by Preston Lacey
With more and more cars being found on our TV screens, we decided to delve into Beijing's automobile public, and find out more about what DRIVES this cool hip city. What cars are hot, and what cars are not? So put on your SAFETY BELTS, we are going for a ride!
With Taxis harder and harder to find, we can HAIL in a new era for China's super-cool Capital - the time of the private car. Cars are very important for several areas of our lives, and not just transport. Preston Lacey hits the streets and finds out how cars affect our lives and the lives of those around us in other cars.
Beijing is becoming more and more good! With public transport hopelessly inadequate to cope with all the people who need to get around, private cars have become all the rage! Yet now cars have become more than just a tool, now cars demonstrate a lot about you - how much money you have, how much power you have, how modern you are, how great a lover you are.
In an effort to get to the bottom of this most modern of questions, I had a chat to some drivers at the traffic lights near Tiananmen Square. I talked to some owners and their cars in the snow:
Gunz Sandharter : 1930s Black Motorbike and Sidecar.
g-r: So, you drive a 1930s Big black motorbike and sidecar...why?
Gunz: Well, I can answer you in several short bursts of speech. One - convenience. Two - The Ladies, Three - Cool.
g-r: So apart from number one, can you elaborate a little?
Gunz: Well, the ladies love sitting in the sidecar, fresh Beijing wind in their hair. You can guarantee that if you give a girl a lift, she will be all over you like an outbreak of melanin. As for cool, have you not heard how loud we can rev these things? Imagine, everyone on a bar street unable to speak amongst themselves, overcome by the loudness of me revving my motorbike repeatedly. Those guys love it, man!
g-r: Please calm down, Mr Sandharter!
Above: Audi A6, conveyance of the modern noble.
Xiao Qing : Black Audi A6 (tinted windows)
g-r: Thanks for talking to us today.
Qing: Yeah I drove here in my Black Audi A6 from my home at Home of Tycoons.
g-r: Alrighty...so, why did you decide on the Audi A6?
Qing: Well, I wanted a car to reflect my important status. I've never been abroad, but I am guessing that overseas the Audi A6 is the ultimate status symbol. I don't think there can be a better car. I saw an advert for Audi filmed in Rome, and there was a really cool guy in it driving an Audi.
Above: Seasons Park, home of Xiao Qing, as he will mention at the drop of a hat.
g-r: Well. Thanks for your time.
Qing: No problem, I will drive back to the Home of Tycoons (Seasons Park) in my Black Audi A6 now then. Bye.
g-r: Excuse me, do you have the time?
Passer-by: Yeah. It's three fifteen.
Sadie Ou-yang : Volkswagen Jetta
g-r: Well how could I know that there are minimum age limits? ...Oh! Hi, sorry. Sadie, isn't it, please have a seat.
Sadie: Thanks. Please don't interrupt your call for me.
g-r: No, it's fine, just some confusion over a legal issue. So why do you drive a Volkswagen Jetta?
Sadie: Well I wanted a foreign car. But I didn't want to buy Japanese after what they did as part of the Axis of three aggressor nations, two in Europe, one in the Pacific, during the Second World War. I considered Fiat, but in the end it had to be the Jetta!
g-r: Are you proud?
Above: A VW Jetta, yesterday.
Sadie: Yes. I even mention my car when I post personal ads!
g-r: What's your darkest fantasy?
Sadie: I beg your pardon?
g-r: Sorry, sorry. I had an idea for another interview there, just testing the water a little. Ok, bye!
Li Jianguo : Xiali TJ101U
g-r: Xiali taxi, eh?
Li: Indeed. I purchased this automobile because of its outstanding reliability, relatively low ratio of fuel consumption to the mile, and its slightly chunky early 90s ergonomics.
Li: The engine is a front transversal Otto type - this is the same motor that powers the Hongta Happy Emissary - now there's a car - with a 9.5 compression ratio. Maximum torque in the 77Nm range. And yet it manages fuel consumption as low as 5.01 per 100 kilometres!
g-r: 5.01 what per 100 kilometres?
Li: 5.01. Small number. Very low.
g-r: OK. What if-
Li: This car will get you 0-60 in well under half a minute, let me tell you. It's got a listed top speed of 138 km/h, but I reckon you could easily top that if you tried.
g-r: Have you ever driven this car at 138 km per hour?
g-r: A hundred?
g-r: OK, what about the comfort factor?
Li: Second to none, let me tell you. The on-board rattle provides a soothing massage which can really ease away that tension during the 7 hours per day of rush hour. The addition of leopard-skin seat covers and plastic over the top of that too means it's easy on the eye.
g-r: I like the Autobot logo on the back.
Li: That was my wife's idea. It reminded her of her Uncle Song.