I was going to start off today by talking about some near-death experiences of Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 owners but there are some more important matters I need to bring to your attention first.
As we have often discussed, ordinary people can’t be trusted with money.
For instance, Kylie and Shane from Logan in Brisbane win the Lotto jackpot of $50m. They immediately buy two matching Holden Commodores or Camrys for $70k, the Clarendon Baysider 39 four-bedder at 24 Spinnaker Boulevard in Newport for $1.1m and the rest disappears to greedy kids, relos, friends and various investment advisers. What a waste!
But let’s take the case of Michael Gu, the founder of the iProsperity Group, which our property sleuths, Lisa Allen and Ben Wilmot, tell us went belly up owing a lazy $350m.
KPMG said the company became insolvent in July 2019 and that it failed due to potential misuse of investor funds by the company and the director, Mr Gu, potential improper conduct of the director, high cash use including the transfer of funds to related entities, and poor financial control including lack of records. Just a normal Australian company then.
The Australian is not suggesting the allegations against Mr Gu are true, only that they are being investigated by KPMG and administrator Cor Cordis.
But clearly iProsperity knew how to invest its money. Mick Gu appears to have had the use of a 2017 Rolls Royce Wraith, a 2015 McLaren Spider, a 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB, an Audi, a Lambo sports car and a Lambo Urus SUV. He was no slouch in the speed department with NSW’s fun police claiming they are looking for traffic fines worth $34,000.
There’s no doubt the Volkswagen-owned Lambo has become the brand for young professionals, property developers and business owners. Folks who earn their money the hard way. So, in the global HQ of the international narcotics industry, the Mexican state of Sinaloa, many upwardly mobile young lads (no lasses) have taken up the fast-growing hitman profession and have as their business idol the billionaire drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. They cruise around the local pueblos and ciudades in Ferraris and Lamborghinis with their windows down, music at full volume and guns at the ready. Hmmm. Sounds like Bondi Beach.
Then there’s the Texas man who bought a Lambo at auction two months back. He got it home and found the former owner (a young professional property developer and business owner) had left him a present. According to the Houston Post, the Sheriff’s Office said police dogs had sniffed out 34 bundles of cocaine with an estimated street value of $1.1m. Unfortunately, it was not a case, to use the legal lingo, of finders keepers and the local coppers gave the Colombian and or Mexican marching powder to local poor people.
Dave Gooding is selling this one next month at his Passion of a Lifetime auction at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. Talking of upwardly mobile young lads, the Palace was the 16th Century’s version of the Clarendon Baysider 39. Henry VIII (awe-inspiring Renaissance Prince or terrible Tudor?) the richest monarch in English history, was much in the mode of today’s conspicuous consumer. Like many of the current crop of professionals and business leaders Hank was intelligent, a linguist, sports-mad, fashion-conscious, a fine musician and songwriter and culturally sophisticated. If they were around in 1501, he would have had a serious car collection. He didn’t lean in all that much. He had six wives and killed two.
The Miura was a secret factory project that blew the car world apart when it was first launched in 1966. French industrialist Jacques Dembiermont had already owned two Miuras but was hot for the SV. He had this one built to his own specs in 1971, sold it in 1981, and it’s only had one other owner since. Jac had it painted in a very subtle gold, put on lots of kms at very high speed on the roads around that working person’s paradise, St. Jean Cap Ferrat. The last SV I remember being sold at auction was RM Sotheby’s 2018 Monterey sale. Despite not having this one’s history and specs it brought $2.7m.
Talking of supercars, reader Chris writes: “Three months ago I finally removed Mazda from my life. After nearly 5 years of constantly battling Mazda over major issues (BT50 GT 5cyl) I was better off taking the financial loss than losing my life. Astonishingly Mazda finally admitted to a production line problem after 4.5 years of me reporting the same problems. The first of which occurred about 1km after I took delivery.” Chris is not on his Pat Malone here.
Graham Chilman from South Australia wrote to Mazda: “The problem (with his BT50) is REALLY SIMPLE…..occasionally there is no power when I go to accelerate (mostly when travelling at about 3kmph in dry conditions with no warning lights going on). Why is there such resistance to my suggestion? A vague response that they could try lots of different remedies and get nowhere seems unsatisfactory.
“This symptom MUST have been experienced somewhere with other BT 50’s. What possible remedies are around as a result of that history?….or hasn’t it been resolved? I am really puzzled and disappointed at the lack of willingness to explore this obvious avenue instead of a most likely vain attempt to replicate. Why is this so?” In what must have given Graham a near heart attack, Jeremy Ludzay, the Assistant Service Manager of Paradise Motors, actually wrote back: “You have referred to using information from ‘Mazda’ to assist us which I can confirm Paradise Mazda have taken every step as guided by Mazda Australia in an attempt to diagnose the fault as you have described, however when tested all vehicle systems are operating within Mazda’s specifications.”
Let me let everyone in on a little secret here. The Ford Ranger has the same problems. Phil from NSW has to cross the freeway in his Ranger trying to avoid cars, trucks and bikes hurtling down the Hume at anywhere from 110km/h to 150km/h. Every now and then Phil pushes the loud pedal on his truck and nothing happens. Same problem as Chris and Graham and other Mazda and Ford owners. Luckily Ford have learnt to sing from the Mazda hymn book. “We’ve never seen this problem before.” What’s the issue? Both use the Ford Duratorq engine.