You don’t want to know about the Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive (the second of 10 Ferrari 550 GT1 examples built by Prodrive competed in 49 races, taking 15 pole positions, 14 outright race wins including The 24 Hours of Spa in 2004) that RM Sotheby’s sold for $6m at Monterey online. Or the low-mileage, highly optioned 2014 Pagani Huayra, the 56th of only 100, powered by a 544KW, 6-litre twin-turbocharged V-12 hand-assembled by Mercedes-AMG engine, that went for $2.5 big ones.
Or the Ultra-Rare 718 RSK Spyder Bonhams sold for $3.3m. Or even the beautifully restored 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SC Roadster owned by Cary Grant (for younger readers, Cazza was the greatest male actor of the Golden Age of Hollywood) and the Aga Khan (Prince Shah Karim al-Husayni is the Iman of the Nizari Ismailism, is worth $20bn, doesn’t drink alcohol except for champagne and owns more cars than you’ve had etc) for $1.3m.
No, you want to know about tractors.
Mary and Shane, the authors and owners of the floggerblogger.com website dedicated to such diverse topics as the female bushrangers (Mary Ann Bugg, who rode with Captain Thunderbolt; Mary Cockerill, an aboriginal woman, who rode with Michael Howe; and Elizabeth Jessie Hickman, who ran her own gang), Issac Singer, who founded Singer sewing machines (“Issac Singer a man who had things sewn up”), and how measurements collapse quantum wavefunctions, tell me that an internal combustion tractor built in 1912 by the first Australian tractor makers, A.H McDonald, sold in the US at auction in June this year for $390k and may be returning home.
“The tractor was sold at auction on June 13 by Aumann Auctions of Illinois. The buyer was not identified but confirmed by the auctioneers to be Australian, which would be good news for those who campaigned for its return, including pleas for intervention by the Australian government,” Mary and Shane say. This 1912 tractor has a two-cylinder vertical gasoline/kerosene engine with a 6.25-inch bore rated at 14kw. It has three forward speeds and a reverse speed.
Fast forward (pun intended) 108 years to look at the benefits of modern technology. Friend and 18 readers including Mel Blachford, the 2020 John Deere 96209R comes standard with the e18™ PowerShift Transmission, the HydraCushion™ Suspension and the CommandView™ III cab. But how would you feel if you had just paid $6m for the Feezer with a lousy 440kw when for about 10 per cent of that price you could have the 96209R with 500kw? Does the Feezer have the HydraCushion™ Suspension and CommandView™? No. Does Ferrari let you do your own repairs under warranty? No.
Each month, contained in the ample bosom of this great newspaper and online presence, is a sensational free magazine (how do they do it for the price?), AgJournal, aimed at our rural and regional readers like Jack Horgan out at the Ngaliwurru-Wuli Aboriginal Corporation at Timber Creek in the NT. It’s full of must-read stories like Ben Cordes, the man with his finger of the pulse (he grows legumes … and you complain about my puns) and a super map of all the farms owned by nasty foreigners like Yanks, Poms, Canuks and Various. Farm pervs, turn the mag upside down and there is AgProperty, sponsored by CBRE, where you can pick up a lazy 15,000ha with 12,500 litres of water entitlements (that must be good) for slightly more than a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. But AgJournal could be better. Yup, what every man, woman and other on the land are looking for are tractor reviews and who better to do them than your own WATT (Weekend Australian Tractor Team).
Qualifications. Farmers look no further than your correspondent who watched that wonderful story of the travails of outback persons, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, went dog sledding with youngest son Tom in the Arctic Circle (really tough country and dogs) and once went to a farm; the Sultan of Stepney, who is often known around that well known outback pub, the Kensi, as Michael McTractor: Mark Southcott, who has driven his Moke, sans driver’s seat, the equivalent of 20 times around this great country; Phil Alexander, the tractor-racing coach to 94.5 per cent of farmers and Amber Plum, who must know the country with a name like that.
Of course, as the role model of a team that gives a go to get a go, we have a few other rorts … sorry, alternative revenue streams, on the go. Mick suggested we approach Total Tools for sponsorship of this column. Total Tools have been servicing Australia for more than 30 years and its name does lend itself to your team here.
Talking of BMWs, this group’s very own Charles Miranda broke the world exclusive story of how the BMW chosen to ferry our politicians has been retired, unloved by Australians except it seems in our state and federal government’s Finance Department.
“The niche BMW 620d GT model has struggled to find consumer love in this country except it seems with the Finance Department, which selected it and the Toyota Camry over 18 other car models to replace the taxpayer-funded Comcar fleet made up of Holden Caprices. Since its purchase was announced last December, 84 of the grey-coloured $80,000-$120,000 BMWs have been delivered in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. The Finance Department confirmed yesterday it expected a further 13 BMWs would still be delivered in ‘the next six months’ on expiry of the existing Holden Caprice leases.”
Of course we didn’t want a local car industry here and as we can see our governments are super at picking winners. I’m tipping there’ll be one big buyer for all the unwanted Beemers. Clue: his global HQ is in Stepney Street, Adelaide.