Don’t believe them when the manufacturers, dealers and journalists tell you they are utes or SUVs. They might account or four of the 10 top-selling vehicles in Australia but they are trucks. Smallish trucks but trucks.
They look like small trucks, drive like small trucks and quack like small trucks.
So, we hired one from Hertz in Brisbane to drive to Queensland Raceway and back. More on that later. Well we hired the Ford Wildtrak which I think is about $75k drive away with more to pay for the AdBlue you need to put in the tank every now and then.
There are a lot of real SUVs you can buy for that money but most are pretty wimpy, none have you sitting up as high, none have as much room for your only four friends and none make you feel so tough your next ram-raid job won’t even scratch the paint.
And you can stash more contraband in the back tray than you can in your yellow Lambo.
Ours had the new coast-to-coast instrument panel which Ford says “increases the sense of space and width in the cabin”.
We say, if you thought the iPad in the Tesla (the company that will soon be known as Z whose shares were up 171 per cent but are now down 20 per cent) was ginormous and distracting, then the Wildtrak one makes it look like a BlackBerry screen (no I’m not explaining what a BlackBerry is to younger readers, contact our youth adviser JP in Perth for that). It’s the Imax of car screens. It’s really good to watch Mission Impossible on as you roar down the Cunningham Highway.
Bottom line: if you have lots of ankle biters, four friends, pallets of Columbian marching powder and just want to cruise in comfort on any surface, I’d buy a Wildtrak.
Talking of Queensland, our ode to songs about the Sunshine State bought a swift response from Far North Queensland’s answer to Timbaland and Missy Elliott (surely you remember their debut single “Up Jumps da Boogie”) Frank Markert. Frank has written Australian hip hop classics like “Please Mr Packer”, an entreaty by an indigenous musician to James Packer to allow him to be the opening, headline act at the Crown Casino Barangaroo – and of course, he also wrote the new FNQ anthem, Kelpie Co-Pilot. Just Google Frank to hear a heart-wrenching story about Nugget, a black Australian kelpie who is the co-pilot and faithful companion of Frank.
Yes, yes, yes. I lost the vote but instead of having an update pic of your correspondent, the editor has agreed to put a photo of some random old person on top of the column. Whoever he is, he is so old he probably came out on the Ark with Noah on his first trip here.
Talking of old persons, the original older person, Michael McMichael, and I shifted to a new Lotus Emira to drive to the Leyburn Sprints. Slightly quicker than the Wildtrak, we’ve done a deal with Lotus Brisbane’s Craig Rose to donate the hire costs to charity with Craig matching our donation.
Anyway, Tricia Chant’s (TransAm champion and Leyburn boss) right hand person, Chris Nixon, has tracked down the 1949 AGP-winning Delahaye 135CS of John Crouch. Why is this important? The 1949 Australian Grand Prix was held at – you guessed it – Leyburn, and in the 1930s (when the Sultan was four) John Crouch, was widely Australia’s youngest racing driver. He won the Australian Grand Prix driving a French Delahaye.
The car burnt out on its transporter returning from the 1951 AGP in Western Australia (no anthems there) with owner Dick Bland. Since 1999 it’s been hiding in plain sight in the Mullin Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Worth $5m now, it should be at today’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
The RACV tells me and you that number plate theft is skyrocketing in Victoria and in other states pretending to be part of Australia. I don’t need the Crime Department to tell me why.
Punters are paying $1m for a set. But no, Professor Plod says the yellow Lambo drivers are using the stolen plates for petrol drive-offs (no electric drive-offs), burglaries, ram raids and drug trafficking. Just a normal day in Lambo Land.
Lots of sleeps before the next F1 which is in Clog land. But while the racing will be boring, the off-field stuff is ready for a new TV series, Sue to Survive. As this multimedia empire’s Times shouted this week “Slow-motion F1 crash amid claims of fraud and adultery,
Williams Racing is in a legal battle with a former marketing executive who claims the company tried to destroy her reputation”.
Lawyers for old Ferrari driver Phil Massa have started legal action against Formula One bosses and the FIA, looking for a shipload of dollars because of an alleged “conspiracy” that stopped him being awarded the 2008 championship.
Those rabid nationalistic journalists in Mexico have front paged allegations Carl Slim’s (Carl gave Sergio his start in the racing game and gave a popular brand of women’s ciggies their name) son-in-law, of that Red Bull team has given the Dutchman the fastest car on the grid.
Of course, you were watching the Monochrome GT4 Australia series at some place outside Ipswich last weekend. Pet food entrepreneur and racetrack owner Tony Quin Kaleb Ngatoa took out the series in the Porsche Cayman 718 which is proudly sponsored by Quinn.
In the production car series Coleby Cowham and Lindsay Kearns won overall and Class A2 victory in their Mustang. In other classes were Tim Leahey in a BMW M3, Dean Campbell and Cameron Crick in an Evo, Karlie Buccini and Michael von Rappard in an BMW 135i, Jake Camilleri in a Mazda 3, John Connolly and Phil Alexander in a Nissan Pulsar, and Shane Fowler and Dion Pangalos in another Mazda 3.
The media release quoted a John Connolly as saying: “There was really tight racing too, which I got a particularly good view of because I was at the back of the field.”