The Lancia Fulvia

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 from 1963 to the mid 1970’s. The Fulvia also had three body styles. The first Fulvias were Berlina four-door sedans but most of the interest these days is around the Coupe and the Sport models. The coupe was designed in-house at Lancia and the Sport had a completely different body styled by Zagato. The Sport sounds exotic, but the coupe is the one to go for IMHO.

Lancia Fulvia Berlina

Fulvia Berlina

Lancia Fulvia Coupe -

Lancia Fulvia Sport (Zagato)

Fulvia Sport

The Sport body by Zagato can be dressed up to look quite sporty, but IMHO looks a bit bloated. The coupe body was the biggest seller and it proved to be a wonderfully versatile design. The coupe can look either classy or quite mean depending on how you want to set the car up.

All three cars had the same basic interior design, which is simple, sporting and quite elegant in the way that it seems only 60s and 70s cars can be.


OK, I cheated a little bit there.

That interior has been fitted out for rallying with its timing gear on the right and the Sandro Munari steering wheel – one of the best looking steering wheels I think I’ve ever seen.

But that’s part of the beauty of the Fulvia – it’s so suited to being both classically beautiful and very sporty – both in the way it looks and the way it drives.

Here’s a more standard interior from a later model Fulvia in RHD:


The Fulvia is a compact 4-seater whether in 2-door or 4-door version. The rear seat is small and there’s not much room for cargo in the boot, either. Most of the boot space is taken up with the spare wheel, actually.

But who cares about back seat passengers or cargo? This car was made to be driven!



Lancia’s one of those companies that a guy of my generation probably won’t know much about unless they’re a bit of an anorak. Brits and other Europeans might be a bit of an exception because Lancia sold the vast majority of their vehicles in the European market.

My knowledge was limited to the Beta, which sold here and which I still quite like in terms of styling. Of course, I’d heard of the Stratos and later, the Delta Integrale, but I still didn’t appreciate the full measure of Lancia’s success as both an innovator and as a motorsports champion.

Two things slowly opened my eyes.

The first was the knowledge that Lancia was one of Victor Muller’s favourite historical marques. I’m led to believe he own a number of them. Victor is quite obviously a man of means with a flair for items of some substance. It put an asterisk next to Lancia for me as a brand that I had to look into a bit more at some stage.

The second was the Top Gear special story on Lancia. I included it in a previous post about the Fulvia, but I’ll put it here again for those who still haven’t seen it. Take note of the number of significant firsts this company achieved as well as their considerable motorsport success.


Lancia had achieved a fair bit of success with the Flavia medium sized car when the company decided to make a more compact car, which became the Fulvia. The Fulvia debuted in 1963 at the Geneva Motor Show and the Coupe was introduced in 1965.

The Fulvia Coupe formed the basis of Lancia’s assault on the world rally championship, and what an assault it turned out to be. Lancia won the 1972 International Championship for Manufacturers, the predecessor to the World Rally Championship with the Lancia Fulvia HF (noted flying Finn and Saab works driver, Simo Lampinen was at the wheel of that car).

Lancia then dominated the initial years of the World Rally Championship with manufacturer wins in 1974, 1975 and 1975 with the Lancia Stratos. They returned to the winners podium in 1983 with the Lancia 037. In 1987, Lancia had the first of six consecutive WRC titles with the mighty Delta Integrale – the most successful vehicle in WRC history.

All that success began with the Fulvia.



I’ll deal with just the coupe here, as that’s the model of main interest.

The Fulvia Coupe was made for around 10 years and was available in several different specifications over that period. The following is taken from Wikipedia but resolves quite well with other independent sites.

Coupe – A compact two-door introduced in 1965, designed in-house by Piero Castagnero. the coupe uses a 150 mm (5.9 in) shorter wheelbase along with the larger (1216 cc) or 1231 cc engine producing 80 bhp (60 kW) at 6000 rpm.

Coupe HF – A competition version of the coupe introduced later in 1965, fitted with a tuned version of the 1216 cc engine producing 88 bhp (66 kW) at 6000 rpm, and fitted with aluminium bonnet, doors and bootlid together with plexiglass side and rear windows.

