Shogun Conversion RAM 3500 the bees’ knees for Vic and Dave…Camless concept gets an outing in Bejing…Sydney auction ‘a steal’ for bank bonuses

  Things are really buzzing for Canberra-based beekeepers Victor Croker and David Leemhuis, owners of Australian Honeybee since they bought a RAM 3500 Tradesman from Shogun Conversions a couple of years back. The common image of beekeeping is a fairly genteel occupation with grandma, dressed in a funny hat, servicing a few hives at the bottom of the garden. All of which is far from the truth for professional producers such as Vic and Dave who travel up to 850km to [ read more ]


Diesel keeps on trucking towards a cleaner future

  Mention diesel emissions and almost immediately people rave on about how the major vehicle manufacturers have been gaming the system and in some cases such as VW and Fiat engaging in outright cheating. But it’s not all bad news that is if the Diesel Technology Forum in the USA is to be believed. As part of this year’s Earth Day, the organisation produced what it believes is one of those pictures that is worth a thousand words in the [ read more ]


Million dollar barn baby in the most beautiful race in the world….plus announcements of new models galore

    Oh no! Not another story about a vintage car that miraculously turns up after decades in a disused barn. In this case, however, it does seem to have a ring of authenticity about it and is not just one of those ‘barn finds’ that’s the nearest the vehicle has ever been to the ‘country’ was when the dealer drove it out there. And besides, it’s a nice yarn involving some very committed Aussie petrolheads and one of the [ read more ]

Shogun Conversion RAM 3500 the bees’ knees for Vic and Dave…Camless concept gets an outing in Bejing…Sydney auction ‘a steal’ for bank bonuses



Things are really buzzing for Canberra-based beekeepers Victor Croker and David Leemhuis, owners of Australian Honeybee since they bought a RAM 3500 Tradesman from Shogun Conversions a couple of years back. The common image of beekeeping is a fairly genteel occupation with grandma, dressed in a funny hat, servicing a few hives at the bottom of the garden. All of which is far from the truth for professional producers such as Vic and Dave who travel up to 850km to harvest premium Australian native honey from hives situated on some  of Australia’s largest cattle and cropping stations. The harvested honey is then returned to Canberra for processing and packaged for sale.


According to Vic, this is a rugged out in the bush activity requiring a strong and powerful vehicle to cross rough terrain far from the nearest road to transport hives to where the bees are, and to return with a heavy payload of honey. “In 2014 we bought a RAM 3500 Tradesman from Shogun Conversions with a specially built tray to carry bee hives and lots of added bells and whistles. To this we added a purpose-built, six-wheel trailer fitted with a crane that enables us to load and transport a very large payload.”


beesApparently, the RAM’s heavy duty Aisin transmission, four wheel drive and steep descent control capabilities, especially with a heavily loaded trailer, capabilities have proven so successful in meeting Australian Honeybees’ challenging rough terrain needs that Vic and Dave have put in a repeat order. This time, the new RAM will be fitted with a special gooseneck trailer hitch in order to tow a new purpose-built 7.6m deck trailer, which will increase the total GCM (gross combined mass) to 13.6 ton with a payload of 3.5 ton leaving a whopping 10-ton trailer allowance. Talk about the you know what!












engineChinese carmaker Qoros is the latest company give an outing to the camless engine concept it has been developed in conjunction with FreeValve AB, an off shoot of upmarket carmaker Koenigsegg. Rather than using a traditional camshaft to control an engine’s valves, the QamFree motor uses electro-hydraulic pneumatic actuators to provide the sort of precise control over each valve that results in power improvement and fuel economy of between 12-17% when compared to a modern, direct injection engine with variable cams.


In most engines the camshaft’s rotating lobes push rockers that open the valves and allow valve springs to shut them. Unfortunately, this process involves a stage where the valves are partially open or shut, meaning that the system isn’t always operating at ideal efficiency.


Rather than continuing to use this technology, which Koenigsegg likens to playing a piano with a both hands tied to the opposite ends of a broomstick, the QamFree engine is said to allow far greater control over the engine’s intake and exhaust valves. Qoros also says the QamFree engine allows the company to eke more power from a more compact package, which should mean punchy performance from engines that meet the ever-tightening Euro and Beijing emissions standards.
















Meanwhile, Ford continues to back its EcoBoost engine to produce relatively the same improvements in performance and economy to the extent that it has now produced a diesel version of the petrol unit in use with the likes of the Fiesta and Mustang. Ford has attempted to cut down on friction with a 10mm offset crank designed to reduce piston side-load and minimise rubbing against the walls of the cylinder block. An optimised valve train and single piece camshaft module also come into the picture.


A new mirror image porting design in the inlet manifold aims at creating uniform fuel/air mixtures in all four cylinders. The system uses clockwise airflow to feed cylinders one and two, before reversing it for cylinders three and four. According to the company’s combustion expert Werner Willems, this helps turn fuel into energy more effectively than any diesel engine Ford has ever produced.


Working with the new inlet manifold design are new fuel injectors, capable of delivering six 0.8 mg injections of diesel per combustion event. The fuel is injected through eight conical holes just 120 microns in diameter. Thanks in part to their piezoelectric design, Ford says the injectors cut down on unwanted noise, minimize energy wastage from the fuel pump, allow for more refined auto start-stop systems and real-time recalibration for ideal fuel efficiency.


After collecting feedback from people behind the wheel of its 2.2ltr TDCi Transit, Ford’s engineers claim to have liberated 20% more torque from the new engine at low revs. This means there’s about 340Nm on tap from just 1250 rpm, which should make for effortless creeping in traffic, or punchy high gear overtaking on the highway. Key to this improvement is a redesigned turbocharger, which uses an Inconel turbine wheel capable of spinning at 240,000 rpm for sharp pickup. The turbo turbine has also been milled from solid, reducing tolerances to three microns from improved durability, less noise and smoother response.


But what about rattly idle and vibration when sitting in traffic? According to Ford’s engineers, the new EcoBlue engine uses a noise-optimised cylinder head, stiff ladder frame and the oil pan to isolate vibrations from the cabin. There are also tight seals throughout the engine to ensure no noise can sneak out and ruin the refinement. The company claims that the motor is apparently so smooth that although it is designed for use in commercial vehicles, it still meets the ‘stringent’ noise, vibration and harshness standards for Ford’s passenger cars. Source: Ford












After a hard and stressful year of forging documents and cheating old age pensioners out of their superannuation, it’s almost that time of the year again when the banks start rewarding you and your cohorts with massive bonuses. And what better way to spend in advance than on a prestige or exotic car? Just by chance, Manheim, is holding an evening auction of 80 bits of such precious metal on Thursday May 12 including what is believed to be the first sales by public auction in Australia of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. If you’ve had a good year at the bank, then the $700,000-plus price tag should still leave lots over for Aspen. Or what about a 2015 BMW F80 M3 with only 50km on the clock, for the little lady, or perhaps a 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 4 door sedan, or an Audi R8 4.2 FSI V8 2D Cabriolet (a bit downstairs, so OK as a standby vehicle that never leaves the six car basement garage). Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar will be well represented at the auction and you can enjoy a certain irony in that many of the vehicles are ‘repros’ being sold on behalf of financiers, who no doubt backed some former wealthy old pensioners! The auction will commence at 6.00pm at 144 Moorebank Avenue, Moorebank. All vehicles are listed on the Manheim website together with online-catalogues and bidders can take advantage of an internet simulcast of the auction. 






