February Zippel Cruise

DSC_0032Adelaide’s Zippel cruises have become somewhat legendary in car circles. Strictly for American cars and their owners only, the meet point, route and finish point of the Saturday night cruises are a closely guarded secret, only distributed to verified owners who have joined the Zippel Cruise Nights club.

DSC_0097The cruises run monthly during the summer and have done so for the past 24 years. The police are notified of the route, and the secrecy is designed to keep hoons and public spectators away. Zippel cruises have had over 400 cars on some runs, so it’s really important that it remains an underground thing to avoid it getting out of hand.

DSC_0100The first time I encountered a Zippel cruise was last year when we went to see a movie at West Lakes. We pulled into the carpark and it was completely full of American cars. It was like nothing I’d seen before, and I was almost speechless. It took a few months of sleuthing to find out what the gathering was and to get the contact details of the cruise organiser, Grant Zippel, and then quite a bit of fast talking to convince him to share the route for the next one with Any Given Reason.

DSC_0033So with a non-disclosure promise akin to top level military papers, yesterday Grant kindly emailed me the route for last night’s cruise. Starting with a 6pm meet at K-Mart Firle, the route headed north to Montague Road before turning back toward the city, finishing the other side at the Castle Plaza Shopping Centre. Continue reading

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Driven – Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible

It was a picture perfect day in Maui, the kind you always dream of when you’re stuck doing something uninteresting back home. Compared to the dreary mid-winter weather we’d left behind a couple of weeks prior, the sun was shining so brightly that we almost questioned its authenticity as the warm morning air blew through the open window of the bus we were on, caressing our faces and causing the Hawaiian shirt of our driver to flutter in the wind. We had already been camping around Maui for a week in an old Volkswagen camper, but that morning we’d given the keys back and were en route to the Hertz counter to collect something a little more location appropriate. Like seemingly every other tourist, we had a shiny V6 Mustang Convertible waiting for us at the end of our ride.

As we walked through Hertz’s impressive lineup of vehicles, I couldn’t help but notice several V6 Camaro convertibles spread about the rows of new Mustang’s. Given we’d already had a Mustang for a week on Oahu, I grandly requested of our rental consultant that we have a Camaro instead. ‘That’s your red one over there’ he smiled and said as he handed over the keys to a 426hp 6.0 V8 Camaro SS Convertible.

Given I’m under 25 and technically not allowed to rent a V8 for another year (we had tried on Oahu), I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible before his supervisor noticed the mistake. I enlisted my girlfriend Chantelle’s help to cram our over-stuffed bags in wherever they fit and we fired up the big V8 and headed for the gate, Chantelle slightly bemused as to what the rush was. A short prod of the accelerator answered her questions, and she looked at me with a knowing smile. We stopped a little way down the road to lower the top, and as we took off along the Maui coast road, the CD player serendipitously swapped to Ball Park Music’s It’s Nice To Be Alive.  Continue reading

Sightings – The Hawaii edition

The cool thing about being into cars is that no matter where in the world you travel, you’re just as likely to run into people that share the same passion. Sure, they might be into different cars or styles than what you’re used to, but the passion still runs the same and you’ve got common ground.

We decided to spend a few weeks in Hawaii for entirely non car related reasons – sun, sand, surf, hiking and escaping the cold Adelaide winter being the primary motivations. But with this common ground in mind I decided to keep an eye out and my camera ready for whatever new automotive discoveries I would make during our trip. This is a short chronicle of what I found.

Supercars were very thin on the ground. I heard rumours of a few Ferrari’s getting around, but this Aventador was all I saw. But that figures I guess – the islands are small, the speed limits are low and the roads are most definitely not suited to 700hp monsters. No, idle bliss is king here.

I like the fact that this GT3 actually did have a disabled parking permit. It must have been sneakily obtained – Porsche is probably one of the least disabled-friendly manufactures, and the GT3 is probably the single worst car for a disabled person.

No sports cars here – Hawaiian transportation is all about working out how to get your surfboard to the beach. Be it on your bike…

… on your Chevrolet woody coupe…

… in the back of your VW… Continue reading