Recently, I was at the mechanic and overheard a lady talking about how much better old cars are overall in comparison to new cars. It got me thinking about my own experiences, having owned some older performance cars, but also being able to test some new cars on offer from different manufacturers.
It’s natural to be nervous about a big occasion, but as the time got closer to competing in my first track day with Tampered Motorsport, nerves started to get a hold of me. I’ve had my 1990 Nissan 300ZX for eight months, but the week before the event, the car was in at the mechanic getting some items finished off before the big day.
For a first attempt at a hot hatch, South Korean manufacturer Hyundai did a great job with the i30N, a car developed under the guidance of former BMW M boss Albert Biermann. The car shook up established contenders in this segment, including the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS, by providing similar performance and value.
BMW’s 1 Series range was introduced in 2004. A highlight for me was the BMW 130i that came out in the mid 2000’s. I liked its purposeful styling combined with a wonderful naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine, six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive layout.
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”