Rallye 1.3 HF – An updated HF with a new 1298 cc engine with 101 bhp (75 kW) at 6400 rpm..

Rallye 1.3 – An updated coupe with the 1298 cc (818.302) engine with 87 hp (65 kW) at 6000 rpm.

Rallye 1.3S – An updated Rallye 1.3 with a new 1298 cc (818.303) engine producing 92 hp (69 kW) at 6000 rpm.

Rallye 1.6 HF – The evolution of Rallye 1.3 HF with a 1584 cc engine producing 115 hp (86 kW) at 6000 rpm. Other changes included negative camber front suspension geometry, with light alloy 13 inch 6J wheels; and a close ratio 5 speed gearbox and wheel arch extensions.

fulvia-2Rallye 1.6 HF Variante 1016 – Also known as Fanalone – The most-powerful Fulvia with a 1584 cc engine producing up to 132 hp (98 kW) depending on tune. This was the version used by the works rally team until 1974, when it was superseded in competition by the Stratos HF. 45mm bore Solex carburettors were used tht were later replaced by 45DCOE Webbers. The cam cover had special blue stripe over yellow paintjob (HF cars had just yellow paintjob). Some sources indicate the easiest way to distinguish this version is by 2 triangular holes between headlamps and grille.[4]

Coupe 1.3S – 2nd Series – Face-lifted body and new 5 speed gearbox with 1298 cc (818.303) engine producing 90 hp (67 kW) at 6000 rpm. Larger Girling calipers and pads replaced the Dunlop system fitted to 1st series cars.

Coupe 1600HF – 2nd Series – Face-lifted all steel body with 1584 cc engine producing 115 hp (86 kW) at 6000 rpm. The bodywork was changed from the standard 1.3 Coupe to incorporate ‘flared’ wheel arches (replacing the extensions used on 1st series HFs). ‘Lusso’ versions had extra trim and were fitted with bumpers and were mostly produced for export.

Coupe 1.3s Montecarlo – Replica of 1972 Montecarlo Rally works car livery with 1298 cc producing 90 hp (67 kW) at 6000 rpm. This version used his own bodyshell with flared wheelarches similar but different to the 1600HF bodyshell, ‘Lusso’ interior fittings (bucket seats etc.), fitted with front fog lamps and no bumpers; but were fitted with the standard 4.5J steel wheels of the standard 1.3 Coupe.

Coupe Fulvia 3 (3rd Series) – Updated Coupe introduced 1974 with a new design of seats incorporating headrests and new white faced instrument dials with an updated range of trim colours, materials and options. Mechanically the same as the earlier 1.3s S2 Coupes except for the addition of emission control on the solex carburettors.

Coupe Fulvia 3 Safari – A limited edition of the standard Coupe without bumpers, special trim, exterior badges on the bonnet and on the bootlid and also special numbered plaque on the dashboard.[5]


Power isn’t this car’s strong point, as you can tell. The most powerful model had just 132hp and those models, known as Fanalone, are the ones that sell for the big bucks these days.

The car’s strong points are handling, engineering and styling. Fulvia owners that I’ve talked to will talk about these qualities at length and with relentless consistency. Lancia built its reputation in preceding decades on well engineered, well constructed and very stylish cars. Clarkson’s point about the Fulvia being more expensive at release than an E-type Jaguar come to mind, such was the expensive, hand-built nature of the little Lancia.

The Fulvia is known for being very reliable, even for such an old vehicle. There are plenty of them still being used as daily drivers. There’s a good enthusiast community around the world for them, too. A lot were sold in the UK so there’s even a ready RHD market and parts supply is pretty good for such an old vehicle.

The Fulvia is quite rare here in Australia. I heard from one source that there were only a couple of hundred of them brought here. Sales and values are therefore a little hard to judge, but I think it’s not beyond reason to expect a basic 1.3S or Rallye in restored condition to sell somewhere in the order of $20,000. Sellers of HF models have been asking amounts over $50,000 in recent years, but I’m unsure as to how many of them actually achieve this figure. A good condition Fanalone would nearly double that price in the right market.



