I’m sorry but you are going to have to pay attention today.
So, we’re looking at the difference between old classic cars, restored classic cars and new classic cars and even spookier things about James Dean and Mazda.
Let’s start by looking at Porkers. You can buy an old classic Porsche for $45k (or the same price as a new Kia Stinger). You can buy a beautifully restored 1973 Porsche 911 E Targa from Sydney’s Classic Throttle Shop for $240k (or the same price as a brand spanking new 911). But you can buy a new classic Singer Porsche for $800k (or the same price as two sexy new 2018 Ferrari Californias).
Singer Vehicle Design, owned by Rob Dickinson, former lead singer of Catherine Wheel, a British shoegaze band in the manner of Jesus and Mary Chain and Throbbing Gristle, restores and reimagines 1989 to 1994 Porsche 911s for its clients. So, you supply the car and Rob does things to it that would cause the three Ferdy Porsches to roll over in their respective graves and charges you up to a mill for the pleasure. For that Rob and Williams Advanced Engineering (as in the F1 Williams) give you a new 370kw engine, drivetrain, running gear, paint, handwoven door panels and a quilted leather boot liner.
If you want to go a step further, Rob will add the Singer Track 1 chronograph (wrist watch) by Swiss designer Marco Borraccino for a lazy $56k. The Track’s “sleek lines frame a highly innovative and complex design with an unprecedented display made possible by a revolutionary movement, the Agengraphe”, which means “the time of day is presented in striking relief around the periphery of the dial by the small pointer at 6 o’clock, floating just above two rotating discs”.
Now Britain has left the EU you can buy a proper new, old, English classic, a Beacham Jaguar, just up the Maraekakaho Road in Hastings, New Zealand. Greg Beacham was doing medicine at uni when he became obsessed with the “space, grace, and pace” of Jags. So, in between learning how to take out appendixes, he began restoring Jags, as well as a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, to an award-winning standard. Greg has been building upgraded Jag Mk IIs and E-Types and others, for over 25 years.
The new generation Beacham MK II has a new Jag, 380kw, five-litre supercharged V8 engine dropped into a perfectly restored body with a combination of genuine leather hide and walnut trim and seats and fascia panel from the latest Jaguar XJ featuring virtual instruments and illuminating air vents. Dr Greg can do you one for a tad under $360k. As he says, “for an extra 30 quid William Lyons could have made a much better car”. But Bill didn’t and we all know that while the styling of Jags like the Mark II and the E-Type are just as beautiful today as when they rolled of the production line over 50 years ago, the bodies rust, the electrics fail and the oil leaks.
“The styling was ahead of the technology. The first E-Types were noisy, rattly and didn’t handle all that well … in fact they often spun out,” Greg told me from his Maraekakaho Road office. Now with traction control and ABS it doesn’t happen. He builds his cars to last, with climate control that works and bodies that don’t rust.
His newest project marries a super lightweight carbon fibre E-Type body with a five-litre V8, the cFE. “With a carbon fibre chassis, titanium ‘A’ pillars and lightweight aluminium doors and boot lid, the cFE is expected to tip the scales at just over 1300kg, making it more than 200kg lighter than a V8 Supercar.” Greg expects the cFE to be good for zero to 100km/h in less than four seconds.
As the sun sets over beautiful Maraekakaho Road, we wend our way back to Holt Street, the Australian HQ of our world-leading global multimedia platform, where last week star sub-editor Brendan O’Keefe was translating my rantings into English. It was Brendan who discovered the very spooky connection between Ian McPherson (owner of the Mazda CX-5 with canine features that put his and his family’s lives at risk) and James Dean (of the cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement Deans). Guess who is the top gun Mazda CX-5 salesman in London, Ontario? Yup, Ian McPherson. And guess who is the top gun lawyer in London, Ontario? Yup, James Dean. You won’t read exclusives like this on any competitors’ multimedia platforms.
Talking of old classics, Terry Plane (he headed our Adelaide news centre at one time, was publicity boss for the grand prix and ran more TV news department than Michael McMichael has done nude paintings) got stuck into me about bagging all car companies.
“Right now, I’m driving my 12th Citroen,” Terry told me over a Coopers at the Kensi. “In that lot was one citron, my first XM. In its first 12 months Citroen replaced $22k worth of parts, from transmission to air-conditioning. So bad was it, they informed HQ in Paris, who sent their chief engineer, Alain Dillinger, out to my mechanic’s workshop run by a wonderful Gitanes-smoking mechanic named Marcel”.
“M. Dillinger walked straight past the car and into Marcel’s office where he went through the service record. At the end of his paperwork perusal he turned to the Citroen Australia chap and said: ‘Give him a new one.’ Which they did. Good service.”