Burning the midnight oil

Barry_LoweAs I write it is exactly 29 days until Scouts Rally SA, the South Australian round of the Australian Rally Championship. There are many teams out there burning the midnight oil to have their cars ready for the event, including crowd favorite and twice Australian rally champion Barry Lowe and a group of his close friends who are finishing the build of Barry’s brand new VB Commodore gravel rally car. After over 2,500 hours work in the past few months, it’s actually closer to completion than it looks but there is still a fair way to go.

This thing is going to be an absolute weapon. All info, specs and photos are under embargo until Rally SA, however Barry was kind enough to let Any Given Reason share this sneak preview. The engine is the same one used in his previous VB – a NASCAR GM race 6.8 V8, limited to a shade over 8,000rpm and about 700ish horses for reliability. As for the rest of the car? You’ll have to wait and see…

The Easter Historics at Mallala

DSC_0021Easter. A time of year with different significance for different people. Dedicated churchgoers will find themselves at the altar, while most of us spend the break with family or away on holiday. But for hardened motorheads, Easter brings an entirely different tradition – the Easter historic race meeting at Mallala.

DSC_0107DSC_0367Run by the Sporting Car Club of SA, the Easter historic race meeting is the highlight of what’s known as historic ‘speed week’ – several days of dinners, shows, the race meeting and a historic hillclimb at Collingrove on Easter Monday. The race meeting is considered to be one of the last true picnic style historic meetings left. Its very relaxed, very low key and the emphasis is really on camaraderie and enjoying some fine old cars.

DSC_0333So with this in mind, at about 5am on Easter Sunday I put the top down and hit the deserted hills roads, with some Donald Byrd playing to get me in a ‘classic’ frame of mind. Despite some early morning showers, it was shaping up to be a good day.

DSC_0418The day wasn’t purely one of spectating, as I was helping out as pit crew for Brenton Griguol who was racing his 1968 Lola T124 Formula 5000. I use the term ‘helping out’ and ‘pit crew’ very loosely, as I’m sure I probably just got in the way more than anything. But thankfully, and like he did at the recent Clipsal 500, Brenton was happy to have me along for the greater good of Any Given Reason readers!  Continue reading


DSC_0178At Any Given Reason we’re all about actually driving our cars as their makers intended. However, as the speeding fine that came in the post this morning attests, this is not always a feasible thing to do anymore. As alluring as the dream of you, a GT3 RS and an empty hills road is, the harsh reality is seemingly blanket 80km/h speed limits and Orwellian laser detection cameras. I feel almost ashamed to say this, but I fear that so long as you value the possession of your license, driving a GT3 on said hills roads would, for the most part, be an extremely frustrating experience and a constant exercise in self restraint. So that raises the question – is it actually possible to have fun driving slowly?

DSC_0186To answer this question I’ve arranged a drive that is quite different to what I normally do. In fact, more than just arranging a drive; I’ve organised a bit of a social experiment, if you will. The car I’ve chosen just happens to be the fastest accelerating Australian car ever made, but on this drive I really just want to find out if it’s any fun to drive at 50km/h. We’re going to go and cut a few laps of the city on a Saturday night and see if we actually enjoy the experience. It could go either way, but somehow I suspect the FPV GT RSPEC is going to be the right car for the task.

DSC_0247I’m standing waiting on Grenfell Street’s footpath for our 11pm rendezvous, the bass line of the DJ’s tunes emanate from the pub across the road; a group of tipsy girls walk past me, hardly noticing my presence as they discuss their next venue. But it’s not long until another bass line roar can be heard echoing off the buildings, and as I look up from my phone the jet black FPV stops kerbside. And it’s an especially mean looking machine in RSPEC guise – the glossy black duco offset by red striping on the bonnet and down the side, red wheels and a red spoiler, with large ‘BOSS 335’ lettering in relief. I can hardly believe that it has more street presence than the 911 Carrera that passes by as we take in the details, but it does. The humble Falcon has come a long way.

DSC_0165 Continue reading