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

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Mount Alma Mile Hillclimb 2014

MtAlma2014 1276Kevin Mackrell has thundered his way to another consecutive 4WD outright victory in the Mount Alma Mile hillclimb, held recently at Inman Valley on the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula. Behind the wheel of his all-conquering V8 powered Datsun 260Z, Mackrell held a firm grip on the two-day event, overcoming a five second penalty to take the win.

MtAlma2014 1277The 2WD category was won by Clinton Faustmann in the REVS/Faustune prepared FD RX7, who wrangled the flame spitting rotor up the hill slightly quicker than Jason Unkovich, who claimed third outright 2WD in the same car.

MtAlma2014 1320The big battle all weekend was between Mackrell and the Supaloc Racing Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera of Kevin Weeks, now sporting a fresh twin turbo setup. Weeks was still a fraction off Mackrell’s times, but the noise of the forced induction Italian V10 outclassed the 260Z in every way. It was spine tingling and worth coming just to listen to it alone. 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

Jyväskylä, Finland – Volkswagen Golf MkIII

DSC_0741When you hear the spool of a turbo and the whoosh of a wastegate you don’t usually expect to turn around and see a MkIII Volkswagen Golf. The Scandinavian countries are well known for their crazily modified cars, so I guess it should have been no surprise.

DSC_0743And the fact that the local police seemed to turn a blind eye to the semi slicks, lowered ride height, bolt on fender flares, full roll cage, seats, harnesses and side exit exhaust is even better. I’ve got no idea what craziness resides under the bonnet, but it looks like a brilliant little streetable track toy.

Driven – Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV

DSC_0032From their earliest inception in 1910 to the present day, Alfa Romeos have always been vehicles of passion. The styling, the interior trim, the uniquely Italian design elements. The way the rorty engine revs out, the way the steering feels alive in your hands, the way the chassis dances in unison with the road, making best use of what little power is available. The way the car seems to have a fun, light hearted energy about it; the suggestion that the only thing the driver truly takes seriously is the proper enjoyment of life. In other words, they are vehicles of passion with unquantifiable traits that cause buyers to throw caution to the wind and to take ownership of the car their heart desires, without complete conscious knowledge of knowing exactly why.

DSC_0045But the Alfas of the past decade seem to have lost their way. The styling, as razor sharp and stunning like never before, had been writing the kinds of cheques all over town that the dynamics simply couldn’t cash. The 159 is one of the most striking sedans on the road, but it was underpowered for most of its life and far too heavy. The Brera, a direct development of the jaw dropping Giugiaro styled showcar, was a little, well, doughy. And for some reason Alfa Romeo replaced their passionate 3.2 V6, one of the all-time great V6 engines, with one developed by General Motors whose basic architecture it shared with the VE Commodore. The passion that made Alfa so famous was slipping away.

DSC_0273But since those days we’ve had a GFC and a gigantic corporate restructure rescue mission that has resulted in Chrysler becoming part of the Fiat group. As part of the restructure, charismatic Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne realigned the Alfa Romeo brand, admitting it had lost its way and promising to return it back to the heart-throb, fun loving cornerstone of the Fiat Group it once was. This Giulietta is the first post-restructure era Alfa I’ve driven, and I approached my drive full of questions to answer. Would it live up to the promises made by Marchionne? And most importantly, given that it finds itself in roughly the same price ball park as its more focussed rivals (Subaru WRX, Renault Megane RS250), would it be filled with enough of the famous ‘Alfa verve’ to make it a viable alternative for us performance focussed drivers? Continue reading

Cutaway Porsche 997 Turbo

Yea okay, it’s just another 997 Turbo sitting on the showroom floor. No biggie, right?

Wrong. This cutaway 997 Turbo is currently on a world tour of Porsche dealerships and motor shows, and is making a short stopover in Adelaide. It provides a fascinating chance to get up close and literally see what makes up the 911 legend.

The biggest thing that strikes you is the craftsmanship that goes into these cars. For sure, they are mass produced these days, but they possess the same precision that makes old 911’s so reliable and durable. Anyone who’s ever seen under the skin of a modern Ferrari or Lamborghini would no doubt be surprised at how home built they look.  Continue reading