Check out the new Popular Mechanics TV ad promoting our April 2012 issue – on sale on 19 March

Our cover story this month, “The fast and the curious”, is classic PM material, celebrating the left-field approach to design and construction evident in the annual Kinetic Grand Championship, a three-day event on the northern Californian coast described by writer James Vlahos as “equal parts inventors’ showcase, artistic performance and serious race”.

We thought it entirely appropriate to acknowledge the 110th birthday of our parent magazine in the United States with a blockbuster-length article featuring the 110 best tips published in Popular Mechanics since 1902. Some of them are inspiring, others are a little quirky, and a few are downright strange.

Our “In Focus” feature for April follows hot on the heels of Switzerland’s annual Baselworld fair, showcase of the watch-making world’s latest and greatest designs – some of which elevate timekeeping to a very different level. New vintage is hot, skeletonised watches are cool, and “retro-mechanical” is the buzzword on everyone lips.

There’s more, of course. We introduce a whole bunch of desirable gadgets, reveal the story behind a spring that revolutionised Nascar racing, build a Shaker shelf that would grace any sitting room, and tell you about Geminoid-F, a disturbingly lifelike robot that sat in a shop window and smiled at passers-by. We also take a look at South Africa’s broadband connectivity and reveal why it’s taking us a little longer than expected to get up to speed.

And remember, if you subscribe to Popular Mechanics for 12 issues, you could win a new Ford Focus 1.6 Trend worth R230 000. (Offer expires in August 2012.)