All-new Mitsubishi Challenger successor makes global debut

ChallengerPajero Sport - Thai Specification gaycarboys (2)ChallengerPajero Sport - Thai Specification gaycarboys (1)

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Mitsubishi Motors’ long-awaited successor to its versatile Challenger 4×4 SUV has made its international debut at the 2015 Bangkok International Grand Motor Sale in Thailand today.

Presented for the first time in production form, Mitsubishi’s third-generation Challenger offers rugged luxury, sophisticated technology and genuine four-wheel drive performance.

Named Pajero Sport in markets like Thailand, the new model features Mitsubishi Motors’ new Dynamic Shield front face design concept, a further evolution of the design nurtured in successive models of the Pajero series.

The high-quality stylish design uses both sporty and dynamic elements that clearly distinguish it from other off-road SUVs.

Inside, a high console proportion dashboard with dynamically styled silver-finish ornamentation and plush sculpted seats add to its luxurious feel.

Powered by a 2.4-litre MIVEC turbo diesel engine mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, the new SUV achieves improved environmental performance while delivering great practical utility and punchy engine performance.

Handling, stability, ride and quietness have all been improved through optimisation of the suspension and improvements to the body mounts. The use of upgraded sound insulation and a new diesel engine provide a significant reduction in interior noise.

The 2016 Challenger introduces a range of advanced and comprehensive safety technology that will feature on a Mitsubishi model for the first time.

New active safety features include Blind Sport Warning (BSW) and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) which, while stationary or at speeds of up to 10 km/h, uses ultrasonic sensors to detect vehicle obstructions and regulates engine power if the drive depresses the accelerator hard by mistake.

Additional safety firsts include a Multi-around Monitor which displays a bird’s eye image of the vehicle’s perimeter and the new model gains an electronic parking brake.

Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) braking will also feature on the new Challenger, rounding out a list of advanced safety features not typically found in this class.

MMC’s own RISE impact safety body design and a total of seven SRS airbags provide occupants with outstanding passive safety.

The Challenger uses a further-evolved version of MMC’s own Super Select II four-wheel drive system. This is complemented by the new Off-road Mode terrain selection system, a first on a Mitsubishi, which gives better all-terrain performance and stability as the road surface requires.  

The addition of Hill Descent Control, another first for Mitsubishi, and greater wading depth also enhance the Challengers off-road capabilities.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Executive Director of Marketing Tony Principe said the new-generation Challenger demonstrates the brand’s renewed emphasis on style, refinement and cutting edge technology.

“Mitsubishi Motors’ Challenger successor is another example of our product direction and reflects the new appeal, design excellence, quality and refinement we are building into our vehicles.

“The 2016 Challenger represents a new-generation of SUV with luxury, high-tech safety features and superior comfort while still delivering class leading 4WD capabilities and great on-road performance.”

The new SUV will go on sale in Thailand this Spring and will be launched progressively in 90 countries across ASEAN, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Russia in the coming months.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia will announce details of the new Australian specification Challenger closer to its local launch.

Brock Commodore #001 on P1 at Shannons Sydney Winter Auction

HDT Commodore prototype is expected to bring $85,000-$95,000  gaycarboys

HDT Prototype No 001 has been in the hands of its current owner for more than 20 years gaycarboys‘Brock’ HDT Commodore prototype being auctioned by Shannons in Sydney on August 10 is its original ‘warmed over’ 5.0 litre V8 engine gaycarboys


  • Very collectible pre-production Brock Commodore
  • Chrysler Charger E38 R/T ‘Big Tank’ in cosmetically original condition

The first prototype of what became a legion of famous ‘Brock’ HDT Commodores is already on ‘Pole Position’ with Holden enthusiasts before it crosses the block at Shannons Sydney Winter Auction on August 10.

Starting life as a 1979 Holden VB Commodore SL/E, the two-tone Malachite and Sage Green sedan was given to the Holden Dealer Team for racing legend Peter Brock to develop into a sophisticated, high-powered road car to challenge the best from Europe.

Brock and his HDT team totally transformed the car and given its high-performance brief, the car’s original 4.2-litre V8 was replaced with a 5.0-litre V8 mated to a Turbo 350 three-speed automatic transmission, while this was matched to a bigger rear end housing with limited-slip differential.

To ensure that the HDT Commodore was a BMW beater, its engine was suitably warmed-over and the suspension uprated with Bilstein shock absorbers, while distinctive German-sourced Irmscher wheels, two-tone paintwork and a full body kit completed the conversion from family car to Bahn-stormer.