These video were in one of my previous Fulvia posts, but they’re worth showing again.


Petrolicious, as always, do it right…..

Overview of second hand Fulvias in Britain (old video)….

Good quality driving film from an owner….


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

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 interesting to see if it becomes available again in the near future. I could well imagine a buyer looking the car over and thinking “this is not what I expected”.

FulviabiddingOn top of my concerns about the car, I also have concerns about the auction bidding. Take a look at the bidding progression, at right (click to enlarge). There were only two bidders. One had a purchase history and the other was a newly created identity. The new ID kept pushing the price up just a little then backed out as the auction drew to a close. Does that feel legit to you?

Given the less-than-stellar vehicle description, this bidding pattern is quite suspicious.


Regular visitors here will know that I change vehicles like I change my underwear and I’m constantly window shopping for something new.

I have to say I haven’t been this interested in a new vehicle in ages. This Fulvia has slipped through my fingers and despite my hesitations about the seller, I think it could have been a good car. I’m going to keep looking for one and given their relative affordability in other markets, I won’t be limiting my search to Australia.

This is a cracker of a little car with a wonderful backstory, design to die for and lusty small car performance. I’d be proud to own one. As long as it’s red 🙂

To be continued……


Qoros confirms picking up some Saab tech

Earlier this year, a new Chinese car company called Qoros made their international debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Qoros have already picked up a number of staff members from Saab and as hinted at Geneva, they’ve also picked up a bit of technology that was intended for Saab as well.

Back in February, I wrote the following:

The second conversation mentioned the first company I’ve heard of that will use eAAM’s electric rear drive system – the one that would have debuted in Saab’s Phoenix-based 900.

The company is Qoros, a Chinese-based but very much Europe-focused branch of Chery…..

The development of advanced engineering innovations is a core strategic activity for Qoros and the Cross Hybrid Concept features an innovative hybrid drive system. Intelligent control software ensures seamless transition between petrol-engined front-wheel drive, electric motor rear-wheel drive, and an all-wheel drive mode employing both power units together.

They didn’t mention it by name back then, but it sounded all too familiar to a Saab fan.

Today, eAAM have confirmed the hunch with a press release:


DETROIT, MICHIGAN- July 9, 2013 – A commitment to the advancement of hybrid and electric driveline systems has secured AAM a new driveline systems contract featuring e-AAMTM technology, with Qoros Auto Co., Ltd. (Qoros).

Qoros, an automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Shanghai, China and a joint venture between Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. and Israel Corporation, will feature e-AAMTM technology on a future model year Qoros vehicle. This vehicle will be produced in China for both the Chinese and European automotive markets.

e-AAMTM hybrid and electric driveline systems consist of an electric drive unit, power box unit with an electric drive control module and a proprietary control strategy and software designed for traction and hybrid controls functionality. e-AAMTM technology provides a cost efficient solution with market leading power density, a high degree of modularity and a full scope of controls and software designed to provide significant benefits to consumers. These features include better fuel efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and improved safety, ride and handling performance.

“We are extremely pleased to initiate a partnership with Qoros,” said AAM President & Chief Executive Officer, David C. Dauch. “Our investment in driveline systems for hybrid and electric vehicles has allowed us to develop an innovative patent-protected product portfolio, enabling AAM to play a leading role in this important new driveline product segment.”


Next thing you know, they’ll be calling it the 9-3 or 900!

Kudos to Qoros for recognising some good tech when they see it. It’ll be interesting to see the reviews when an eAAM car is eventually released.

“Lancia Quest” will conclude this evening

A quick update…..

There are currently two bids on the car and given that it’s a ‘No Reserve’ auction starting at $10K, that means it WILL sell to the highest bidder – tonight.

The auction started at $10K and is currently at $10,100. Neither of the bids are mine. I’ve set myself a ceiling somewhere not far above the starting price. I have to aim low simply because there’s so much work to be done on the body and the interior.

