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IDv4 May 25, 2009

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Initial D.
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My Initial D Arcade Stage 4 craze is officially back. It’s been awhile and I have forgotten where I left my ICcard. So I’m now back with the name of SA911N on my card. I can normally be found in Fun Square ( nearby Patrick Saloon ) Centrepoint, Kota Kinabalu. Feel free to chat up and exchange opinions on the game if you see me. I’m back, Initial D.

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Spotted : Land Rover Defender SVX March 12, 2009

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Land Rover, Spotted.
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11-03-09_1231Spotted in Land Rover HQ Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Concept : Aston Martin Lagonda Concept March 5, 2009

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Aston Martin, Concepts, Rants, Thoughts and Opinion.
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medium_3327317653_c77c917a5e_oNow this has got me perplexed. I’m a big time lover of SUVs, 4x4s and other offroading vehicle but the new Aston Martin Lagonda Concept is one big confusing mess. These days, for an automobile company to suddenly come out with a new variety of vehicles from their stable is nothing new. So Aston Martin once again brings out the Lagonda name but this time, it represents a luxury SUV.  Really the design is just too confusing. The large grille is surely imposing but somehow not really the identity that the Aston Martin Brand Would carry. I want to say that the business end of this car looks good but truth be told, it isn’t. BMW managed to get it right with the X5 and well I never like the Cayenne from Porsche. I basically believe that a SUV should have somewhat of a bumper in the front. Maybe something that wraps around the grille. Although, I do like the front half of this vehicle’s side profile but that is where the beauty of the car ends. When I saw the rear end of the car, I cringed.

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To try something different is one thing, but that happens to make the hair from my pits fall off. Seriously, get back to the drawing board and figure out what is wrong. It just looks bad. Seriously I hope that this concept makes it out on the road, just not with that rear end. It’s like listening to Elton John, you love his songs but he’s gay.

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LRM on Analog/Digital October 24, 2008

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Thoughts and Opinion.
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Nowadays when I wake up, I have my normal routine to go thru. Check the phone for missed calls and messages, get online and check for email and updates and later check up with my digital schedule for the day’s agenda. It’s all digital. I remember coming into KLIA for the very first time and since I’ve never been anywhere else outside the country – seeing a horizontal escalator made me a little excited. Then I thought to myself “Technology is now helping us to walk a distance without moving a muscle.” I mean, are we that lazy? does everything we do has to have somekind of an assistance?.

And that is what is grinding my gears right now. Everything feels bolstered. In so doing it is minusing most of the human part of the interaction. I used to remember the days when cars were driven by real men. Back in the days, driving a 911 requires a lot of the driver’s input. Yet today, Porsches are so augmented with digital doohickys that even an idiot could drive it around the track without crashing. With these cars roaming the streets, the tie between the driver and the machine is severed to a level where it’s just sad.

That is what I think a lot of car makers should head back to. A base model that goes back to basics. Think a long the lines of a BMW 123d, shaved and rugged. A real lightweight 1 series sans GPS and other gadgetry. But here’s the catch, it still has to have all it’s interior panel intacted and usable on a daily basis. Forget traction control and whatever else that weights it down. Just a normal car that you can use everyday yet a real drivers car.

This is also why I fancy things like the Caterhams and Lotus Elise. It’s a car where the driver’s input decides how well it behaves on the road. Also the car gives the driver enough feedback that keeps the driver aware and not some techno-assisted automobile that behaves itself no matter what you do.

I know that a lot of fanboys out there are going to be quick to point out things like the 997 GT3 and M3 CSL but I see these examples as some more than a driver’s car. It’s more of a Race-prepared version of their Road going cars. Forget carbon fibre panels and lightweight everything. I’m refering to good-ol’ back-to-basics drivers car, something that makes the morning drive to work as something to look forward to.

I say bring back more of these, screw the yuppies who can’t drive these machines and a back to basic driver’s car shouldn’t cost too much with all the gadgetry out of the picture. Make these cars available for the regular joes that will surely hoon the crap out of these cars. Think Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

But with so many carmakers out there today we don’t wanna see just another hot hatch coming out, this is settled to me by the upcoming Focus RS. I want to see more of these kinda cars coming out, not only restricting the focus onto road cars but also off roaders. Let us see a bare basic Range Rover – new body but manual gear box and sans bells and whistles. Forget this X5 crap and roll out an X5 Slim or something. Come on carmakers give something for the analog drivers out there

Introducing Land Rover Mike’s Fantasy Garage September 9, 2008

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Fantasy Garage.
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I’m a follower of Jalopnik’s Fantasy Garage although, a garage full of supercars and rare automobiles are just not my thing. So I’ve decided to follow in their footsteps and open the LRM’s FG ( I know, it’s quite a handful ). Although the rules has changed this time around.

I will put up a car under my own recomendation ( no votes ) and of course I will have a limitless budget to go with it. There is also a 100 car limit and since I in asia, my choices will mostly be of cars that I am exposed to locally – well most of it.

