Letter of the Month winner Jonathon Dymond will be ogling a brilliantly detailed Mazda MX-5 filling his pockets with an extra $200. Next month, our prize pack comprises $200 cash, subscription and this Alpine A110-50 model. We award ideas, opinions, prose and originality,
LIKE MOST of us, m unable to afford the exotica gracing the pages of this magazine. But, having tired of karting and track days, the itch to drive something truly special on the road still needed to be scratched. The solution, I decided, was to bite the financial bullet and hire one.
Porsche and Ferrari were the obvious choices, but I didn’ fancy the envy or scorn and possible keying, not with a substantial bond holding on the credit card. So I saw value in the PlayStation-generation Gran Turismo favourite – the Nissan GT-R. My’ car was in pearlescent white, but that couldn’ hide its purposeful, menacing appearance.
I collected the beast in Oxfordshire (UK) and drove 100 miles to surprise my lad at school. We cruised (ahem!) out of the school gates, and that became the sixth-form chat for the following month!
The driving experience? need 500 words alone, so I’ settle for one – ferocious. As one UK mag wrote, the GT-R is “for those who insist on decimating everything else on the road”. In my boy’ words, “Dad, we own the road!” I’ love to post our Vmax – at 05:47 on the A6 somewhere in Leicestershire – but I fear editor intervention, and a SWAT team parked outside my driveway! I’ ve seen four of my own children born, so I’ choose my words carefully; this was the best driving experience of my life. Go on, you know you want to – as the ad says, just do it’
Jonathan Dymond, via email
David Morley’ excellent article on wire rope barriers (December 2018), while covering most of the issues, omitted something that I think is worth noting. In 2018, many (perhaps most?) new cars offer an extra-cost option of lane hold’ whereby the vehicle tracks the white lines to stay, roughly, in the middle of the lane. In cars I’ ve driven, this works amazingly well on freeways; less well on secondary roads where the white lines aren’ so good.
Within a few years, lane hold is likely to be standard on all new cars. So all that will be needed to stop run-off accidents will be well-maintained lane markings and all of those ridiculously expensive wire rope barriers will be redundant – but will hang around forever to kill any motorcyclist who happens to stray into them.
Phil Scott, via email
I totally agree with Morley on wire barriers (December 2018). These things went up near home on the Calder Highway at Keilor and soon there was a fatality where a woman in a small car went under the barrier. I would bet that there’ never been an instance of a car making it to the other side of the road on that stretch of road.
The barrier may stop a truck or an SUV, but a normal car, especially one nosediving due to heavy braking, will go under the barrier, with only the windscreen between the cable and driver. Furthermore, for motorcyclists it’ suicidal to ride on such a road. The government must be held accountable for what they have done before more lives are lost to bureaucratic idiocy.
Henry, via email
Morley’ rant against wire barriers certainly lit up our inbox and social media. But it has to be said our readers are quite evenly split on this issue. Don’ you just love democracy and freedom of speech…
I have in my archive every edition of Modern Motor/MOTOR since January 1980 (the first 16 years in Modern Motor binders – remember those?), so I am a long-term reader of this magnificent tome. I anticipate it without wane and it is devoured cover to cover within two to three days of receiving it.
However... and I guess you will have already received a right bollocking for including a truck comparison. And rightly so!
Never have such depths been plummeted to. What were you thinking for crying out loud? Drum brakes? Leaf springs? Are we back in 1980?
In an issue where we have a comparison of the two finest examples of engineering one can purchase (488 Pista vs Porsche 911 GT2 RS), you serve up this dribble? Even more beyond belief is that you wasted 11 whole pages on these two trucks, the same number of pages used for the Ferrari versus Porsche.
Have you gone stark raving mad? With the non-ending plethora of supercars, hypercars and performance models being dished out up, have you not got something else there to write about? Heck, give us 22 pages of Ferrari vs Porsche if that’ what is needed to fill the issue. Or how about the Mazda MX-5 vs Abarth 124 Spider.
Leave the trucks to the truck magazines. It’ enough that these behemoths are already clogging the roads without encouraging more of them. What next – will you test a couple of caravans?
