Today we answer the big questions you didn’t know you’ve been asking.
Is the Pope Argentinian? Do angels have sex? Why wait for electric cars, why not go straight to hydrogen? Will Mad Max get a five-second penalty for pushing Lewis Hamilton off the track last Sunday? Why does the FIA hate Hamo and Mercedes?
Is Alfa hiring Guanyu Zhou, China’s first-ever full-time Formula 1 driver, bigger than Joe B doing climate change with Xi J? Was Volkswagen’s $125m penalty for misleading customers about diesel emissions in its cars the highest ever imposed by the Federal Court for a breach of consumer laws?
Is $1.1m too much to pay for a used 1971 Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase 3 Sedan? Can you buy a 1990 Mini that’s faster than a Ferrari? Will used motoring writers be handing out used Weekend Australian pens and T-shirts during The Shannons Adelaide Rally this week?
Those questions and more in today’s Weekend Australian Motoring in the business section.
F1’s own analyst, former F1 and F2 driver Jolyon Palmer, said that Mad Max’s antics at turn 48 in Brazil last Sunday “was a fairly slam dunk forcing another driver off the track”.
Now if you watch the replay, it’s clear that Maxie, the 24-year-old Belgian Virgo, had no chance of making the corner. In fact, as Jolyon (what happened to good old-fashioned names like Bruce, Wayne, Michael and John?) says: “You could probably get three or four Red Bulls in the space (between) Verstappen and the track.”
So, no need for the stewards to go to the in-car camera to see if Max was trying to turn but as it turns out the cameras showed he wasn’t. Bottom line: given all the anti-Hamo stewards decisions this year, Merc racing boss Toto Wolff has all the evidence he needs to demonstrate his team is being harshly treated.
Two cars to think about this weekend. Shannons have “the ex-Al Turner/Allan Moffat car, a fabulous Track Red Phase III in superb condition, fully documented history from new, offered from long-term collector ownership” coming up for auction online for just $1.1m.
The real question is: is it worth it? There are a few tricks in valuing classic cars, especially Australian ones. Well, it has the optional twin exterior mirrors, 8 track tape player and delete side stripes and Super Roo decals.
The other important question is what else can you buy for the money? This car has done a 13.8 standing quarter (402.3 metres) and is good for 228km/h. Even in today’s money that’s pretty outstanding. You could buy both a Bentley Continental GT (no 8 track but a 360º Top View Camera and Apple Play and 12 fantastic cylinders) that will get you a 11.7 seconds quarter and is good for 335km/h and a Feezer F8 (10.5 and 340) and still save over $100k.
Now you know the worst part of English classic cars is that they were built in England using English parts (I’m looking at you Lucas). Guess who fixed this problem? Yup, the would-be submarine builders. Head over to Adrien Harang’s My Mini Revolution in Houdan about 70km from Paris. Adrien does to Minis what the factory should have and should be doing. Like making them super quick and super reliable.
I’m talking to him about a 1990 Mini Cooper he has in the front window. Your original Mini Cooper came standard with a 1275cc engine that pumped out 45KW and could hit 148km/h. Adrien’s Mini comes with a 150KW 4-cylinder Honda VTEC engine “fitted with a stripped-out race-ready interior, bucket seats, racing suspension, and some chunky Wilwood brakes, this 700kg track weapon is not to be sneezed at. If your favourite weekend activity is making Ferrari owners sob onto their carbon fibre steering wheels, this is the tool for the job.”
Next week we’ll be coming to you live from largest tarmac rally event in the southern hemisphere. Yes, it’s the return of the Weekend Australian Rally Team after an enforced hiatus in the front bar of the Kensi.
The rally has 400 cars racing on 230km of twisting hairpins (please ignore the YouTube video of me trying to run over a camera person on one of those corners last time … it’s fake news and anyway the old bloke was driving) in the state that is harder to get into than the Hermit Kingdom (Western Australia). Bring the kiddies for free activities, the fireworks, the Gouger Street Party, the 100 Fezzers, 600 Porkers and 38,000 Audis. And I’ll also be testing a Mustang courtesy (at full price) of Hertz.
OK at night we’re hosting a viewing of the French car movie, Tintane. Not a good one for young kiddies since it’s basically the story of a woman with titanium in her head who is a serial killer and falls in love with an old Cadillac low-rider outfitted with hydraulics and has a baby by it and then has sex with a fire truck (I couldn’t work out the brand). Fortunately this film is not as confronting as it sounds (only 13 people fainted at the Sydney preview). Film maker Julia Ducournau told me via Tinder for cars: “I definitely wanted it to feel like a real sex scene, but at the same time it was her narrative, so I didn’t want to make it tacky or pornographic or anything.”