Title: Odd Car Accessories: Top 10

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Summary: As you would expect, people grow very attached to their cars. In many ways, the car you drive is an extension of yourself, from the skill with which you handle your vehicle to your temperament on the road. People are so fond of their cars, in fact, that they like to personalise them. Unfortunately, however, this usually has a similar effect to putting sunglasses on your pet dog: amusing for a short while, then awkward.

Meta Title: Strange Car Gadgets | Funny Car Gadgets | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors present a list of the 10 strangest car accessories

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As you would expect, people grow very attached to their cars. In many ways, the car you drive is an extension of yourself, from the skill with which you handle your vehicle to your temperament on the road. People are so fond of their cars, in fact, that they like to personalise them. Unfortunately, however, this usually has a similar effect to putting sunglasses on your pet dog: amusing for a short while, then awkward.

We’ve put together a list of the top ten most head-scratchingly, eyebrow-raisingly peculiar car accessories that have circulated over the years. Feel free to tick off any you own along the way. If you get full marks… we like your style.

 

Fluffy Dice

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If you’re a character in a 1970’s TV show about cops screeching around San Francisco, you might be able to pull these off. If, however, you are an accountant stuck in traffic on the M25, a pair of dangling fluffy dice obstructing 25% of your view of the road is not the way to go.

 

Bear alloys

Of the many odd alloys available, wheel alloys shaped in the form of a child’s teddy bear are perhaps the most visually offensive. At the low price of just £100 per wheel though, can you really afford not to have them?

 

Neon

If drifting around Tokyo car parks is a hobby, then installing fifteen blinding neon rods around your car to give it a radioactive glow might be in your best interests. Otherwise, put the electric blue bulb down and back away from the Fiat Punto.

 

Spinning rims

Cleverly invented to make it look like you’re still driving even when you’re stopped, spinning rims are a favourite in music videos featuring swimming pools, gold teeth, and lyrics about how great it is to have a lot of money. For maximum effect, combine spinning rims with dollar-sign alloys.

 

Car stickers

Do you want to give people the impression that your car is driving so fast that it’s actually on fire? If so, you need to invest in car stickers. Car stickers range from anything from flames, to skulls and cobwebs, to bullet holes.

Lit cigarette dispensers

Yes, these really existed, way back in the middle of the 20th century when safety wasn’t invented yet. Simply load a packet of cigarettes into the dispenser, and marvel as it shoots out burning cigarettes at your command. Fool proof.

In-car microwave

Everyone hates the desperate drive home after work, stomach growling, fantasising about pulling open the fridge and being bathed in its golden glow. With the in-car microwave, you need never worry about rushing home again. Simply sit in the car park, pop in a burger, and enjoy a nutritious meal in the backseat of your car.

 

Whistle Tips

Young people go through a lot of crazes, whether its fashion, music, or language. In Oakland, California, in 2002, young drivers took up the craze of adding ‘whistle tips’ to their car exhausts. The process essentially involves welding a piece of metal inside the exhaust to cause it to emit a shrill scream when you accelerate. But why would young drivers want this? Well… no reason at all, apart from to annoy local residents. They were swiftly banned.

 

Carlashes

One of the most commonly seen offenders on this list, the practise of gluing huge novelty eyelashes onto your cars headlights is surprisingly frequent. Whether the desired affect is to make the car look pretty, we’re not sure. More often than not, though, ‘carlashes’ transform a car into a giant metal Mr Blobby lookalike.

 

Novelty siren

Waiting in heavy traffic can be boring. Rather than listen to the radio or make conversation with any passengers, instead break the monotony by having a whale of a time playing with a novelty in-car siren. Novelty sirens allow you to project a variety of bizarre noises from your car, with many sirens allowing you to produce high decibel animal noises, musical honks, and wailing klaxons. If you think of them as emojis for cars, they suddenly make much more sense. See a motorist who has left their indicator on? Let them know with a friendly ‘moo’ at a hundred decibels.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Iconic Car of the Month: Bentley Blower

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Summary: For this month's Iconic Car feature, Bristol Street Motors will be stepping back in time to the glory days of British racing, that sepia-toned time of giant racing goggles, soot-covered faces, and an attitude towards safety that was blasé at best – and this month's Iconic Car is the epitome of the whole era. May we present to you the most British car you'll ever lay eyes on, the race winning, heart capturing, Bentley Blower.

