Don’t let it be forgotten that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.
For once, for once in a very, very long time, we saw an F1 race that was more exciting than the semifictional series Drive to Survive that has driven new unsuspecting audiences in their millions to believe that the 73-year-old sport is exciting.
What was it about Singers – hardly the most thrilling place on this or any other planet – that last Sunday transformed a procession usually led by a clog/flem who no one in their right mind would call Mr Exciting, into a final lap where four cars were milliseconds apart until one (naturally a soap dodger) decided to scrape a wall and throw his car face-first into a not-so-soft rubber barrier?
Singers is a strange track where it’s nearly impossible to overtake, traction goes off and on, but Ferrari’s tactics were superb and Carlos Jnr basically controlled the rest of the field. Lando Norris ran second with Hamo third and everyone else are still finishing as I write this on Thursday. Double up on Mad Max in Japan.
Quote of the day came from Georgie Russell, 25, who rents a flat in London but showed no sign of the old stiff upper lip as his Merc ploughed into the rubber, singing (in the manner of Carlos Jnr but not as happily), “Argh! Nooo! Nooo!”.
Talking of Audi, Graham Mitchell, loyal reader and fan despite the new photo, excitedly called me on the psychic internet while I was in the middle of discussing the impact of sixth-generation Coopers family member Iain Cooper joining the family business.
Naturally this convo with the old bloke was well lubricated by some Coopers Best Extra Stout, which our medical adviser, Dr Tim Cooper, tells me is back in a big way among Australian men and women.
We had just moved off our favourite subject, inverse yield curves, and thought why was stout the only beer where it was not sacrilegious to mix it with something else. In my youth I was terribly fond of stout and stormy – Coopers Best Extra Stout plus a full measure of Bundy Director’s Special with 43 per cent alcohol.
After a few jugs at the Kensi, I once thought it so good I poured a few glasses into my twin-cam MGA. It did act, as expected, as rocket fuel. Well for the first few kilometres until the engine suddenly blew up.
Getting back to reader seven and a half, Graham’s life partner was driving her Scuba Blue 2011 Audi TT back from the shops and despite not adding a bit of the Kensi rocket fuel to the tank, the engine stopped.
That’s $20k for a new one and $12k for an old one. Well before you could say Vorsprung durch Technik with a dash of lemonade, Audi offered to provide a new “long motor” and has it shipped from the father, mother and otherland – and if Graham would pay for the installation, that would be it.
Thanks, for getting this all together and have the team in Germany to let the moths out of their wallets, to Tony of Europa Automotives in Wangara, Shane and James at Audi in Osborne Park and the volks in the Vaterland.
Not so good news for Melbourne-based Astoria Honda. Our own Gotty, Robert Norman Gottliebsen, 82, of Melbourne, tells me that the Honda Motor Company, 75, originally of Hamamatsu, Japan, is trying to put owners Mark Avis and Ron Klein out of business. Fortunately, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, the consumers’ friend and head of the ACCC, is right on to the lads and has them before the beak.
“Brighton Automotive/Astoria Honda had been a Honda dealer for 53 years and developed a 34,000 customer base that enabled it to sell more Hondas than any other Australian dealer in 2019,” Gotty says.
“In mid-2018 Honda signed five-year Australian dealer agreements extending to June 2023 plus renewal terms. In March 2020, the agreements were suddenly terminated with Honda offering compensation.” But Mark and Ronnie thought they were being screwed and started legal action.
“Their (Honda’s) response to the court action was to attempt to steal the remaining customers of Brighton Automotive through a co-ordinated campaign that was established under a special project that the court has been told was called Dealer Exit Combat Strategy, which included a plan to “fight for every customer”. The internal Honda target was to take 90 per cent of the customers of Avis and Klein.”
Gina took Honda to court, saying: “We allege Honda deprived customers of the opportunity to make an informed choice about options for servicing their car in favour of a Honda-linked dealership which may have been less convenient or more costly for them”. Go Gina and Gotty.
Sad news in November when drag racing legend Frank Palumbo died. Good news that the Palumbo family and the National Drag Racing Championship have organised the Top Sportsman racers at the upcoming Sydney Nationals (October 27 and 28) to race in honour Frank.
Of course, our car of the week has to be a Honda. And what could be better in the age of anxiety than something even the greenest green couldn’t complain about, a Honda S600. The name shouts sex and grunt. The car not so much. But it looks sooo cute! It’s small. It has a motorcycle engine. It revs to 9000rpm. Did I say it was small? So small the other drivers can’t see you. And its handling? Well, this is the car that made Honda what it is today because they could only improve after the S600.
But hey, you’ve seen Barbie the movie. Your new squeeze wants to live the Barbie lifestyle. You have lost a lot of weight and you have at least $60k. But the S600 I want you buy is at the Classic Throttle Shop. It’s scarlet red. Has had the full professional facelift and what else can you buy for $77k these days.