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YEP, WE’RE DOUBLING DOWN ON LAMBOS AND MERCS

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That’s the number of years it took Lamborghini to build 8205 vehicles, its annual sales figure for 2019. Last year was a monster for Sant’Agata, with sales lifting a massive 43 percent. Much of that is down to the Urus plant coming on stream, and expect that figure to vault above 10,000 units when the company’s fourth model line, rumoured to be a sports GT, arrives in 2025. When that 8205th vehicle rolled from the line in 1989, the company was building a mere 300 cars per year.

Peak performers

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is claiming a world altitude record after a pair of Unimog U 5023 climbed to 6694 metres above sea level on the world’s highest volcano. Ojos del Salado in Chile summits at 6894m, so there’s scope for the record to be beaten. We hear Jim Glickenhaus is interested in an attempt with his Baja Boot. We’ll keep you posted.

BURYING THE X

Mercedes-Benz bowed to the inevitable this month, announcing that the X-Class ute is not long for this world. The slow-selling premium pick-up, which shares some underpinnings with Nissan’s Navara, stops production in May. In the Australian 4x4 ute segment in 2019, the Ford Ranger led with 37,004 sales, closely followed by Hilux at 36,325. The Navara scored 10,661 sales, yet the X-Class managed only around 20 percent of that figure, selling just 2081 units in 2019. Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia will not be ordering any more X-Classes, instead relying on existing stock to see the model out.

YES, WE THINK YOU’RE SEXY

June 14, 1977 was a big day for Rod Stewart, with the Spandex-loving rocker taking delivery of this Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopio from new here in Australia. The car then sat in a Sydney recording studio for a couple of weeks while he recorded Blondes Have More Fun. It was subsequently converted to wide-arch, left-hand-drive Spider form in the US (don’t ask), and then largely restored to factory spec, so it’s been through quite a journey. It’s set for sale at Artcurial’s Retromobile 2020 sale with an estimated price of one million euros, which seems about right for a car with such a Byzantine backstory.

The tao of Ralf

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design”