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Last week I hit the City of Churches, Xenophonville, the place named after Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, home to the biggest glasshouses this side of Jakarta and a commuter’s paradise where there are wide streets and not many cars and everything is 20 minutes away.

I was there to pick up The Weekend Australian Motoring Ford ute from intensive care after I had put a hole in the sump a giant panda and her mother-in-law could climb through. Also, the A-frame was history. The engine had more dust in it than the Sahara Desert on a windy night and the radiator had become a mud cake. But after a few months with the state’s best ICU team and a lot of second and third-hand parts, I drove a quick 1000km halfway across Australia and the only problem was the constant attention from the ute’s legion of fans across this great continent. And the rocks they threw.

But let’s go back a step. Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was quite a woman. You may not remember what it was like in 1811 but for those of us in London at the time (Michael McMichael, Vern Schuppan and I) it was going off. King George III was 20 bricks short of a carriage load so they needed a new ruler. His sons had to find someone to marry super quickly and then have a few kids to take over. Eldest son Prince William had been busy in the theatre caper. He had 10 children by the Angelina Jolie of the time, Dot Jordan. But because Dot and Will weren’t married the billy lids didn’t count. As now, there was a shortage of available princesses so he hooked up with Adelaide who was from an unimportant German state (aren’t they all?) and that’s why Adelaide is called Adelaide rather than Boredomtown.

That paragraph was worth the price of the paper wasn’t it? Your kiddies don’t need to go to school. They will learn all that’s important by reading Phil King, Jeremy Clarkson and me and looking at Mark Southcott’s page layouts. Mark is the King George III of the motoring section. While starring in Top Gear Australia, The Daily Telegraph’s Warren Brown decided to take a lime-green Mini Moke, build a cage on top of it, go off the coast of South Australia on a boat, drop it into the sea with him inside and see what the sharks did. Phil and I have decided to outdo Brownie by putting Mark in his yellow Mini Moke and dropping him in the ocean without a cage but with a GoPro on his head. The videos will be sick.

I was also in Adelaide to check progress on our 24 Hours of LeMons BMW, which we bought from Melbourne’s finest BMW parts person and fellow LeMons team driver, Dean How, for $250. Deep in the Adelaide Hills Australia’s best Rolls-Royce technician is installing a rollbar. At this stage all I can report is that the non-factory sponsored Beemer has four wheels, the semblance of a body, aircon when the front window is down, an eight track, cigarette lighter and the potential for an engine.

Former friends talked me into taking the Great Ocean Road on the drive to Melbourne. They said the scenery was breathtaking. All I saw were a few old broken rocks like the six and a half apostles and a London Bridge that had fallen down. Quite frankly it’s a fun road to drive on quickly but you’re better off going on Google and looking at pictures of the broken rocks than stopping.

Read the rest at The Australian for information on the latest documentary about Renaissance man and race car driver Paul Newman



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