Meta Title: Iconic Cars Bentley Blower | Bentley 4.5 Litre | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: This month Bristol Street Motors presents another iconic car: the Bentley 4.5 Litre or, more specifically, the supercharged version known as the Bentley Blower.

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For this month’s Iconic Car feature, Bristol Street Motors will be stepping back in time to the glory days of British racing, that sepia-toned time of giant racing goggles, soot-covered faces, and an attitude towards safety that was blasé at best and often veered towards downright maniacal. This was an age of rugged vehicles and humankind’s unrelenting pursuit of automotive power and speed – and this month’s Iconic Car is the epitome of the whole era. May we present to you the most British car you’ll ever lay eyes on, the race winning, heart capturing, Bentley Blower.

To tell the story of the Bentley 4½ Blower, it’s also necessary to tell the story of its owner, Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, hero of schoolboys everywhere and the sweetheart of the nation throughout the roaring twenties. Once described as “the greatest Briton of his time” by W.O. Bentley, the company’s chief engineer, Birkin was an aristocrat who had fought in the First World War and returned home with a thirst for adrenaline and a complete disregard for danger.

The public followed the news of his madcap exploits with reverence. In 1928, he completed Le Mans with a lap with an average speed of 85mph – despite the fact that one of his tyres had blown, and he was racing on three wheels. Another story goes that Sir Henry drove the Blower up the main staircase of the Savoy Hotel during a glamorous dinner. Rarely if ever in history has a person been so intrinsically linked to a vehicle. Pope Francis has the Popemobile, the Queen has her Land Rover Defender, and Birkin had the Blower.

The Bentley Blower is a supercharged version of the classic Bentley 4½ litre, which was first produced in 1927, with 720 being made before its discontinuation in 1931. The Bentley 4½ was, like other Bentleys, mainly purchased by buyers for use as personal transportation. It came in a variety of body styles; usually saloons or tourers. Before he ever got ejector seats installed in his Aston Martin, James Bond drove a Bentley, with the car appearing in the original Casino Royale novel.

Publicity for the car was most notably increased by its participation in high profile races such as Le Mans, competing against rivals including Bugatti and Lorraine-Dietrich. It was a widely acknowledged fact that a victory in such a race massively boosted a carmakers reputation. Throughout the 1920’s, a dedicated group arose, earning adoration from the British public. The ‘Bentley Boys’ were a group of well-to-do daredevils who rocketed Bentley to motoring fame and notoriety with their racing achievements. British financier Woolf Barnato was one such Bentley Boy, and when the brand faltered financially in the 1925, Barnato purchased the company. The purchasing of the car manufacturer by a fabulously wealthy speed demon was a key factor in the development of the supercharged Bentley 4½ – the Blower.

Out of the 720 4½ Litres produced, 55 of these were supercharged, with a Roots-type supercharger added by engineer Amherst Villiers. However, chief engineer and company founder W.O. Bentley refused to allow the engine to be modified, which meant they had to find a different way to incorporate the supercharger. The solution was to place the supercharger in front of the crank shaft and radiator grille – giving the car its completely unique, slightly-unfinished, mechanical appearance. This also influenced the cars handling, as the weight of the car was now distributed more toward the front. In a car as enormous as the Blower, 14ft and 4.4 inches long, the extra weight meant the car had a tendency to understeer.

Bentley Blower

Sir Henry Birkin and his Blower, named ‘No. 1′, raced together for several adventure packed years. In 1929, Sir Henry entered a 500 mile endurance race, continuing to race even after a cracked exhaust caused a fire on board. In the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans, he famously overtook the Mercedes Benz SSK of formidable race driver Rudolf Caracciola, driving over grass at 125 mph despite throwing a tyre tread. The Blower’s finest hour came at the French Grand Prix when Sir Henry beat almost the entire Bugatti line up, in what is considered his greatest ever race, despite coming second place. The incident lead a red-face Ettore Bugatti to heckle Bentley as “the fastest trucks in the world”.

The Blower No.1 won Le Mans twice, in 1929 and 1931, with its faithful companion Sir Henry at the wheel. Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin passed away in 1933, and the Blower No.1 was auctioned to watchmaker George Daniels. In 2012, the car was sold to an unnamed bidder for £5,042,000, which makes it the most expensive British-built car ever sold. With such an illustrious history behind it, it’s not hard to see why.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Formula One Record Breakers

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Summary: Among Formula One fans, the battle rages eternal to finally decide who the all-time greatest race driver is. Rather than wade into the debate, we've decided to present you with the facts; a handful of the many records held by Formula One drivers. We've cherry picked ten of these for you, in order to help you make your own mind up on who is the sport’s greatest ever driver. Oh, and we've also popped in the worst Formula One driver of all time, just for good measure.