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Diesel keeps on trucking towards a cleaner future



Mention diesel emissions and almost immediately people rave on about how the major vehicle manufacturers have been gaming the system and in some cases such as VW and Fiat engaging in outright cheating. But it’s not all bad news that is if the Diesel Technology Forum in the USA is to be believed. As part of this year’s Earth Day, the organisation produced what it believes is one of those pictures that is worth a thousand words in the form of a clean, white handkerchief fluttering in the exhaust stream of a new heavy-duty diesel truck under acceleration paints a vivid picture of where we are today. A scientific validation of diesel’s near-zero emissions? No, but for a technology that has long defined as dirty with very visible black smoke emissions, the DTF claims that this image symbolically represents just how far we’ve come. According to executive director Allen Schaeffer, in every sector and application of equipment new technology diesel engines are now near zero in emissions.


emissions-01“From farm tractors to tractor trailers, from backhoes to workboats, from engines less than 25hp to more than 1000hp, clean diesel technology is here, and improving our environment today. The combination of cleaner diesel fuel, advanced fuel injection and turbocharging, emissions control systems like particulate filters and catalysts to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems define the new generation of clean diesel. All this results in a 95% reduction in emissions of particulates and oxides of nitrogen. It is now a clean and proven system and all new technology engines wear these near-zero emissions very well. Today, over 40% of the commercial heavy-duty truck fleet on the road sports a new technology clean diesel engine, with near zero particulate emissions. Of that, about 25 percent are newer than 2010 with even more technology that reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides to near zero levels.”



So is this new technology really making such a difference? The American Lung Association, in its 2016 State of the Air Report, notes that the best progress came in reducing year-round levels of particle pollution . . . “thanks to the cleanup of coal-fired power plants and retirement of older diesel engines.” For some, this Earth Day may be more uncomfortable than others. Decisions made about emissions compliance by one diesel car manufacturer and tampering with emissions controls to generate black-smoke by a few owners of diesel pickup trucks have been in the news. These both raise serious questions about the choices made, but not about clean diesel technology.


“Looking forward, the future is more than having clean tailpipe emissions. Having low emissions is the ticket to get you in the door. What happens next is up to all of us. The future is all about energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s about using more renewable energy and fuels. It’s also about making sure our economy works. It’s pushing the envelope of energy innovation while embracing the essential availability and provision of power to meet the needs today. It’s a space that diesel engines immediately feel comfortable and ready to deliver. Being the most energy-efficient internal combustion engine, the diesel is often imitated but never duplicated. The energy density of the fuel and the efficiency of the combustion have made the diesel a viable technology for over 120 years. If your iPhone were powered by diesel, you’d be powered for 10 days instead of the one day on lithium ion batteries,” said Allen.


But it’s what happening today with diesel technology that is opening new doors to new possibilities that is so exciting with big data driving some developments. Bringing fuel and emissions efficiency beyond the engine scale to the machine and jobsite or farm-site scale involves everything from integrating GPS and drone technology to diesel engines talking to each other. When tractor trailers followed each other closely in the past it was called a convoy, today it is called platooning. Trucks talk to each other and take inputs and determine speeds to optimise efficiency and lower emissions. Under the hood of all of this has to be the most reliable and proven fuel-efficient technology, the diesel. So, what about electricity? Disruption of the electrical power generating and grid system with fuel diversification is well underway.


emissions02For some parts of the world, power tomorrow might come from a micro-grid that combines solar and wind energy, battery storage and a super clean diesel generator as a backstop for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Our demand for electricity is rapidly increasing in the internet age and with it a demand for 100% uptime of connected data and communication systems and the internet. Behind every large data centre and network is a backstop for the worst-case scenario, loss of grid power. When grid power fails, diesel power is there to quickly start up and handle the full load while consumers and businesses stay connected.


“At the end of the day, what if a diesel engine isn’t even running on diesel fuel, but instead running on 100% renewable diesel fuels made from waste oils, or other feedstock? It is the future today for a growing number of fleets in California and other parts of the world. We can celebrate how far we’ve come, but then roll up our sleeves and know that the challenges will be greater, the expectations higher and that the journey must continue,” added Allen.


The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @DieselTechForum, or YouTube @DieselTechForum and connect with us onLinkedIn.  Get it all by subscribing to our newsletter Diesel Direct for a weekly wrap-up of clean diesel news, policy analysis and more direct to your inbox.

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Million dollar barn baby in the most beautiful race in the world….plus announcements of new models galore




Oh no! Not another story about a vintage car that miraculously turns up after decades in a disused barn. In this case, however, it does seem to have a ring of authenticity about it and is not just one of those ‘barn finds’ that’s the nearest the vehicle has ever been to the ‘country’ was when the dealer drove it out there. And besides, it’s a nice yarn involving some very committed Aussie petrolheads and one of the world’s most famous races. The race is the Mille Miglia, often described as the most beautiful heritage race in the world, that will be held in Brescia, Italy, (19 May) and will mark, among other things, the end of an incredible journey for the Paul Lawson and co-driver Graeme Sedgwick, when they race the lovingly restored 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C SS that really was found, decades ago covered in rubble, in the back of an Italian barn by Paul’s father.


The original chassis and engine were buried under 10 tonnes of rusted farm equipment, where they had sat for more than 40 years. Although severely damaged, the original supercharged engine only had 8342 kilometres on the odometer and the vehicle’s original number plates were lying nearby. The vehicle was shipped back to Australia, where Lawson senior spent 10 long, but loving years, giving the grand old lady the sort of facelift any granny would died for. And in a story that has spans decades and generations of motoring history Paul and Graeme drive the now extremely valuable 6C SS – the same model that claimed victory in the 1929 Mille Miglia -in the beautiful race.


According to Paul, it will feel like the final step on a journey that his father began years ago: “I am honoured to be able to finish it for him. The car might be worth a couple of million dollars, but to us it’s priceless. Graeme and I are both keen Alfisti, a term used to describe Alfa Romeo enthusiasts and we have really bonded over our shared dream of competing in this incredible race and to finally see that dream come true will be just unbelievable.”


millie01Hundreds of stunning heritage models will line-up for what Enzo Ferrari described as the most beautiful race in the world. Begun as a way to honour the proud racing heritage of the Italian town of Brescia, the Mille Miglia was an open-road endurance race that took place twenty-four times from 1927 to 1957 and was once an important round of the World Sports Car Championship.


It was reborn in 1977 as a tribute event, restricted to vehicles produced before 1957 that matched models raced, or were registered to race, in the original Mille Miglia. The modern event incorporates a similar 1000-mile loop to the one raced by icons such as Enzo Ferrari and takes in some of the most picturesque locations Italy has to offer, cutting across stunning countryside en route to the historic city of Rome and back again to Brescia.










audi01Audi has used the Beijing Motor Show to launch the TT RS with a new aluminium five-cylinder engine that delivers 400hp (294kW) and 0-100km/h in 3.7secs and a regulated top of 250km/h. The company claim to have further developed its awarding winning five-cylinder engine using lightweight construction methods that reduces internal friction and increases power delivery giving the turbo a claimed 17% increase in performance.


Cylinders positioned directly beside each other and farthest away from each other fire in alternation that is said to ‘bring with it a very special rhythm’. Ventilated and perforated steel discs are in action behind the 19-inch wheels, or the optional 20-inch forged lightweight wheels and carbon-fibre ceramic discs. Other options include sport suspension, adaptive dampers in magnetic ride technology and for the first time in a series-production Audi, Matrix organic light emitting diode technology in the rear lights that can be continuously dimmed and do not cast any shadows or any reflectors.











Another starter at the Beijing show was the new Renault Koleos, a totally redesigned SUV geared to reach 80 markets and according to Renault Australia’s Justin Hocevar, looking to create a big impression on the local scene. “This vehicle is a core model and will give us and our network business partners a very appealing and well-equipped product with which to compete in this very important segment.”


