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

Car hunting in Monaco

MonacoCarHunting 1312You don’t need to say it because I can already hear the calls. ‘Hunting exotic cars in Monaco, that’s a little bit like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it?’

MonacoCarHunting 1298Well, yes it is. But that’s no reason not to do it. I mean, what else are you going to do in Monaco? Unless you’re the kind of person who is happily granted entry to the Hotel de Paris or you’re a diehard Formula One anorak, there’s no real reason to come here other than to witness obscene wealth of others. It does have a certain charm, but Monaco doesn’t really offer anything that can’t be found elsewhere on the French Riviera.

MonacoCarHunting 1297However like most readers of Any Given Reason I’m into cars and boats and rally and Formula One, so Monaco was a must-see destination while recently traveling around the Riviera. And the cool thing about not giving a damn about obscene wealth is that I had no issue with attempting to fit in or looking like a tourist, which meant I had no issue with taking photos of the cars.

MonacoCarHunting 1322Because lets be honest – taking photos of nice cars parked on the street is probably the most un-cool thing you can possibly do. But I like interesting cars, so whatever.

MonacoCarHunting 1300The heart of Monaco and the centre of its ‘supercar barrel’ is Casino Square, the tourist filled block of land that acts as the valet area for the most opulent and exclusive hotels and casinos in the Principality. Continue reading

The 2013 Goodwood Revival

B_GRev 187Living the dream. An often over and sometimes ironically used phrase that seems to have lost its significance of late, and somewhat of an unreachable goal. I mean, very rarely does anyone actually get to live a dream. But I’ve just come back from the Goodwood Revival Meeting and as far as I can see, that entire event is a dream, and to attend it is to spend three short days living that dream down to its minutest detail.

B_GRev 009Sitting back now looking at these pictures on my dimly lit computer screen in suburban Adelaide, I have that kind of groggy, vague memory of this dream I’ve just awoken from. Was I really there, did that actually happen? It was set in the lush, green English countryside and everyone was dressed so nicely in tweed and frocks and they were all so friendly. There was champagne flowing and everyone was dancing to live swing music; the best classic cars driven by the most famous drivers were racing door handle to door handle; there was an airshow and a dogfight and there were priceless Ferrari’s dotted around the place. And then for some reason we were with Hillary and Tenzing at the summit of Mt Everest? At least, I think that’s what happened. Take me back!

A_GRevBMW 324Any Given Reason has been truly privileged to attend both Goodwood events in 2013; two events with completely different characters, despite being held only a stones throw from each other just outside Chichester in the South of England. If the Festival of Speed is the world’s biggest automotive garden party, then the Goodwood Revival is surely the worlds biggest automotive dress up party. 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

The 2013 Peking to Paris Rally

DSC_0310The word epic is regularly used with nonchalance to describe things that, whilst maybe quite exciting, are still reasonably ordinary. However, the word Epic is a perfect and apt description of the Peking to Paris rally, a challenge for classic and vintage cars quite unlike anything else that exists.

DSC_0322The Peking to Paris is 33 days straight of rallying across some of the most remote and inaccessible places on the earth. Mongolia. The Gobi desert. Russia. Eastern Europe. Whilst the third annual modern recreation of the 1907 pioneering event is somewhat watered down compared to the original with modern GPS, support crews and travelling mechanics provided by the organisers, it is still one hell of an adventure and even making it to the finish is an achievement in itself.

DSC_0171You’d seriously think twice about driving some of these cars down to the shops on a cold day let alone across the largest single land mass on earth in one hit.

DSC_0084Any Given Reason was at Place Vendome in Paris a few Sunday’s ago to welcome the cars home across the line, along with thousands of other friends, family and curious onlookers. It wasn’t just a time to celebrate for the winners – everybody was happy to be here.

DSC_0203The families of the crews in particular were the happiest. The competitors were competing right up until the day before the finish, and still had a 150km drive into Paris that morning to cross the line. The families hadn’t seen the crews since the rally started over a month ago, so were waiting with great anticipation for their loved ones to appear in the traffic. Continue reading

Car hunting in London

DSC_0485In the oil age we live in, it’s a common belief that most of the world’s supercar stock sits somewhere between Dubai and about Kuwait. But much to my surprise, certain districts in the city of London actually contain more exotic metal in a small radius as I’ve seen anywhere else.

