New Ford Mustang Rises Aside Sydney Opera House for Ultimate New Year’s Eve View to Cap Historic 50th Anniversary

2015 Mustang is taking centre stage at Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations (3)

2015 Mustang is taking centre stage at Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations (4)2015 Mustang is taking centre stage at Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations (2)



FORD press release:

SYDNEY, Dec. 29, 2014 – The all-new 2015 Mustang is marking Ford’s transformation in Australia and leading a wave of stylish, innovative new products by taking centre stage at Sydney New Year’s Eve 2015 Mustang is taking centre stage at Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations (1)celebrations.

This convertible Mustang is climbing a Sydney high-rise building next to the Opera House to prepare for a breath-taking view of one of the world’s most iconic New Year’s Eve events.

This caps a history-making year in which the Mustang also scaled the Empire State Building and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, to celebrate the iconic pony car’s 50th Anniversary.

As a new associate partner to the City of Sydney, Ford Australia also will host the event’s first-ever soundtrack by broadcasting music – including live performances featuring the music group Milky Chance – to key harbour-side locations.


Attendees' Toyota 86s on display at the Festival of 86 gaycarboys (3)

More than 800 fans of the Toyota 86 shared their passion for the cult sports car at the Festival of 86 held in Sydney at the weekend.
Attendees' Toyota 86s on display at the Festival of 86 gaycarboys (2)Enthusiasts flocked to the two-day club event from around Australia – by plane from as far away as Townsville while many drove their 86 from Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.
The car’s global chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, said he believed the Festival of 86 – held to celebrate the second anniversary of the car’s Australian launch – had attracted the biggest gathering for the 86 nameplate outside Japan.
“I am very excited to join Australian fans of the 86,” he said. “You have made this car a great success with more than 12,000 sold in this country, which is the third highest in the world after Japan and the United States. It’s amazing.”
Attendees' Toyota 86s on display at the Festival of 86 gaycarboys (1)Tada-san was mobbed by the car’s passionate fans, spending most of the two days signing autographs on everything from components, including the car’s dash panel and engine cover, to model cars, T-shirts, owner manuals and posters.
Leading the tally of those who registered to attend were close to 400 owners of the Toyota 86, a further 50 owners of the AE86 – the spiritual predecessor of the modern car – and a similar number of Subaru BRZ owners.
High-profile guests included four-times Australian rally champion and 86 owner Neal Bates and drift champion Beau Yates whose 86 drift monster was in hot demand.
Many of the owners at the event have embraced the spirit of the 86 by personalising their cars – including several who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on special body wraps, wheels, suspension and other components.
Toyota Australia supported the event and added to the excitement by revealing it is planning a one-make motorsport series for the popular car, which has been Australia’s best-selling sports car in 2013 and so far this year.
The company’s executive director sales and marketing, Tony Cramb, said Toyota expected to make a formal announcement of the 86 motorsport competition in the first half of next year and start the series in 2016.
“The concept is a pro-am with amateur drivers from across Australia competing against selected professional drivers,” Mr Cramb said.
Tada-san said the 86 was ideal as an entry into motorsport because it is compact, light-weight, affordable and, above all, fun to drive.

Collectible classics open for summer at Shannons Sydney Late Spring Auction

1958 Jaguar XK150 Roadster gaycarboys

1989 Porsche 911 Wide Body SpeedsterAustralian-delivered 1954 Austin-Healey 1004 BN1 roadster gaycarboys

• Rare wide-body Porsche 911 Speedster

• Exceptional restored Austin-Healey and MGB roadsters

• 16 rare British, American and Italian Classic motorcycles – many with ‘no reserve’

Collectible Classic roadsters and convertibles from Britain and Europe are dropping their tops for summer at Shannons Sydney Late Spring Auction on Monday November 17.

Top billing for the most desirable vehicle is shared by a 1989 Porsche 911 ‘Wide Body’ Speedster, a 1958 Jaguar XK150 Roadster and a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 Roadster.