By the time the HDT prototype was completed, the original VB Commodore had given way to the VC, so the grille and taillights of production models were suitably updated although the prototype uniquely retains its original VB side mouldings.

As a result, this unique Commodore has a very special place in the history of the Holden Dealer Team and Peter Brock in particular.

The current owner’s long-lasting relationship with the car dates back to 1982, when he was employed at Les Vagg Holden in Pennant Hills, one of the founding HDT dealers.

While racing at Sydney’s Amaroo Park in August that year, Peter Brock and John Harvey left ‘001’ with the Vagg dealership to be sold on their behalf and the current owner was the sales person responsible for the sale to a mate’s stepfather.

Eleven years later he bought the car back and subsequently carried out a total restoration over an extended 15-year period. This included an engine rebuild and repaint in the original two-tone colour combination using correct two-pack paint.

Amongst the extensive documentation included with the car is a Certificate of Authenticity from HDT confirming the car as the original ‘VB HDT Prototype’ along with all numbers (including the engine change), several magazine articles featuring the car and more.

Because of its unique place in both HDT and Brock history, Shannons expect this very special Commodore to sell in the $85,000-$95,000 range.

For Australian Chrysler/Mopar enthusiast, there is a very desirable ‘Big Tank’ Charger R/T E38 in Shannons Sydney Winter Auction.

Finished in the model’s trademark ‘Hot Mustard’, the Charger was delivered in 1971 fitted with the model’s top-performance ‘Bathurst spec’ consisting of its triple Weber carburetor 265-cid straight six engine, three-speed manual gearbox and the optional long distance ‘Big Tank’ – the form in which the original Chargers competed against their Ford and Holden arch-rivals at Mt. Panorama in the era.

However after being acquired by the current owner in 1997, the gearbox was upgraded to the four-speed manual transmission fitted to later model E49 ‘Bathurst’ Chargers, while it was fitted with a newly-rebuilt genuine E38 engine in April last year.

While not a ‘matching numbers’ car, which would greatly enhance its collectible and sale value, the E38 being auctioned is a very attractive, well-presented and quite original car in all other resects, according to Shannons.

At its estimated $70,000-$80,000 guiding range it will offer Charger enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the full pleasure and charisma of E38 ownership for a much more realistic price than a totally original car would command.

For more information on all lots, including registration for Shannons Online Bidding, visit

For more auction information contact: Stuart Roberts (02) 8019 4179, or Ian Clayton (02) 8019 4180

For media information and publication-quality photos, please contact:  Michael Browning 0418 324 328

For access to all the latest industry news, market and auction trends, please enrol to receive Shannons eNews directly

Infiniti Q30 Premium Active Compact set for Frankfurt IAA 2015 premiere

Infiniti Q30 Premium Active Compact gaycarboys


  • Daring, expressive design meets advanced ride and handling performance
  • Category-breaking Q30 faithful to 2013 concept car
  • World premiere for global media September 15th at Frankfurt Motor Show

Hong Kong – The first ever Infiniti Q30 Premium Active Compact is ready for its world premiere at the International Frankfurt Motor Show in September this year.

Featuring Infiniti’s iconic design language, the all-new Q30 represents a category-breaking vehicle concept developed for customers seeking urban individuality. Its dynamic drive characteristics provide for Infiniti-typical confident and responsive performance as well as excellent ride and handling.

Crafted trims and expressive interiors extend the striking design approach from the exterior into the passenger cabin.

The public premiere of the Q30 Active Compact comes exactly two years after its precursor, the Q30 Concept, was introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt show. The unmistakable approach of that winning concept has been fully maintained as Infiniti’s all-new Q30 compact vehicle is introduced to the market.

“Design is a key pillar of the Infiniti brand – and the new Q30 Active Compact perfectly embodies this approach,” said Infiniti President Roland Krueger. “The Q30 Active Compact delivers the distinctive design, the driving dynamics and the individuality that our customers expect of an Infiniti vehicle. With our first ever entry in the compact car segment, we continue the product offensive and provide additional options for our discerning customers.”

The Q30 Active Compact underwent final testing and development in Europe. It will be built in Sunderland in the UK which then becomes the fourth country on three continents to build Infiniti vehicles.

Press days for the international motor show in Frankfurt this year are on September 15 and 16, public days are held September 17-27.

