Does it strike fear in your heart when you get a letter addressed Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms? Is your first thought, “the fiscal fiends have finally found out about my stall at the fruit markets”?
Well, readers I got one such letter this week.
Naturally the first thing I did on reading the salutation was call my legal adviser, Michael McMichael KC (Kensi Counsel), graduate magna cum laude from The Peter Brock University with a PhD in mixed drinks and cocktails.
“What are you ringing about this time?” was the unhelpful greeting. I explained that it appeared the elite special force from Chris Jordan AO in the ATO’s new Barton office with centrally focused atrium, feature circulation stair and 358 car spaces with no electric vehicle charging facilities, was after the cash I had stored in my carefully hidden cunning kick (the 12.5m Royal Wolf Container with superior locking system to reduce risk of theft) that was there to provide for my retirement in the style that I had come to expect and the rate of tax I had experienced so far.
Known as the ATO devil, Mick is routinely called upon to defend the most difficult and consequential challenges to well-meaning tax evasion, where his peers says he is “just humbling to watch”. Chambers UK Bar Guide call him the “master at downing the most difficult Coopers”. Anyway, Mick’s advice was to read the rest of email first before he started the clock ticking.
“Dear Mr Connolly, you may be aware that in Western Australia you have a large very loyal following of at least four people. As I reside in Perth and have many mates who are FIFO I am assigned the task, every Saturday morning, of scanning your column at first light and sending it to mates at various mine sites across WA.
“Any excuse of being hungover, sick, or equipment malfunction, on my part are usually treated with derision and accusations of the vilest nature. Kind regards, Dale Evans.”
While this was a financial relief, as long as no one in Barton reads this column, it did raise a number of issues. Such as, I didn’t know you could mail letters on a Saturday in Perth, and do FIFOs who are mailed the column really count as readers?
Friends, only one solution. We have sent it to the bunker for a decision.
Anyway, talking of the 5th Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance, it will be held at Hyde Park Barracks, March 3 and 4. Thirty-eight pieces of serious metal from 1920 to 2020 will be scrutinised by an international jury with special guest and this column’s hero, Simon Kidston, 55 of Geneva, Gnome Land.
Simon is one of the leading international dealers in blue-chip collector cars, with clients including Ralph Lauren, Ferrari collector Jean-Pierre Slavic and designer Marc Newson. JP Slavic is the former owner of Boninchi, the main supplier of watch crowns to Rolex since 1919. He sold the business to Rolex about 20 years ago.
Look, even if you just took a selfie of yourself with Shane Warne’s Ferrari 360 Spider, the Pagani Huayra Spider and 1962 Ferrari 196 SP which appeared at Pebble Beach last year, you’d be better off than a Tesla owner parked by a Lava Tree with range anxiety.
The six cylinders in the Ferrari 196 SP were really half of the 330’s V12 engine and the car was first shown in the Fezer annual pre-season press conference at Maranello in February 1962. In original condition with a good racing history these cars can be yours for somewhere around $16m.
Talking of high prices, can I just make the point that the two highest-priced cars ($450k) in next week’s Shannons’ online auction are a Datsun and a Ford Falcon.
One of just 285, the 2002 Nissan Skyline GTR R34 M-Spec NUR Coupe comes complete with satellite TV and a six-speaker stereo pack with boot-mounted mini-CD stacker.
The 1971 Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase 3 should cost you a mill’ but this one was in a prang and restored with a genuine 54-H body shell.
But the highest price in the Shannons auction will be $2.5m for Victorian number plate 80. Reader Brian Hatch’s 92-year-old dad is selling the plate.
“It was originally held by an uncle, and because he could drive he ended up driving ambulances in WW1. He survived, although after a few drinks would start talking of some of the horror,” Brian tells me.
Number 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture. It contains meanings of prosperity, success and high social status.
Brian adds: “My car interest is as a driver. I love it. I cannot comprehend club plates or just collecting. If it’s not fully registered and driven, it’s a garden gnome.” No wonder he reads this column.
My personal favourite is the charity rally prepared, 1966 Volvo 122S. Owned for many years by Variety Club bash regular Ray Andrich, this 1966 Volvo 122S Amazon was completely restored and upgraded with a 3.8-litre Holden V6 paired with a Toyota Celica five-speed manual transmission and the rear seat replaced with built-in fridge with two weeks’ supply of Coopers Sparkling Ale. A steal at $30k (the whole car not the just the fridge and the beers).
And it’s that time of the year. Yes, 20 readers (with the possibility we may have more with the FIFOs) it’s bigger than all the alien spacecraft and balloons being shot down all over the US and Canada.
Our official 2023 dud cars of the year. From our friends at Which? magazine in soap dodger land who poll 50,000 readers, or 49,980 more than us, to find the champion losers.
Least reliable new cars are the Alpine A110, the Audi E-Tron and – be still my beating heart – the Tesla Model X. Least reliable used cars: the land Rover Discovery, the VW Tiguan and the Audi A3.
Next week, more ways the government is ripping you off and the most reliable cars of 2023.