It Takes Two To Tango

I recently stumbled across this little car whilst working on a piece for a celebrity car site. The star who actually bought one of these plug in Tango 600s is Gorgeous George (Clooney). “Here we go”, I thought, “another celeb purchasing an electric car, ensuring the world knows they are eco-aware and doing their bit for the planet.”

Preparing for a humorous assault on the little Tango and ensuring I got all my facts and figures correct, I quickly became aware this car was no joke. It’s hard to believe looking at it, but this bit of kit can hit 60-mph in 3.2 seconds and will continue all the way to 150-mph. WTF? I hear you ask…

Other WTFs include its $108,000 price tag and its weight: 3057-lbs – a third of this is due to batteries. This fully electric tandem two-seater shifts its big weight with two Advanced DC FB1-4001 9″ motors, both producing an amazing 1500-ft-lbs of torque.

The battery packs can also be upgraded from lead-acid to Nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) or lithium-ion (Li-ion) in the future. This will dramatically improve vehicle performance – 80% charge takes 10 minutes; full charge under 3 hours. The range isn’t too bad either, the standard pack offering 80 miles from a full charge.

So what we have is a quirky little sleeper, an eco-friendly midget capable of embarrassing some supercars – as you know, Gargling Gas is a mad Sleeper fan. It’s easy to park and drive around the city. The dash looks like it came from a proper race car, and the interior is finished to a high grade. The only feature I don’t like is the cheap looking wheels – they look like something Ford used in the 90s.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to own one for a month or so, just to see the expressions of incredulity on Porsche, Lambo and Ferrari owners’ faces as this innocuous little machine leaves them silently behind.


What’s Your Ultimate Frankenstein Car?

Lately I’ve been watching ALOT of shows on muscle cars, from the purists at Graveyard Carz to the Super muscle car builders at Wrecks To Riches. In Graveyard Carz I respect their dedication in literally bringing a Mopar car back to the day it rolled off the production line – in fact, I think Mark Worman has a severe case of OCD on Mopar coding.

Wrecks To Riches is a little different in the fact they restore a classic, but instead of retaining an original nut and bolt build, they install modern technology, such as shocks, brakes and engines.

Purists may gasp at the use of modern tech, but I think it’s better to create a modern alternative out of a classic than crush it or use it for parts. This got me thinking about what classic I would choose to restore, and what main piece of modern tech I would incorporate into it.

I love the third generation Ford Thunderbird. It’s a real classic shape, and those rear lights look like jet afterburners. I also like the lines and the small fin running into the rear. Only 200 big block V8 Thunderbirds were produced between 61 and 63, so these are very rare indeed. What I’d like to do for my ultimate Frankenstein car would be to take a black or red third generation Thunderbird and keep it’s looks as stock as possible.

I can fully appreciate keeping a car as original as possible, but I can also appreciate the use of modern tech for extra power, better handling and superior reliability. After pulling the engine, I’d like a brand new 392 HEMI Crate Engine and suitable tranny and drivetrain installed. The wheels would have to encompass Brembo disc brakes and callipers, but ultimately, I’d like the rims to look as old school as possible – no shiny chrome blades or the like here. I wouldn’t be tracking the car so the suspension wouldn’t have to ultra expensive, so coil overs to possibly drop it an inch or two would suffice.

After everything is finished I’d have a really cool Thunderbird capable of pounding out 540-bhp and running gear to handle the extra power.

So with all this in mind, what would you put together for your ultimate car?


Engine Fever

We all know the engine is the heart of the car, it’s chambers an explosive mix of oxygen, fuel and fire. Like the human heart, an engine throbs and ticks and gives life to the car. An engine even injects personality, from loud and powerful, to refined and economical – it’s not all about BHP and torque figures.

I’ve owned a fair few cars and I’ll have to say the BMW S54B32 unit from my old e46 M3 is the ultimate engine. I had the pleasure of a Mercedes 3.5-L V6, some turbo engines, and even a Maserati 4.2-L V8, but the M3′s engine surpassed them on every level.

It’s only a 3.2-L naturally aspirated inline 6, but it’s so revvy and raw. The M3′s S54B32 made 343hp at a screeching 7,900rpm and 365Nm of torque at 4,900rpm. With the rev counter’s lights signifying how hard you should drive until the engine has reached it’s proper operating temperature, it feels as though it’s a tuned engine. The acceleration is hard and the power-band wide. Instead of grunting and burbling like the Italian V8, the S54B32 spits out it’s exhaust as though it’s inhaled a swarm of wasps. Don’t get me wrong, the V8 is an incredible sounding piece of kit, and I love the feel of turbo power, but the M3 will always remain a top engine in my books.

It came as great news when I found out the new M3/M4 cars (albeit with turbos) would feature the inline 6 after a few models of V8s.

So with this in mind, what are you favourite engines, even if they’re not inside of your favourite car? What would be your ultimate engine swap?


What Car Would You Choose To Impress A Date?

I like to ignore all that commercialisation that is Valentine’s Day by turning the feelings in my heart onto cars. It’s hard to ignore the fact it’s the day of love, what with all the stores raping the public by selling roses cards and chocolates. In fact, as I stood in line at the supermarket buying lunch, I noticed all the men – roses, chocolates and wine in hand -all looking a little peeved.

Anyway, after I got home I quickly knocked this out for Motor Ward whilst I devoured lunch.

Valentine’s Day: Sexy And Romantic Carriages


More Zero F**ks Given!

Remember the first instalment of Zero F**ks Given? The one with the death trap Mazda RX-7? Well, the kid has built it a friend, a bastardised VW Jetta come pickup. Of course, just like the demonic RX-7, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Check out this vid and witness what happens when the younger generation get given wrenches and hammers.