Meta Title: Formula One Record Breakers | Greatest F1 Driver | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Who is the greatest F1 driver of all time? We're not sure at Bristol Street Motors, so we've put together a list of Formula One record breakers so you can decide for yourselves!

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shutterstock_243067945Among Formula One fans, the battle rages eternal to finally decide who the all-time greatest race driver is. Rather than wade into the debate, we’ve decided to present you with the facts; a handful of the many records held by Formula One drivers. We’ve cherry picked ten of these for you, in order to help you make your own mind up on who is the sport’s greatest ever driver.

Oh, and we’ve also popped in the worst Formula One driver of all time, just for good measure.

Total starts

Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello holds the record with 322 starts between 1993 and 2011. Rubens Barrichello also is one of the few people to beat the Stig’s lap time on Top Gear, by 0.1 seconds.

Youngest drivers to start a race

At just 17 years, 166 days old, the Dutch teen Max Verstappen has achieved more than some people will in their whole lives, by racing in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

Oldest drivers to start a race

In 1958, Louis Chiron entered the Monaco Grand Prix at an impressive 55 years, 292 days of age, making him the oldest driver to have ever started a race.  More impressive still is that he placed sixth in the competition despite his age, driving a Lancia D50.

Total wins

The Red Baron himself, Michael Schumacher takes the crown for the most Formula wins, having racked up a staggering 91 wins over his 308 entries between 1991 and 2012, meaning he comes in first place on average one in every three races.

Percentage wins

With 24 victories out of 52 entries, the laurel wreath for highest percentage of wins goes to Juan Manuel Fangio, with a whopping 46.15%. Fangio was an avid car collector, and two of his old Ferrari’s have made it onto our list of ’10 Most Expensive Cars Sold at Auction’ due to their jaw dropping price tags.

Most races before first win

Aussie Mark Webber must have either the patience of a saint or a will of steel to have powered through 130 races before finally taking his place at the top of the podium in the 2009 German Grand Prix.

Total fastest laps

Michael Schumacher has claimed the fastest lap time of 77 of his 306 races, which is a little over 1 in 4. Considering he wins one in three, it’s not too surprising.

Total podium finishes

He just can’t stay away. Michael Schumacher holds the record again, with 155 podium appearances over his 308 entries.

Career points

28 year old Sebastian Vettel has accumulated a huge 1992 points over his career. The title was held by rival Fernando Alonso until the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, when Vettel took the lead. Alonso is currently third, with 1796 points. Brit Lewis Hamilton is second with 1984, only 8 points behind.

Race leader for every lap

Ayrton Senna takes the record, having been pack leader for 19 entire races. According to our calculations, that’s around 3600 miles without ever being overtaken. There’s no wonder the Brazilian one of the sport’s most admired drivers.

So, has any of this helped to make your mind up? If you’re still unsure, don’t worry. We do have at least one conclusion for you.

Worst F1 Driver Ever (Self Nominated)

There are surely a few contenders for this title, however one driver has taken it upon himself to step forward and take the crown. In 2013, a motoring forum was ablaze with debate over who the worst ever driver was. Enter Taki Inoue, Japanese driver for Footwork. He ended the debate, nominating himself with the tweet:

“Hey, mister! You don’t need to consider who is the worst F1 driver forever!! It’s definitely me Taki Inoue.” (sic)

He has a point. Inoue is famed for his comedy accidents during his ramshackle 1995 season. He stalled at the Monaco Grand Prix in the first qualifying stage, and was then hit and flipped by a Renault Clio course car. He escaped with only a minor concussion. Later, at the Hungary Grand Prix, Inoue’s engine failed. He jogged off the track to grab a fire extinguisher, and when running back to his car he was knocked flying by a course car. Again, he escaped unharmed, and retired at the end of the season.

Have we missed one of your favourites? Let us know!

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Pioneers of Disability Sport

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Summary: Global awareness of disability sport is at an all-time high. Following the success of London’s 2012 Paralympics – arguably the biggest and most wide reaching event of its kind so far – and Rio 2016, games for the disabled have been placed on the same pedestal as non-disabled events. As a result, disabled athletes have finally started to receive the same reverence as able-bodied athletes, becoming not just recognised for triumphs over adversity, but for their achievements as competitors and athletes.

