You know you have landed in Queensland when you open the door of the Ford Wildtrak in the Hertz parking lot and the radio integrated into the new coast-to-coast instrument panel is playing the Queensland national anthem.
Which anthem is the question only the cane toad cognoscenti would know to ask. Alfie Langer’s State of Origin victory song, the one with complex lyrics that exhibit intricate layers of meaning, clever wordplay, and intricate rhythmic and rhyming patterns, “Singin’ aye aye yippee yippee aye”? The wonderful Queensland song by Clyde Collins with those immortal lyrics that would make Monteverdi weep: “Life is great in the Sunshine State”? No. It was Denis Carnahan’s ode to the geographic and cultural diversity of Australia’s deep north, “That’s in Queensland”!
Where is Sydney? That’s in Queensland!
Suva, Fiji? That’s in Queensland!
Where is Bowraville? That’s in Queensland!
Of course, the other indicator was the guardian of the exit gate’s authoritarian order to “turn right”. What other way could you go in the Sunshine State, despite the slight veneer of market socialism exhibited by the second generation member for Inala and current leader of what passes for the Queensland government, Annastacia Palaszczuk?
Ostensibly we’re cruising the Cunningham Highway to the Shannons SpeedSeries at Tony Quinn’s Queensland Raceway. In reality, we are doing the fourth road test in this column’s history.
Yes, 20 readers, younger reader adviser JP, eldest son who wants to stay in the will and a small number of friends, under the new editor we are on a back-to-basics program that will see us try to do what real motoring writers do. The Ford Wildtrak comes at only $200 a day (including extras like four wheels and lights) from our friends at Hertz. The full review next week.
Talking of the extraordinary general meeting on photos, reader No.2, Margery from Melbourne, writes: “I am giving a resounding no to changing your photo of 16 years.
“I plan to have a photo of myself on my funeral thanksgiving when I was an adorable, innocent four-year-old hoping that the sight of this will enable any family or friends still able to attend may be inclined to forgive me any past transgressions”.
Talking of movies, Gran Turismo, a 2 hour 15 minute ad for the video game opened this week.
No need to see it. Spoiler aert – here’s all you need to know. It’s based on the real story of Jann Mardenborough. A player wins a series of Nissan-sponsored video game competitions through his gaming skills and becomes a real-life professional race car driver and gets a third in class in his first go at Le Mans after a terrible near death prang at the Nurburging.
Two cars with ties to the movie up at Iconic Auctions in soap dodger land in two weeks are a Nissan GT-R GT3 from the movie and a 2012 Zytek Z11 SN LMP2 driven by Jann Mardenborough (both around $540k).
Iconic Auctions boss Rob Hubbard told me by press release: “This outstanding Nissan GT-R race car is not only one of the star cars of Gran Turismo but is the most successful GT-R R35 GT3 still in private hands.” Jann co-drove the Zytek to a third place at Le Mans.
I bet you’re saying to yourself, look I’d like to spend $20m with RM Sotheby’s on Michael Schumacher’s 2002 Australian Grand Prix-Winning F2001b at Monterey or even the 1956 Porsche 550A Prototype ‘Le Mans’ Werks Coupe for around $11m but what would the rest of the leadership team or my partners think?
Ok, let’s have a look at Shannons’ winter auction. It’s like Monterey but in Melbourne and the most expensive things you can buy are number plates. What about VIC 224? What about $650k? What about NSW 262? What about $350k?
The most interesting part of Shannons’ auctions are comparing the prices of what used to be the metal of the rich and famous with the metal of the blue singlet and thongs.
Like a 1979 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow or a 1987 Silver Spirit or a 1990 Bentley Turbo R. The most you’ll pay for any of the three is $30k. That’s the same price as a 1969 Ford Cortina, a 1979 Valiant or a 1970 Datsun 1600.
You can buy a 1984 Fezzer for $80k which is the same price as a 1972 Falcon XA GT. Put it another way you could buy the 1984 Fezzer, a 1990 Ferrari 348 and Shannons will throw in a 1997 Ferrari 456GTA for less than the 1968 Holden HK Bathurst 327 GTS Monaro Coupe ($350k). This Holden had a five-year, no expense restoration. Bright blue metallic paint, black vinyl trim and matching carpets in as-it-left-the-factory condition. Mr Shannon tells me: “The only deviation from factory standard is a black rear window venetian, which is a nice period touch.” As is the nodding head German Shepherd, the fluffy dice, the Hula person, the baby on board sign, the stick family, the velour steering wheel cover, the car bra, the truck nuts and the rubber strap that stops you and the kiddies vomiting.
The tarmac rallying fiasco keeps giving, with Targa boss Mark Perry breaking away from Motorsport Australia and going it alone next year.
Perry’s ability to give the finger to MA is likely his ability to get insurance for Targa Tasmania and other events. Winner out of all this will probably be MA rival, Australian Auto-sport Alliance.
No need to try to work out AASA’s point of difference. “AASA has been established to be a service organisation to motorsport. Such service to be provided by avoiding red tape and unnecessary delay.”