Keeping Suzuki clean
Having tried everything from dust-pan and brush, to frustrating coin-op machines at the local garage forecourts, or paying a manual car-wash company to surface-clean the carpets and upholstery in my cars, when a renowned tool company first introduced its in-car vacuum-cleaner, I became an early adopter.
Being able to plug its cable into the car’s cigarette-lighter/accessory power socket was a key attraction of an item of car valeting equipment that was both lightweight and flexible…the problem was, it was inefficient. To work most effectively, it had to be completely emptied and its paper filter cleaned sometimes in the middle of a vacuuming procedure. Any hints of moisture only served to gum-up the works, requiring that the device be rested until it evaporated.
Having stopped using it (without a convenient cigarette-lighter socket in the house, the device lay in the bottom of a cupboard), when I returned to it three months later, to remove some crushed leaves from the driver’s footwell, it had given up the ghost completely. Unwilling to invest another £30-40 in a replacement, it was junked eventually and I resorted to the other customary methods of car vacuuming.
Of course, you might consider any one of a number of the latest domestic gizmos, with their own Lithium-ion battery packs and well over-£100 price-tags but the prospect of ‘once-bitten’ obviates the enormous investments in either a Dyson, or G-Tech, alternative. Therefore, when offered the opportunity to destruct-test a new in-car vac, originating (with great irony) from a small company in Latvia and price-tagged at less than £40 (although Amazon is doing sub-£30 deals on it at present), I was sceptical but prepared to give it a go.
While the plain buff box seemed innocuous enough, among its contents was even a mirror-hanging impregnated air freshener (thoughtful). Printed on the Ikea-standard packaging is the ‘no hassle’ warranty: ‘If it doesn’t work, it will be replaced FOC’. Assembly took seconds and includes a flexible extension pipe, a tiny but tough bristle brush and a superb 16-feet of power cable. While its tinted dust container and black and orange detailed body look neat, it remains lightweight, familiar in appearance but also feels considerably more durable than the earlier mentioned device. A convenient black and orange zippered carrier means it can also be stored more conveniently.
My first test was carpet cleaning as well as the various deep pockets and storage slots, which ThisWorx TWC-02 completed immaculately, without problems. Thanks to the power cord length, the boot floor and rear parcel-shelf were also vacuumed speedily and effectively. The second test involved the use of the stiff brush on the seat upholstery, again, with pristine results. However, my third and final test was to remove the build-up of fallen leaves in the engine compartment. Considering that this task had not been undertaken for several months, I was amazed with the efficacy of the TWC-02 and it continues to work reliably several weeks later.
Luscombe’s summary: We always clean our customers’ cars, when they come for a service but an in-car vacuum is always a practical possession. The Amazon deal for the aptly-named ThisWorx TWC-02 seems perfect for the car-proud.
Next week: The results keep coming
Suzuki’s infamous rally-tally
While Suzuki’s strengths lend themselves ideally to the motorsports arena, which is also a great proving ground, as Iain Robertson recalls, to do it correctly, demands a substantial investment in the right people, as well as in monetary terms.
Suzuki’s involvement in motorsports has been intrinsic to the marque for many years. In fact its association with the Isle of Man TT races and the World Superbike Championship are well-chronicled. However, Suzuki cars have enjoyed tremendous successes both on circuits, as well as rallying on forestry tracks. Although Suzuki GB no longer supports a junior category World Rally Championship entry, innumerable private entrants continue to convert their Swifts and S-Crosses for club events, while the Jimny, former SJ and Vitara are regarded as regular competitors in the off-road trials arena.
In 2002, Suzuki took the major step to enter the Junior WRC with its Ignis of that period in Super 1600cc form. A series of victories and two Championship class wins came its way, before the company decided to go the whole hog and develop a fully-competitive WRC entry based on the SX4 model. It looked fantastic in concept form and its translation into competitive rally weapon followed in close succession. In the meantime, Suzuki GB helped with the formulation of the Swift Rally Challenge, a one-make series for enthusiastic owners.
Despite the car destroying characteristics of most international rallies, Suzuki succeeded with its deft combination of lightweight construction, which meant a superb power-to-weight ratio, which was allied to its remarkable reliability. Whether being thrashed across the concrete and tarmac roads of Germany, or the rocky gravel of Greece and Argentina, the mostly yellow and white bedecked SX4 WRC cars were consistent high performers capable of pulling off some genuine giant-killing results. The cars also encouraged other non-factory supported drivers to enter the fray.
Sadly, due to a combination of poor-quality reportage, because maximising publicity is central to any competitive consideration, plus upward spiralling costs allied to minimal returns on investment, Suzuki decided to withdraw its WRC entries for the 2009 season, to concentrate on the development of its range of road cars. It had significant impact on the Championship, which was predominated by just Citroen and Ford. Naturally, Suzuki fans worldwide were disappointed by the decision, with few of them appreciating that just flushing away money is not a good reason to continue.
Luscombe’s summary: Motorsport on either two or four wheels is intrinsic to Suzuki and, while the company no longer contests rallies at pinnacle levels, it still supports some private entrants in their endeavours.
Next week: The day Luscombe made the grade
Did you like this article? Why not share it?