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Steve Cropley: How an old train tunnel could reshape car aero


TUESDAY

Our ever-practical Dacia Sandero Stepway long-termer demonstrated its usefulness (again) over the festive period when we turned its roof bars around to make a rack that proved perfect for toting our Christmas tree, first home for the big day and then back to the wood-chip recyclers afterwards.

ind you, with the bars set across the car, it sounded as if we were being pursued by our own personal tornado. But this was a small price to pay for convenience.

The experience made me wonder about the hearing of those who drive the many cars you see on motorways with lateral roof bars fitted. Maybe they just turn the radio right up.

WEDNESDAY

While old-schoolers voice regrets that kids don’t ‘get’ cars the way they used to, our Canada-based contributor, Graham Heeps, has done something substantial about it and launched an e-book for kids called 20 Great Race Cars (£3 on Amazon). It tells the inspiring stories of “some of the world’s coolest racing machines” and explains how to collect them as models.

It makes an enjoyable read for adults, too. However, the detail about its gestation I like best is that when Heeps was struggling with copyright for some of the images he wanted to use, Porsche’s US-based vice-president of public relations, Englishman Angus Fitton, sent him a note waiving all picture rights, because Heeps was trying to interest kids in cars, and asking if he could help further. History fails to record whether Heeps’ grateful reply included the suggestion that the weekend loan of a Porsche 911 Turbo S would push things along…

THURSDAY

New Year’s Setback No1: a man came today to collect the Volvo V90 Cross Country that I’ve been driving through the Christmas break – the very same car that Vicky Parrott chose for ‘superdad’ Matt Saunders as part of our Christmas road testers’ lunch.

What a polite, refined and mild-mannered car it proved to be over about 1300 miles. As was noted in our story, this sumptuous raised estate was fitted with both a diesel engine and leather seats, neither of which is part of Volvo’s future, and the big green carry-all is now earmarked for sale. Still, I was more than happy to give it an impromptu farewell.



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