A key interior feature is the R-Link 2 control centre that coordinates functions such as the Bose audio, infotainment, navigation, hands-free telephony, radio and driver aids. In line with its up-market positioning, the vehicle is equipped with a wide array of contemporary driver assistance systems that can be controlled through the R-Link 2 tablet.










freightlinerFreightliner has introduced what it claims is Australia’s best warranty on any American truck. The extended warranty covers the Argosy cab-over and Coronado 114 conventional truck for four years or 800,000km and is on offer from now until 31 December. All Freightliner trucks are covered by a standard one year/unlimited km warranty and there are two parts to the extended warranty program. The basic, complimentary, extended warranty is for three years/800,000km and incorporates components originally covered by the basic vehicle warranty. There is also the drivetrain component complimentary extended warranty for two years/800,000km that covers such items as the transmission, clutch, driving axles and more. Neither the standard or extended warranties cover the truck’s engine, which is covered by the manufacturer Detroit or Cummins.













rangerover01To celebrate the sale of over 520,000 Range Rover Evoques, Land Rover say it has introduced enhanced technology and increased customer choice with a distinctive Limited Edition. The Evoque, built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant in the UK, has won 182 international awards since its launch in 2011, and in the company’s eyes is widely regarded as the world’s most desirable luxury compact SUV.


So over to autospeak where to further enhance the global appeal of the sector defining vehicle, Land Rover has introduced the striking ‘Ember’ edition complete with a bold red and black theme adding an individual touch for customers wanting an even more distinctive design.  A distinctive Firenze Red roof contrasts with the Santorini Black body colour and is complemented by matching exterior design elements, including the front and rear tow eye covers.


The addition of unique ‘Evoque’ tailgate badging in black, with a silver surround, and Narvik Black ‘Range Rover’ lettering on the bonnet gives the limited edition further definition….blah, blah, blah. In addition, there are all the usual gizmo toys including a Touch Pro infotainment system with 10.2-inch, customisable touchscreen that acts as a smartphone, or tablet, with swipe, pan and pinch to zoom controls.






HoldenHolden has announced the introduction of the new Commodore Black – that’s in fact silver, but what the hell? – available as a sedan, sportwagon and ute. Based on the SV6 and the sporty SS models, Commodore Black is said to effortlessly blend style with substance ensuring customers experience the best Commodore VFII has to offer. As is now the case with even the most basic vehicle, the black ‘boganmobile’ is stacked with ‘goodies’ such as sat nav, auto park assist, rear view camera with reverse traffic alert, MyLink infotainment system and 18-inch black alloy wheels.



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‘Step up at Holden’ designed to cash in on life’s milestones whilst Gigi is no fool without a mind or merely been too blind to realise the power of a new Beamer




Aussies more likely to buy new cars at major life milestones, booms the heading to a press release from Holden. But is this really the case? Well, according to the car manufacturer, ‘research’ has indicated that just 5% intend buying a car in the next 12 months, but that this changes significantly when people are heading towards major life milestones.  For example, 17% of Australians planning to have a baby also intend buying a new car. This figure rises to 23% for someone intending to change jobs and to a staggering 33% for those about to buy a new house – six times more than the average. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the story to support the figures such as who carried out the research and how the questions were framed, nevertheless, it’s a good yarn to support a sales campaign.


‘Step Up at Holden’ has been designed to ‘help provide customers with the right product at the right price to support popular buying periods during life changes’ and includes a range of ‘extras’ such as free auto and free servicing. According to the company’s Geraldine Davys, the ‘research’ suggests customers are looking for cars to support their lifestyles and the campaign, combined with new product offerings, ensure that now is a great time to buy a Holden.


“Australians see their car as a supporting asset to their lives, so we have designed our sales and new products to ensure we cater for a range of different life stages. Three times more people are looking to buy a car when intending on having a baby, so we are focused on making sure the child-friendly Trax and Captiva SUVs, both with Isofix child seat attachments, offer exceptional value with low driveaway prices. We’ve also created a range of exciting new editions across the Holden range, including Trax Active, Colorado 7 Trailblazer, and Colorado Storm, all catering to different needs and lifestyles.”


The campaign will run until the 30 June at participating Holden dealers and features outstanding deals (if it wasn’ t for that dreaded asterisk) including*: Cruze Z-Series with free automatic transmission from $22,990 driveaway; Trax LS with free automatic transmission from $22,990 driveaway and Astra GTC with free automatic from $25,990 driveaway. * Offers available on new and demo vehicles sold and delivered before 30 June 2016 unless extended, changed or while stocks last at participating Holden Dealers. Private or ABN buyers only. Not available with other offers. Excludes prestige paint. Up to four standard scheduled services for the first three years or 60,000km, whichever comes first. Must service within 3,000kms or 90 days of scheduled service date, whichever occurs first. Subject to Lifetime Capped Price Service terms and conditions. See for details and to obtain a quote.






Meanwhile, BMW has decided to use the female form in a manner usually associated with the automotive industry. “Eyes on Gigi” is a one-shot film featuring supermodel Gigi Hadid and a few bits of very expensive metal and rubber and a blue and white badge, produced for the launch of the new BMW M2 coupé. Or in autospeak: “The dynamic performance and agility of the first-ever BMW M2 coupé and the sensuous beauty and elegance of Gigi Hadid inspired renowned film producer and screenplay author Marc Forster, who directed films such as James Bond – Quantum of Solace, Monster’s Ball and World War Z, to create a highly unusual spot.”


The film starts with Gigi climbing into one of three parked BMW M2s and from then on, the viewer is asked to keep track of Gigi and her M2 coupé….the interactive resolution of the game takes place on the campaign microsite, where the viewer can also follow the fast-paced vehicle choreography from a 360-degree perspective. With 16.1 million subscribers on Instagram, 1.9 million followers on Twitter and 2.6 million fans on Facebook, Gigi is what could politely referred to as ‘a cert’ to get the message across and if a ‘player’ picks the right BMW M2 it leads into a digital bedroom…sorry…BMW M2 coupé showroom of the BMW sales company in the player’s country…So, if you’re in for a sophisticated version of the old pea and thimble trick….go for it!


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World’s largest classic car show a tribute to the history of the Germany auto industry



Germany claims to have given birth to both the automobile and the automotive industry so it is perhaps fitting that the legacy of Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Nikolaus Otto, August Horch, Ferdinand Porche, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, et al, now lives on in what has become the largest event of its kind in the world. Techno-Classica Essen, spread across 22 enormous exhibition halls, plus acres of outdoor space, is massive with a breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades to become the glittering jewel in classic car industry crown. Word has it that around two thirds of the global collector car market is conducted through private sales, prestige dealers and brokers, with the most visible and valuable third sold at auction. At Techno-Classic Essen around 2700 classic cars were for sale, with an expected clearance rate in excess of 40%, which would mean that around 1100 classic cars were probably sold from the stands, maybe more considering the final attendance came in at a new record.


techno03Retromobile in Paris is the world’s second largest classic car event and it too is smashing attendance and display records year on year. In February this year it attracted 120,000 visitors, 500 exhibitors, 120 car clubs and filled 46,000 square feet of exhibition space with 500 classic cars on display. By comparison, Techno-Classica’s attendance in 2016 was 201,034, there were 1250 exhibitors, 220 car clubs, and it covered 127,000 square meters of exhibits, with 2700 vintage cars for sale, along with a lot more on display. That’s a big margin between first and second place, emphasising just how big this show is. It also emphasizes just how robust the dealer market is and why prices, which have seen relentless growth for two decades, are unlikely to deflate any time soon.


