FACEBOOK: WHEELS AUSTRALIA
Recently while sitting at an intersection waiting my turn, a fairly constant conga line of Commodores and Falcons passed me by. I called out each model as it passed: VT...VE... EL...VZ... FG.. BA...VF ... AU... another VZ... The procession of Aussie metal made me lament the passing of Australian car manufacturing.
It also got me wondering: what will that conga line of cars look like in 10 years when these older Aussie cars finally get to the end of their working lives? What will these Commodore and Falcon drivers replace their beloved Aussie car with in the future? Not a rear-drive local that is going to give the length of service or be better value for money.
In other words, all the reasons why they bought their Australian car in the first place, will no longer be an option to them.
However my melancholy for the end of the car industry and never again seeing an Australian car on the cover of Wheels lifted when I spotted the May 2018 edition. After buying and devouring the magazine, the new Brabham surpassed several McLarens, Ferraris, Aston Martins and Porsches to be at the top of my supercar wishlist.
I truly hope that David Brabham can make a success of this venture. The Brabham BT62 supercar is a symbol of hope and pride for this country. It arouses the belief that we can still be a car manufacturing nation, even if the vehicle will be out of reach for the average punter like myself. While my bank account will only allow two humble Holdens to fill my garage, another Australian brand has just entered my heart.
Miles Nelson, via email
I was amused and felt a certain bond with Editor Inwood after reading his Ed Start column (Wheels, June) about how the Porsche showroom at Willoughby left an “ineradicable mark” on him as a young boy.
I too was marked when my father (a working class man from the western suburbs of Sydney) organised a family holiday at the Travel Lodge at Bondi Beach.
Following a glorious day in the sun and fighting surf rips, we were taken to the George Street cinemas to see Le Mans with Steve McQueen.
I was six years old and I remember being audibly and visually assaulted by those legendary Gulf liveried 917 Porsches as they roared around the spectacular Le Mans circuit.
Now, 47 years later, and after justifying it to my bank, my wife and conscience, I own a pre-loved 997-gen 911: normally aspirated, six-speed manual and that glorious flat-six boxer wail!
Thank you for a great magazine and the 70 years of Porsche edition.
James Ryan, Dural NSW
Thank you, Wheels, for the June edition subscriber’s cover. The 917 revived memories for me of Le Mans in 1970, the year of Porsche’s first victory.
My wife and I were there and we saw most of the 24 hours.
Lots of memories, of drivers like Siffert, Rodriguez, Ickx, Elford, and Brabham, who drove an amazingly loud Matra. Brabham was unusually relaxed, even jocular, as someone else had to fix problems which emerged in practice. He even had time to persuade the Goodyear men to give some Blue Streaks to an over-enthusiastic team of young Germans running a 914-6 so that they could race, despite using all their tyres in practice. Steve McQueen was there, getting footage for his famous movie, via an open Porsche camera car which finished well-up in a fairly wet race.
We stood at the end of Mulsanne Straight in the rainy night and saw the faster cars twitching and darting about at around 240mph (386km/h) using the whole width of the road. Scary stuff. We even went to Porsche’s after-race party. Great memories of racing when passing was commonplace, and very, very fast in all conditions.
Keep the good things coming.
Leon Cock, Tusmore, S.A
I laughed when I read Michael Stahl’s column (Wheels, June) about buying a VW Up!. I recently bought one for my P-plater daughter when I realised that it was a small car with five-star safety that ended up costing just $4800, and came loaded with features: AEB, ESC, Bluetooth, sat-nav, cruise, etc. It’s also cheap to insure.
And it is fun to drive. Not quick, but it has real character. The engine has amazing flexibility and yet revs well. Now I look for excuses to steal it off my daughter.
Mike Lloyd, via email
With Europe’s move to the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), we’ll very soon have access to more useful and relevant fuel consumption figures for a large part of Australia’s fleet.
I think this is good news and would expect the results to be widely shared. But we’ll also have the wildly inaccurate local ADR-based figures with which to compare and that could give rise to some interesting observations. There could be some nervous shuffling of feet by those currently enjoying the higher Luxury Car Tax threshold, for instance.
Hopefully any controversy will spur our government to come to its senses and get rid of the LCT, introduce the WLTP locally… and whilst they’re at it, address our dreadful fuel standards, and provide incentives and infrastructure for EVs.
Brian Wood, via email
Miles, we think you speak for plenty of readers with your thoughts on the demise of the local car industry, and we share your enthusiasm for what Brabham could represent for Australia, albeit on a tiny scale. Enjoy the next 12 issues of Wheels on us.
Regarding ‘EVs by the numbers: do they make financial sense?’ (WhichCar, June 16) what manufacturers or governments won’t talk about is the energy required to make an EV, or the environmental impact of eventual battery disposal.
Further, there is no discussion about the energy source used to generate the electricity to recharge. Is it coal-fired?
EVs are basically a con implemented by short sighted politicians appeasing ignorant, agenda-driven environmentalists.
Robert Giannarelli, via Facebook
The ‘Dirty Deeds’ report (Wheels, June) was excellent reading, and anyone considering buying a diesel vehicle should seriously take note. I only wish I had known all this four years ago.
In 2014, I purchased a 2009 Audi Q5 3.0 TDI with 52,000km on the odo and full dealer service history. Unfortunately, exactly as your article describes, I’m guessing the former owner used the car for predominantly short urban trips and the EGR clogged up shortly after I took ownership. My (non-factory) Euro-specialist workshop diagnosed that the whole EGR cooler assembly would need replacing as the cooler would also be blocked. The repair quote using Audi supplied parts was $2285 plus labour.
After some on-line research, I found the exact same OEM Audi part could be purchased from the UK for A$1018, shipped. Labour ran to $1150, so all up the fix was less than the part cost here in Oz.
When I inspected the old EGR cooler, I saw it had a month/year stamp that was younger than the build date of my vehicle, therefore it had already been replaced (at least) once before.
Sadly, in this country we are not well-informed by vehicle manufacturers, and dealers are ripping off the motoring public for repairs that shouldn’t be required in a vehicle’s lifetime.
Grant Takken, via email
Great story on diesels, and the reasons why we shouldn’t be buying them, nor actually need them. They have their purpose out on the Hume powering an 18-wheeler, but not parked on the driveway of Mr & Mrs Average. Articles like this are few and far between, and one place you won’t find them is in the latest glossy brochure showcasing the next shiny SUV This is a must read for anyone contemplating purchasing a diesel SUV/car or who already owns one.
Warren Waples, Horsley NSW