JOY RIDE

WHO SAYS MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS?

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

ONE OF THE great joys of this job is you get to play with other people’s toys. And by far the most aggravating part is you have to give them back. Still, it’s that last factor which is probably the primary reason muggins is still married.

As tolerant as partner Ms M senior is – witnessed by the obscene number of vehicles already occupying the not-solarge grounds at Chateau Despair – there may be a limit to even her patience. And self-control is never going to work.

Once you have the disease (is it a virus or is it genetic?) you’ll keep collecting toys even while both your wallet and your sanity are finally disappearing down a bottomless hole.

Why? Because they make you happy. And that’s particularly the case when it comes to seventies muscle cars. If someone told you to draw joy with a wheel on each corner, I reckon you’d come up with something very close to the picture you see here.

I distinctly remember this ’Cuda rumbling into our photo studio, with an irritatingly happy Neil (the owner) at the wheel. If I recall right, we had one of those discussions where he confessed he sometimes considered selling it, whenever the logical side of his brain took over. That’s because he doesn’t really need it, it takes up a lot of room, etcetera. All perfectly sane reasons.

Then the minute he gets in and drives the monster, all sanity goes out the window. There’s a giant grin on his face and all is right with the world. Which is as it should be. I reckon the sheer happiness toys like this produce help people to live longer. And, if I owned it, I’d be wearing Hawaiian shirts for the rest of my life. Except for formal occasions, when I’d switch to something from Looney Tunes.

Which, in a round-about way, brings us to the cover theme for this issue – Muscle Cars. Uncle Cliff has risked sleepless nights putting together our annual market guide and there are a couple of themes that came through consistently. Overall, the local market has flattened out and we’re not seeing the stupendous price rises we were just a couple of months ago. Overall it’s probably a good thing.

Second, if you want value, just take a look at the price of medium-level American muscle cars. At the moment a relatively modest budget buys you some truly great machinery that compares very favourably with the Aussie alternatives. It’s not that we don’t love the latter, but so much of it now is unaffordable.

It’s that last factor that has led to the now huge interest in tribute cars, which provide most of the kicks of the real thing and you get to build it.

American, Aussie, whatever flavour muscle it happens to be, you know it’s going to plant a smile on the dial...

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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