The event was inaugurated in 1989 when the first classic car boom was at its peak. In the mid-1980s, cheap money became available and the resultant influx of ‘get-rich(er)-quick’ speculators created a perfect storm in the oldtimer (a frequently used colloquial German word that needs no explanation) market and gave the industry a tulip mania moment in the early 1990s when prices halved. The classic car automotive industry has been fearful of another massive marketplace correction ever since. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said it best with that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Techno-Classica Essen was just getting started when the classic car price bubble burst, so its been hard slog, but out of the effort has come a solid foundation which has helped underpin the current success of both the event and the classic car industry.


This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD service wagon was the service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Before joining the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He became president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974 and later its honorary president for life.
This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD service wagon was the service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Before joining the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He became president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974 and later its honorary president for life.


Research shows the enthusiast market is far more stable and resilient than fickle financial markets. Dieter Hatlapa is founder the London-based Historic Automobile Group Internation (HAGI) an independent investment research house that began when a group of car enthusiasts from London’s financial markets decided the rare car market needed some statistical rigour. He reckons that classic cars move independently of any other investment area and that’s a very attractive attribute for collectors and investors alike in this day and age.


“Some people say the stock market is weak and that’s one of the reasons cited for the current softness in the classic car market, but in all our data working back to 1980 we haven’t really come across anything that shows in times of economic downturn that this market does also. I am very reluctant to say that just because the stock market is down, people are not buying cars. All markets are the same in that people see phenomena and in hindsight, find all sorts of reasons for it, and it’s just a really boring game. When I worked in the financial sector, we had all sorts of important people telling us why things had happened in the past but very few told us in advance and got it right.”



Land Rover Classic's announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars will be made available to the public. The show car (pictured) began life as a knock down despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a Queensland grazier who eventually owned a fleet of 25 Land Rovers.
Land Rover Classic’s announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars will be made available to the public. The show car (pictured) began life as a knock down despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a Queensland grazier who eventually owned a fleet of 25 Land Rovers.


Across the acres of show space there were more than 20 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwings and Roadsters for sale with at least a dozen on the stand of 300 SL specialists HK Engineering. Cars such as this are regulars at auction, but not in these numbers. People don’t realize that the elite dealers hold a huge stock of important cars and while it may be the auction market that drives up the high-end prices, the dealer network doesn’t have the same frictional losses and will act as a damper on any downward swings in the auction market.


Getting involved in an auction is pretty costly and one adds sellers’ and buyers’ fees the seller routinely loses 25-30% of the reported sell price. Then there’s the additional costs of insurance and getting the car to the right auction, be it in London, Paris, New York or Monterey and being prepared to double those transport costs if you don’t get the price you want. A handshake deal on a known product has much to commend it. A broker, or dealer, is likely to add a 10% premium to the price of a car, so if you’re buying a million dollar car, that’s a saving of $150,000 by comparison with the auction block.


One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer, is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there's now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems. (Credit: Mike Hanlon/Gizmag)
One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer, is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there’s now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems. (Credit: Mike Hanlon/Gizmag)


Private sales are also a huge part of this marketplace because the networks of friendships which develop in this fraternity – tribal group might be an equally appropriate description – often mean that when it’s time to move a car on, you have a friend, or two, willing and able to take it off your hands. They know the car, love it as much as you do and it sort of ‘stays in the family’. The savings on a million dollar car can add up to $250,000 if you sell it to a mate compared to going auction and a big chunk of the market clearly knows that.


Techno-Classica is the classic car industry’s gold plated event because it has been built on the devotion of the world’s strongest automotive enthusiast market, giving it vast reserves of grass roots resilience. Statistics compiled by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion (Oldtimer Study 2015/2016) show that the percentage of German drivers who would like to own a classic automobile grew from 17% in 2013 to 27% in 2015 with older people showing an increasing interest in owning a classic. It’s no secret that wealth accumulates with age, and the latter segments of monied empty nester drivers were predominant amongst the crowd at this year’s Techno-Classica, particularly so on the initial ‘happy viewing day’ where you can pay twice as much to get first crack at the goodies on offer in an uncluttered environment.


Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues so it's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues so it’s very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.





Source gizmag where you can find lots more show pictures and profiles

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Google’s Lexus RX catches a bus on the way to the office…Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven…manufacturers tuning in to GKN’s plug-in hybrid module torque vectoring electric drive system…




Sooner or later it was bound to happen, but it was pretty small beer compared with all the serious accidents that occur every day. What are we talking about? The first known accident involving one of Google’s self drive cars, of course! Word of the crash, which happened on 14 February, leaked out yesterday and it appears that the autonomous vehicle hit a bus, or vice versa. Anyway, the tech giant has taken full responsibility for its Lexus RX (probably a tax write off anyway) which according to the company, was attempting to change lanes to make a right hand turn when the low speed collision occurred.


“All of Google’s autonomous vehicles have been taught to move to the right lane when they plan to turn right, something all human drivers are also taught to do. The RX did just that, but just before it was supposed to turn right, it detected sand bags on the road ahead it, prompting it to make a sudden stop,” explained a spokesperson. “Once the light turned green, the car prepared to take the lane to the left, but not before detecting a city bus that it anticipated would slow down to give way to the car. But the bus didn’t slow down and just as the car was making the lane change, it hit the side of the bus at two mph, resulting in minor damages to both vehicles.”


No one was injured from the mishap and apparently Google immediately began implementing 3500 new tests to ensure that its autonomous vehicles would not be responsible for another crash of that nature again. The tests are being fed through Google entire fleet of autonomous cars using ‘deep learning technology’, that enables all vehicles to share tests and experiences from real-world driving situations. The incident was obviously a crucial learning experience for the technology and it probably happened at the right time considering how the development for the technology is still in the early stages. The accident also happened at low speeds, so that’s another fortunate thing to come out of the entire episode. Nobody got hurt other than the two vehicles.


According to TopSpeed, there is something ironic about the whole episode as Google has repeatedly emphasised that the point of its entire project is to increase road safety to at least lower the alarmingly high number of traffic deaths (around 1.2 million cases) that happen all over the world in any given year. But if this accident serves as benchmark that allows Google to take this technology to the next level, it’s the sort of irony that I’m sure the company is willing to stomach.






pennies_from_heavenAnd in what could be termed a pennies from heaven breakthrough, scientists from the University of Texas at Arlington have demonstrated a one-step conversion of carbon dioxide and water directly into a simple and inexpensive liquid hydrocarbon fuel. Using a combination of high-intensity light, concentrated heat and high pressure, what is being termed as a breakthrough sustainable fuels technology uses carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with the added benefit of also producing oxygen as a byproduct, which should create a clear positive environmental impact.


“We are the first to use both light and heat to synthesize liquid hydrocarbons in a single stage reactor from carbon dioxide and water,” said Brian Dennis, UTA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and co-principal investigator of the project. “Concentrated light drives the photochemical reaction, which generates high-energy intermediates and heat to drive thermochemical carbon-chain-forming reactions, thus producing hydrocarbons in a single-step process.”


Known as solar photothermochemical alkane reverse combustion, the one-step conversion process turns carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and liquid hydrocarbons using a photothermochemical flow reactor operating at around 180° to 200°C (356 to 392°F) and at pressures up to six atmospheres: “Our process also has an important advantage over battery or gaseous-hydrogen powered vehicle technologies as many of the hydrocarbon products from our reaction are exactly what we use in cars, trucks and planes, so there would be no need to change the current fuel distribution system,” said Brian.


In the future, the researchers imagine parabolic mirrors could also be used to concentrate sunlight onto the catalyst in the reactor, thereby providing both the required heating and photo-excitation for the reaction to occur without the need for other external power sources. The team also believes that any excess heat created in this way may be used to help power other aspects of a solar fuels facility, such as material separation and the purification of water. The results of this research were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.








