21st September 1997


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Maintain professional ethics-Fowzie

The Institute of Automotive Engineers of Sri Lanka held their annual sessions and certificate awarding ceremony on September 6 at the BMICH Banquet Hall under the patronage of Transport and Highways Minister A.H.M. Fowzie who was the Chief Guest at this occasion.

K.H. Saito, Managing Director, Suren Abeygoonesekera, General Manager of Toyota Lanka Ltd. and M. Balasubramaniam, Managing Director, M/S Klvenberg Ltd.; Agents for Castrol in Sri Lanka and a large number of distinguished personalities in the motor Industry and other professionals were among those present.

The welcome address was made by President of the Institute Victor Mendis. While welcoming the guests and members, he stated that the Institute, which had its humble beginnings in the year 1992, had now grown to be a formidable professional organisation in the country. He outlined the objectives of the Institute and the achievements made during the past years.

Shelley Wickramasinghe, past President, outlined the history of the Institute and pledged wholehearted support for the efforts by the Minister to improve the transport services in the country. He requested the Minister to obtain a suitable place at SLCTB Head Office in Narahenpita to have an office for the Institute.

Minister Fowzie in his keynote address thanked the members of the Institute for the yeoman services rendered by them in maintaining a large fleet of automobiles in the country. At a time when maintenance and repairs of motor vehicles have been more and more difficult with the advanced technologies introduced, there is a need to maintain high standards in workshops and garages. He stressed the need, while improving the quality of workmanship and management to provide more facilities to young engineers to improve their knowledge and skills by providing training facilities. Certain manufacturers he said, have ignored the regulations governing vehicle design with the main purpose of carrying more passengers, violating the existing conformity rules.

The Minister also requested the engineers to maintain professional ethics in discharging their duties. He commended their services in planning, modernising automobile workshops, use of modern, equipment at shop floors, staff skill development, use of computer technologies, driver training and testing, issue of fitness certificates, standardisation of vehicle makes and models. He also agreed to provide suitable accommodation in the SLCTB premises at Narahenpita to open an office for the Institute.

A. C. M. Shafeek, Senior Vice President of the Institute proposed the vote of thanks.

A seminar organised by the sponsors on “Use of Toyota technologies in servicing and maintenance of vehicles using genuine spare parts” followed. Suren Abeygoonesekera, General Manager, Toyota Lanka Ltd., and A. G. Samarasekera, General Secretary of the Institute of Automotive Engineers delivered talks.

The following office-bearers were elected unanimously for the period 1997/98

Patron - Minister of Transport and Highways - Ex officio

Vice-Patrons - Mr. Suren Abeygoonasekera, Mr. M. Balasubramaniam

President - Mr. Victor Mendis

Past President - Mr. Shelley Wickramasinghe

Vice-Presidents - M/S B. D. Y. Seneviratne, A. Dullewa, A.C.M.Shafeek, S. Pandithage

General Secretary - A. G. Samarasekera

Asst. Secretary - S. Galagoda

Treasurer - M. Poholidda

Asst. Treasurer - D. N. Dharmawickrama

Committee - M/s S.M. Ratnaweera, P. G. Wijesinghe, W. Y. N. de S. Kulasekera, R. W. Jayasooriya, H. D. Nandasena, Godwin Yapa, K. V. G. Wijesundera and Brig: A. K. Sooriyabandara

Bugatti’s coup...

One of the seven Bugatti Royales ever made is up for grabs

What weigh nearly three tons, is 55 years old, looks as though it was owned by a gangster and is worth more than a cool $8 million?

The answer of course.... is a Bugatti Royale. The top people’s car, which was built in 1932 and cost just £ 11,000, is set to become the world’s most expensive car.

With only 5,000 miles on the clock, the Type 41 Bugatti, powered by a mighty 12.7 litre engine, will be up for grabs at a giant Christie’s auction in London.

One of only six Royales left, of the seven originally built, the car was owned by Ettore Bugatti himself for more than 20 years before it was sold to American millionaire Briggs Cunningham.

Even by today’s standards the Royale sets the pace on the road. Despite being more than half a century old it drives like new, cruises at 70 mph, and easily out-drags its rivals in terms of cost. In 1932 it was three times the price of a Rolls-Royce; now it is nearly 80 times.

Ettore Bugatti had planned to build 25 Royales, but the Great Depression destroyed that ambition. In 1947, after his death, the Royale was used as a shopping runaround by his eldest daughter L’be and left to gather dust until it was sold to Briggs Cunningham.

Now at last, it is due to hit the road again.

Today his name is known mainly among rich vintage car enthusiasts, but in his lifetime car manufacturer Ettore Bugatti was world famous, vintage veteran

Car manufacturer Ettore Bugatti had his own way of dealing with awkward customers. When a man complained that he had trouble starting his Bugatti on a cold morning, Bugatti told him: “My dear fellow, if you can afford to buy one of my cars surely you can afford a heated garage.”

Another customer criticised the brakes on one of his models. Bugatti dismissed the complaint with a wave of the hand. “I make my cars to go, not to stop,” he said.

Today, his name is known mainly among vintage car enthusiasts, but in his heyday, in the twenties and thirties, Ettore Bugatti was world famous as much for his eccentricities as for his beautifully designed, highly expensive cars.

A wonderfully illustrated book, ‘World of Cars’ (published by Columbus, London) maintains that some of his models were so exclusive he would sell them only to customers of whom he approved.