Meta Title: Pioneers of Disability Sport

Meta Description: Global awareness of disability sport is at an all-time high, check out the pioneers of disability sport from Bristol Street Versa.

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The Pioneers of Disability SportGlobal awareness of disability sport is at an all-time high. Following the success of London’s 2012 Paralympics – arguably the biggest and most wide reaching event of its kind so far –  and Rio 2016, games for the disabled have been placed on the same pedestal as non-disabled events. As a result, disabled athletes have finally started to receive the same reverence as able-bodied athletes, becoming not just recognised for triumphs over adversity, but for their achievements as competitors and athletes.

However, the route to recognition has been a long one for disabled athletes. Before the Paralympics became a pathway for the creation of pop-culture icons, organised sports for the disabled were few and far between, viewed as marginal pursuits, or in many cases simply non-existent.

This isn’t to say that those with physical disabilities didn’t compete in sporting events before the creation of the Paralympics, but that the opportunities to do so were slim. One of the earliest recorded organised events occurred in New York in 1911. Although the name of the event – the “Cripples Olympiad” – reflects prejudices of the time, press reports of the games were positive. The Welshman Walter William Francis was particularly praised for his achievements, winning the running and wresting events and being described as an “extraordinary personality”. Francis was somewhat of a minor icon of the times, competing in rugby, football, and wrestling, swimming 15 miles across the Welsh channel, and seemingly never letting his disability get in the way of any potential achievements.

As events like the “Cripples Olympiad” were far from regular, the physically disabled in the early 20th century had little platform to compete in sports. However, this didn’t put athletes off from competing in events, as seen with the German-American George Eyser. A single leg amputee, Eyser was most likely the first disabled athlete to compete in the Olympics. Despite his disability, Eyser excelled at gymnastics, walking away from the 1904 games with 6 medals. Eyser also held the distinction of being the only prosthesis wearer to compete in the Olympics for 104 years, with South African swimmer Natalie du Toit becoming the second in 2008.

The true beginnings of organised disability sports lay with Frenchman Eugène Rubens-Alcais. Eugene was both a keen sportsman and deaf, and throughout his life campaigned for the rights of the deaf community. After founding the Cycling Club of the Deaf and Dumb in 1899, and the Sports Federation of the Deaf and Dumb in 1918, Eugene organised the “First International Silent Games” in 1924. Held in Paris, the games were an equivalent of the Olympics designed specifically for deaf athletes, and the first officially recognised international games for athletes with a disability. Now known as the Deaflympics, the games were a first step for organised disability sports, and have been held every 4 years since the first games.

The next significant milestone is rooted in the fallout of the Second Word War. Dr Ludwig Guttman, who had fled the Nazis in 1939, was a neurologist based at the spinal injuries centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital, mostly treating veterans injured fighting in the war. Guttman believed that sport could be a therapeutic practice for those with spinal injuries, and as far back as 1945 was encouraging patients to participate in games. In 1948, Guttman organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for amputees and wheelchair users. At first composed solely of just British participants, in the following years other countries began to participate, and the set of events grew larger, becoming the International Stoke Mandeville Games. By 1960, the Olympic Committee had begun to take note, and in that year the Stoke Mandeville games were held alongside the summer Olympics officially for the first time. This was to be a landmark for organised sport for the disabled, and the beginning of the Paralympics – although this name was used officially for the first time at the 1988 Seoul games.

With the foundation of the Paralympics, awareness of disability sport finally started to grow. With the increased recognition of achievements in this wider platform, opportunities for the disabled have widened into other areas. Outside the field of athletics, disabled motorsports has seen huge progress in the past 20 years. As recently as the 1980’s, those with disabilities had been banned from circuit and touring car racing. However, with the establishment of the British Motor Sports Association for the Disabled in 1987, progress has been made, and racing competitions for the disabled now exist. Disabled drivers are now also just beginning to break into top flight competitions, competing alongside non-disabled drivers. In June 2015 Nicolas Hamilton – who has cerabral palsy – competed in the British Touring Car Championships; the first disabled driver to do so.

In the past century, progress has been made to try make sure that the disabled are not barred from pursuing sporting goals and ambitions. However, the road to equality and recognition has by no mean been fully walked; something today’s and tomorrows pioneers will make sure of.

Author: Tom