Major manufacturers are said to be taking a serious look at GKN’s plug-in hybrid module torque vectoring electric drive system, an example of which is being showcased at the company’s Wintertest proving ground in Sweden, as an all-wheel drive driveline option. The eTwinster is meant to offer automakers a combined solution for hybrid and plug-in all-wheel drive platforms. It’s a combination of the eAxle technologies GKN provides for companies like Volvo, Porsche and BMW, and the twin-clutch torque vectoring features the company created for vehicles from Ford and Range Rover.


GKN built a prototype vehicle for testing based on a premium SUV. The prototype, based on a premium SUV, utilises a 240Nm electric motor and petrol engine and using ratios, a total production of 2400Nm of torque is sent through the dual-clutch eTwinster system. Vehicle dynamics experts from several leading automakers are currently test driving the prototype vehicle. The high amounts of torque mean that the prototype receives more propulsion power from the electric motor than it does the combustion engine.


The company says that the eTwinster will be ready for production vehicles within the next three years and predicts that by 2025, about half of all vehicles produced will have some form of electrification such as hybrid, plug-in. Not surprisingly, GKN is developing a range of electric-drive systems meant to augment or boost the power produced by the electric motors in hybrid and plug-in vehicles.






autospeak-awardSubaru Australia is the latest company to enter’s Autospeak of the Year Award that seeks to recognises the composition of the most garbled collection of mix metaphors and irrelevant claptrap. Despite being the company’s first attempt at lifting the prestigious award, the entry contains wonderful weasel-word combinations such as ‘customer touch point’, ‘bold brand platform’ and ‘Confidence in Motion’. Here’s the full text that has ‘finalistic potentiality’ written all over it:


Subaru do – Subaru Australia has announced a bold brand platform that brings to life a new brand promise: Subaru do™.  Over the next year, ‘do’ will be incorporated into every customer touch point, from dealerships to the digital space and marketing campaigns. Subaru’s General Manager – Marketing, Andrew Caie, said: “2016 heralds the next chapter in Subaru Australia’s brand journey. There is a realisation that to grow we need to attract new customers to the brand. That means making us more accessible, more relevant and paramount to that is the need to inject new personality into the brand.


“Subaru ‘do’ will be the translation of Subaru’s tangible but human benefits to a broader market and creates a local expression working hand-in-hand with Subaru’s global tagline, Confidence in Motion. 


“Do is a very short word with a very big meaning for Subaru in Australia, and will activate a new customer experience to come with buying and owning a Subaru. ‘Do’ is a thought that originates from what owners already see in Subaru’s fabric, a brand that is famous for getting more done, and having more fun.” Mr Caie added.



“Do is the ultimate verb and indicates a renewed focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience made possible by removing obstacles for customers choosing, buying and owning a Subaru. We will rollout  ‘do’ at every touch point, model-by-model over the coming months starting with the new Subaru Forester later in March and drawing on an iconic ‘do, do do, do do, do do do…’ sound signature, the refrain from Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ in multi-platform digital and television campaigns.”


“Do” aligns closely to bring to life Subaru’s global “Confidence in Motion” direction that is also being incorporated into the brand’s communications locally.  The “do” direction replaces the successful All 4 the Driver initiative introduced six years ago. The new direction will emerge next Sunday (March 20) with a new television commercial featuring the latest Subaru Forester.




One of the world’s largest automotive groups has suddenly got bigger with the purchase by Nick Politis’ NGP Group of two Jaguar & Land Rover dealerships in Melbourne. ULR Jaguar Land Rover has been operating for than 44 years selling and servicing Land Rovers in Malvern and Melbourne City Jaguar/Melbourne City Land Rover, opened its doors in the Melbourne Docklands 18 years ago and is currently the largest volume JLR dealer in Australia.
















And the winner is…A long-time family-owned dealership in Melbourne’s Roxburgh Park, Mantello Motors is the Hyundai Platinum Dealer of the Year. Other winners were: Barton’s Hyundai, Wynnum (QLD); Castle Hill Hyundai, Castle Hill (NSW); Cranbourne Hyundai, Cranbourne (VIC); Gold Coast Hyundai, Robina (QLD); JH Rosewarne Hyundai, Kadina (SA); Paul Wakeling Hyundai, Campbelltown (NSW); Werribee Hyundai, Hoppers Crossing (VIC). Customer Satisfaction Index Award for Sales: Nic Harrison, Harrison Hyundai; CSI Award for Service: Ivan Cassino, Mornington Hyundai, Mornington (VIC); Highest Sales Volume (4234 Hyundai vehicles sold in 2015): Gary Fitch, John Hughes Hyundai, Victoria Park (WA).




Meanwhile, over at the Suzuki Dealer Excellence Awards the winners were: Brian Gardner Suzuki (WA); Brighton Suzuki (VIC); Jackson Suzuki, Hobart (TAS); Lindsay Mumford Suzuki, John Patrick Suzuki, Kelly Suzuki (NSW). Southside Suzuki, Suzuki In The City (SA).




soppersHow do you make a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S coupe look really ugly? Answer: Hand one over to the Victoria Police. This visual pack of pooh, code named Guardian, with be used as an operational highway patrol car and to scare the living daylights out of visitors to exhibitions across the state over the next 12 months. According to assistant commissioner Doug Fryer it is important for people to consider buying the safest car they can afford when the time came to purchase a new vehicle…like we can all afford a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S coupe…dur!


“Death and serious injuries on Victorian roads could be reduced by a third overnight if everyone was driving the safest cars they can afford. “We’re not saying that everyone needs to rush out and buy the latest and greatest but we need people to prioritise safety over leather seats and shiny wheels. Your car should be a guardian for your safety and the safety of your family much like police are a guardian for everyone in the community.”


He said the long-term vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Victoria’s roads would only be achieved through a combination of safer roads, safer people, safer speeds and safer vehicles…or no vehicles on the roads at all! Anyone buying a car is encouraged to visit the How Safe Is Your Car and How Safe Is Your First Car websites to check the safety features of any potential purchase. The Guardian will be on display at the Industry and Innovation Precinct during the 2016 Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

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A Vision for the next 100 years….stress relief for the auto tech…NACE registrations open…BMW tablet the right medicine for apprentices…and lots more…




bmw-vision-4Developed as a celebration of the BMW Group’s centenary, the Vision Next 100 is the company’s attempt to take a long-term look at what the car of tomorrow might look like after autonomous drive technology has fundamentally changed automotive design. According to the designers, the idea behind the vehicle isn’t just to spur the imagination, but to create a car that anticipates a time when self-driving cars are a mature technology, city streets are more crowded, time is a premium commodity, and connectivity and interactive technology has been freed from the confines of the dashboard display.


The Vision also reflects the growing desire by consumers for bespoke products. In recent years, advances in technology have allowed people to order all sorts of personalised goods and many digital devices can learn from their owner’s behavior and adapt to accommodate it. The same idea is behind the design brief for the Vision Next 100. According to BMW, the concept is able to alter itself to meet the driver’s desires and habits, not just in terms of tweaking the suspension or switching off the traction control, but in physically altering the car itself on the go and anticipating and even improving the driver’s performance.


BMW say that the styling of the Vision Next 100 was meant to reconcile the petrolhead and the comfort loving with “blend of coupé-type sportiness and the dynamic elegance of a sedan.” Its dimensions are those of a compact, but the interior is that of a luxury BMW sedan. It also has a copper color scheme that the designers say symbolizes the connection between the driver and the technology. The scissor wing doors open automatically and the steering column retracts into the dash for easy access thanks to sensors that recognise the driver as they approach. Pressing the BMW logo on the dashboard closes the door and extends the column again.


The most striking visual cue for the Vision Next 100, however, is what appears like fender skirts on steroids. BMW assures us that the wheels are there, but they’re hidden underneath a sort of intelligent mesh of triangles that shift and change the shape of the body as the wheels turn to help cut down the drag coefficient to 0.18. This shape-shifting architecture blends in with BMW’s goal of making the Vision Next 100 a showcase for potential interactive technologies.