Holden Astra and Cascada: From Opel with Love


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ABOVE: Cascada


No one can figure out just why the Opel experiment failed but it certainly isn’t because “the market segment is tight” as was the excuse at the time. If so, Holden would not now be selling the Opel models with Holden badges shoved on the front. We always said the Opels should have been sold through Holden’s dealer network or rebadged and sold as Holden models. Opel Astras were previously sold here and did just fine. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

This Astra debuted in Europe 2008 and was first sold there in 2009 (the Cascada in 2013) making this vintage over 6 years old. In car terms that’s almost pension time. Even so, the exterior crisp and clean and cutting-edge. The engines are smooth and silky but the auto is like stirring porridge. No diesels are available which is probably just as well as this is Holden’s sporty range. No doubt they did not want to cannibalise their Cruze sales.

Holden is only bringing in the 2 door Astra versions which first went on sale on in 2011. They are the GTC /VXR and the Cascada convertible (Spanish for waterfall). In fact the Cascada is achingly beautiful in an “I’ve got to have you” kind of way and is definitely my preference for looks, because convertibles are always my preference for looks.

Sadly Cascada gets a very modest 125kw turbo 4. Why, oh why, oh why? For some stupid reason all of the car makers seem to think putting the low powered engine in a droptop will sell it. To add insult to injury, Cascada only gets that hateful auto transmission, while the VXR only a manual. The GTC and GTC sport get a choice of either transmission. Why limit buyers to that kind of choice? Why not just have a GTC, GTC Sport, VXR and Cascada with a full choice of engines and transmissions and let the buyer decide how much they want to spend?

The Drive:

We took the convertible through some bends that would put the most thorough of breds through their paces. Kept in manual, the plucky little engine sings along nicely and every last kw can be wrung from its scrawny little neck. The chassis doesn’t feel quite as tight as the VXR coupe but that isn’t where the strength of Cascada lies. The secret weapon is the roof which slides quickly away in a matter of seconds at up to 30kph. If you’re feeling flash you can watch it from outside the car by pressing the lock or unlock button on the fob, then pressing and holding that same button. You can open or close all the windows and if you keep your finger on the pulse, the roof follows, handy on a hot day. The roof folds into a compartment in the top of the boot space. While the roof is up, extra space can be had in the boot by raising the stowage compartment floor. The roof won’t lower until the compartment is back in its original position again. This feature makes the car more flexible than it otherwise would be.

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On the road, the Astra and Cascada feels stuck to the tarmac. Even the roofless Cascada sticks itself down beautifully. The GTC is “entry level” 3 door hatch with sharp steering and 147kw of power. All models have decent ride but the VXR has the firmest and also the sharpest handling. It is my pick for drivability.

The reason I dislike the auto so much it is slow. The changes are slow in both directions, and the 6 speed box tries to get into top gear as fast as it can. It always feels in the wrong gear and won’t change unless you give your right foot a real stab into the carpet. I know I like shift-em-yourself gears but there are many auto gearboxes I could easily live with. This one I just couldn’t.

You can opt to change gears yourself then at least you’ll be in the gear you want to be in. There are no steering wheel paddles so changes are via the floor selector. The hardest part is remembering which is up and which is down. Racing cars once had sequential shifters on the floor but they moved to paddles during the Hawke administration. Why? Right is up and left is down. You’re only confused when turning corners and the damned paddles aren’t where you left them because they’re glued to the wheel rather than the steering column.

None the less the ride is pleasing and the seating comfortable. The seats adjust with buttons and on chilly days are heated for the Cascada. This car is set up for grand touring not going for blats through windy mountain passes and certainly not a race track. “Horses for courses”, are my words du jour. City traffic is a snip because Cascada feels light and nippy, rubbish auto notwithstanding. Because having the roof of a ragtop up is punishable by death, the roof spends most of its time down where the optional wind deflector comes in handy. It has to be said that on really cold days even seat and steering wheel heating are sorely tested and you’ll probably find yourself reaching for the scarf and gloves. Roof-up is a fairly quiet place with a triple layered affair overhead. It is nowhere near as quiet as Audi’s A3 with its acoustic material on board, but that’s part of the charm. You feel part of the environment and I like that. Even creeping along in a CBD crawl takes on a charm all its own.

Although the range has the newest version of Holden’s excellent My Link system, it is hamstrung by a ridiculously complex array of 34 buttons. As if that wasn’t enough, there are 4 dials and a ring-shaped selector as well. What we they thinking? Perhaps it wouldn’t matter so much if the 7” LCD display was a touch screen. As it is, inputting Satnav addresses is like trying to write the Gettysburg address on the back of an angry Death Adder with a meter wide texta, while balancing on a one legged chair, after drinking a litre of vodka. It is stupidly difficult, and the unnamed “enter” key is the selector ring around the outside of the joystick. It needs pressing after each letter then a wind to find the next letter or function. It’s just daft. Clearly this console was made for another system. GM cheaped out by keeping the same buttons and not giving Astra the same touch screen which appear in other Holden’s. Why? The centre stack reminds me of a 90’s coffee table. You were always reaching for wrong button in what was a sea of buttons on a dizzying array of controllers.