The spectacular ‘black on black’ Speedster with its cut down, frameless windscreen, minimalist roof and twin aerodynamic body blisters behind the seats, is one of just 2,103 wide-body examples built by Porsche for the world market.

This rarity, combined with the raw driving experience afforded by its ‘less is more’ configuration, has kept Speedster values high and they remain one of the most collectible Porsche models of the 1980s.

The example being auctioned ticks all the boxes. It is Hamilton’s of Melbourne-delivered, rare as one of 139 right-hand drive examples and six wide-bodied cars sold in Australia and is believed to have had just four owners from new – the most recent in Sydney for the past eight years – and comes with a documented history.

It has been serviced regularly, but could do with a little cosmetic TLC making its expected selling price of $90,000-$105,000 conservative by current rising market values.

Similarly appealing from Britain is a 1958 Jaguar XK150 Roadster that has covered limited miles since its ground-up restoration in the 1980s. This very desirable Classic Jaguar is expected to be pursued by local and overseas buyers alike at its anticipated selling range of $105,000-$120,000.

Also very attractive to British sports car enthusiasts is a stunning, Australian-delivered 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 roadster that was fully restored by marque specialists in the early 1990s, who also updated it mechanically with a four-speed BN2 gearbox, while its engine was uprated with a ‘Le Mans kit’ during its exhaustive rebuild.

The car’s last two owners – both enthusiasts well known in the Healey Club – continued to maintain and improve the car and it presents beautifully, with strong paint, while the trim and upholstery show just the right amount of patina, making it exceptionally good buying at its expected selling range of $52,000-$58,000.

Other appealing open sporting cars to go under the hammer include a 1999 TVR Chimera 4L V8 Convertible ($32,000-$38,000), a 1949 MGTC Roadster ($32,000-$38,000), a 1972 Jensen Healey Roadster ($14,000-$18,000) and a 1972 MGB MkII Roadster.

The MGB is an exceptional vehicle that was comprehensively restored in Sydney during 2003-2004 at a documented cost of around $50,000 and presents accordingly, with little use since.

Shannons believe it to be one of the finest MGBs on the market today and are quoting a conservative guiding range of $16,000-$20,000.

The Sydney November 17 Auction also features a great selection of motorcycles from private collections including MV Agusta, Benelli-Motobi, Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Matchless, Harley-Davidson, Bianchi, Ariel, AJS, Moto Morini, Velocette, Indian and Lambretta – eight with ‘no reserve’.

All up, 74 lots are on offer, including 26 cars, 16 motorcycles, 32 memorabilia lots, plus a selection of New South Wales numerical number plates highlighted by ‘165’, ‘220’, ‘229’, ‘241’ and ‘255’.

Thirty-three of the lots are being offered with ‘no reserve’, making the auction a potential treasure trove for classic bargain hunters.

For more information on all lots, 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

Clever Clio RS: A Cute and Quick Renault

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YES YES YES oh YES: sexy inside and out, snappy performance, a brilliant drive

Oh dear me no: no manual, slightly slow EDC auto

What a cracker!

Once, Hot Hatches conjured images of fake Burberry set caps at jaunty angles, loud exhausts, and beards fashioned into faint outlines on a face. “Da Boyz” gathered like flocks of gulls in distant car parks comparing the sizes of their mods, and doing whatever “Da Boyz” do when they concentrate en masse . To make matters Clio R.S. 200 Sport gaycarboys (5)worse, their hatches were about as comfortable as riding a wooden toboggan over a cobbled street while being simultaneously whacked in the kidneys with both a cricket bat and a house brick. And, that was before “Da Boyz” got at them with their spanners. It was a hideous experience. Long trips necessitated frequent comfort stops, if only to allow a battered body short reprieves.

It is a different story now because the hot hatch went and got all posh and luxurious. As mad as it sounds, I see a touch of mid-century Italian in the Clio, and that’s not a bad thing by any means. If you don’t like a bit of Italian, there is something wrong with you.  I can imagine a short film clip with some 50’s music playing while the voice-over says “Just perfect”. There are blankets and baskets in the boot with a lightly chilled bottle of champers lovingly nestled on a lap. There are just 2 boys or 2 girls on board. All it needs is a huge sunshine roof.

