It’s a well-known fact that the Adelaide Hills are teeming with interesting and exotic vehicles of all kinds on sunny Sunday mornings, and why not? Before nine the roads are largely devoid of the Sunday lunch crowds, the coffee shops are beginning to open their doors and the mornings are warm and balmy now that we’re coming into spring.
Throw in the fact that it was father’s day last Sunday and you’ve got a perfect storm of car hunting.
We were having breakfast at Stirling’s Miss Perez cafe on the Fiat Lancia club’s traditional Father’s Day run, and had arrived to find this Ferrari 599 GTB parked on Druid Avenue. I didn’t catch the make of wheels it was sitting on, but they are certainly inspired by the blistering 599 GTO and I think they suit the big V12 to a tee. It was running some sort of modified exhaust system too, and the noise on startup was to die for. Continue reading →
Short chassis, lightweight cars with big power – it’s a recipe for instant grins, and one that gave TVR a reputation as a builder of some of the wildest machines you can buy.
The company was founded in 1958 by TreVoR Wilkinson and shot to success at the height of the UK kit car boom, when selling cars in knockdown form avoided harsh sales taxes on cars. Believe it or not, but at one point TVR was the third largest sports car manufacturer in the world. Unlike almost all of its contemporaries, the TVR product has never changed in spirit. With trademark wild angles and curves the design’s gave a uniform ‘stuff you’ to the establishment, and build quality was always akin to that of a kit car.
But who cares about fit and finish when you’re behind the wheel of something like this T350C, which was spotted on the Friday morning commute just outside of the Adelaide CBD. The 3600cc dry-sumped straight six, with its factory 11.8:1 compression ratio, sends 350hp to the rears. The curvaceous fibreglass body sits over adjustable double wishbone suspension with coilovers front and back, and with a traditional 5 speed manual and none of that ABS/traction control/stability control rubbish to worry about the whole package weighs in at a scant 1187kg. Near 50/50 weight distribution (51.9% front, 48.1% rear) and fat rubber on the back only sweetens the deal.
Last weekend, friend of Any Given Reason Luke Jaksa and I were rushing through the hills chasing rally cars around as part of Scouts Rally SA. We were on our way to a jump out behind Nairne and we simply couldn’t be late as it’s always the first cars that jump the hardest. We had empty stomachs and an empty fuel tank, but nothing could stop us. Except, perhaps, a group of vintage French cars stopped on the side of the road. How often do you happen to see a Bugatti Type 35A and a pair of Amilcar’s in the wild?
Rally cars be damned, this was WAY more interesting.
The trio were out for a Sunday morning drive and had stopped just out of Charleston when one of the Amilcar’s suffered a puncture to its front tire. You sometimes forget just how different vintage cars are to the more modern stuff we’re used to. Who even packs a brass hammer when they go for a drive anymore, let alone actually needs to use one? Brass and hickory, a winning combination. Continue reading →
There’s a lot to be said for organised events and races but sometimes it’s fun to just cruise around on a lazy Sunday and see what you find. With my own Fiat X1/9 project finally hitting the roads after seven long years in the shed, I used the vague excuse of the media briefing and scruitineering for the upcoming Scouts Rally SA Australian Rally Championship round (happening this weekend) as a way point and took the X1/9 for a drive.
It’s not uncommon to see a few Porsche’s in the hills on a pleasant Sunday but after about the sixth in a row I figured something must be up, so I followed them just down the road to Longview Vineyard in Macclesfield.
When it comes to Porsche it’s usually that trademark classic style that steals my heart, and even though this left hand drive 912 was definitely a looker there was something else that stopped me dead on this occasion…
Longtime Any Given Reason readers will be familiar with Guy Standen and his 1974 Fiat 124 Sport tarmac rally car. With a couple of Targa Tasmania’s already to his name, I stepped into the co-drivers seat and did Classic Targa Adelaide in 2011 and Targa Adelaide in 2012 with Guy. We had a blast, the 124 performed faultlessly, sounded fantastic and in both years we walked away with Targa plates for beating the base time on all of the special stages. Those two events were fantastic experiences that I’ll never forget.