THIS ISN’T YOUR FIRST GEN-F HSV. I had one of the early generation Gen-F Clubsports. I picked that up about a month before Holden announced they were going to shut down manufacturing and I was kicking myself, saying, Shit, I shoulda got the GTS.’
IT ISN’T YOUR ONLY V8, EITHER! The Clubbie was my daily, and it was four years old when I picked up my dad’ old Falcon. The Falcon was driven into and got written off and I was kind of looking at the Mustang and thought, Yeah, that would be a pretty good daily.’
RED AND BLUE. m a fan of rear-wheel drive V8s. Obviously the supercharged V8 as a daily was going to hit the hip pocket in terms of fuel costs, but the Mustang’ not too bad and I do sort of semi-rural kays where I work.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE STEPPING UP FROM R8 TO GTS? Very different. The Clubsport was quick – it was a 340kW model that I had – but the GTS is just super-quick. You’ ve got unlimited torque no matter what revs or gear when you plant the foot.
TRACK DAYS? It’ an absolute blast on the track, but I don’ want to push it too hard because I don’ want to bin it. But, yeah, it’ a real fun thing on the track. It’ fairly safe and controllable, and that’ the big difference between the GTS and the Mustang. The GTS you can run at nine-tenths around a track and feel fairly confident; the Mustang, as soon as you take it about seven or eight-tenths, it’ pretty easy to spin it.
WHAT’S THE PLAN? The GTS is basically the car I’ m not intending to sell. I’ m actually keen to get an old Datsun 1600, as it’ the only car I’ ve ever regretted selling, so I’ m keen to get another one of those. That won’ stay standard; it will be highly modified.
Rob Giacometti, via email
Caravans? Brilliant idea! In all seriousness, Rob, the tribe has spoken and as we said last month, until they fit engines to match the impressive, Baja-spec suspension performance, “performance dual cab utes” will remain a curiosity rather than a focus for us.
Sorry to burst Gary Barnet’s bubble (The Tribe, November 2018) but the chase scene in Bullitt isn’t quite as authentic and unedited as he suggests. See the little green VW about a minute and a half into the chase? We first see it from inside the baddies’ R/T Charger before seeing exactly the same scene from the passenger seat of Frank Bullitt’s car. You see it again 30 seconds later and for the third time about 15 seconds after that, just before they go down Lombard Street. And I’ll eat my hat if the film isn’t sped up at the part where Frank’s car crosses the road and almost ends up in a ditch.
I love the movie and the chase scenes too, but I’ve watched it often enough to know that, while there’s a lot that’s authentic, there’s also a fair bit of Hollywood chicanery taking place.
Malcolm McEwen, via email
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The recent Los Angeles Motor Show saw the launch of American start-up EV manufacturer Rivian, which has the potential to be a very successful new car manufacturer.
Adelaide-based Red Automotive Technologies has also been developing a luxury electric SUV and pick-up truck that could rival Rivian.
The South Australian Government gave a $1.4m grant to Brabham Automotive and Fusion Capital to help secure manufacture of the new Brabham supercar in Adelaide, so why can’t they do the same for Red Automotive Technologies?
Once Brabham Automotive gets into full production, it will create hundreds of local jobs and earn millions for Australia in exports. And the same could apply for Red Automotive Technologies.
As more and more people are buying electric vehicles, a luxury Australianmade SUV and pick-up truck could sell very well in Australia. This would be great for manufacturing in South Australia and for Australia overall.
Malcolm Webster, via email
Just got around to reading Editor Campbell’s excellent piece on the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso in Tassie (July 2017) and how that V12 should sing in the Sydney Opera House.
Given how much influence NSW voters have had on what goes on inside that barn over the decades and even now, I would have thought the editor of a famous magazine just might be able to get a vote passed for a true Italian maestro to perform there.
MAGA! Magazines Are Great Again – because of Campbell, Morley, Newman, Cordony, Wielecki, Brunelli, Kacher and all you other MOTOR folk.
Andrew Taylor, via email
Fair dinkum, Andrew, we’re blushing.