I went and saw a local Fulvia last night, just to see one in the flesh and to see if I’d fit in with a helmet on. I’d need to put a sports seat in it, but it will be possible to use this for club events.

The auction finishes at midnight. It could well go past my ceiling before then, but hopefully I’ll still be in the game. It’s a big commitment given the work that needs to be done, but I think this car is worth it. I’ve had lots of very positive communication with the Lancia community online in the last few days. Very dedicated, passionate and encouraging.

Let’s see what happens.

“Lancia Quest” continues….

I’ve long had a theory that any given model of vehicle is worth X-amount of dollars in good condition. If you get it for X-minus-Y dollars, there’s a good chance you’ll have to spend Y dollars (or even Y-plus-Z dollars) on repairs or restoration to bring it up to good condition.

That’s proving to be the case with the Lancia Fulvia I’m looking at right now.

I first saw the car on with five photos and an asking price of $21,000. I talked to a few people and that price seemed a bit ambitious. The ad read as if the car was quite good, with some modifications but with the original parts included. The photos presented the car as if it was in quite good condition. At $21,000, I expected this Fulvia to be ready-to-roll with little to do other than routine maintenance.

I figured if I could get this car for around $16K or so, then I’d have a wonderfully interesting car to scratch my increasing Italian itch.

The Lancia Quest got turned on its head completely on Sunday, however.

On Sunday, I found that the same car had been placed for auction on Ebay – with a starting reserve of just $10,000!!!

I called the owner to have a chat about the car. He said the starting price was set so low simply to get the ball rolling on the auction. Fair enough.

But having conducted two unsuccessful Ebay auctions for my Alfa Romeo GTV6 in the last few months, I know that you can have several dozen ‘watchers’ for an auction that ends with no bids. There’s a very real chance that someone will jump in with a last-minute bid and pick up this car for just the $10K starting price.

My question, therefore – why is he willing to risk this?

During my call with the owner, he mentioned that a $10,000 sale would likely be “car only”, that he’d keep the spare parts to sell individually. He doesn’t mention this in the ad and if I was the successful bidder, I’d feel a bit peeved about that.

Anyway, I called on a Saab mate in the same city to see if he could visit the seller and check out the car, which he did yesterday.

The car’s been sitting for a while and they had a little trouble getting it started, but it fired up eventually. Lars found the driving experience somewhat intoxicating. The car responds well and the exhaust note is just fantastic. That’s what I was hoping and expecting to hear.

Less encouraging is the over-all condition of the car. It looks like it’s been repainted in recent years, but a closer inspection reveals that the preparations for that repaint might have been sub-standard. There are various chips, cracks and marks that indicate there might have been some swift filling done in less-than-ideal conditions.

There’s also a small oil leak somewhere at the bottom of the engine (see photos, below).

Then there’s the interior. The seller has installed some seats from a Subaru into the car. The original seats are available, but he’s already told me that they need refurbishment. There are cracks at the top of the rear seat, the window furniture looks like it’s 45 years old (which it is), as does the top of the dashboard. The wood trim around the gauges is in good condition for age, but will benefit from a good sanding and re-finishing.

All things considered, this car seems to be more of a running restorer than a $21,000 ready-to-go car.

Images from Lars’ visit with the car, below.


You might think I’m being too fussy…..

Well, back in 2006, the car below was passed in at auction in Melbourne with a desired sale range of $10-15,000. The Lancia I’m chasing is nowhere near as well finished as this one:

That one was passed in at a lower price, but that was back in 2006. I have a feeling it would achieve that price quite comfortably today.

So what’s “my” Lancia really worth?

I reckon there’s a good $10K’s worth of work involved with this car and that’s if I can learn to do some of it myself. The reserve price on the Ebay auction is probably just fair given what’s left to be done in order to bring this car up to the desired level of operation and presentation.

The auction ends tomorrow at midnight.

Strategy 1 – Place a last minute bid for $10K and hope I’m the only one bidding. Secure the car at this lowest price and negotiate on the spare parts that I want (which is not all of them).

