Scouts Rally SA 2014

ROSA_2014_Saturday (46)Scouts Rally SA once again returned to the Mount Crawford Forest and the northern hills over the weekend of August 1-3 for three heats of intense gravel rally action on some of South Australia’s most challenging roads.

ROSA_2014_Sunday (12)Taking the outright event win and victory in round four of the Australian Rally Championship was Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt in the Walkinshaw Performance prepared Renault Sport Clio R3. The pairing narrowly claimed victory in all three heats which was enough to snatch the lead of the ARC.

ROSA_2014_Saturday (50)Claiming second place was Brendon Reeves and Rhiannon Gelsomino in the quick little G2 Mazda 2. It was a close battle for much of the event however the Mazda 2 was struck with problems, including non functioning windscreen wipers in heavy rain and the loss of a rear wheel on SS20 when the studs broke, forcing Reeves to tripod back to service. Reeves was able to match the pace of Pedder when everything was working correctly, but these niggling problems kept him down at this crucial point in the championship. With two rounds remaining, Pedder managed to snatch the championship lead. Continue reading

Porsche, rally weapons and odd Italian cars – A chilled Sunday on the road.

Sunday_27 (23)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.

Sunday_27 (7)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.

Sunday_27 (4)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…

Sunday_27 (1)… this stunning 964 Carrera 4 sitting on a set of OZ Allegerita‘s. Continue reading

Another visit to Classic Throttle Shop

CTS_June_14 (63)There are some things you just do without question; acts that are almost mandatory given another related occurrence. You never change oil without also changing the filter, and you never get behind the wheel without first belting up. In what’s becoming somewhat of a similar ritual, you never make a visit to Sydney without also stopping in at Classic Throttle Shop.

CTS_June_14 (2) In the 21st century we are connected to the world in an unprecedented way – I’ll bet at least some of you are even reading this from the bathroom. The impact of technology is changing the world forever and can be felt everywhere in our society; even frontiers seemingly unrelated are being forced to adapt or die. For example, the internet is replacing newspapers as a primary method of news delivery which leaves the door open for magazines to deliver a material experience, and online shopping is apparently devastating the retail industry. Adapt or die, right?

CTS_June_14 (6)Any smart business person will tell you that a threat is often opportunity in disguise, and what we’re learning is that technology can’t deliver an experience. Industry leader Deus ex Machina is brilliant at delivering an experience, and new players like Zen Garage are fast catching up. I’m sure the Peel Microcar sitting on the shelf in this image is a hint at where I’m going with this, which is why Classic Throttle Shop has quickly become an essential Sydney destination. I wonder how many people with the necessary means stop by for a relaxing Saturday morning coffee only to spot a lithe Porsche 911 in the corner, stew over it for the weekend and then return during the week to make a purchase.

CTS_June_14 (72)Case in point – this track inspired but oh-so-clean E30 M3. It made me weak at the knees on first sight, and had I the means it would be eating away at me right now. And the fact that it was converted to right-hand drive at brand new in the UK by the dealer just sweetens it further. Continue reading

Car hunting in Nouméa

Noumea (3)Cars aren’t usually what initially springs to mind when you think of think of New Caledonia, the tiny collection of idyllic tropical Pacific islands situated 1,200km East of Australia. At the mere mention of the place any normal person would immediately visualise palm trees, azure blue oceans, grass skirts, ukelele’s and drinks with little umbrella’s in them. But Noumea is a city that hosts a round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, so there’s gotta be at least a few gearheads about the place, right? With a rainy Thursday free to explore the city last week, I kept my eyes open for any automotive treasures I could chance upon.

Noumea (8)Less than half an hour after arriving I stumbled upon probably the coolest thing I would see all day – this camouflaged Suzuki Jimny. With a replacement nudge bar, big mud tyres, flares and a snorkel intake it looked like the perfect tool to explore the tiny dirt roads and discover deserted tropical beaches.

Noumea (9)The Jimny was pretty rough but what it lacked in polish it made up tenfold in charm, and it struck me that this is a vehicle perfectly suited to its location. I’m struggling to think of more appropriate transportation for this place, assuming a dash of fun is a requisite.