DSC_0416This is an odd phenomenon because there is more against car ownership in central London than for it, let alone supercar ownership. For one, you’ll pay over ten pound in congestion charge as soon as you move anywhere. Assuming money is no issue, despite the charge the city is still in gridlock for as many hours as the sun is up. It’s an old city too which means almost nobody has a garage because cars didn’t exist when the houses were built, even the swanky ones, so on-street parking is the norm. And unlike in Australia, London has an excellent public transport system. With all the good roads so far away, why would you even bother taking a car into the city?

DSC_0390And yet here we are. In the Knightsbridge area there literally isn’t a street without some form of exotica lining its sides. In these parts V8 Vantage’s and Bentley’s are commonplace, and it takes something special to grab your attention.

DSC_0395Like, say, a Bristol Blenheim?

DSC_0433Or an original, non footballer-spec Bentley Continental?

DSC_0397The car that held my attention for the longest did so for all the wrong reasons. I’ve long been hoping to see one of these in the flesh for I have long labeled them the stupidest and most hilarious car ever built, however I’m not aware of any Australian’s daft enough to have made the purchase. In London I saw three, all within a block of each other. Continue reading

Sightings – The Vietnam edition

Going back through old travel photos is always a great way to burn a couple of hours. Long forgotten memories are instantly brought back sharp as day, as the pixels on your computer monitor instantly transport you back to a time and place where you were just that little bit more free and living a little closer to the edge than you do in your day-to-day life. Just re-reading that sentence, I sound like an old man reminiscing on days gone by. But no, these shots are just from 2008. I was barely 20, and it was my first overseas trip – a four week visit to my sister and brother-in-law who were working in Saigon for a year. They got some time off, and we headed all over the countryside and into Cambodia on an odyssey of discovery. Well, at least it was for me.

I had no DSLR or real interest in photography, and Any Given Reason wouldn’t be thought of for another three years. Even though I just bought a cheap Pentax snapshot camera before I departed, taking photos of the cars I saw just seemed natural. I guess the seed was there, even back then. Here are a few of my discoveries.

The Bentley in the lead photo and this Rolls Royce Phantom were both on display at a dealership just around the corner from where my sister was living in Saigon. It was quite funny because they had a strict no photo rule. After being denied, I went back at about 10pm that night, just to discover that the dealership was paying a group of locals to sit outside all night and stop people from taking photos. I managed to snap a few frames before legging it away down the street. Being a tall caucasian does have its advantages sometimes; they didn’t stop me.

I found the juxtaposition of these super-luxury cars in Vietnam fascinating. Here, on one hand is a finely sculpted piece of automotive engineering – the Phantom is as close to perfection as you’ll find. Yet it just looks so out of place driving down a potholed road, street vendors lining the sides and motorbikes whizzing by. It was like a moment of calm in a sea of utter chaos.

The local Suzuki dealership had P.G Andersson’s Super 1600 JWRC Suzuki Swift on display. It was the only racecar I saw for a month, the first time that had happened in a while. Continue reading

All British Day 2012

The All British day is probably South Australia’s largest annual gathering of British cars, trucks and motorbikes. I’d never really considered myself much of a fan of British machinery so have never really made much of a point of going to this show in the past. Sure, there were a few makes and models I admired, but then I actually sat down and thought about the British cars I liked. I’m an obvious fan of Lotus. I appreciate the eccentricity of TVR’s, and the rugged simpleness of MGA’s and B’s and early Land Rovers. You can’t go past the stunning looks of the Jaguar E-Type and it’s predecessor the XK120, or the modern technology in the turbocharged Cosworth Ford’s. The stately elegance of early Bristol’s and Bentley’s can’t be ignored, and then there’s the legendary and inspiring stories of the works Aston Martin and Jaguar teams running the DBR’s and D-Type’s in when the mechanics drove them to LeMans to compete in the 24hr in the 50’s and 60’s, back in the days when the state of the art LeMans winners were still road registrable.

With all that in mind I put on my Ben Sherman shorts and Kooks T-Shirt and headed up to Uraidla in the picturesque Adelaide Hills to take in the best of automotive Britain – with the Beatles and 60’s Rolling Stones playing through the stereo on the way to get properly in the mood, of course.

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Supercar hunting in Singapore

The one thing that anyone who is even vaguely interested in cars takes away from a visit to Singapore is the sheer quantity of nice metal that populates the roads of this progressive city. Despite ridiculous import duties that make even the cheapest Toyota around AUD$70,000 on the road, 5 series BMW’s and S Classes are commonplace. But I was chasing something a little more enticing. Such is the quality of Singapore that I managed to shoot the following collection in just a single five-hour stopover. Enjoy.

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