When thinking of great mid-engined sports cars to come out of Japan in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Honda NSX immediately springs to mind. Before the NSX, Nissan produced a little known mid-engined concept car called the MID4, designed to compete against the best from Porsche and Ferrari.
The Suzuki Swift has been around for a number of decades and has always been a small, light, fun and affordable car. Over this time, there have also been some performance versions of the car, most notably the Swift GTi that was produced from 1989 all the way through to 2000. The Swift Sport took over as the performance model in 2005 and continues to this day, currently being in its fourth generation.
The Rob Roy hillclimb is located about an hour’s drive north-east of Melbourne near Sugarloaf Reservoir in Christmas Hills. This historically significant track is one the world’s oldest purpose built hillclimb tracks, with origins dating back to 1935. The first meeting was run in February 1937, and the track was fully bituminised in 1939. Continue reading “Rob Roy Hillclimb”
The Phillip Island Classic is a yearly highlight for car and motorsport enthusiasts. The 2013 edition showcased some historically significant cars that competed at Le Mans, Formula 1 and the Australian Touring Car Championship. There were two cars that caught my eye that year and they were built by French car manufacturer Matra-Simca, to compete in the FIA World Sportscar Championship. Continue reading “Matra-Simca MS670”
My connection to the Lexus brand was established in the early 2000’s, when the Lexus IS200 and IS300 were released. I liked the in-line six cylinder engines, rear wheel drive layout and how the instrument cluster resembled a chronograph watch. Other cars that stood out for me in the Lexus range included the original IS F and the magnificent V10 LFA.
In the early 2000’s, The Nations Cup Championship held in Australia was a personal favourite of mine to watch. The Championship featured exotic road cars including the Porsche 911 996 GT3, Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge and Dodge Viper ACR. Talented Tasmanian Paul Stokell was my favourite driver of the time and he drove a Lamborghini Diablo SVR throughout the 2000 and 2001 series.
Aston Martin and the James Bond film series have always been strongly affiliated, starting in 1964 when a beautiful DB5 featured in ‘Goldfinger’. Any enthusiast of the films will know that there have been times when other manufacturers were used, including Lotus, BMW and even AMC. Since 2002 however, when an Aston Martin Vanquish was used in ‘Die Another Day’, Aston’s have been a regular part of the film series.
The Toyota Corolla has always been a popular small car and around 44 million have been sold since the model’s introduction in 1966. The Corolla is currently in its 12th generation and utilises the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular chassis family, resulting in lower noise, improved rigidity and a lower centre of gravity.
The BMW M3 E36 and Nissan 300ZX Z32 were two of the best performance cars to come out of the 1990’s. In 1990, the 300ZX cost $69,720 while in 1994 the M3 cost a hefty $124,650. There are a number of similarities between the two cars. They’re both good looking two door coupes. Both have three litre six-cylinder naturally aspirated engines featuring double overhead camshafts and 24 valves with the M3 being an in-line six and the 300ZX a V6.
My good friend Matthew Harpantidis has owned some great cars over the years but one that really stands out for me is his 1975 Mk1 Ford Escort. I’ve always loved Escorts and the success they had in the World Rally Championship throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. I still have fond memories of Matt’s car and all the time that we spent driving around Healesville in the early 2000’s. Matt still owns the Escort so it was a great opportunity to ask him about the history of the car and what’s planned for the future.
My first E-book can be found on Amazon and focuses on new and used car reviews, significant road and race cars, Australian motor racing circuits and other motoring related topics. Continue reading “Stories from the motoring world E-book”
There were so many great cars to come out of Japan in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. There was the Honda NSX, Mazda RX-7, Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Toyota Supra. A car that stood out for me was the Nissan 300ZX Z32. Admittedly, the naturally aspirated version didn’t have the outright performance of these other Japanese greats but I loved the futuristic styling and the front engine, rear wheel drive layout.
The Aussie Driver Search has grown significantly since its inception in 2016 and gives anyone an opportunity at motorsport. This year’s Aussie Driver Search features a lot more events with a greater number of prizes on offer for the winners. I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the Rookie Competition this year to compete at Sandown Raceway however noise restrictions meant a change of location to the iconic Phillip Island Circuit.
Australian’s really are spoilt at the moment if they’re in the market for a hot hatch. There’s Honda’s rapid Civic Type R, Volkswagen’s evergreen Golf GTI and Ford’s wonderful Focus RS to name a few. Hyundai have recently entered the hot hatch game with the i30N, a car that’s been developed under the guidance of former BMW M boss Albert Biermann.
When the Toyota 86 was introduced back in 2012, motoring enthusiasts welcomed the return of an exciting two door rear wheel drive sportscar from the Japanese manufacturer. The 86 was built as a spiritual successor to the Corolla AE86; with the aim of the 86 to bring back memories of the light, nimble and modestly powered Corolla. The current Toyota 86 is certainly a car that’s been built for motoring enthusiasts with the intention of bringing fun back to driving.