Saturday 18 July 2015

Week 50 - The Grambler on the Lexus Benz

Stewart was an amazing person -  A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle.  He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good.  We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer.  If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via .


If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent.  It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.


Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery.  He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter.  His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige.  Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…


You probably aren’t too interested in cars, but I have just seen a new car.  Yes, I know that isn’t very interesting, but the more I looked at this car, the more it bothered me.  What, you may ask.  What bothered me was that I had seen this car before, many, many years ago.  How could that be the case?  This was a brand new car; only just introduced onto the market.  How could I possibly have seen it years ago?  Then – Clang! – the penny dropped.  And, guess what, I’m going to tell you about it.  [Must you? – Ed.]  The car in question reminded me of a Lexus convertible from 2001.  If you don’t know the Lexus, it was the brand favoured by Alan Partridge who pretentiously gave the plural of Lexus as Lexae thinking that the name was from Latin.  Any road up, for those of you who are wondering about this rather odd subject matter for this week’s (g)ramble, don’t panic; there is not anything remotely nerdy coming up. [Oh, aye, sure. – Ed.]  I will, though, have to give a little history lesson to make some sense of the article.  [Oh, blimey! – Ed.]  In the 1970s and 80s, Japanese vehicles were generally family cars.  As long as all the family members were tiny – How could the first generation Honda Civic be classed as a family car?  The rear doors were 1 foot 9 inches wide, for goodness’ sake [What?  Japanese wine? – Ed.].  How the hell was anyone meant to contort themselves to get through a space like that?  Any road up, Japan didn’t have its own prestige brand like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi or Jaguar.  Most of the Japanese cars at that time were reliable, sure, but they didn’t have the cachet of ‘quality’.  [Yawn. – Ed.]  And they were tiny.  The trouble was that, if, say, Toyota wanted to sell a premium car, it would have to be sold at a premium price.  Quality doesn’t come cheap.  However, Toyota bosses realised that the name Toyota was synonymous (That’s a good word; must look it up.) with value-for-money cars and could not be used for a high-priced car.  This is where the name Lexus comes in.  [Really?  How interesting.  Yawn. – Ed.]  It would be the brand name for Toyota’s higher-quality, higher-priced cars in the same way that Honda would use the Acura name and Nissan Infiniti [That’s spelled wrong.  Just ask Buzz Lightyear. – Ed.]

Toyota engineers had one brand in their sights when they designed the first Lexus – Mercedes-Benz.  The first car from this new premium brand in 1989 was as close to a Merc S Class as it was possible to be without infringing (That’s another good word; I’m full of them, this week.) copyright, or whatever car makers do to stop others copying their designs.  As other models were introduced, and the brand gained a reputation for excellent quality, there was less emphasis on aping Mercedes’ designs.

One car to come from Lexus was a rather flashy convertible with a metal, rather than a soft, top.  If you ever watch the Beeb Beeb Ceeb drama ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ you will have seen one; it is the car driven by the leading characters – a pair of seventy somethings.  Not the usual choice of pensioners, it should be said.

Where was I?  Oh yes, this rather oddly proportioned car was introduced in 2001; fourteen years ago [Yes, we can count. – Ed.].  I am emphasising the date, because it is this car that I was reminded of when I saw the new vehicle I spoke of.  And what was this brand new car which so resembles a fourteen year old Lexus?  It’s a Mercedes-Benz C Class.  How ironic that the company which tried so hard to emulate Mercedes-Benz, is now being copied by that same company.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the pictures and tell me that the design of the new car was not in any way influenced by that of the old one.







Or is it the other way round?





What about the birthday honours for the 18th of July?  Which famous fellows first found their way into the world on this day?  Robert Hooke 1635 (Nemesis of Peter Pan), William Makepeace Thackeray 1811 (Jake’s dad), Red Skelton 1913 (Coloured bones), Nelson Mandela 1918 (The greatest politician of recent times), Michael Medwin 1923 (Corporal Springer.  There’s an old reference for you.), Kurt Masur 1927 (Abrupt massager), Burt Kwouk 1930 (Kato, you fool), Hunter S. Thompson 1937 (The great gonzo), Ian Stewart 1938 (The 6th Stone), Brian Auger 1939 (Mogul Thrash), Martha Reeves 1941 (Chris’s mum), David Hemery 1944 (Dick’s lad), Dennis Lillee 1949 (Crickety bloke), Richard Branson 1950 (Pickle manufacturer), Glenn Hughes 1950 (Village person), Nick Faldo 1957 (Golfy bloke), Pauline Quirke 1959 (Formerly Pauline Foible) and Vin Diesel 1967 (Bad French wine).

Anyone in there to give us this week’s gramblerised toon.  Yes indeedy.  Martha and her Vandellas, no less; an act still dining out on the famous Grambling in the Street some fifty plus years after its original release.  They seem to do a lot of their work in Britain these days…

Gramblin’ out around the world

Are you ready for a brand new beat

Summer’s here and the time is right

For gramblin’ in the street.

They’re gramblin’ in Chester

Down in Newbury

Up in Newmarket…

Did you spot my link to the next bit?




How did The Grambler’s predicting skills fare last week?  We actually won.  I say won.  £1.93, that’s all.  A loss of 27 pees, but not as bad as our usual.  Can The Grambler improve on that this week?  Let’s see what this week’s random choices are…

Meeting – Time – Horse – Odds

Newbury             1.25            Mile High                               10/11

Chester               1.50            Muhadathat                          8/13

Newmarket        4.00            Maybe Definitely                  8/11

Chester               4.10            Racing History                     11/8

Chester               4.45            Bellajeu                                 1/2   

…and if the bets (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit to the tune of… fanfare please…


1040?  That was the year that Macbeth, him off of the famous play, did away with King Duncan.  There you are.  Who says this blog isn’t educational [Me. – Ed.].





It’s Teaser time.  Yay!  Last week I asked you who is the only goalkeeper to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (best player) Award.  The answer is the villainous Oliver Kahn in 2002.  That was long after he appeared as the baddies in The Jungle Book and the second Star Trek film [Some mistake, surely. – Ed.].  Don’t call me Shirley.

What about a teaser for this week?  Let’s stick with goalies, shall we?  Quite an easy one, though.  Who was the first goalkeeper to score in the English Premiershit?




Once again, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer.  If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration.  Just point your doctor in the direction of .




And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, let us return to the world of motoring.  [Please.  I beg of you.  Spare us. – Ed.]  Toyota are not the only company guilty of aping the designs of other companies.  Here is just a small selection of the many offerings from China.  Not a panel is shared on any of these cars, the Chinese version is not ‘built under licence’, but is different from the ground up.  Well, they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Honda CRV (top) and Laibao SRV (bottom)


Daewoo Matiz (top) Chery QQ (bottom)


Smart (top) and Chinese Smart (bottom) – Couldn’t

even be bothered to give it a different name.


Land Wind (top) Land Rover Evoque (bottom)


Citroen C1 (left) and Geely Panda (right)


Or (once again) is it the other way round?


Happy grambling.


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