Since I’m such a fan of Land Rover my first induction to the garage would be this.

 

 

 

The Bell Aurens Longnose Land Rover

The Bell Aurens Longnose Land Rover

I can choose the latest Range Rovers that has come out this year or the LR3 but for the point of exclusivity, the Bell Aurens Longnose Land Rover is chosen. Also I have chosen the 12 cylinder 27.0 Litre Rolls Royce Merlin/Meteor. Quite a handful to say but the Bell Aurens Longnose just makes you want to say it. It is not your average Range Rover which are made for people who’s ego is bigger than that moving bungalow itself. No, the Longnose is made for those who understands what having a Land Rover is all about. I know what you guy’s are thinking, ” If he’s talking about off-roading, then there are other options out there ” but I will have to say that nothing does off-roading better than a Land Rover. Which also brings us to the next point, as you noticed – the Longnose is not an Off-Roader but an Off-Roadster. A two-door open top off-roadster? instant orgasm!!! We all know that if it’s a Land Rover, it will get you to wherever you want to go but getting there in this will just chow how special you are. Honestly if you are really into 4×4 then the Bell Aurens Longnose should be in your dream list, if not then you better check whether there is something wrong with you.

Welcome the first car in LRM’s Fantasy Garage, the Bell Aurens Longnose Land Rover

What is the most annoying add-on item you have seen on the road? September 4, 2008

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Rants, Thoughts and Opinion.
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We have seen it and heard it on the road, that weird sound that comes from that Kancil next to you. It was enough to make you cringe and wonder at the same time “what was that all about?” Or some Protons out there that opted to change their logo to that plastic-chrome-lion-crap on their hood. I mean yeah, looks good now but weeks later when the weather takes it toll on it – there we have it a mound of plastic that looks like it has ICI’s Puke Colour No. 9. I agree that since we own that piece of automobile, we can put whatever we fancy on it but please god, think of the people around you!.

Having said that LandRoverMike is asking you what is the worse/funniest/most obscene/retarded add-on item or gadget have you seen on our local roads?

LRM on Automotive Design Language September 3, 2008

Posted by Zulhaikal Mahdan in Rants, Thoughts and Opinion.
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Design Languages these days

Design Languages these days

Most of the time our car fetish is driven by the way a certain car looks. It is different for most individuals with some having a thing from supercars to trucks to wagons and compacts. In Malaysia we have a long list of K-car lovers ( Kei car/ultra compact ) and Japanese Import supporters. We also have on the other end of the spectrum – people who loves European cars and American cars. Sadly because of high import duty tax and road tax prices we have not been able to see a lot of American cars on the road. From the bold design of the Americans to the multiple personality of Japanese design.

Although now a lot of big car companies are putting a lot of their profits into research on designs and this shows in the Concept Cars that is being shown at car shows around the world. One of the car brands that is seriously researches on design concepts is Mazda. Most of us knows what I’m talking about – The Nagare, Ryuga and The Hakaze which was followed later by the Taiki and the Furai. I’m sure everyone will agree that the Furai is just jaw-dropping.

You see, Mazda recognized that their car design was in need of a revamp although we have seen some of their best work, which for me included the Rx7 line up of the family. It started from the first generation ( SA/FB ) then it went on to the second generation ( FC ) and later on followed thru to the third generation ( FD ).  If you were to take notice, there was a good transition from one generation to the other. After the FD, the Rx8 was naturally the successor to the Rx7 but the design transition was just too drastic. Then again maybe that is why it is called the Rx8 instead of Rx7.

But this is where I have a problem with our current automotive design, where is the transition between the older models and the current ones? it is not only the Japanese even Britain’s Land Rover has totally revamped the Discovery now known as the LR3. Although to be fair the LR3 has retained a lot of it’s older brother’s design signatures and al that as far as Land Rover is concerned, the Range Rover has actually shown it’s transition from one generation to the other.

The design that the car carries is an interpretation of a car company’s image and a message they are trying to convey onto their owners. Companies like Mercedes-Benz and BMW knows this and has been very careful about bringing change across all their models.

 

The New Proton Saga

The New Proton Saga

 

 

On the other side of the whole picture we have car companies like Proton that designs according to the current market demands and trends. The Saga BLM is a good example. If it is anything like it’s older brother then something tells me the Saga BLM must be from the second marriage. It’s just that much different from the older one. I understand that we have to get with the times and the change was needed but can’t we keep the original identity of the Saga somehow? honestly it looks just like another Vios or City but thank god that Proton managed to pull it of right. And this is not me kissing up to our local car manufacturers. I actually agree that it looks great and from what I can gather, so does everyone else. But where is the essence of the original?

 

The old Proton Saga

The old Proton Saga

 

 

I leave you with something to ponder here. Maybe this is the point where the design language is going thru a heavy overhaul. If so, what is the car that you want to see going through this overhaul and what is your favourite design?