A major example of this is the concept’s ability to switch between full autonomous mode, called ‘ease,’ and a more driver-centered mode called ‘boost’. In ‘boost’, the Vision Next 100 configures itself around the driver as he or she takes control of the vehicle. This isn’t just tweaking some settings. Instead, the steering wheel and seat shifts and the vehicle itself morphs to indicate the ideal driving line, steering point and speed, and the centre console angles itself toward the driver. In addition, the driver can interact with the vehicle by means of gesture control.


In ‘ease’, the concept alters itself for full autonomous mode in which the steering wheel and centre console retract, the headrests turn sideways, and the seats and door trim merge with each other. This allows the driver and passengers to face one another and relax as the car takes over the task of handling the commute, or long road trips. In addition, the head-up display switches to personalised content and entertainment, and augmented displays highlight the passing scenery.


The vehicle even has its own digital majordomo named Companion, which uses sensors and artificial intelligence to study the drivers and help to both improve their skills and adjust the car to their preferences. Over time, it can even anticipate and take over routine tasks, leaving the driver to higher-level decisions. Represented by a small, gem-like element next to the windscreen, the Companion lies flat in the dash when not fully active, but rises up in ‘ease’ mode to not only display data, but to act as a light-up warning on the front of the vehicle to pedestrians that the Vision is under full autonomous control.


BMW says the Vision also toys with the idea of getting rid of displays entirely by merging the digital and the physical. Instead of a dedicated control panel, or a small head-up display, the concept uses the entire windscreen as one giant display of road and weather information as well as an augmented reality display. The car uses what is known as Alive Geometry, which consists of 800 moving triangles in the dashboard and side panels that shift like a flock of birds in flight to provide visual cues to the driver and passengers as to what the car is doing which presents analog cues in the car itself. In ‘boost’ mode the Alive Geometry highlights the ideal driving line and warns of oncoming vehicles and in ‘ease’ mode the feature moves more discretely to warn the passengers about turns, acceleration, and braking.


The Vision Next 100 is scheduled to go on a world tour with appearances in the United States, Britain, and China before stopping at the BMW Festival in Munich in September. The video below discusses the design of the Vision Next 100 concept. –  Source: BMW Group/gizmag





stress-mechanicA special two day workshop devoted to reducing stress and anxiety has now been included as part of the SAE-A Professional Development series. The course is designed to increase resilience in dealing with constant pressure and difficult life demands, improving professional effectiveness and performance. Under the title ‘Mindfulness’ the two day workshop teaches participants how to reduce distractions from the work environment as well as how to manage the constant stream of thoughts we all experience allowing our mind to focus attention on the task at hand. ‘Mindfulness’ is defined as the quality and power of our mind that we can all develop to become aware of what’s happening around us without automatic judgment and interference.


The workshop is led by psychologist Phillip Chen, who draws on more than 25 years of work experience with Ford and in management, to provide real work-like context throughout the workshop. Phillip, who also holds a degree in counseling, has been appointed adjunct fellow of the Wade Institute, Ormond College, Melbourne University to conduct a course on ‘Mindfulness for Entrepreneurs’ as part of the Master of Entrepreneurship program.


The workshop provides the participants with concepts and tools to find meaning and purpose in both their personal and working life and explores the connectedness of the mind and body and how this impacts on our emotions and behaviour as a person and a leader. Participants learn relaxation techniques that assist in maintaining calm in interviews, public speaking, presentations etc, and to tap into their innate capacity to manage the mind and emotions to become more resilient and confident in making decisions.


Designed for engineers and technicians who are experienced with engineering work environments, basic engineering principles and processes, the course is delivered in a workshop environment with a maximum of 20 participants. An outline of the course includes an understanding of the differences between stress, anxiety and worries, fostering good stressors in the role of leadership and the cultivation of ‘Mindfulness’ control of mind and process. For more information contact Kelvin Clissold on (03) 9676 9568 or email:






naceHotel booking and registrations for conferences have opened for this year’s NACE/CARS conference and exhibition to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center (10-12 August). The Anaheim Marriott will be the headquarter hotel and there are six additional hotels in the downtown area with reserved blocks at reduced rates for the event. To view options and availability, click here. All hotels are within walking distance to the Anaheim Convention Center, where NACE/CARS claimed to be the world’s best conference program, live demonstrations, exclusive OE training, world-class exhibits and networking for the collision repair industry.


This year’s sessions have expanded to include tracks for heavy duty as well as management/leadership, technology and telematics, demos, MSO, I-CAR, technical and OEM. Additional information regarding session details will be released soon and after completing registration, there is the facility to create a personalised agenda. In addition to the session and training packages, spots are available in special programs, including the exclusive MSO symposium, technology and telematics forum, service repair leadership forum, and the young technicians symposium program, all of which feature new and exclusive content.

According to the organisers, no other event offers this level and diversity of repair training while bringing together all facets of the automotive industry. “Targeting business owners, management, and technicians, this conference and exposition brings together all market segments for the latest and most comprehensive repair solutions, services, education, products, and technology.”

More info @ or





Seven new Jeep concept vehicles, featuring an array of Mopar and Jeep performance parts, available to consumers, will set off to conquer the famous and challenging trails of Moab, Utah, at the Easter Jeep Safari, (19-27 March). Thousands of off-road enthusiasts are expected to descend upon this incredible beautiful area to celebrate the 50th running of the event that also happens to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Jeep brand. The seven vehicles are: Jeep Crew Chief 715, a salute to legendary Jeep military service vehicles; Jeep Shortcut inspired by the classic CJ-5 to handle tight, winding trails; Jeep Renegade Commander built to blaze a trail deep into the secluded wilderness; Jeep Comanche designed to be off-road ready with practical utility; Jeep FC 150, a heritage cab-over design, rich in history and capable of tackling any terrain; Jeep Trailcat, a Hellcat-powered off-roader capable of crawling or high-speed runs and the Jeep Trailstorm with the added capabilities of a two-inch lift kit, 37-inch tyres and Dana 44 axles.






The prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, got underway today (11 March) and as usual it’s attracted some of the best vehicles from around the world including the Formula 1 BT45, which belongs to the renovated Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese. The Brabham BT45, equipped with an Alfa Romeo engine, will be on display as the star attraction of the ‘Hans Stuck cars’ category that pays homage to the famous German driver. The BT45 story began in 1976, when Alfa decided to join Formula One by supplying the Brabham team with the 500hp, 12-cylinder boxer and the vehicle referred to as the Brabham-Alfa was born.


The operation was orchestrated by engineer Carlo Chiti, founder of Autodelta and Bernie Ecclestone, who owned the Brabham team. The talented Gordon Murray designed the car, built around the overall dimensions of Alfa Romeo’s flat engine and distinguished by two side periscopes to feed the twelve cylinders. The drivers were Carlos Reutemann, Carlos Pace, local boy Larry Perkins and Rolf Stommelen. The Brabham-Alfa BT45-B, an evolution of the previous version for the 1977 season, started off in the best possible way taking second place in Argentine GP and holding the lead for ten laps of the Brazilian version before being forced to retire. A few months later the Brabham team was devastated by the loss of Carlos Pace in a plane crash. Hans-Joachim Stuck was recruited as a replacement. The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the second biggest event of its kind in the United States, attracts more than 30,000 visitors and runs until the 19 March.




BMW-serviceAll first-year apprentices on the BMW Group Australia’s apprentice technician programme are to be equipped with a Samsung tablet that will enable them to participate in a new web based learning system that greatly accelerates feedback on their progress. A portable contemporary teaching solution, the tablet-based programme offers a direct interface with BMW learning systems, enabling the flexible delivery of online assessments that provide immediate results and enable trainers to identify gaps in individual student development.