The Reaper’s W123

I adore old Mercs and have owned two W124s and a 190e. One model I have yet to own (and will do one day) is the classic W123. It’s everything a car should be – reliable, pretty, vintage looks with modern functions. With its signature grille, it looks like a car should look. Its dimensions are perfect – not too big and not too small. As a coupe it has a sporty kind of quality to it, yet its boxy appearance suggests tank-like robustness.

So back in the day the W123 was a good looking luxury car, a car that has transcended virtually all other cars of its era in managing to remain every bit as good looking as it was back in the 80s. Because of its tank-like robustness, there are a fair few still around to choose from, and from my experience with old Mercs, all of their electrics will still be working and the ride will be silent and smooth.

Here at Gargling Gas we also like cars with personality because, “Cars have feelings too”. Don’t get me wrong, this car has a big personality, but I’m talking about the human touch. Slammed cars are cool, and the rat look is also a great way of transforming the right car into something with real presence… like the W123 230ce pictured above.

Not a particularly fast car, the 230ce produces enough grunt from its 2.3-L engine to cruise along with ease. The owner of this one has simply dropped it, given it the matte black finish, and painted its steel rims black. It’s a cheap way of completely transforming a car’s look, but it’s very affective.

If I wasn’t committed with another upcoming drift project, I’d snap this up, happy in the knowledge I was cruising around town in hitman/serial killer style.

Oh yeah, she’s up for sale too: Mercedes W123 230 ce Death Proof Duck


The Dead Travel Fast

I don’t know why I haven’t touched upon this subject before, as it’s not only about cars, but the subject has had friends, family and anyone in earshot laughing and intrigued to hear more. It’s a morbid subject, but a subject we all must experience at some point throughout our lives.

Dracula author, Bram Stoker once wrote, “The dead travel fast”, and after working as a Funeral Director, I wholeheartedly agree.

Ever since I watched the 1933 King Kong as a four-year-old, I have been fascinated with the weird and morbid. When I was 22 I got a job working for a funeral home, a job I fancied would satiate my curiosity about death. When I wasn’t making up coffins, I was dressing and brushing the hair of corpses. When I wasn’t carrying the coffins, I was sneaking into the back of the crematorium to watch them burst into flames through the little glass window in the ovens. When I wasn’t washing the hearse or private ambulance car, I was driving them…

I don’t believe in ghosts or anything paranormal, however, I do wonder if something was having a little fun with me when I decided on this profession. During my whole year before giving it up, too many silly events took place, a few of them car related. If you image Norman Wisdom or Harold Lloyd within the workplace, you have a pretty good idea of how ‘smoothly’ my day would go.

The first incident took place in a Volvo 745 estate and involved a granite headstone nearly cutting me in half. I had loaded a fresh piece of black granite into the car and was transporting it to an engraver. I was young, the summer sun was beaming down, the country roads stretched ahead… I was going a little too fast, and rounding a tight left bend, happened upon a car that had stopped due to ducks crossing the road. I hit the brakes and the headstone launched itself into and smashed the central console. If I were on a straight or traversing a right corner, I believe I wouldn’t of had much of spine left in tact. Thankfully the boss was on holiday and I managed to piece together and glue the console.

It wasn’t long before the Volvo got me in trouble… or was it something else?

Having picked up a body from a hospital 20 miles away, I was returning on the M23 (for any non-UK, a highway road). It was Friday, dark, wet, and I was looking forward to an evening out with my mates. With me hauling in the fast lane, the stereo pumping, everything suddenly died with only a few miles to go. No lights, power-steering or engine. It was as if the body in the back disagreed with the music and reached out from the land of the dead and pulled a plug in the ECU.

It was rush hour, and I somehow wrestled the Volvo across three lanes of traffic, dumping it on he shoulder at an angle. After ringing the AA, I sat there with my silent friend, the rain hammering the windscreen. I noticed my friend’s permed hair sticking out of the bag, as if reaching for the handbrake, so I tucked it back in. A further 15 minutes passed and I also noticed no traffic, despite the rush hour.

The reason the lack of traffic was due to the Volvo’s rear end protruding into the slow lane. The police had blocked off all lanes with traffic cars, their lights flashing as the cars trailed for miles behind them. One car approached and there was a knock on my window.

“Evening officer.”

“We need to get you off the road. Anyone else involved?”

“Um, only me and… her.”

The officer peered in. “Oh right… I see.”

The final Volvo incident had me believe it was definitely cursed. I’d just picked up a corpse from a hospital in Watford, London. I’d literally turned out of the hospital when the front passenger side tyre popped. Because I was on a steep main road with no where to turn off, I had to curb it and attempt a wheel change on an uneven surface. To get to the spare and tools, I had to wrestle with the gentleman in the back, tipping him, holding, and then dragging everything out.

Whilst it wasn’t raining as hard as the previous episode, it was drizzling. I was wearing my suit and waistcoat and cursing the weather, oily tools and stubborn wheel nuts. The real problem became apparent when I realised it was school home time. Thanks to a combination of fury, despair and embarrassment at the line of traffic now queueing to get past, I’d left the boot door open. Kids were staring into the car, pointing and laughing at the gentleman (now half wrapped)  in the back. Wide-eyed parents gasped their disgust at me, giving me evil looks because of my foul tongue.

All in all it was a terrible afternoon and it wasn’t too long after that I quit.

The only driving positives involved the hearse. Because it was designed to carry four men, a heavy coffin and its occupant smoothly, the hearse had a fair kick when it was empty. Obviously, I didn’t race around with a coffin in the back, but if I was sent out to refuel, I did like to give it some.

One day, I’ll be taken away in one of these, and if I have it my way, I’ll be playing a few games with the driver…