Strategy 2 – Trump the auction with a negotiated price of around $12-13,000 for the car and all the parts. The seller is very open to receiving offers before the auction ends. Take other bidders out of the equation. The seller has said he wants around $15 for the whole package, but it never hurts to ask.

Strategy 3 – Wait for the auction to end and see what happens. If it sells, I no longer have a decision to make. If it doesn’t, then hope to agree on a price that will satisfy the both of us.

All of this pre-supposes that I’ll actually fit in the car whilst wearing a helmet. I’ll find out the answer to that question tonight thanks to a local owner who’s willing to move a few cars around in his shed so that I can get access to his Fulvia.

I’d really like to get this car under the right conditions. It wouldn’t be much good for a run to the hardware store but there’s not much else that I do with a car that it wouldn’t be suited to. Between this and the 9000 Aero I’ll pick up in Sydney next week (yes, we bought an Aero to replace Mrs Swade’s 9000CS), 95% of my motoring needs will be covered completely.

I know I’ll have to commit extra funds to a restoration but given the Fulvia’s character, history and rarity, I think it’ll be worth it. The bonus is that the car will be relatively pain-free to run until those funds are saved and the work commenced.


If you’ve got another 7 minutes or so to spare, watch this new video from Petrolicious. It’s not the same car. It’s not even the same brand. But it’s the same feeling.



Please Donate To Jim’s Cancer Ride

It’s that time of the year again…..

Our Saab mate James Coggeshall (that’s Jim or Coggs to his friends) will be on his bike and riding in the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s annual fundraising bike ride – the Pan Mass Challenge.

This will be Jim’s third tilt at the Pan Mass Challenge. He rode the last two as a cancer survivor, having beaten testicular and skin cancer. This year it’s different – Jim is once again a cancer patient and as he’s fond of saying at the moment: there’s no fooling around this time.

I’m now two and a half years out from being successfully treated for testicular cancer and a year from dealing with a couple of instances of skin cancer. While undergoing my regular post cancer surveillance visits at the DFCI a biopsy revealed I have prostate cancer. At this point the disease is in the very early stage. But there are some indications it could be agressive. I will be monitored through the summer rather than undergoing immediate treatment but in all likelyhood I will have to deal with it this fall/winter.

Hopefully at that time advances will have been made which may minimize the all too common life changing side effects resulting from the current treatments of prostate cancer. I may not be as young as I used to be but not so sure I like the sound of bladder catheters, Viagra, and Depends.

You can read Jim’s full story HERE and I urge you to do so. Two years ago, with the help of the audience at Saabs United, we helped Jim raise over $9,000. We dont have that audience any more but we can still help Jim meet his $5000 target this year (around half still to go!)

The Pan Mass Challenge is a massive event, raising $37 million last year and when this event’s finished, they’ll have raised more than $400 million over the event’s lifetime. As the costs for the event are underwritten by corporate sponsors, every cent of that $400 million has gone directly to cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (and they’re the guys/girls looking after Jim).

It’s a 200 mile bike ride so it’s not like Jim won’t be working hard for the money.


Jim is a Saab nut from way back and has one of the sweetest Sonetts you’re ever likely to see, as well as a Viggen convertible, Saab 9-5 wagon and a 900 Convertible. There might be two 9-5 wagons in the collection, actually. I know he’s a 5-Saab man!!

Of course, I wouldn’t ask you to contribute to this unless I was willing to do it myself. Last year I kicked in a couple of C-notes. Tonight, I’ve donated $250 of my hard-earned to this ride and I hope you can find some change down the back of the sofa to kick in as well.


My contribution’s not just for Jim, but also for the memory of my father, Donald Wade, for the memory of my Mum’s later partner, Alex Whammond, for the memory of our Saab advertising mate, Curvin O’Reilly and most recently, in memory of our wonderful Mad Dutchie, Nic Schellekens, who died of a cancer-related incident back in March.

This disease gets too many people. Please support Jim in both his quest to fight it, and to stop it. CLICK HERE TO READ HIS STORY AND CONTRIBUTE.


To Lancia, or not to Lancia?

