Today we host the first (and possibly last) Weekend Australian Motoring in the Business Section Arts and Culture Awards, the Wammies. But before that, the business editor has ordered me to write about the impact of the GFC on classic vehicles, particularly motorbikes.
Blue-chip classic cars performed well during the dotcom crash and the Lehman Brothers meltdown. Other classics were hit. Since the GFC, most indices of collector cars’ value have skyrocketed, helped by a flood of new money, great marketing, wealthy baby-boomers, one-off extraordinary prices for everything from muscle cars to Ferraris and a lack of cluey buyers. Who cares what happened to motorcycles?
Back to our usual programming: The Wammie for the most beautiful new car goes to the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Compare the sculpture in the pic to the world’s most famous piece of rock, Michelangelo’s David. Basically, Mick carved a 5.17m bloke with not much kit on. Looking at Dave, you can see that Mick’s mono colour nude model must have been very cold when the carving was going on. The Vantage comes in 35 colours, makes the 1939 Mercedes W154 Silver Arrow sound like a wussie car and has better lines than Dave will ever have.
The Wammie for the most beautiful car of all time goes to the 1937 T150-C SS Coupe aerodynamique Goutte d’Eau (which as you and I know is wrongly translated as teardrop) with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi. The wonder of the Teardrop is not just Joe Figoni’s art deco body but the fact that it was a serious racer.
In the pop-up culture event, the Wammie goes in advance to the 2019 LeMons World Record (attempt) for the most participants in a car race. As LeMons organiser Sean Herbert puts it: “In association with (Adelaide’s) Bend Motorsport Park, the 24 Hours of LeMons Australia will be sticking it up the Yanks and taking their world record of 216 cars on a race circuit in a single motor racing event from them! Like Alan Bond in the America’s Cup, we intend to show the Americanos up.”
The excellence in education Wammie goes to Roy Lanchester’s book How To Be A Motoring Journalist. Roy is one of Britain’s best-lubricated car journalists. In a career spanning four decades, he has written for publications including The Harrogate Post, The Examiner, burlyman.com and Home Sauna. I will leave you to peruse Roy’s book but can I say that this is the best guide to getting into the glamorous world of writing about cars and recommend you don’t read it because I don’t want you to snaffle my job here.
Let me just give you Roy’s take on his career in radio.
“Television is a dead duck and the internet a fad, but there is something noble and important about good, old-fashioned radio, though I rarely listen to it myself, as the music is awful and the BBC (is) manned by communists.”
In his application to Yorkie FM, Roy mentioned he had experience in radio but didn’t mention that “joyless ninnies shut me down at Radio 4, all because their little lefty brains can’t handle a good-natured tribute to the Japanese accent”. He got the job and his first task was to “deliver a witty and irreverent review of the SEAT Arosa (where) I managed to parlay (co-presenter) Fish’s daft attempts to call it the Arouser by suggesting that it would be ideal for his wife, which was a perfectly amusing thing to say at the time, as I didn’t know yet she’d run off with his brother”.
The best actor and actress Wammie goes to the car insurance industry, which as Jeff Whalley revealed in this week’s Herald Sun is an industry where the salespersons are able to get car and motorbike buyers to purchase add-on insurance, without being told they were paying for it, not given a choice of buying it and were not even eligible. As Jeff tells us, these were not dodgy brothers and sister insurance but companies like IAG’s Swann Insurance, Suncorp and QBE.
The best documentary film and TV Wammie goes to the 2019 royal commission into the car industry starring Rocket Rod Sims, Joan of Arc Sarah Court and Kenny Hayne as themselves; the Honda as Lord Voldemort, Fiat as Freddy Krueger and the Mazda CX5 as Bruce from Jaws.
The all-time comedy Wammie goes to Fiat Chrysler Australia, which launched its Jeep Cherokee on the day Rocket Rod and Joan of Court recalled the car for brakes “that could cause a vehicle crash without prior warning”.
Finally, the Wammie for the best auction of next Monday night goes to Shannons Melbourne Spring event. Keep an eye on the 1960 Porker 356B roadster for somewhere north of $2220,000.