October 15 - Before we get onto the week that was at WhichCar, let me start by wishing everyone that’s been impacted by the dreadful fires in NSW over the course of the week – and in the days to come – our very best.
Conditions across Australia are likely to get worse before they get better, as well, so we also want to remind everyone to be vigilant out there. See someone flicking a cigarette out of their car window? Report them to the EPA. We can all help change small behaviours that could become a much bigger problem.
It’s been another busy week in the world of WhichCar, with some of the team over in the US taking in the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show, SEMA. It’s not just wings and exhausts there; the huge show celebrates the modified car world in a way no other show does.
At the other end of the scale, the team at 4x4 Australia are keen to keep their wallets firmly closed, instead concentrating on clever budget builds for the most bang for buck. Street Machine has a knack for finding fellas who save the shekels, too – witness this incredible Drag Challenge yard find that owes its owners less than $10,000.
Drag Challenge is rapidly becoming one of the most loved properties in the SM roster, with a loyal, passionate readership rewarding the work of the whole team which produces brilliantly paced content that net incredible web traffic volumes through the week and on throughout the rest of the year.
In the less octane-fuelled world, the hugely popular Mitsubishi ASX proved a hit with WhichCar audiences, as did our quick comparo with the new Kia Seltos. Skoda shot out pics of the handsome new Octavia, while Hyundai sent out a supposedly shadowy render of its next Tucson concept… until we fixed the image, that is.
We’ve also reported on an all-wheel-drive Toyota Camry that’s not coming to Australia… much to the chagrin of our Facebook fans!
Plenty of muscle car and supercar action this week, too, with Dick Johnson and Jack Roush announcing mega Mustangs, details of Porsche’s latest 911 Turbo S leaking out, McLaren’s jaw-dropping Elva Super Series unveiled and Ferrari’s Roma breaking cover as well.
We also covered the industry bases, with the boss of Lexus telling us about the potential for a 1000km-range EV, the disturbing tale of a stalker using a car-linked app to terrorise his victim, Holden revealing plans to expand its car subscription service and wondering just why these disguised Colorados were flown in from the US.
In the world of motorsport, we celebrated the Brabham BT62’s first race – and win – and looked at the circumstances behind that second huge DJR Team Penkse fine from Bathurst. There’s also a new endurance race coming to The Mountain.
October 9 - On the automotive front, the week started with talks of what the FCA / PSA merger could mean for consumers, though I wonder how those two already challenged corporations will now feed the future model plans of a combined 11 brands... Are we ready for the Citroen Durango, or the Alfa Romeo Astra? What about the Peugeot 2500 Longhorn? Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo quietly slowed its renaissance from 2018’s “seven new models by ’22” back to “one more by ’21, hopefully”.
Lexus, clearly chuffed after being named Australia’s most trusted brand, defied miserable weather to spruik its 1,000km-range electric future at Melbourne’s second-biggest horsepower festival, the Spring Racing Carnival. On the other side of the world, at the wonderful and wacky SEMA show where it seemed every exhibitor had a modded Jeep Gladiator, Ford unveiled an electric Mustang with a modest 670kW of power, presumably with a range of a quarter-mile.
We also got our first drive of the new Chevrolet Corvette, and declared it a performance bargain, even at an estimated Aussie price of $170,000. In response, Audi made rear-drive a permanent part of the range for its own mid-engined R8 supercar.
Back home, new car sales tanked in the Bathurst 1000 month of October, and a new-generation tank from Nissan debuted, aka the 2020 Patrol. Whoever coined the phrase “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” has clearly been dead for decades. That said, utes kept on keeping on as Australia’s top new cars, and Kia continues to defy the downturn, moving up to fourth.
Holden clung tenaciously to ninth in the top ten, and began clearing space for more… somethings… in its warehouse by auctioning off a number of unique vehicles, including the first V2 Monaro, the first VF Commodore, the last VE II Commodore, and a 1980 VC Commodore driven around Australia in 10 days by journos Evan Green and Matt Whelan.
BMW this week issued a voluntary recall and pleaded with more than 12,000 3 Series owners to stop driving their Takata-equipped cars after a second Australian death was linked to Takata airbags. If you know somebody who drives a BMW 3 Series built between 1997 and 2000, send them to this site immediately.
In other news, Formula One showed its latest pipe dream, aka the radical 2021 prototype which will “promote closer racing and more balanced competition, as well as bringing economic sustainability to Formula One”. Am I the only one experiencing deja vu?
Lastly, the NSW govt, clearly encouraged by Victoria’s horror climbing road toll, took steps to bring itself in line with The Nanny State by scrapping speed camera warning signs. What next? Cops hiding in bushes?