Ford had the same problem with the Sony system in Focus and Falcon. They got rid of the messy buttons when they gave the cars a facelift in the case of Focus, and Falcon and a new model for Mondeo. Very few buttons are left with most functions banished to a menu. Input is via the 8” touch screen. It leaves the console neat and clear of clutter. As it stands, using the Astra’s system while you’re moving is pot luck, even to change the radio station. The buttons are too close together so there is no way you can select little used functions without looking. Luckily you can perform some of the functions from the steering wheel too. You find yourself trying to avoid the centre stack as much as possible. I found the system easier to use after a while but we will never be BFFs.

Unforgivably, there is no rearview camera. This crime is punishable by death. There also no blind spot detection, no smart entry and start, no automatic parking, no lane departure and no low-speed accident avoidance. It is with some consolation then that there are little arms which bring the seatbelt out once you start the engine. They first did this back in the 80’s in a Mercedes Coupe. This is all a bit odd in a car costing $46,542 (drive away in NSW). I realise you pay a premium for a convertible, but a Golf is only a few thou more and is hard to beat. A VXR Cascada might be a different story but there is no such animal. Even a manual would make the 125kw setup more attractive.

On the whole, the interior feels classy. The two tone caramel/black of the test car was tasteful and the driving position is comfy. I love the Cascada for its look and feel. The drive was OK if you persist with changing the gears in manual mode. I can’t help but feel this stunning body is wasted on this engine/auto combo when VXR’s 206kw/400Nm can be had. OK, this is a tourer not a racer, I get it. The thing is the rear seats are decorative only and the superb Mazda MX5 is 6 grand cheaper, and it has a manual.

The VXR goes some way to fixing the issues I had with the Cascada. The manual gear change feels crisp and clean and the VXR is a right little firecracker when you stick the boot in.

As much as I loved the look of the Cascada, it has no manual so it’s the VXR for me. Handling is similar throughout the range so the buyer will choose roof or not, auto or not and take the rest from there.

For similar money I’d consider a Golf Cabriolet, or a Ford Focus ST/Golf GTi if I wanted performance.

The Opposition:

Focus has 2 extra doors and can be optioned with blind spot detection, city safe braking, active lane guidance and the Ford Sync II which has eliminated most of the centre console buttons. Golf gets most of those things as well as automated parking at extra cost of course.

Would I buy one?

If I was forced to choose right now it would have to be Golf Cabriolet, Golf GTi or Focus ST. I just couldn’t live with Cascada’s sloppy automatic transmission, and the centre console is just too busy. Having said all that, Astra and Cascada are beautiful to look at and great to drive other than the issues I’ve already mentioned. They are certainly the best handling Holdens and have a similar classy finish inside compared with Commodore. Some don’t care about how gears change and some don’t care for a powerful engine so I have no doubt there are plenty of buyers.

My gut tells me Holden should have waited for the new model but perhaps they thought that too far off so have taken a risk. Time will tell.

The Range pricing is:

$30, 943 GTC :1.6L turbo petrol, 6.9L/100k, 147k/280Nm, 6sp man

$34,033 GTC Sport :1.6L turbo petrol, 6.9L/100k, 147k/280Nm, 6 sp man

$44,482 VXR :2.0L turbo petrol, 8.0L/100k, 206kw/400Nm, 6 sp man

$46,542 Cascada :1.6L turbo Petrol, 7.5L/100k, 125kw/260Nm, 6 sp auto

New Chrysler 300: Return of the instant classic with unparalleled levels of sophistication, craftsmanship and technology

Chrysler 300C Luxury Gaycarboys 2016 (2)

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  • New Chrysler 300 sedan’s iconic exterior is crafted with an even more expressive style for 2015, with a bolder front grille, signature LED lighting, unique finishes and new wheel designs
  • TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, now standard on every model, balances performance with impressive efficiency
  • All-new electronic power steering system, which transmits precise road feel and improves on-centre tracking, steering noise and fuel consumption
  • All-new cast-aluminum axles and axle housing provide weight savings and help to reduce parasitic friction
  • Acoustically tuned interior to minimise road noise
  • Impressive standard equipment including heated leather seating, Uconnect with voice commands and an 8.4-inch touchscreen complete with navigation
  • New for 2015, the “Sport” button (300C Luxury) enables sport-tuned steering, pedal, engine and transmission calibration
  • More than 80 available safety and security features, including new for 2015 Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop, and Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
  • 300C and 300C Luxury models offer the highest levels of comfort, refinement and technology at an attainable price
  • Chrysler 300C  ($49,000 MSRP) and 300C Luxury ($54,000 MSRP) available now

The big, bold sedan is back: Chrysler’s new 300 has arrived, offering unmistakable styling and world-class engineering, quality and technology.

