With the news about 40 year cut offs for tax and MOTs you would be forgiven for being a little excited. Sadly, not all is at it seems and life could be getting harder if you have a highly modified car. We confirm the latest dates governments want to stop selling fossil fuel cars by, woo at the new Honda Urban EV concept, wow at Subaru’s latest ring record, and commend the fact we’ve not had to burn any coal to brew a cuppa for at least one day this year. After that, we tell Defender fans to wipe their eyes and move on, question if we’ve lost legendary hot hatches and suped up saloons, and ask of all the things we want to important from the States, is brodozer culture one of them?
We’re one year old! Put on a pointy hat, grab a luke warm sausage roll, and join us for a proper baller party in the podding shed. We’ve got plenty of car news to start, then Chris questions if stanced cars deserve the hate they get, Andrew points out how manufacturers with crap EV tech are throwing money at Formula E, and we mull over the issue of middle lane drivers. Is there a time sitting in the middle lane just makes sense, what’s the best way to deal with them? We also debate the leaked Jimmy photos and tackle accusations it appears rather too much like a little G-Wagon rip-off.
So, this little shed-venture all started a long time ago when Andrew was driving down a country road and saw a unicorn, his first in person sighting of a Toyota 40 Series. He nearly drove off the road in excitement. Well, by sheer chance, it transpired that the owner was a customer at the establishment Andrew’s wife manages.
Messages were exchanged, pleas were made, and we managed to get in touch with this FJ’s owner, Jonny. Better still, Jonny invited us up to see his FJ COLLECTION!
We hastily made our way up to visit, gathering whatever filming equipment we could lay our oily little mitts on, and were blown away by what he had to show us. This also meant, for the first time ever, Andrew got to lay his hands upon the vehicle he covets so deeply – but it got even better.
Jonny backed TES, the oldest in his collection, an old Tasmanian explosives truck from “down’t mines” that he’d had driven to Australian and shipped over, out his garage, pointed at his fields, and told us to get out there and have some fun.
And in fun we did partake.
The great news, we got it all on video, for you beautiful people, and thus we have the first of what we hope to be many Review Not A Reviews.
If you like hairy, middle-aged men ranting about stuff then you’re going to love this episode. In our continued stance of not getting political, we focus on two topics all about politics. Andrew also tries to console Chris through an extensional crisis regarding his love for cars and there’s a shocking confession during the the news segment.
Do you fondly remember a time when you had to sit through a friend’s photo slideshow of their holiday while they rabbited on about every minute detail as if somehow you’re supposed to care? No. Well, here it is in modern form anyway. Here, Chris reflects on his travels in The States where he got to drive the new Mustang on a few road-trips and also got to take a Wrangler Rubicon out wheeling in the Arizona desert.
In Episode 18 Chris and I might have angered a few Honda owners by suggesting that their beloved VTECs – Type Rs, no less – aren’t actually fast. Fearing that one of us might soon get doxxed by a furious EP3-owning IT professional I figured it was time to clarify our position. Don’t call it a backtrack though – they aren’t fast.
Continue reading VTECs Aren’t Fast… and That’s Fine
As we hit Episode 18 and Men In Sheds enters adulthood, we have changed up the format in a bid to border on being entertaining. We start off with the news, asking if we are peak VAG, questioning if the VTEC really does kick in, yo, and giving the lowdown on detailing for the lazy car owner. You may want to make your way down to the local bunker as some truth bombs are well and truly dropped.
Usually I go into writing an article with a clear idea of what it is I want to say. Often this comes about thanks to some deep reflection which has led one or two conclusions — this is one of those few times I’m completely at a loss. I simply don’t know how I feel about American car culture right now, having just spent a few weeks over there.
Like a lot of car fans my age, the United States had a huge affect on my upbringing and love of all things automotive. I grew up on a daily dose of Dukes of Hazard, A-Team, the Fall Guy, and Knight Rider with seasonal lashings of Battle of The Monster Trucks and weekend features of Cannonball Run, Smokey and the Bandit, Herbie, and more.
In fact, back then, it feels like everything out of America was sprinkled with car culture like it was the pop equivalent of cinnamon. The Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles had their van, the Munsters their kustom coach, and the Monkees rode around in their Monkeemobile. Barbie had a Ferrari, Ken had a Corvette, and each of Charlie’s Angels had car to help define their personality. It was like nobody could ever really feel actualised until they had a car to define their being — it helps explain a lot about my generation’s attitude to modified car culture now.
My first trip to The States was back in 2007 and, in those ten years since, I’ve been back three times. Each time I visit, it seems their car culture has taken another long step in the wrong direction.
We flew out to Phoenix, Arizona this time, via Atlanta. One of my favourite parts of flying to America is landing at the airport, not just because I hate flying but because you’re greeted with F-Series trucks and E-Series vans cruising around airside getting their jobs done. That never seems to change. Blue collar car culture remains as American as concealed carry and barely anymore progressive. When a white F150 eventually dies, it’s replaced with slightly curvier F150 which may or may not have a new generation of engine between the rails of what is in earnest a 70 year old chassis bordering on an institution. You could start a religion there around ladder frames and leaf springs and thousands upon thousands would come to hear you preach. And I like that. Commercial vehicles are the most organic of any country’s automotive portfolio, be it the Transit van of the UK or the Tuk Tuks of Indaa.
However, from the second you walk out those automatic doors and drag your luggage by the taxi rank, you quickly see what American cars have become. They are fat, they are ugly, and many of them are obese. They are a mishmash of vacuous European blandness and crass American hedonism. This is now a world of the have and have-land-yachts. Continue reading Oh America, How Your Current Car Culture Confuses Me
So, one of us has strayed a little far from the shed. Thousands of miles afar. Therefore, this is our first international episode via Skype with Andrew sweltering in Staffordshire and Chris sweating it out in Arizona. The topic? Well it’s America for the past, America for the present, and America for the future, HOBVIOUSLY!
We’ve been out practicing our camerawork again. We’re getting a lot better now – plus we’re thinking of starting a side business in pruning trees.