date with new markings – or even reintroduce yourself to those you may have forgotten.