After that last Targa in 2012 the 124 sat dormant; I was traveling overseas last year and it wasn’t practical to come home for Targa Adelaide 2013, and Guy made the logical decision to retire from competition and sell the 124. He’d already achieved everything he wanted and had developed it as far as possible, a Fiat Dino road car restoration was slowly peculating in the background and he wanted to spend more time with his family. It was a tough decision but the 124 was sold into Sydney and now resides with some enthusiastic Fiat club members who are gearing up for their first Targa Tasmania in 2015.
Over the past few months Guy and I have been talking about future rally cars, but I hadn’t taken any of our discussions terribly seriously until I logged onto Facebook one morning to find a message waiting for me: ‘Would you be interested in doing a Targa Tasmania?’ What!? You can’t ask a question like that with no explanation, so I got straight on the phone to discover that Guy was a little more serious about getting back into the game than I thought. His ‘retirement’ had lasted exactly three and a half months. Continue reading →
As I write it is exactly 29 days until Scouts Rally SA, the South Australian round of the Australian Rally Championship. There are many teams out there burning the midnight oil to have their cars ready for the event, including crowd favorite and twice Australian rally champion Barry Lowe and a group of his close friends who are finishing the build of Barry’s brand new VB Commodore gravel rally car. After over 2,500 hours work in the past few months, it’s actually closer to completion than it looks but there is still a fair way to go.
This thing is going to be an absolute weapon. All info, specs and photos are under embargo until Rally SA, however Barry was kind enough to let Any Given Reason share this sneak preview. The engine is the same one used in his previous VB – a NASCAR GM race 6.8 V8, limited to a shade over 8,000rpm and about 700ish horses for reliability. As for the rest of the car? You’ll have to wait and see…
In the late 50’s Ferrari was faced with a problem. It made some of the fastest and most technically advanced racing cars, and its road cars were pure works of art. But there was one problem – some customers, particularly in America, viewed the road cars as too focused. They wanted a car that enabled them to enjoy the wind in their hair and the company of a special passenger. With old Enzo surely seeing a cash-cow ripe for milking, the solution was the now infamous 250 California Spider, a vehicle that combined the mechanics of their latest GT racer with a svelte Scaglietti designed convertible body style. Just 106 were built, and today they are some of the most collectable Ferrari’s in existence.
Its contemporary namesake, the California T, was previewed to an assembled group of Ferrari owners and enthusiasts recently at the new Ferrari Adelaide showroom on West Terrace in the city. Whilst I’d certainly argue that the modern car doesn’t live up to such a storied name (a 599XX V12 powered, lightweight, limited production racer for the road would be more fitting), the modern iteration certainly embodies the concept if nothing else. Here’s a Ferrari with just enough practicality to be considered for daily duties; with enough luggage space to escape for a weekend away and a folding hard top that can be hidden away for sunny drives.
At $409,880 the California is the cheapest way into a new prancing horse, and the Australian distributor expects a whopping 70% of California’s to be sold to first time Ferrari owners. To facilitate this the California T is some $50,000 cheaper than its predecessor, indicating a business model already utilised by several manufacturers to attract buyers to their high-end brands. Ferrari is world famous for its brand loyalty and repeat purchase, so how many of those 70% first time owners will go on to purchase a second or a third Ferrari, maybe something more focused like a 458? It’s a smart growth strategy.
You can certainly see the resemblance to the outgoing California, however everything is new save for the folding hard top. It looks leaner, edgier and sportier. I find some of the detailing a little fussy, particularly the mesh used in the bonnet and guard vents, but overall it is a harmonious look communicating its intended purpose and the sporting ideals of Ferrari. It’s a huge improvement over the old car. Continue reading →