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

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

Welcome to the Green Hell

DSC_0270Dangerous. Challenging. Rewarding. Unique. The last of the proper old school race circuits, the Nurburgring Nordschleiffe is all of these things.

DSC_0334Formula 1 stopped coming here in the 70’s because it was too dangerous, which seems oddly juxtaposed against the thing that today makes the Nordschleiffe, or North Loop, so famous today. Anyone, and I mean actually anyone, can simply turn up and drive it as fast as they like.

DSC_0047Buy a lap ticket for 26 Euro…

DSC_0067…validate it in the boom gate and you’re away. Here’s the worlds most challenging racetrack – go nuts! No scruitineering, no helmets, no license checks, no speed limits. And, uh, try not to kill yourself.

DSC_0224It doesn’t matter what you drive. Obviously a GT3 RS is probably the best tool for the job…

DSC_0161…but if you’re just with your mates on a campervan road trip, well then that’s cool too. Continue reading

The Goodwood Festival of Speed

DSC_0176Sometimes in life we are blessed by experiencing something truly incredible. Be it driving a particularly fast or rare car, making no mistakes on the perfect rally stage, finally hearing a favorite song live or witnessing the sun rise over a remote mountain range, these are the rare moments that are remembered vividly, never forgotten and used as comparison for everything that comes after.

DSC_0422These moments are bittersweet, because whilst experiencing them is something of a privilege, it is tinged with the knowledge that this is probably going to be the pinnacle.

DSC_0727Sitting back now and writing this post about the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I’m coming to terms with the fact that there’s probably not a lot out there that can compare to the magic of Goodwood. The sheer quantity and quality of cars, the peaceful forest surroundings, the relaxed and open atmosphere and the diversity is something impossible to replicate. Continue reading

Camping and Mad Friday at Le Mans

DSC_0039In a previous post I’ve already taken a look at the actual Le Mans event itself, however what goes on off the track is almost as famous as what happens on it. With tens of thousands of car nuts all in the same place for a week, you can be assured that it’s a pretty good time, particularly on the Friday.

DSC_0205Because an event on the scale of the 24hr only happens once a year there is nowhere near enough beds for the fans who come, and most of those few beds are occupied by teams and race officials at hideous expense. Unless you want to stay an hour or more from the circuit, camping is the only option. Camping at Le Mans has become as much of a tradition as the race itself, with fans driving from all over Europe and proudly pitching their tents next to their pride and joy.

DSC_0204Driving the nicest possible car and then camping beside it seems to be the British thing to do. One Porsche driver mentioned to me that he’d had a conversation with a French Ferrari owner, who’d said “I never understand you Brits. You drive your $150,000 cars here, and then get some sort of joy from sleeping in a $20 tent in the rain”. Continue reading

The Canary Wharf Motor Expo, London

DSC_0215While in London a few weeks ago I was tipped off to a motor show taking place in the city by Chris, who I was staying with. Lured in by the phrases “tons of cars” and “some really nice one’s too”, I hopped the tube for a look. And what I discovered was not so much a motor expo, but a whole new concept I’d never considered before.

DSC_0307The expo was taking place at the bottom of the Canary Wharf Tower, where Chris works. And here’s the brilliant idea – traditional motor shows are going the way of the dodo – they’re expensive to put on, and the only people who bother to attend them are penniless anoraks like myself. So why not bring the show to the time poor people who actually want to buy these cars? Such a simple concept, and the canary wharf motor expo showed how it can be executed perfectly.

DSC_0202In the foyer sat the kinds of cars most dream of…

DSC_0197… and outside, the kinds of cars most actually buy. Continue reading

24 Heures du Mans 2013

DSC_0910The number 2 Audi e-tron Quattro of Tom Kristensen, Alan McNish and Loic Duval has won the 90th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour, delivering Audi’s 12th and Kristensen’s 9th victory at the Circuit des 24 Heures in France’s Sarthe region.

DSC_0362Audi were always the favorite to win, however the challenge from Toyota was unexpectedly tough, enough to earn the Japanese manufacturer a place on the podium with the number 8 car of Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastian Buemi splitting the Audi’s to take second place.

DSC_0431Audi claimed the final podium position, with the number 3 car of Marc Gene, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi claiming third place. The Audi’s clearly had more speed than the Toyota’s, but it was thought that the Japanese car would require less pit stops, thus evening out the field. That was true to some extent, however in the end Toyota competed mostly on speed, delivering lap times that surprised. Toyota would have claimed third place as well were it not for a wet weather accident late in the race that enabled the Audi past while the damaged Toyota was being repaired in the pits.

DSC_0527Any Given Reason was extremely lucky to be able to attend this year’s Le Mans in person. It has been a dream of mine for many years to attend the 24h, and 2013 was the year it finally happened. An in-depth race report is difficult because when you’re at the track you don’t actually have a great idea of what’s going on – you guys at home knew more about the race than I did. In addition, taking decent photos was difficult because I had no media access and was stuck behind the fencing, so instead this report will simply detail spectating at Le Mans – an endurance challenge in itself. Continue reading