Sidenote on Motor TV: Sabine Schmitz on Top Gear

My favourite german race driver actually starts to co-host my favourite british motor television show. And she keeps on dominating the main host. Around 10 years ago jeremy clarkson (old host) did a 9:59 in an Jaguar S-Type on her home turf (Nordschleife) and she was caught on camera saying “I could do this time in a van”. Long story short: She did a 10:08 in a ford transit, no modifications and on a public driving day on the track.  Look it up on youtube, fun to see a white panelvan overtaking fancy racecars and even motorcycles.

While filming the new season the new host Chris Evans jumped out of the car to vomit after a couple of minutes with her in an Audi R8 on a closed track. The new season might be fun…

I’ll still miss Clarkson, Hammond and May…

I did it.

Well, my mood is still rapidly changing between happy and terrified. I a did buy a boat. The idea was to get something as small as bearable for a summer trip, slow and safe, easy to handle. Then start in a place which is great for beginners, easy waters, no tides, Kiel for example. And how did it play out? Yeah, well. I bought an 9,3 meter heavy displacement offshore racer-cruiser. The thing dominated races back in the 70s. And I bought it in Hamburg, famous for having the third largest port in whole Europe. And about 4m of tidal range. So there is all kind of weird current phenomena going on and container vessels and ferries produce large waves.

On the upside, the vessel is known for being pretty bulletproof and easy to single-hand. And she is a beauty!





Designed by famous sparkman and stephens (S&S). Build by IW-Varvet in 1970 on the island of Orust, Sweden. A modern (at the time) US Design build by shipwrights whose lineage goes back to the vikings. Literally! Technical details:

The last couple of days were spent mostly working on the boat or planning on what to change. She is old and battered but she wears her scars with pride.

Disclaimer: I don’t believe in the myth that all ships are female, if they have a gender at all. Her current name is Baldur but the pronoun she fells more appropriate then “he” or “it” or the singular “they”. I guess there is some nonbinary genderqueer thing going on. I’m pretty sure she’s got balls as well. And in GB she was actually marketed as the “SHE-31” (South Hants Engineering being the name of the shipyard)

Digging through the drafts folder #1

Searching for some unpublished posts I found these pictures.


Old leaf springs, old shock absorbers ,hole in the front spring mount

The old leaf spring is so worn out that it bends upwards an somebody removed the wedges on the axle which adjust the castor (tilt angle of the axis which leads the steering assembly to go automatically back to “straight forward” if you loosen your grip on the wheel.


Bigger shocks, three layer spring (the hole was fixed soon after as well)


The new assembly gives a couple of centimeters more ground clearance, yay

Mercedes 310D vs 307D

Last weekend I got the chance to drive a Mercedes 307d campervan. It’s the same model as mine, but being ten years older it was one of the first versions build while mine is the last stage of evolution. They look the same from the outside, but boy, these are totally different animals. The design of 4cyl OM616 65hp 137Nm@2400RPM from the 307 dates back to the sixties and the engine was first deployed in the /8 model. It loud, noisy, rough and doesn’t produce any power. It’s a sturdy little fella though, it was revived in the 90s for the MB100 and is still being produced today by Force Motors in India for their license builds.

The OM602 is a 5cyl engine of the 310d has 95hp and 192 Nm@2400RPM. 30hp more isn’t that much but 55Nm is. Combined with a true five speed gearbox it makes a completely different car (normally you start off in second gear with these cars and use first gear only for steep hills and full load. Due to my gearbox/differential combination I have to start in first gear). The design is from the 80s and the famous direct injection version of the engine (OM 602 DE 29 LA) was used till 2000 in the Mercedes Sprinter and the G-Model.

Since there are no acceleration figures for the campervans, let’s compare the sedans with the same engines. The W123 240D takes 22 sek from 0-100km/h and weights 1395kg.  The W124 250D takes 16,5 sek and weights 1320kg. So almost the same weight but 5.5 sek faster. On top of that, the OM602 in the sedan has 400ccm less displacement than the van version (2497ccm vs. 2874ccm). So in real world experience I’d wager the 310 is almost twice as fast in acceleration than the 307. Keep that in mind when comparing raw hp figures. There is more to the magic of acceleration than just horsepower…

Wireing done wrong #4

In Scandinavia I really understood why everybody over there has a couple of extra head lights on their cars. It really helps to see where you are going if you’re driving through remote areas when dark. (Disclaimer: I’m talking about additional high beams and not the fog lights some young guns think are cool).

So I bought some lights from Hella, a German company and was expecting good quality. The lights are alright but the manual is putting people to danger.image

They connect the relay directly to the battery. Guys, have you ever heard of something called fuse? It’s a pretty handy invention preventing people from accidentally setting their car on fire…