SIX MONTHS after Holden’s Port Elizabeth plant in Adelaide closed, it’s been interesting to see how people have responded to this momentous loss in their own different ways. For the most part, and curiously, it seems to be by just not talking about it. Anybody who makes too much of a fuss or sends barbs flying over which is better, Falcon or Commodore, is quickly told to “move on” as we have “no choice but to”. That’s been our experience on social media, at least.
But it also seems that for many, you can’t just switch your interest off. It’s had to redirect into other things, like water flowing in whatever direction gravity pulls it. Within our ranks there seems to have been a refusal to ‘buy an SUV and be done with it’. I was at a service station the other week and got chatting to a bloke in a Kia Stinger GT. He also owned an FG FPV F6 and Gen-F HSV GTS and said he loved everything about the Stinger – except the badge on the front of it.
At MOTOR, we’ve seen a renewed interest in hot hatches. Once a category written off for being too small, too laggy, too toy-ish and perhaps not masculine enough, we met a tradie in his 50s at Winton Motor Raceway in country Victoria one afternoon a few weeks ago who proudly told us he had bought an A45 AMG. Everybody mocks it off for being a little toy, and then he takes them for a ride in it, which quickly shuts them up, he told us through a wry smile.
Part of the new ‘direction’ for MOTOR is to celebrate modern classic cars more often. Vehicles like the BMW E46 M3, VT HSV GTSs, or the C5 Audi RS6 featured later this issue, to mention a random few. There is a whole universe of cars in this space and you’ve all told us you’re quite happy for us to go there, so we are.
It’s been interesting to notice the curiosity in the upcoming updated Ford Mustang, too. Is this car the ‘new XR8’? There’s certainly more Mustang news more often, as it’s a global car and Ford just has more money to spend on it. As such, there’s so much to talk about the new one that we’ve grilled the chief engineer and produced an exclusive under the skin tech feature, as you’ll read from page 66.
The new performance car business continues to be a fascinating and surprising one – again, as you’ll see this issue, whether it’s the brilliant, thrummy three-cylinder Ford Fiesta ST, a Lamborghini SUV, a rear-drive Audi R8 departing from quattro, which was previously sacrosanct, or the McLaren Senna, a car that takes track performance of a road car to a brand new level. And it seems Aussie manufacturing – which we thought we had just seen the last of – has entered its next chapter, a cottage industry, with the shock advent of the Brabham supercar, which you’ll read about overpage.
With so much money flowing into the performance-car market and manufacturers pursuing your business, you can count on it keeping your interest. It’s keeping mine.
LAST ISSUE we had a fairly embarrassing printing error – our apologies for that. We’ve also received a lot of feedback about some type being too small in our redesign and we have a fix coming up next issue. Same for the straight-line figures, we are back in business at our test venue, Heathcote Park dragstrip, and so the numbers will too be back. We also have a brand-new website – get your daily performance car news fix at whichcar.com.au/motor. Enjoy the issue.
In the MADHOUSE
05 OUT - TAKES THIS MONTH AT MOTOR
1. The R8 RWS attracted a lot of, erm, attention during its shoot in Victoria’s Gippsland region
2. That’s a Nurburgring toaster... when the merch department runs out of ideas
3. Yes, that’s a GT3 RS 4.0 in a row of other GT3 RSs... heaven, it turns out, is in Germany
4. We can’t yet tell you what this was a photo of. We’ll show you more next month
5. Alastair Brook’s epic R8 RWS shot on the contents page... a work in progress here