I GREW up in a street full of what today would be considered some of the most soughtafter locally made classics. The resulting performance cars would change to newer models as they were released – we’re talking Falcon GTs, 308, 327 and 350 Monaros, 308 Premiers, 308 LX two-door Toranas, VC and VK Brocks, a 351 four-speed XD ex-pursuit car and VL Turbos to name a few. Then there were the heavily modified Premiers with 350 Chevs, powerglides and big stalled autos.
It was automotive heaven. I had no choice but to be a car enthusiast. It was much more than that though. It was a genuine love for local muscle cars.
My dad, who immigrated here in the late ’50s also had a fondness for cars. He told me that you do all that you can to support our local manufacturing and nothing was better than the machinery that was made by hard working Australians.
My first was a VC SL/E with all electrics and in white. It was 10 years old and meant everything to me. As my career grew I had the chance to buy new cars on a regular basis. I have been fortunate. I have owned countless Holdens, HSVs and FPVs (so I’m one of the few who owned both). I have had the chance to spend time with Brocky, had corporate days with HRT and FPR, met several drivers and had many laps as a passenger in their cars. I have had the chance to be privy to info on new cars and had the opportunity to call senior people at FPV and HSV friends.
The road wasn’t always smooth and the product not always perfect, but the passion was always present. I could have bought Euro equivalent cars (AMG, M or RS), but never strayed from supporting local stuff. Please don’t take this as boasting because that is not my intention – I have been very fortunate.
Sadly, that has all but ceased with the closing of local manufacturing.
My two eldest children have been in both factories (FPV and HSV) and have seen so much that also influenced their love of all things automotive. They won’t get the same chances we had to sample new Aussie muscle.
This really does break my heart.
There is, however, a new reality and I am very happy that the likes of Hyundai and Kia have chosen to introduce products that will fill a void. The Stinger can definitely be such a car and I for one am grateful that they have built it.
A rear drive, good looking, very well specified sedan with a strong performance slant. A worthy replacement for what we love. A great performance sedan priced to be enjoyed and admired and it will fill a great big void in the market. Nicely played, Kia.
Thank you for your passionate comment, Bouka. We too, at MOTOR, have similar childhood stories of family, friends or neighbours parking iconic Aussie metal in their driveways. However, as you rightly point out, while local offerings are soon to be non-existent, there are still myriad offerings to lust after.