According to the company’s David Lederer, the new delivery method will allow trainers to offer a more personalised learning experience: “The introduction of a tablet-based learning program will enable us to continue to offer best practice in the education of our technicians”.


“Integrated with our existing online systems, the tablet program will afford participants the opportunity for near instant feedback and more efficient learning. The programme will be further boosted by a BMW apprentice app, consolidating relevant student information such as events, social media access, travel arrangements, training schedules and a chat room for 24/7 interaction with BMW trainers within a single platform. One of only two BMW subsidiaries worldwide to deliver its own apprentice programme, BMW Group Australia has provided in-house learning for service technicians since 1982, supplementing education already received through the TAFE sector.




BIG-RED-High-Power-L.E.D-Lights-BR9020-&-BR9030Big Red has added two new units to it’s fast growing range of quality automotive lights. The high power 180 and 220mm LED driving lights are dual voltage 12/24 lamps featuring an array of 5w high power Cree LEDs, that enables the 180mm lamp to deliver 8000 and a range of 370 metres up the road at 1 lux whilst the 220mm unit, with its 30 LEDs, produces an impressive 13,000 Lumen, shining a light beam 500m at 1 Lux. The lamps also produce a wide spread volume of light illuminating the surrounding area to both sides of the vehicle, at 6300° Kelvin, a measure that is close to day light, and that reduced the eye strain and fatigue associated with driving after dark.


There’s an integrated shock dampening system that isolates the lamp housing from the bracket, the LEDs are housed behind a virtually unbreakable polycarbonate lens fully sealed to IP68 and see-through polycarbonate lens protector prevents scratches and scuffs. The lights carry a three-year warranty and are available from all leading transport, automotive and four-wheel drive outlets throughout Australia, starting from approximately $330.00 incl.gst.





















CoolDrive Distribution has released the latest edition of its Electrical Accessories Catalogue, said to be a must-have for any vehicle repair or automotive electrical workshop. The 2016 catalogue has been significantly updated from the first edition published in 2010, which is a long time between drinks, and now details 6743 parts, with 664 new part numbers. All of which has made the publication to big to carry the lighting range products that will now appear in a separate catalogue, to be published shortly.


New sections in the 2016 catalogue include brake controllers, CB radios and reverse camera systems. The security and accessories section has been expanded to feature a new subsection on cruise control and the voltage conversion section now includes subsections on battery chargers and solar panels. Sections are indexed, colour-coded and include technical diagrams and parts specified by vehicle and model. More info @



















Walk on
Walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone











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Jet fighter Lambo hits Sydney…prickly new SUV from Citroen…myPlates tag the Pony…plus lots, lots more


They’ll only be 250 units produced, so if you’re in the money to the tune of a Lamborghini get you name down now for the new Huracán LP 610-4 Avio, for delivery sometime next year. As you’d expect the promo for this little number is heavy on autospeak being as it is inspired by powerful fighter jets, from which the vehicle has borrowed technological, aerodynamic, ergonomic and stylistic solutions.


References to the aeronautical world also include digital instrument clusters, controls located on the center console as in airplane cockpits, the red engine ‘start’ button, the tight stylistic language of exterior lines; and a broad range of matt exterior finishes…Wow!


“The new Huracán Avio offers a host of premium functional features in its standard configuration including lifting system, cruise control and GPS. But the true uniqueness of the Avio lies in its interior and exterior finishes where white or grey painted details contrast with the body color and enhance exterior details such as the tops of the side member, the side view mirrors and the lip on the front spoiler,” says a company spokesman.


A double stripe, again in white or grey, runs along the roof and down the front bonnet. The door panels further identify the special Avio version with the logo L63, where L stands for Lamborghini and ’63 is the year the company was founded. A tricolor cockade, the symbol distinguishing nationality used in aeronautics, is placed between the letter and the number. Even the names of the colors are said to be taken from the coats-of-arms representing courses at the Italian Air Force Academy. Technical specs include aspirated 610hp, V10 with seven-speed gearbox and double clutch, hybrid chassis in aluminum and carbon fibre, power/weight ratio of 2.33 kilograms per hp and 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds on the way to a max over 325km/h. The exotic monster will be unveiled in Sydney on Friday (11 March) by Lamborghini’s Eginardo Bertoli and dealer principle Dwyer Ogle.







Citroen Australia has launched the Cactus compact SUV with two models that the company says feature extensive standard equipment and sharp pricing of $26,990 for the turbocharged PureTech petrol manual and $29,990 for the semi-automatic diesel variant will carry an RRP of $29,990.  There’s a range of personalisation options including coloured Airbumps and roof rails, door mirrors, wheel rims, colour body highlights, interior options and a range of exterior colours. Customers that pre-order before the end of the year can take advantage of what Citroen claim is 23,184 Cactii combinations.

There’s also a six-year warranty, service and support program, two drivetrains, featuring stop-start technology and an 81kW, 205Nm, 1.2L turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine paired to a five speed manual transmission or, a 68kW, 230Nm 1.6L turbo-diesel paired to a six speed semi-automatic transmission. Drivetrains aside, Citroen designers and engineers aimed to develop a vehicle that turns convention on its head, delivering unique solutions to issues surrounding modern motoring.

Other items include:

  • A fully digital, intuitive interface and connected driving position with controls grouped around a 7-inch touch screen, fitted as standard;
  • Wide sofa-style seats at the front;
  • Front passenger airbag transferred to the roof (airbag in roof technology) that creates more room and storage space for the front passenger;
  • An optional panoramic glazed roof with advanced heat protection;
  • Reverse camera with rear parking sonar;
  • DAB+ digital radio with six speakers and Arkamys digital amplifier;
  • Bluetooth connectivity and USB input;
  • Automatic lights and wipers with magic wash;
  • Climate control air conditioning;
  • Cruise control and speed limiter with favourite speed memory;
  • Cornering fog lights;
  • 17” Bi-tone cross alloy wheels with 15” steel spare tyre;
  • Tyre pressure monitors;
  • Electronic assistants (ABS/EBD/EBA/ESC/HSA);
  • Six airbags;
  • Bi-tone leather steering wheel with chrome insert and controls;
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat;
  • Electric front windows and pop out (6cm) rear windows;
  • Electronically adjustable mirrors;
  • PLIP with central locking;
  • Seatbelt unfastening warning on all seats;
  • citreonPiano black roof bars, mirrors, blank rear insert and rear spoiler surround;
  • Centre console and arm rest with storage;
  • Ventilated disc brakes front and drum brakes rear;
  • Top box 8.5L storage compartment;
  • Black Airbump;
  • 12v socket and cup holder in cabin;
  • Front sun-visors with driver’s courtesy mirror;
  • 60/40 split rear seats;
  • Guide-me-home lighting, selective unlocking and auto rear wiper in reverse;
  • LED courtesy and map lights.
  • Exclusive diesel models will feature the following over the exclusive petrol:
  • ‘Easy Push’ gear selector and paddle shifters on steering wheel;
  • Aircraft-style manual handbrake;
  • Bench seat with arm rest.







It looks like there’s no stopping the mob at myPlates from coming up with terrific new ideas. Talk about being on a good thing, and sticking to it! This time they’ve got a famous pony in their sights, which is a bit odd for a company that makes number plates. But then it is a very special nag in the form of the Ford Mustang, whose owners are amongst the most passionate car enthusiasts in the country. Apparently, myPlates was approached by Ford Australia to create a personalised plate to celebrate the arrival in Melbourne recently of the new Mustang. In a tribute to the history of the Pony, myPlates has timed the launch of its campaign for the new plates for today (9 March) which co-incides with the date that the first Mustang rolled off the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan in 1964.