Noumea (1)New Caledonia as we know it was settled by the French, in a similar way to how the English settled Australia. In the capital city of Nouméa the French influence is felt everywhere, and it’s easy to forget how close you are to Australia. French is the most commonly spoken language, the architecture is commonly Parisian and there are tons of simply incredible pâtisseries and boulangeries scattered about for connoisseurs of fine breads. However anyone with an inclination towards cars will no doubt notice the sheer number of Peugeot’s, Citroen’s and Renault’s getting about – more than half of cars on the road are French. Most of them are sacked out hunks of junk, but occasionally you can find something cool like this 205 GTI. The little details are interesting too, like how the automotive sections of the newsagents contain more single marque French car titles than you ever knew existed. I picked up an issue of a magazine devoted just to the Peugeot 205 for some friends back home.

Noumea (5)How often are you walking down the street and find a Ligier dealership? I got a little excited when I saw images of the company’s fine and detailed history on the building facade.

Noumea (4)Motorsport anoraks will of course know of the company started by racing driver Guy Ligier in 1968 in Vichy, smack in the middle of France. Their JS2 road car used the same Maserati V6 as the Citroen SM, and they competed at Le Mans from 1970 until 1975. Not only that, but they fielded a Formula One team from 1976 until 1996 whose highlights included running the famous Matra V12 in 1976 and winning a race in 1977 with Jacques Laffite.

Noumea (6)So how did they fall from these dizzying heights to become the worlds second largest manufacturer of microcars and the largest manufacturer of drivers license exempt vehicles? I don’t know, I don’t even want to know. These things are only one step away from a gopher. It’s not even a case of another company buying the Ligier name – Guy Ligier’s son is still the CEO.

Noumea (2)As it turns out Nouméa still is a place devoted to the art of Pacific Island living, outside of major events at least. And whilst palm trees, azure blue oceans, grass skirts, ukelele’s and drinks with little umbrella’s in them were the primary reason for Any Given Reason’s visit, it still pays to keep an eye out, right?

Words and photos by Andrew Coles

Celebration of the Motorcar at Carrick Hill

CelebrationOfMotorcar (63)Adelaide witnessed something truly special when a completely new type of show, Celebration of the Motorcar, took to the immaculately manicured gardens of Carrick Hill one stunningly perfect late Autumn Sunday a few weeks ago.

CelebrationOfMotorcar (56)The lush grounds were overflowing with some of the finest classic and sports cars this state has to offer, and were merely supplemented by the expansive views of the metropolitan area as backdrop. Thousands of attendees enjoyed the cars to the accompaniment of champagne, oysters and a string quartet from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

CelebrationOfMotorcar (9)Celebration of the Motorcar represents somewhat of a departure from most traditional car shows, largely because emphasis is placed on the experience of the attendee. The cars are there to serve the viewer, rather than the viewer attending a show about the cars. It’s a small detail, but one that ensured an interesting, eclectic, and most importantly a high-quality collection of vehicles. Entry to display was by invite only, and the cars were individually selected by a committee of advisers aiming to build the best possible display.  Continue reading

Sydney-London Classic Marathon Rally 2014

Syd-Lon2014 (7)There’s an undeniable attraction to long distance rallying. Combining motorsport and travel with the adventure and challenge that comes with rallying every day for over a month, the opportunity to compete in an event like the Sydney-London is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When it passed through South Australia’s Barossa Valley recently, Any Given Reason just had to get out and see it.

Syd-Lon2014 (26)The Sydney-London is mooted as a reverse direction re-run of the famous London-Sydney rallies of 1968 and 1971, the likely never to be seen again pinnacles of long distance competition. Unfortunately the modern interpretation is far from the original, but that’s more a sign of the world we live in than anything else. The 1968 original raced through Turkey to Iran stopping in Tehran, through Afghanistan stopping in Kabul, and through Pakistan to Delhi. The route then traveled through India to Bombay (now Mumbai), where the cars boarded a boat to Perth. The Middle East is a stunning part of the world but sadly these days it’s more renowned for war and violence than anything else, and the thought of running a car rally through some of those countries seems vaguely laughable right now.

Z_Syd-Lon2014 (3)Hopefully in our lifetimes we’ll see these countries politically stable enough to host a car rally, but that isn’t the case right now so for 2014 the Sydney-London flies over that part of the world. Legs 1 & 2 last for 12 days and sees the competitors travel 7750km from Sydney to Perth, with 33 timed Special Stages (1133 competitive km). After an airlift the rally resumes in Ankara (Turkey) with 6000km through Europe comprising Leg 3 to Rijeka, and then Leg 4 with some classic stages through Wales on the way to the London finish. Continue reading

A visit to Sportscar Workshops – Richmond, Virginia

SCW_Richmond 1266What exactly is a sports car? The definition varies widely and stretches ever further these days, and can possibly have a number of meanings. Is it a car built specifically for sporting endeavors? One adapted for sporting endeavors? Or should the definition be expanded to include any car used for sporting endeavors?