The son of an Italian silversmith, Bugatti spent most of his life in France. He was a promising artist as a boy, but as he had an elder brother who was a successful artist, rather than be second best he decided on a different career.

He joined a car manufacturing business when he was 16 and went on to become a designer and racing driver.

By 1910, he had his own firm in Mosheim, Alsace-Lorraine. His cars were to change the course of motor-racing.

They were soon beating cars with five times more engine power. Bugatti’s theory was that smaller cars with superior roadholding, especially on sharp corners, were superior to cars with sheer power.

Bugatti’s tragedy was the death of his eldest son, Jean. He had banned the boy from motor-racing for fear of his being injured, but Jean was killed simply while testing a car in 1939. Bugatti never got over the loss and died in 1947.

Auto Technology Q & A

TSOP-The Revolutionary Polymer

Q: What is TSOP?

A: TSOP stands for Toyota Super Olefin Polymer which is a revolutionary polymer that is light and more easily recycled than plastic. TSOP is currently used in the bumpers of Toyota vehicles aimed to make parts more easily recyclable to help improve the environment.

Q: Are there any other parts which use TSOP?

A: Yes, TSOP is used in most interior garnishes. The objective is to have most or all recyclable parts made of the same basic material to make recycling easier and more efficient.

Q: How much of a typical vehicle is recycled?

A: Currently, Toyota recycles 75% - 80% of a vehicle by weight, but is working on technology that will enable the recycling of 90% of a vehicle by weight by the year 2000.

Q: How can recycling of automobiles be improved?

A: First, when an automobile is being developed, it can be designed and manufactured with more materials that are easier to recycle by making those parts easier to dismantle.

In addition, recovery programmes at the dealers could be improved to make sure that as many automobiles as possible are recycled.

And the number of components in an autombile could be decreased to make sorting and the recycling process easier.

Vintage reliability run to Galle - A grand success

The Vintage Reliability Run 1997 to the historic city of Galle and return to Colombo organised by the Vintage Car Owners’ Club over the weekend of September 6 and 7 was a grand success. It was the longest mileage run for Vintage Vehicles covering 150 miles.

The run was sponsored by Lucas and the Hatton National Bank. This is the second successful Vintage Car Rally sponsored by the Hatton National Bank.

Come Saturday morning, 31 Vintage Cars and a Lorry were at the start opposite the Art Gallery at Green Path. The Minister of Transport, A. H. M. Fowzie inspected the vehicles and at 7.30 a. m. flagged off the 1924 Rolls Royce CY 2086 owned by the C. T. B., that comes under the purview of the Minister. It was owned by Sir Leo Fernando and with the nationalisation of Bus Companies in 1956, it was vested in the C. T. B. The first Chairman of the C. T. B. Vere de Mel of Quickshaws fame cared for this vehicle knowing its value. It is now in the custody of the Ceylon German Technical Institute. The Commer Lorry K-312 which is over 80 years old owned by Mr. Merril Kannangara was the second to be flagged off. This lorry has taken part in most of the Rallies and Merril was determined to take part by overhauling the engine. The third to be flagged off was Hatim Akberally’s SSI Airline Saloon Z-2742. The first owner of this car was Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

The other vehicles were flagged off by the officials of Klevenberg and Hatton National Bank. There were many models of the Chevrolet, Riley, Morris, Standards, Grahm Paige, Mercedes Benz and Fiat cars. All completed the course except one, which had blown its gaskette at Moratuwa.

The Golden Oldies chugged along with breakfast packs stopping at Uswatta for a gift parcel, then at Hatton National Bank check points at Moratuwa, Kalutara, Ambalangoda and the Lucas check point at Panadura.

The day’s proceedings culminated with a reception and the Southern Province Governor Neville Kankaratne being the Chief Guest.

The next morning the vehicles proceeded in parade to Hatton National Bank, Galle and the “Pathum Vimana” run was flagged off to Colombo and the vehicles proceeded along the coast to Tangerine Beach Hotel in Kalutara.

The Awards Ceremony was held at this Hotel.

When the decision was made to have a reliability run on a course of 150 miles - many were of the opinion that the cars of yesteryear would not be able to complete the race. With most vehicles completing the race it was proved beyond doubt that these cars are still reliable.

The comittee of the VCOC did an excellent job and maintained their tradition of organising successful rallies. Vintage Motoring in Sri Lanka reached another milestone in their history.

There were murmurings heard amongst the VCOC members of what will be the next event. A midnight rally; A Peace Rally to Jaffna. We await the committee’s decision.

Ali Azeez (President, VCOC)

Ferrari banner soon to fly in Russia and South Korea

Ferrari’s programme of globalisation is stepping up a gear with expansion during the year into Russia and South Korea.

The famous Ferrari banner, with its familiar prancing horse, will soon be flying at a new Ferrari sales and service centre in Moscow, and by the end of the year, a similar establishment in Seoul.

In 1996 the Ferrari plant at Maranello, near Modena, produced and sold 3,370 cars, a rise of 8% on 1995, and recorded revenues which according to preliminary results, reached a total of 800 billion lire, over 85% of which was derived from exports.

The latest Ferrari, the 12-cylinder 550 Maranello, now has a long waiting list. The entire 1997 production, some 700 units, is already pre-sold. According to Ferrari’s Sales Director Michele Scannavini, sales and service activities in South Korea and Russia became necessary “because of the number of Ferraris already on the road”.

After this, the company has set its eyes on Indonesia and later India. “We are particularly interested in Indonesia and will enter the market as soon as the local government makes it possible to do so”.

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