Opel/GM – It’s Your Money, Ralph

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Anyone who lived in Victoria in the late 1980’s would remember the ad in the video below, from the State Bank of Victoria. The line “It’s your money, Ralph” became as common in regular conversation back then as “Not Happy, Jan!” became in offices around the country five years ago. —— The news broke last Friday (at 5pm, of course) that Opel would be pulling its cars out of Australia after a spectacularly short 12 months where they sold just 1500-or-so cars to actual customers. It’s hard to comprehend just how massive a stuff-up this is or how the supposedly […]

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Petrolicious: Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ

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Given that my interest in Zagato-bodied cars is rising, the timing of this Petrolicious video couldn’t be better. It features none other than Andrea Zagato, the third generation to run the family business. He talks about Zagato’s styling and construction principles, as well as taking viewers for a ride in the absolutely beautiful Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ. Tip – Andrea only speaks Italian, so make sure you hit the little button at the bottom to make the subtitles work. Enjoy. And thank your favourite deity for Petrolicious and their exquisite videos. —

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Help Wanted: Lancia Fulvia Options

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I’m currently looking for a Lancia Fulvia. As they’re relatively rare in Australia (there’s one for sale publicly right now, detailed below) I’ve widened my search to include vehicles overseas. As I type this, I’m looking at three – maybe four – basic options. Your considered thoughts would be appreciated. But first, a look at what I consider to be the ideal attainable Fulvia from the ones available for sale around the world right now. Attainable is important. There are more desirable models for sale, but at crazy prices. I don’t have that kind of money. In fact, this car […]

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Classics By The Beach – August 2013

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Yesterday saw another first Sunday of the month and therefore, another gathering of Classics By The Beach at Sandy Bay, Hobart. As per usual, it was a good mix of cars with a few regulars in attendance and some wonderful new additions. The undoubted highlight of the gathering was this Ford GT40 replica. It might ‘just’ be a replica, but it had incredible presence and the sound when it fired up wasn’t half bad, either. I hope the glare off the windows doesn’t stop you getting in impression of just how close that thumping V8 is to the car’s occupants. […]

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Opel Quits Australia

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The alternative title for this post is “Opel prove how hard it is to build a new brand presence”. Opel preceded its arrival here in Australia (by six months!) by sponsoring one of our prominent football clubs. By the time the season finishes at the end of September, Opel’s sponsorship of the Melbourne Football Club will have lasted twice as long as their cars did. Opel announced it will quit the Australian market today, effective immediately. As is usually the case with this sort of thing, the announcement came at 5pm on a Friday. Good form. Opel say they were […]

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Hanging with the Saab 900 Enduro

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Here’s another quick nugget from my return trip with my Saab 9000 Aero. The Saab 900 Enduro is a bit like Bigfoot. Everyone’s heard of it, but 99.9% of the people – myself included – have never seen it. Last week, my visit to Saab Salvage in Sydney changed all that. I didn’t get to see an Enduro running, but I did get to set my eyes on not one, but TWO Saab 900 Enduros. Well, one-and-a-half. For the unfamiliar, the Saab 900 Enduro was a special edition put together by Saab Australia just after the Saab 900 was introduced. […]

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How to Sell a Saab (by Saab)

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While bringing our Saab 9000 Aero back from Sydney, I called in on Bill and Jane P, some friends and Saab owners who live in southern New South Wales. When Bill’s Saab dealer closed a few years ago, Bill ended up as the beneficiary of a whole bunch of Saab promotional and technical material. Bill showed me through the collection and this brochure, despite its evil-looking title page, stood out as something cute from the period. I thought it’d be fun to share here. Please excuse the crappy phone-camera photos. I hope the writing is legible. The images are clickable […]

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How Lamborghini made Saab the biggest automotive insurance risk in Australia

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It’s the 1980s. There’s no internet so teenage petrolheads in Australia all read Wheels magazine to get their automotive kicks. There are all manner of car stories, interesting or otherwise, but as interesting as the stories might be, they are matched or sometimes outdone by the advertisements slotted in between them. There were few ads more exotic than those for Alpine car audio. The reason is easy to see: — Anything featuring a red Lamborghini was instant automotive porn for a teenage revhead. It wasn’t just the teenagers that were captured by this, though. Alpine built a legacy that lasts […]

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The Lancia Fulvia

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Via comments from Andrew Robertson: You really do have the bug. Give us a run down on the model code names, specs and years? Know very little about this little car…liking it more and more myself. Yes, I do have the bug. Sadly, it’s an intellectual bug only because I’ve never actually driven one. The Fulvia has come to my attention through a combination of temporary availability and video. I want one because one was available for sale and I liked what I saw when I checked them out. Exterior and Interior The Lancia Fulvia was built in three series […]

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“Lancia Quest” – Battle lost, war still to be won

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Another quick update….. The Lancia Fulvia I was tracking on Ebay sold last night for $13,250. I’d set myself a ceiling of $12,000 so someone else has ended up with what is hopefully a wonderful example that’s full of potential. It’ll take some work based on the photos I saw, but it’s a good start. I’m not too fussed about missing out on this one, to be honest. I had my concerns about the seller’s integrity. Not only was there some dodgy two-level advertising in different places (with price variances of $10,000), the car was also inadequately described. It’ll be […]

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