As a Porker-driving socialist motoring writer, it’s understandable you would want my predictions and takes on the policies of all 58 parties including but not limited to The Pirate Party, which seems to be the only group with a reasonable policy on cars.
Talking of cars, it was pretty sad to see the Prime Minister driving to the Governor-General’s joint in a BMW 7 series followed by an armoured Beemer X5. Not to mention that Pete Cosgrove drives an old Roller to ceremonies.
Racing coach, Nurburgring competitor and one-time car dealer Phil Alexander reckons he could use the Roller to swap Pete into a fully specced new Suzuki Vitara Turbo and have a bit of cash left over to help the budget deficit.
In case you haven’t seen it, the new Vitara’s confident look makes an eye-catching entrance. A high-profile grille, sporty alloy wheels and LED headlamps with blue-coloured projectors are just some of the superb details.
Now just imagine the reception if Pete and Lynne turned up to open the new parliament in the new Vitara rather than the former mother country’s worst export, the often rusty (look out for damp carpets … the floor pan is a rust magnet) Roller.
The world would see the seven-inch multimedia touchscreen which integrates satellite navigation and reversing camera, plus connectivity to Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, not to mention digital climate control and would say “forget Silicon Valley, Australia is the innovation nation despite not building any cars of their own and still having a luxury car tax that was introduced to protect the 1990 Holden Caprice”.
Talking of classic cars, prices continue to slip. Million-dollar cars are down: only 55 per cent of such lots sold at last month’s Amelia Island auctions, compared with a 90 per cent in 2014.
The Historical Automobile Group International Top Index lost 6.24 points last month. The HAGI twins said they calculated a loss of 5.7 per cent for the first quarter of 2019 and a plus of 1.46 per cent for the past 12 months. It’s clear that after a step up in September 2017, the blue-chip market is at best flat.
Going around the grounds: Bonhams sold a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon rebuilt to Vantage specification at the Goodwood members meeting for a solid $1,167,330.
The Aston Martin DB5 is one of the most desirable classics of all time. This one has been rebuilt and restored to better than new. But here’s the thing: the owner spent $640k restoring it. Any DB5 will bring $900k, so I reckon the previous owner spent $500k on it.
Lloyds got $1.55m for a correct 1964 DB5 Silver Birch paint over original dark blue Connolly leather trim interior at the Gosford Museum auction last weekend. If this car is as good as it looks, it was well bought. A 2006 Ferrari Superamerica, one of only six in Australia, brought $510,000. RM Sotheby’s sold the same model at Monaco last year for $1.3m.
RM Sothebys sold a 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari for $5.3m at its Fort Lauderdale knees-up. Most publicity went to Adam (Maroon 5) Levine’s matching-numbers 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, which crossed at $1.7m. Adam is turning out to be as good a trader as he is a chanteur, buying classics and reselling them for a profit with the help of his celebrity name.
The Danster is not Australia’s only global automotive superstar. Two up and coming Aussie champions are car painter Maxine Colligan and mechanic Anthony Ters. Maxine and Tony are two of 19 young Australians who have won the right to compete at the Global Skills Challenge following their success at the 2018 WorldSkills National Championships.
Maxine, Tony and their Australian teammates will take on international competitors from 16 countries in 24 skills competitions in a four-day event in Kazan, Russia, in August. I know many of you, like me, have spent many pleasant days in the Istanbul of the Volga. Naturally, I told Maxie and Tony not to miss the Kazan metro, the most pointless metro in the world: 10 stations, 10 minutes end to end. You can see Maxie and Tony in action at the Global Skills Challenge Melbourne today and tomorrow at the Kangan Institute, Holmesglen Institute and RMIT University.
Something else for the diary: The Bristol Car Club of Australia will be holding its biennial rally in Noosa, with six cars from Britain, one from the US and two from NZ. Be there on April 28 to May 5.
Talking of Noosa, I had an email this week from Yvette Smythe-Brown on the matter of the in-car espresso machine and disco ball. Yvette is on holiday in Queensland’s South Yarra by the sea. Off holiday, she is a spokesmodel and also has a frock shop in one of Malvern’s better streets.
“John, you don’t know what a difference the WL-310 RGB Mini Crystal Magic Ball Sound Activated Car Disco Party Light has made to my life on those black winter nights driving the 2018 Ranger Rover 5.0 SVA home to Hawthorn. I pour myself an espresso shot, slip on some Gloria Gaynor, hit the volume button, turn on the Disco ball and feel like I’m back in the cage with the gold lame bikini on the floor of Traks in the 70s.”
Some of you did query why the world didn’t end at 3pm the other Sunday as per my prediction. How do you know it didn’t?