So the GTV6 is sold and we’ve decided to shelve our plans for building a new home. That means it’s Game On for car shopping!

I had a couple of important criteria for my next car, key among which were that it had to be good for a long distance east-coast road trip that Mrs Swade and I want to do in a few months from now, and that it also had to be fun and engaging for me as a daily driver and club car. Those criteria were going to be difficult to resolve.

I think we’ve solved that particular dual-purpose problem, however.

Mrs Swade has agreed to an upgrade from her Saab 9000CS to a more potent and more functional Saab 9000 (our car has a number of electrical and functional niggles that would be uneconomical to repair). Yes, we love the 9000. I’ve currently got a bead on two suitable 9000s in good order, one an Aero and the other an Anniversary model. I’ve craved an Aero for years and the one I’ve found seems to be in good order after checking it out with a friend who knows the car. The price is right, too, and 9000 Aeros in good condition are only getting harder to find. It’s likely I’ll pull the trigger on that one very soon.

That takes care of the cruiser that’ll make for a wonderful utilitarian family car for us. So now to the fun car.

The usual suspects are on the list. Porsche 944 (either S2 or turbo), Alfa Romeo GTV V6 (the wedgy coupe from 1998 onwards), Alfa Romeo 33 16V. My mate Eggs has even got me looking at Maserati BiTurbos (the survivors have to be well sorted by now, right?).

As you can see, Italian is a factor here. I belong to an Italian car club and while a lot of members own an Italian but bring their reliable Japanese cars to the track, I’m an advocate for flying the flag at all times.

Something Italian that I’ve never considered before, but has recently become available is a very nicely sorted vintage Lancia coupe. We have all manner of brands available in Australia but even here, Lancias are relatively rare. Most of the Lancias for sale are Betas from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. For those who are unfamiliar, the Beta is the car that killed Lancia thanks to rust issues. That old joke “on a quiet day you could hear them rusting at the dealership” applies.

This isn’t a Beta, though.

This is a 1968 Lancia Fulvia coupe. Isn’t she pretty?

Here’s the text from the ad:

1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupe,1.3S excellent condition, great little car that’s lots of fun to drive. Car comes with koni adjustable shocks, stainless steel exhaust, sports seats & 4 point harnesses (comes with original seats & new standard seat belts), factory sports air filtration kit (comes with original filter set up), HF wheels & flairs, Sandro Munari signed steering wheel, re-conditioned brake calipers & master cylinder, some spares included (electrical & mechanical).

It seems to be set up nicely, yes?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Lancia Fulvia, I encourage you to spend the next 2 minutes watching this excerpt from the Top Gear Lancia special (it goes for 8 minutes, but two is all you need). It spends a couple of minutes on the Fulvia that will inform your thinking.

Yes, it IS amazing to look at.

But did you hear that engine????

Lancia used a narrow-angle, high revving V4 in the Fulvia. It’s a 1.3 and it only pushes out around 90hp but then the car only weighs 895kg. It’s not fast, but it’s extremely nimble and even said to be quite reliable, too. If Clarkson’s only knock on it was its historical price, then there’s got to be something to explore with this car. There’s a lot to like about it, that’s for sure. It’s rare. It’s Italian and it’s genuine in both styling and performance.

But then, there’s the practical side to consider.

It’s 45 years old and the question has to be asked – could you use a car such as this 3-4 times a week without fearing too much for its future? One of the main reasons I sold the GTV6 was that it ended up as a garage queen that was driven only once a week because I had the Brumby for regular duty. The Brumby will go. I want something that I both want and HAVE to drive when Mrs Swade has use of the Aero.

Is it fanciful or irresponsible to think that a Lancia Fulvia can be used on a regular basis?

This Fulvia is for sale for $21,000 and it’s located in Queensland (around 2000kms and a boat ride away) so it’s no small decision. I’ve found a club member here in Tassie who owns one so I’m hoping to check out his local example to see if/how I’ll fit in it with a helmet on, as well as taking the chance to simply appreciate one in person.