The original Ford Mustang was a product of the Fairlane Group, a committee of Ford managers led by Lee Iacocca that worked on new product needs and, in the summer of 1962, laid out the framework of a new sports car to counter the success of GM’s Corvair Monza sports coupe. Designer Eugene Bordinat envisioned a low-cost sports car that would combine road ability, performance, and appearance in a radical layout. The body skin was a one-piece unit that was riveted to a space frame and to increase rigidity, the seats were part of the body. The driver could adjust the steering column and clutch/brake/accelerator pedals. Racing car designer Roy Lunn was put charge of building the new vehicle assisted by Phil Clark, who played a big role in the mid-engine design and has been credited with coming up with the now famous name after being captivated by the beauty of wild mustangs in Nevada. The new plates come in black or white and incorporate the iconic Mustang pony symbol and colours. So if all you wanna do is ride around Sally, then this is definitely a must have accessory. More @





catalogueA new-look cover and styling throughout, 40 extra pages and an interactive video are all part of Narv’s new product catalogue for resellers and end users. Use a mobile phone or tablet, it is possible to scan a page reader that links directly to a product feature, instructional video or product comparison showing, for instance, a lamp’s performance, a globe’s colour, or the flash pattern of a beacon or light bar. The driving light section features the new Ultima 215 LED, 165W lamps that boosts light volume with a beam that reaches up to 900 metres. The lamp has a super tough die cast housing and mounting bracket that features a tool-free adjustment knob and an inbuilt LED light pipe aimed at improving daytime driving safety.


The Platinum Plus 130 globe adds a blue edge to its light output yet is still ADR approved and street legal and there’s a new range of laser etched LED rocker switches suitable for all 4WD, transport, marine and RVs. Campers and caravaners will no doubt welcome an expanded range of heavy duty RV plugs and sockets with triple housings and new amp and volt metres. Commercial vehicles could also benefit from a new range of LED truck and trailer lighting, which includes LED light pipe side markers and rear lighting options that also use light pipe optics for a neon tail light affect, often utilised within the luxury vehicle market. Copies of the new product catalogue can be ordered from a Narva representative or by calling 1800 113 443







Car-InsuranceRecent research has found that vehicle insurance offered by car dealers can be up to 50% more expensive than through an insurance company. So the news that Renault, in conjunction with Allianz Insurance, has “eased the pain of selecting the right insurance for your new car” needs to be taken with a pinch of the salty stuff. According to the blurb, the Renault prestige motor vehicle insurance policy offers ‘new for old’ replacement cover within the first three years of original registration for motor vehicle total losses. To good to be true? Don’t really know! But as the cover is available from the dealer, the devil may well be hiding in the fine print in the hope that you don’t notice him in the excitement of taking delivery of a new car.


Benefits are said to include:

  • Up to $500 towards damaged or stolen personal effects and clothing;
  • Up to $1000 for re-keying and re-coding if your vehicle keys are stolen;
  • Up to $1000 automatic cover for trailers and caravans attached to your vehicle;
  • Up to $500 towards emergency repairs;
  • Up to $400 for emergency accommodation if your vehicle can’t be driven after an accident or theft and you’re more than 200km from home;
  • A rental car for up to 14 days if your car is stolen, up to $75 a day;
  • Up to $400 for accommodation if your car breaks down more than 200km from home and your car is less than five years old;
  • Optional Tools of trade cover, up to $1,500; and
  • Premium payment by direct debit at no extra cost.

There’s no indication of what it all may cost, but there is a that conditions apply to all of the above features, so be sure to read the product disclosure statement that your dealer will provide, maybe!






Jeep Australia is offering one lucky winner a chance to own their own block of land valued at up to $100,000. All you need to do to go into the draw is front up, during this month and next, at a dealership and take a test drive in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. According to a company spokesperson, those with an adventurous spirit are urged to visit the where an interactive map of Australia will allow them to browse land for sale for up to $100,000 around the entire country: “The lucky winner will also get their very own property manager to help them secure their slice of land, with all settlement costs included in the prize.”









danaDana Australia introduces the new, locally designed and manufactured Ultimate Dana 60 is a new, locally designed and manufactured rear axle kit for LandCruiser 70 Series vehicles requiring serious off-road performance. The company say that it is the biggest, strongest axle it has ever built, increasing the rear track to equal the front and adding strength, higher axle load capacity and increased durability.


The unit is supplied as a complete aftermarket bolt-in kit that has been designed, tested and certified by Dana Australia’s engineering team and manufactured in Melbourne. The complete kit includes the axle, heavy-duty suspension brackets, axle shafts and all installation hardware. Major features include 95mm increased rear track width, increased lubrication capacity, higher axle load capacity, heavy-duty suspension bracketry, heavy-duty cover plate, plug and play E-Locker. The design allows retention of the original equipment brakes, hubs and wheels.


According to the company’s Brad Wolstenholme, up to now vehicle users have been forced to use illegal wheel spacers, or have their original axle extensively modified by workshops to overcome the narrower rear track width: “We are now able to provide a fully tested alternative backed by Dana’s extensive engineering team and supported with a 12 month/30,000km warranty: an excellent example of Aussie design, manufacturing expertise and capability”.

  • Retains the full-float design – vehicle weight is carried by housing for greater load-carrying ability;
  • Original axle centre offset with 95mm wider overall track – no wheel spacers required;
  • 30 spline larger diameter forged 1541 steel alloy axle shafts;
  • Selectable electronic locking differential – genuine Eaton E-Locker;
  • Heavy-duty 9¾” (248 mm) ring gear;
  • Large 3½” (89.9mm) outside diameter 0.390″ (10mm) wall thickness axle tubes;
  • Heavy-duty suspension brackets – ready for your heavy-duty suspension upgrade;
  • Nodular iron diff cover;
  • Spicer 1350 strap-style/half-round end yoke;
  • Heavy-duty Spicer drive shaft;
  • Designed to re-use the original vehicles brakes, ABS, wheel hubs and wheels.

The Ultimate Dana 60 70 Series axle will be a feature on the Dana stand at the Brisbane 4×4 Expo (11-13 March).





Behind A NASCAR Pit Wall: What Really Goes Down




If you’re anything like Speedhunters’ Keith Charvonia, then you probably assumed the only thing going on in a NASCAR pit was fuel and tires. To find out for sure, Keith watched the Xfinity PowerShares QQQ 300 race from inside the pits. This is the race that takes place the day before the famous Daytona 500, and with every bit as much action.




As I first entered the pits, I was greeted by dozens of tires; no real surprise there, right?
As I first entered the pits, I was greeted by dozens of tires; no real surprise there, right?


And the teams were practicing their speed on the impact gun. While the apparatus bolted to a tool box was kind of cool, it still seemed obvious that they would want to warm up their trigger fingers.
And the teams were practicing their speed on the impact gun. While the apparatus bolted to a tool box was kind of cool, it still seemed obvious that they would want to warm up their trigger fingers.



 There were hundreds of tires that had to be prepped, which meant organizing them in stacks and glueing in lug nuts.

There were hundreds of tires that had to be prepped, which meant organizing them in stacks and glueing in lug nuts.


This guy was carefully marking each wheel with a Sharpie to designate its position on the car.
This guy was carefully marking each wheel with a Sharpie to designate its position on the car.


These guys rock full fire gear, always prepared for the worst.
These guys rock full fire gear, always prepared for the worst.


Before the race, the cars are all lined up on pit row. But the festivities wouldn’t last long.
Before the race, the cars are all lined up on pit row. But the festivities wouldn’t last long.


The Green Flag is about to drop, so CLiCK HERE to join Keith on the starting grid.












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