It’s a well-known fact that the Adelaide Hills are teeming with interesting and exotic vehicles of all kinds on sunny Sunday mornings, and why not? Before nine the roads are largely devoid of the Sunday lunch crowds, the coffee shops are beginning to open their doors and the mornings are warm and balmy now that we’re coming into spring.
Throw in the fact that it was father’s day last Sunday and you’ve got a perfect storm of car hunting.
We were having breakfast at Stirling’s Miss Perez cafe on the Fiat Lancia club’s traditional Father’s Day run, and had arrived to find this Ferrari 599 GTB parked on Druid Avenue. I didn’t catch the make of wheels it was sitting on, but they are certainly inspired by the blistering 599 GTO and I think they suit the big V12 to a tee. It was running some sort of modified exhaust system too, and the noise on startup was to die for. Continue reading →
There’s a lot to be said for organised events and races but sometimes it’s fun to just cruise around on a lazy Sunday and see what you find. With my own Fiat X1/9 project finally hitting the roads after seven long years in the shed, I used the vague excuse of the media briefing and scruitineering for the upcoming Scouts Rally SA Australian Rally Championship round (happening this weekend) as a way point and took the X1/9 for a drive.
It’s not uncommon to see a few Porsche’s in the hills on a pleasant Sunday but after about the sixth in a row I figured something must be up, so I followed them just down the road to Longview Vineyard in Macclesfield.
When it comes to Porsche it’s usually that trademark classic style that steals my heart, and even though this left hand drive 912 was definitely a looker there was something else that stopped me dead on this occasion…
All good things must come to an end, so the maxim goes, however hand-in-hand with the negative is the positive that regeneration occasionally spawns new traditions. I’m not going to stand here and say that we’d rather have the Climb to the Eagle over a return of Formula One to Adelaide, that would be crazy, but in it’s absence this is a mighty fine way to spend a sunny Friday.
The tradition began back in 1985 when a freshly retired John Blanden suggested to the Australian Grand Prix corp that there should be a classic car component to the first Adelaide Grand Prix. They were extremely receptive of the idea but not to making it a reality, and informed Blanden that if his dream was to come to fruition, he must organise it himself.
With the help of the Sporting Car Club of SA, Blanden turned his idea into one of the highlights of the event and the crown in his classic car roster was the Climb to the Eagle. Held on the Friday morning of race weekend, a traditionally quiet time at any Grand Prix, a large contingent of high quality cars would depart from the start line and navigate their way through peak hour traffic with a police escort before a short blast up the twisty old freeway to a morning tea at the Eagle on the Hill Hotel, just 10km away but with sprawling views of the metropolitan area. Continue reading →
You may have noticed things have been a little quiet around Any Given Reason lately – and there’s good reason for it. AGR HQ is usually filled with the clicking of camera shutters and the quiet clatter of a computer keyboard, however attention of late has shifted to the garage, and those familiar tones have been replaced with the squawking of hack-saw blades and the comforting ratchet sounds of a socket set.
I’ve been restoring my first car, a 1979 Fiat X1/9, for almost five years now. Work has typically progressed slowly, but the finished product is now so close I can almost taste it. The engine started for the first time a few weeks ago, and I drove it back and forth up the driveway several times last night. I’m hoping to take it for its first few tentative laps around the block later this week.
I’ve got an event in mind – on February 3 – which I’d love to take the Fiat to, so we’ve been working crazy long hours on weekends and on evenings after ‘proper’ work finishes to get it done. And it’s only because of the tireless efforts of a few close friends and my Dad, all of whom I’m indebted to, that we actually look like hitting that deadline.
There’s a few new stories in the works for Any Given Reason, but please bear with me if they aren’t coming as quickly as you’re used to. As they say, Normal service will resume shortly.
It’s taken just on eight months to write 100 posts. Any Given Reason has covered so much since then – from rally, to circuit racing, to off-roading, sports cars and club events. From events as grassroots as they come all the way up to Formula One. Any Given Reason has been privileged to drive some pretty exciting cars too – a couple of tarmac rally cars, new performance cars and one particularly quick R35 GTR. And I won’t lie, there have been a couple of close calls photography wise – not just standing on the side of a little road shooting rally, but I’ve discovered that people, police included, give you odd looks when you start pointing your DSLR at parked cars. But it’s all been worth it.
So I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers, because it’s your support that makes all this possible. And I’d like to ask the question – what do YOU want to see on Any Given Reason? Let me know, and I’ll do my best to cover it.
I was trying to think of something special for the 100th post, and I think I’ve found it. The starting of an engine for the first time is something special, and a very big step for any restoration project. I started the engine of my Fiat X1/9 for the first time the other night. I bought this car as soon as I turned 16, I learnt to drive in it, and what started as a quick freshen-up has turned into a five year project. Fingers crossed it will be finished this year…
The annual Fiat Nationals took place at Benalla, Victoria, this past weekend (20-21 January). In what has become an annual pilgrimage for us, we made the 900km trek over in our 1987 Alfa Romeo Sprint and 1979 Fiat X1/9. Yes, that is correct. Every year we drive old Italian cars halfway across the country in the middle of an Aussie summer. Crazy.
The event has been run as a motorkhana and next year will be celebrating it’s 50th running. Historically run around places like Dubbo and Wagga Wagga, 7 years ago the event moved to Bathurst and enjoyed the addition of a speed event for the first time – a hillclimb up the famous Bathurst race track. This was when I started attending and I ended up competing at the Bathurst hillclimb three times. The event then moved to Goulburn and featured a supersprint around the Wakefield Park circuit. Attending both of these locations from Adelaide involved crossing the Hay Plains (not a great deal of fun in summer), so it was with great happiness when I read that the event would be moving to Benalla, Victoria, for 2012. The event would also include a supersprint around the Winton circuit.
So that’s how I found myself behind the wheel of the Alfa last Friday, chasing one of the most amazing dawn sunrises I’ve seen into the distance. It was forecasted to be a hot day and the early morning air was refreshingly balmy as it kissed and caressed the skin. Lights on, windows down, we sped through the darkness with the knowledge that things were going to get quite a bit warmer as soon as that sun rose. Continue reading →