Despite the challenges it might present, I have to admit I find myself far more smitten with the idea of getting this car than I do with any of the others on my list. Am I a complete idiot?

Here are a few more Fulvia videos to watch and listen to. Enjoy.

Petrolicious, as always, do it right…..

Overview of second hand Fulvias in Britain (old video)….

Good quality driving film from an owner….


Thursday Snippets – Jokes, GM, Datsun and Sales

I work in an audit office. Suffice to say, jokes aren’t our strong point. I heard a couple of good ones on TV last night and thought I’d better record them for posterity. I’m sure they could be useful in the future.


A sweet young girl, around 8 years old, walks into a pet shop. She walks up to counter and asks the owner “Please sir, I’d like to buy a bunny rabbit.”

The shopkeeper looks over the counter to the girl, smiles and asks “Would you like a white rabbit or a brown rabbit, young lady?”

The girl thinks for a moment, then says “I really don’t think my python will give a $#%!”

and #2

You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.


And that leads me nicely to Cadillac, the GM luxury division that’s had its plans to build a truly luxurious car based on the Ciel concept car, cancelled.

2011 Cadillac Ciel Concept

Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, is always happy to sink the boots in when it comes to GM’s upper management. The monotony of it all gets quite boring, to be honest. But he’s right on the money here.

He quotes former GM head Alfred P Sloan – The business of business is business.

Well, kinda. When you’re in the business of selling an emotive product, the business involves building something that truly moves the emotional needle. Cars done in half-measures don’t do that and companies like Alfa Romeo, Saab, Peugeot, Citroen and countless others over the last few decades have learned that the hard way.

Car companies need scale, for sure. But if they’re not chasing the bottom of the market then they also need to have a worthwhile story to tell and a product that backs that story up.


A quick visual scan of the automotive sales results for both Germany and the US should give you an idea as to how the North American and European markets/economies are doing.

Don’t worry about reading the numbers. Just look at the respective amounts of red vs green.




You know that a car is reaching mainstream acceptance when it’s mocked this way.

Hopefully that’s a wrap that can be removed from this Tesla Model S, and the wheels might be loaners.

Spotted at The Truth About Cars



There were sighs of disappointment at geeky desktops around the world this week when fans of cheap, thrashable cars found out that the model proposed to re-launch the Datsun brand was something other than the 510 or the 260Z.

In fact, it’ll be this:


Yes, you could put pretty much any automotive company’s badge on that and no-one would know the difference (which is quite possibly the biggest crime a vehicle designer for a known brand could commit, IMHO).

I guess it’s to be expected, but it’s still a little disappointing.


I mentioned in a previous post that we were thinking of building a new house. Complications with the land we were looking at have led the deal to fall through. Uncertainty about some employment factors means the whole idea is on hold for what I think will turn out to be quite a while.

Result – car shopping is back on the agenda!!

Weekend Video – Bruce Turk’s Saab 96 2-Stroke Rally Car

If you’re a Saab fan – especially if you’re a vintage Saab fan – then you MUST WATCH THIS VIDEO.

The guys from /Drive, the same mob who brought us the Inside Koenigsegg series of videos, spent some time with Bruce Turk and his Saab 96 rally car. The result is 27 minutes of information, sights and glorious, glorious sound that’ll soothe your soul.

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This is Australia, where we don’t like drug cheats in sport (even alleged ones)

The Essendon Football Club went to Perth tonight to play the West Coast Eagles. It was an extremely tough game. It should be a memorable game due to the Bombers winning away from home – a come-from-behind thriller for the ages played in hostile territory.

Unfortunately, that’s not what this game will be remembered for.

This game will be remembered for the West Coast fans booing Essendon captain Jobe Watson every time he got the ball.

Watson is universally respected for his hard play, hard work, his skill and his royal Essendon bloodline. His Brownlow Medal win in 2012 was a feel-good moment for every AFL fan. He’s the type of captain that leads from the front, puts his team on his back and carries them to the final siren, win or lose. He leaves nothing on the field. There is barely a sporting cliche that’s inappropriate for Jobe Watson.