SCW_Richmond 1267The definition doesn’t really matter; what does is the passion of the people that own and work on them. Some may argue that a BMW E30 isn’t a true sports car by definition, but who cares. The term sports car and what it conjures in the mind is more tied up in romanticism, enthusiasm and a certain degree of escapism than anything else, and it is those three things you’ll find in spades at Sportscar Workshops in Richmond, Virginia. That, combined with solid experience and a huge assortment of just about every type of sports car you can think of from all corners of the globe.

SCW_Richmond 1288Our story actually starts with a 1986 Alfa Romeo GTV6 in New York City. Continue reading

Any Given Reason Burger Meet 3

BurgerMeet3 627The concept of Burger Meet is simple – a car park meet to get as many readers of Any Given Reason and their cars in the same place as possible. The emphasis is on diversity and informality, and the vague idea of standing around a car park eating burgers is about as far as the planning goes.

BurgerMeet3 525On the evening of Saturday 28th December, the readers of Any Given Reason descended on the Hagen Arms Hotel at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills to watch the sun set with burgers, beers, and of course, cars. And what a spectacular array of cars it was – but more on that later.

BurgerMeet3 518The thing that makes organising Burger Meet such an exciting, rewarding and completely terrifying experience is that I have absolutely no idea who actually reads and follows this blog. I get traffic statistics but they’re just abstract numbers and graphs, so when I put the word out that Burger Meet 3 was happening I had exactly zero idea who and how many people would actually come. I guessed about 80 cars and thought it would be pretty cool if we could fill the car park, but when streams of cars started pouring in and it wasn’t even the 6pm start-time yet, I started to get a little nervous/overjoyed. Continue reading

Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Parade Adelaide

DSC_05391963. Kennedy was assassinated and an American Baptist minister voiced his dream in DC. A band called The Beatles were on the rise, the Great Train Robbery captivated a nation and for the first time since the end of the war the Berlin Wall opened for one day passes. It’s almost unimaginable what West Germany must have seemed like through the eyes of an Easterner, especially as that first raspy flat six Porsche 911 roared past.

DSC_0341Yes, a lot happened internationally in 1963. After the devastation of war, West Germany was getting back on its feet and proving itself to the world. The country was experiencing an economic boom for the first time and Porsche had shown, with its 356, that people once again had money to spend on sports cars. The Porsche story is one of evolution, and in 1963 the small company unveiled their next move – the 911. The same engine was in the same place (in the 912, at least), and the car had grown in size. There was now a six cylinder option for increased performance and new styling embraced postmodernism yet still remained quintessentially Porsche. I don’t know if people in 1963 knew the importance of the new 911 or maybe it was just another expensive car, but in retrospect it’s clear that an icon was born.

DSC_0635An icon that, whilst now significantly massaged to suit the tastes, demands and regulations of the age we live in, still exists in almost undiluted form some fifty years later. I can’t think of another car, product, place or even an idea that fits that description. We can wax lyrical all we like, but a 911 is still a 911. End of story. Continue reading

Retrogarage Track Day Mallala

DSC_0057Fierce competition is good, and from motorkhana to Australian GT it’s often the tick of the stopwatch and the heat of the moment that provides that last bit of drive and incentive to shave every last tenth. Strong competition breeds the best and whilst there’s a definite joy in competing to your limit, it’s often far from relaxing.

DSC_0612That’s where a bloke named Roger Dutton – barbeque extraordinaire and mechanic for Adelaide based Formula 3 and Carrera Cup outfit Team BRM – comes in. Roger is involved in motorsport at a far higher level than most, but also knows the value in relaxing and enjoying it from time to time, and has pretty much built his own personal Mk1 Escort around this ethos. Through his sideline business Retrogarage, Roger has started organising track days at Mallala where the focus is very much on enjoyment.

DSC_0030Any Given Reason was invited to join the fun by longtime reader Tom Gilbert, so with instructions to meet up with the gang at the BP on Portrush at 630 on a Wednesday morning, I threaded my way through the dawn of peak hour traffic, knowing something far more interesting than a desk would be waiting for me at the other end. These suspicions were confirmed when an immaculate 356B and a throaty 964 Carrera 2 pulled onto the forecourt as if on cue.  Continue reading