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Today: Did you get the free fire pit extra on your new car? How much would you pay for an old Jag that hit a tree head on in 1996 and has been in the garage since? Hate electric cars as much as us? Why not slip in the driver’s seat of your very own horse drawn Town Coach as sat in by the Maharajahs of Mysore and Wadhwan? And want proof the world has gone Captain Rats? Why not buy the original Gasoline Dessert (sic, or Steve had a sweeter tooth than we thought) Tank from Steve McQueens Husqvarna 400 Cross from a Benzinkopf in Germany?

Now if you own a 2021 Land Rover Discovery or Defender MY2021, a 2020 Suzuki Ignis ATK, a 2020 Mercedes-Benz C, GLC or EQC, a 2007-2010 BMW E70 X5 or BMW E71 X6, a 2020 HiLux Rogue dual-cab ute, a Hyindai Tuscon built between 2015 and 2020, a Kia QL Sportage built between 2016 and 2021 or a Kia CK Stinger built between 2017 and 2019, happy winter. Yes, your car is on the recall list because it may burn to the ground.

In the US where cars are different, Audi is recalling its first all-electric vehicle because the battery can catch fire and it can’t be put out by anything currently known to man, woman or other. While in soap dodger land, BMW has issued a voluntary recall of the $150k E-Tron SUV.

Just to make you feel better, if the future is electric, then you are in for a hotter, more expensive future. Too much stress on the alternator means too many fires in the lithium battery.

But wait there’s more. As Wired recently asked: “What links the battery in your smartphone with a dead yak floating down a Tibetan river?” Yup, you guessed it, the answer is lithium. But dead yaks are the least of our worries.

“Two other key ingredients, cobalt and nickel, are more in danger of creating a bottleneck in the move towards electric vehicles, and at a potentially huge environmental cost. Cobalt is found in huge quantities right across the Democratic Republic of Congo and central Africa, and hardly anywhere else. The price has quadrupled in the last two years.

Unlike most metals, which are not toxic when they’re pulled from the ground as metal ores, cobalt is “uniquely terrible”. I’m betting on hydrogen and petrol hybrids both of which are yak friendly.

We all know you can sell a slightly used 2020 Land Cruiser for more than a 2021 model (well till the GWM – Great Wall Motors – competitor turns up) but $165k for a 61-year-old reddish Jag XK150 S 3.8-litre drophead coupe that found a tree in Hull in the wet in 1996 and hasn’t been touched since? Wait, it gets madder. Estimate for a car Bonhams said was “worse than it looks” was about $20k. And Bonhams organised a drive through auction where the cars motored right in front of the bidders.

Well, there’s your first problem. Hard to drive a car with a motor that’s as useless as a sunroof on a submarine and wheels that are squashed to resemble ugly looking yak heads on a good day. Look I know there were only 289 of these built, 69 in right-hand drive and Bonhams sold a near perfect white one with full history two years ago for close to $300k, but my guess at the resale for this fully restored is closer to $150k on a day when pound notes are falling out of the sky.

Compared to the mushed up Jag, the 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500/540k (factory upgrade) Spezial Roadster, Bonhams sold at Amelia Island last week, was a steal at $6.3 million.

Owned by US real estate titan Howie Fafard, who carked it in February, it was first discovered in a Polish garage, in bits, but only missing a fuel cap, by legendary classic car hounds Alf Johansson and Birger Nillsen. Guess what Birger had just found in a scrap metal yard? Yup, it’s more unlikely than a parliamentary inquiry into speed cameras, a fuel cap for a Mercedes 500K.

Hold on! Our own Jimmy O’Doherty this week exclusively reported that the NSW Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety this week resolved to hold an inquiry into changes to mobile speed cameras – including removing warning signs and tripling their hours of operation.

In the biggest shock since the discovery of the talking yak “the inquiry comes after growing anger from within the Coalition about removing camera warning signs, which MPs allege is a ‘cash grab’ that will particularly hurt bush drivers. Almost $24 million in fines have been issued by mobile speed cameras since the warning signs were removed.”

Hopefully we will get the same inquiries going in other states particularly Victoria where Benny Carroll, the minister for road safety and extricating cash out of locked down motorists, has resorted to placing four mobile speed camera operators in the same street with one of the vehicles posing as a car belonging to a green P-plater. Maybe the committee will look at the secret modelling from Monash University, NSW minister for revenue, Andy Constance, and Benny use to justify removing the warning signs from mobile speed cameras. They say the secret modelling shows removing the signs and increasing camera hours “may save between 34 to 43 lives” each year. I think stopping using motorists as cash cows and treating us like mushrooms would save even more lives.

Stuff it all. Andy and Benny want us to go back to the horse and cart so let’s all go on line Sunday, June 20, when Donington Auctions are selling the private museum of racer Bryan Thomson and a whole lot of horse drawn coaches. Apart from the vice regal vehicles built for the Maharajahs of Mysore and Wadhwan by Simpson and Co, London, there’s a double deck Sydney Omnibus ($25,000-$35,000), a horse drawn Waterous Fire Engine ($30,000-$40,000), a Romany Gypsy wagon ($20,000-$30,000) and a miniature phaeton made for the Dunhill family in the 1750s ($2000-$3000).

Run out of room so next week our adventures in podcasting, Betty Windsor’s cars, F1 and the rest.

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