111364-jobe-watsonRight: An emotional Watson after the West Coast game, receives the support of teammates. (News Limited)

So why did he get booed?

The Essendon Football Club is the subject of a massive scandal involving the alleged systematic doping of players through the 2012 season. The players thought the substances that were injected into their bodies were legal. The Australian and International doping agencies, ASADA and WADA, are adamant that they weren’t. The club has kept the facts close to their collective chest but last week, Jobe Watson came out in a TV interview and admitted that yes, he’d taken the banned peptide AOD9604.

This supplement is at the center of the scandal – a program intended to enhance the training and recovery ability of the team. It’s a program that is considered to have been beyond the rules, regardless of what the shadier characters involved believed about its legality or stated to their superiors.

Watson effectively confessed to being a participant in the program. He believes he’s an innocent participant (if such a thing exists) because he trusted the club’s medical and performance staff when they told him the supplement was legal. ASADA and WADA place the burden of responsibility solely on the player/athlete. The player has to do his/her own homework about what goes into his/her body. Trusting someone else is no excuse according to the ASADA/WADA code.

Throughout this scandal, the AFL press corps has done everything it can to defend the Essendon players. Many of the big-name commentators are former players themselves and the old-boys club comes into play here. They’re not going to dump on one of their own and tonight, to a man, they all decried the West Coast fans for their treatment of Watson. Innocent until proven guilty, they said, ignoring the fact that he’d actually confessed to using the supplement.

I think a lot of fans actually feel some level of sympathy for the players, to some degree. I felt uncomfortable with the booing tonight, myself. When you grow up in Australia – especially in Melbourne, where AFL football was born – these players are you, your brothers, your school mates, your friends. Everyone relates to AFL footballers because it’s a grass-roots community game and Australia is still a relatively close community. The degrees of separation are small here.

That communion between the fans and the game breeds care, affection, respect and passion. But passion can run both ways and there’s nothing an Australian sports fan hates more than a cheat.

We mock soccer players because of their soft fouls and bullsh** acting. We respect the capabilities of athletes but turn our noses up at their fat-headed posturing. We place our highest value on genuine effort, authenticity and the classic Australianism – not being a dickhead.

The booing of Jobe Watson wasn’t just a gentle jab from a hostile crowd on the other side of the country. AFL fans of other clubs haven’t had their voices heard but I think there is some genuine resentment about the fact that Essendon, as a club, allegedly undertook a program that their own investigation described as a pharmacological experiment in order to gain advantage.

AFL fans have paid silent respect to Essendon’s resilience under pressure this year because there has been no formal finding announced from the investigation as yet. But Watson’s admission last week gave AFL fans some confirmation of what everyone suspects – where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It also gave opposition fans a focal point for their opinions on this matter and the message is clear: it’s not OK to try and cheat the system.

We love our sport in Australia. It binds us, motivates us and forms the foundations for much of our local and national pride. It has to be clean. It has to be honest. To quote long-time football commentator, Rex Hunt – football isn’t life or death, it’s much more important than that.

Jobe Watson might well be football royalty, the son of a legend and an emerging legend in his own right. But tonight we learned that even the biggest legends can be brought back to earth if they cross a line and compromise the purity of the contest, deliberately or otherwise. Essendon’s resilience this year means nothing if it comes on the back of enhanced training in previous years. If they are benefitting from the use of banned supplements taken in the past then it’s not just character getting them over the line in these close contests, it’s quite possibly unlawful science and that’s not within the spirit of the game.

In many ways it’s a shame to penalise those who were probably unwitting participants in this program. The sanctity of the game demands it, however. Tonight, with the booing of a champion, a respected player, we saw the start of what’s to come. If the AFL/ASADA investigation into Essendon concludes with adverse findings against the club (which seems inevitable given Watson’s admission and the strictness of the WADA/ASADA code) and if it concludes with no real sanction against the club AND the players, tonight’s unpalatable display will seem like a picnic.

Commentators and ex-players can whine all they like. This is Australia and we don’t like (alleged) drug cheats in sport, deliberate or otherwise.