Well the first thing we wouldn’t do is be like the PM of Lebanon and give $20m to a South African bikini model who we met at a Seychelles resort. But enter Teodorin Obiang, the VP of Equatorial Guinea, who is also a senior officer in the army. Friends and readers, this man should be the sort of person ScoMo brings to this great country to show the folks on Struggle Street how it’s done.
While our vice prime minister has to get by on $416k a year plus a defined benefit super scheme, Teddy has to get by on $60k a year with no super.
Now to show you the power of the financial literacy programs in the overpopulated and understaffed schools in Equatorial Guinea where educational materials are in short supply, teachers aren’t often paid and girls have no chance, Teddy managed to build a super car collection including seven Feezers, three Lambos, five Bentleys, two Veyrons, a Maserati, a McLaren plus two $100m-plus superyachts, a detached house on Avenue Foch in the 16th in Paris, a similar shack in Malibu, a Gulfstream jet and Mike Jackson memorabilia on his public service pay cheque.
But, as usual, the Swiss and French fun police were jealous of a serious self-made person and suggested he and a couple of mates had been money-laundering and mismanaging public assets. Of course, they dropped the charges but did confiscate the supercars and gave them to Bonhams to sell at an auction in a deconsecrated abbey in holey cheese land last Sunday. And what a day it was. Highlight of the sale was the Lambo Veneno, with a local collector picking it up for $13m. When launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the Veneno was priced at $6m, making it one of the world’s most expensive production cars. Only nine were produced.
One of just six 2014 Koenigsegg Ones saw $6.8m, the 2015 Ferrari — LaFerrari — brought $3.2m, one of 77 2011 Aston Martin One-77 carbon fibre and aluminium hypercars and one of Teddy’s 2010 Bugatti Veyrons both selling for around the $2m mark.
Next Sunday is the Bathurst 1000, where it’s hard to see Scott McLaughlin not winning. Our own WART race coach and team manager Phil Alexander has just started a road to Bathurst course. The idea is that over a minimum of nine months the specially packaged program can take a novice driver, with limited or no track experience, through a series of training days and race events that could get them to drive in the Bathurst six-hour race. Clearly, if you have more experience than none you can move more quickly.
Phil takes you through driver development days on the track, CAMS licencing and sprint and endurance racing across circuits including Sydney Motorsport Park, Wakefield Park and the new Pheasant Wood Circuit. Apart from his unique world class qualifications as WART manager, Phil ran a performance tuning business in the 1970s, built race cars and got top 10 results at Bathurst 1000s in the 1980s, as well as competing at the 24-hour Nurburgring and 25-hour of Thunderhill. All the details at https://www.roadtobathurst.com.au/.
Not so good news from BoJo land. The Times (a part of this paper’s global multimedia empire) reports Jaguar Land Rover plans to cut production at Halewood as weak sales continue to bite. The Tata-owned company is cutting 4500 jobs and $4.5bn of costs as global sales are down 8 per cent so far this financial year. Aston Martin is doing well at classic auctions but not so well in the new car business. The James Bond endorsed car maker needs to raise up to $300m on the bond market “with very high interest rates of up to 15 per cent including controversial payment-in-kind notes, to put off repayments until a later date,” The Times says.
Meanwhile UK’s Which magazine has told readers that the 2014-on Nissan Qashqai, the 2014-on Tesla Model S, the 2010-on Seat Alhambra and the 2010-2017 Beemer Touring should all be recalled. Editor Lisa Barber says “five cars have so many owners complaining about common faults that we want manufacturers to act”. Back home, VW Volkswagen will settle the “diesel-gate” class actions for about $130m.
While car sales are still going backwards faster than Teddy Obiang’s car fleet, Toyota salespeople are telling favoured customers to put down a deposit for one of the 300 Supras (about $100k) to be made available in Australia and they will be able to make money on the resale. The turbo BMW powered sports car is made in Magna Steyr’s factory in Graz, Austria and is good for 260km/h with serious handling.
But — and isn’t there always a but in all our lives — the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us BMW of North America, is recalling seven 2020 Toyota Supra vehicles because “the driver’s seat belt guide loop mount may have been improperly welded and in the event of a crash, the mount could become damaged and the seat belt may not properly restrain the driver, increasing their risk of injury”. So, given there’s no real fix for bad welding, it could be new Supras all round.