The new Chrysler 300 stands apart from the luxury crowd, offering a long list of premium inclusions on every model, including a TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission, award-winning Uconnect system complete with satellite navigation, and an all-new 7-inch full colour driver information display (DID).

Ensuring the drive is just as impressive, the chassis of the 2015 Chrysler 300 has been engineered to deliver world-class performance and efficiencies, thanks to its advanced technological solutions.

Inside the new Chrysler 300, passengers will be immersed in a sophisticated blend of hand-sculpted, high-quality and innovative material choices – inspired by American cities – precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful, clever features.

Jeeps says “hacking problem” in American Uconect only

FCA USA was made aware of a potential issue within the UConnect’s external cellular connection. On July 16, owners of vehicles with this UConnect feature were notified of an update that has now resolved this wireless connection issue.

FCA USA has a dedicated team from System Quality Engineering focused on identifying and implementing software best practices. The team’s responsibilities include development and implementation of cybersecurity standards for all vehicle content, including on-board and remote services.

As such, FCA released a software update that offers customers improved vehicle electronic security and communications system enhancements. The Company monitors and tests the information systems of all of its products to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities in the ordinary course of business.

No vehicles in Australia nor any international market outside of the USA were affected by this issue, as it is an American-only system not present in Australian vehicles. Vehicles sold in Australia and other international markets are not equipped with an external cellular connection.

Volvo Car to support first ever road tests of autonomous driving technology in Australia


Autonomous drive technology – Cloud-based 3D digital map

Kevin-McCann_MD-Volvo-Car-Australia gaycarboysTrent Victor, Senior Technical Leader Crash Avoidance



Volvo Car Australia is supporting a national initiative to road test autonomous driving technology on Australian roads for the first time ever.

Today Volvo has joined the ARRB Group, Australia’s national independent road research agency, and the South Australia Government to announce Australia’s first autonomous vehicle demonstration trials will begin in November this year. The ARRB announced today the trials will coincide with a Driverless Vehicle Conference to be held on November 5-6.

To support the trial Volvo Car Australia will provide an All-New XC90 that will be specially programmed to allow its IntelliSafe Assist (Adaptive Cruise Control including Pilot Assist, Lane Keeping Aid, Distance Alert, and Speed Limiter Function) to be operated hands free, within a controlled environment.

One of Volvo’s top international safety experts, Dr Trent Victor, will be a keynote speaker at the Driverless Vehicle Conference and will assist with the trials. Dr Victor, who is Volvo’s Senior Technical Leader Crash Avoidance, is an internationally recognised safety and crash expert.

Autonomous drive technology – Complete system solution

Over the past 20 years he has filed more than 20 patents and published over 60 papers while establishing a unique track record of applying behavioural science data to crash avoidance innovation.

Volvo is a global leader in developing autonomous drive technology, and will have more than 100 autonomous cars on the road in Sweden by 2017.

Kevin McCann, Managing Director of Volvo Car Australia said: “As a leader in the development of autonomous drive technologies, Volvo’s aim is to make this technology realistically available for customers in production cars in the near future.

“Volvo believes autonomous drive technology will deliver significant consumer and societal benefits, including improved traffic safety, improved fuel economy, reduced congestion, and the opportunity for improved infrastructure planning.

“We are delighted to be involved with the ARRB demonstration and conference in South Australia, where we believe Volvo Car Australia can make a positive and significant contribution.”

ARRB Group Managing Director Gerard Waldron said: “ARRB will establish how driverless technology needs to be manufactured and introduced for uniquely Australian driving behaviour, our climate and road conditions, including what this means for Australia’s national road infrastructure, markings, surfaces and roadside signage.

“The trials in South Australia this November will be the first of many trials nationally, with discussions underway in a number of jurisdictions. ARRB Group is calling for additional states, territories and partners to support this important national research initiative. We’re seeking technology and automotive industry partners to assist us in Australia’s driverless vehicle innovation,” he added.

List of partners supporting ARRB’s Driverless Vehicles Initiative:
Government of South Australia; Volvo Car Australia; Bosch; Telstra; RAA; Adelaide Airport Limited; Flinders University; Carnegie Mellon University; Cohda Wireless