“What do you think of Droids?”
While I know 6.30am is an appropriate time for persons who work on the tools to be making phone calls, those of us in the more genteel classes, such as the car writing caper, are waking from a sound sleep at that time.
Now, these days this is compounded by the fact that even if the old geezer on the end of the line is a friend, globally known artiste, technician, rally driver and all-round renaissance person, you can’t immediately blurt out a profanity-ridden tirade against Droids (whoever they are) lest you get a camera shoved in your face as you walk out the front door with some eager journalist berating you for crimes against the whole Droid community. So I immediately tried to change the subject.
“You remember Mark Southcott, the Casanova of the south coast, the woke Moke-driver, sub-editor to the stars on the world’s greatest newspaper and participant in many of our adventures?”
The Sultan grunted. “Well, after 40 years and 380,000km, the Markster decided to shout his British death trap new front seats. He tells me he bought the new seats from Minisport in South Australia (and I trust he hasn’t done some form of contra with a mention in this column with 18 readers and one friend in return for free shipping and sanitiser) where he says ‘they have everything you need for Sir Alec Issigonis’s various toys, including every body panel for a Moke. You can build your own car with their panels and a welder. You just need a donor body number and compliance plate.’ Well there’s an early thought for a gift for that special someone to celebrate Xmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, misoka, Chalica, Malkh or any other celebration involving human sacrifice.
I then realised I really also needed to replace the bolts (8 half inch or 1.27cm jobs). To get those I needed to drive to the Unanderra (another wonderfully named village in lower Sydney) specialist bolts shop 45km away. You would have thought, having been as deeply involved in the wonders what the British passed off as a car for 45 years, I would have done the passenger seat first. It was a long walk’.”
Time to cue Jill Adamson and Mary Elaine’s 1970s big hit, the tune that even knocked the Poppy Family’s “Which way you going Billy, can I go too” off the charts and even today puts the Dead Saras’ “Mother Teresa” to shame. Yes, it’s the Mini Moke Song. Readers and friend tell me these lyrics don’t move you: “We’re not jokes, we’re little Mini Mokes, why does everybody laugh at us?”
Then I moved the convo on to Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco’s prang in last week’s Australian GP. It seems to me Zarco tried to stop Franco overtaking, braked, the two bikes kissing and one bike nearly taking Valentino Rossi’s head off. Townsville lad Jack Miller came a very handy third.
Over in Spain, Hamo didn’t just win, he was 24 seconds ahead of Mad Max Verstappen and was so in the groove he actually didn’t realise he was on the last lap. While things are bright for Hamo, not so good for the F1 company run by our old rugby-playing US mate Chase Carey. Chase had to tell analysts that revenue had sunk to $32m this quarter from $840m last year. Not surprisingly profit was down 569 per cent.
And new Jag Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore, who recently got the flick from Renault, has a tough job ahead of him. Sales are in the proverbial, profits are in the same place and last week Britain’s Treasury knocked back a loan to owner Tata and Jag, saying Tata had plenty and Jag didn’t have enough.
Then I mentioned that reader No 2, Phil Copley, had taken me to task for my sexism in suggesting there were no women hit-persons in the Sinola Cartel. Phil says: “I find the task of taking you to task most unpleasant.”
Yeah sure, pull the other one, it yodels. Anyway, it appears he was out cruising the streets in a Maserati (he can’t afford a Ferrari) when the Federales nabbed Monica Yadira Ruiz aka La Moni in connection with several murders including a double homicide. Apologies to all the hitwomen out there.
Anyway, I’ve asked Phil to head to Vienna for next week’s Dorotheum auction to put in a bid for me on the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT ($1.5m). One of only 12 SLR 722 GTs built, it was basically rebuilt from new, put out 500KW, weighed nothing, won twice at Spa-Francorchamps and went back to the Mercster factory.
Can’t get to Vienna? Canberra reader Tony Croke tells us there is an absolutely exquisite example of a MiuraP400S for sale at the Classic Throttle Shop in North Sydney.
The old bloke still kept muttering about Droids, so I mentioned John Duke’s problems with his 2016 Honda VTIS CRV. (A very nice motor there, John.) “You mention that owners of both Mazda BT50s and Ford Rangers have experienced the ‘no power’ problem when attempting to accelerate at low speed.
Tell them they have a mate in that my 2016 Honda VTIS CRV randomly and infrequently does exactly that. My local dealer, Madill Motors of Noosaville, are unable to investigate as I have not been able to ‘demonstrate’ the problem to them and say that Honda are unaware of it.
Despite me telling them that this car will kill me, it seems no one is interested. I would bet London to a brick that I would not be the only Hondra CRV owner to experience this ‘no go’ problem. Perhaps you may mention this in your column?”
I will John and a nice reference to the late great race caller Ken Howard there. Bear in mind in the unresponsive manufacturer department, Honda come a close second to Mazda.
“Look, you fool,” Michael McMichael yelled down the phone, “I’m talking about the BeerDroid, the world’s first fully automated personal brewer, which brings the art, craft and science of brewing together in one elegant unit. Brew 10 litres of any Coopers beer style at pub quality.” “Oh,” I said.