The clever concealed rear door handles lend a coupe look to a 5 door hatch, and the black 18” wheels onClio R.S. 200 Sport gaycarboys (7) the Cup show the flashy racing style red brake callipers. There is no real need for the rear black diffuser and rectangular twin exhausts, but it lends a touch of “look at me” to the driving experience. Just the thing for driving up and down “the Strip”. The doors are deeply sculptured and deliciously curvaceous making the Clio look like a piece of artwork. The rump is pert and cheeky just the way I like them.

The Hot Hatch market is intensely completive and against the Clio, VW’s Polo GTi looks a little frumpy, and while Peugeot’s 208 GTi is drop-dead gorgeous, it is yet to prove itself. Clio RS has 147 kw as does the 208 with the Polo coming in at more conservative 132 kw. The Clio will take 95ron whereas the other two will have hissie fits if they aren’t given 98ron cocktails to sip. That’s a considerable saving at 20c a litre over the life of your ownership. Think how many rounds of drinks that is.

The Renault has a particularly clever Smart Key system. Like other brands, you secrete the key about your person and as you approach the car, the interior lights illuminate so you can check that nobody is hiding in the back seats (that you don’t want to be there). You can enter and start without having to use the key, but the clever part is when you leave. You simply walk away. The Clio knows you’re in a rush to get to happy hour, so she locks her doors for you with a reassuring “beep”. I like that feature very much and is common across the brand.

There is no hiding the bijou cabin’s diminutive dimensions. Still, if you don’t want a city car, don’t buy one. The rear seat is for short friends on short trips only. Some would argue that’s a good thing. It cuts down on free loaders.

Inside, everything is beautifully set out, but there are a few signs that she was originally a left hand drive. Clio R.S. 200 cup gaycarboysThe starter button is on the passenger side of the centre console and the blinkers are on the left hand side of the steering column. It doesn’t take long to get used to, and in the meanwhile you’ll have a smudged windscreen to enjoy. The bane of my life is French auxiliary control stalks mounted behind steering wheel. All 3 French car makers do it. They are impossible to use if you aren’t fully conversant with the functions. Unlike buttons mounted on the face of the steering wheel, those mounted on stalks are covered by the steering wheel itself. You could break a nail trying to get at them, and break your brain trying to remember what they buttons do. It’s not a total loass, there are still wheel mounted buttons to control the cruise control/speed limiter but there are not backlit. In a spasm of Frenchness, the on/off button for these functions in next to the hand brake. Why, just, why? The cup holders don’t hold man-sized cups either. They’re probably designed for nothing more than un espresso s’il vous plait.

I let out a “hallelujah” after jumping into the comfy driver’s seat. They were supportive without feeling like they were lovingly carved from granite, and finding the sweet spot was easy. It only took a jiff to get the driving position just right.

The infotainment system was brilliant, though I never managed to get the voice system to work. I’ve yet to meet a voice system that didn’t make me want to bang my head against the window. The touch screen is large enough, so is not to too fiddly. The system responds quickly to touch inputs except for the on/off button which needs a little think before performing either function. There were a few little quirks to get used to. The Frenchness only made me ranty-pants when, hopelessly lost, I tried to find a way to input an address into the Satnav. For the whole drive, the map had been proudly displaying our progress on the screen, but in order to get to the address screen, to first have to go back to the Home screen and select NAV. Why on earth couldn’t the little man in Paris put an “address” icon on the map screen?

Clio R.S. 200 Sport gaycarboysThere is a surprising amount of space in the boot and laying the split rear seats down is a one-touch process. Handy in some circumstances I would think. Unusually, I preferred the leather of the RS Cup but the “Sports Carbon” fabric in the base model was also very comfortable. If you like a bit of bling, you’ll probably bright red highlights and seatbelts, which is a particularly fun bit of campery.

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We spent 2 glorious weeks driving the RS and RS Cup back to back. When it comes to transmissions, I’m a “shift-em-yourself” kind of boy. It gives you the satisfaction selecting exactly the right gear for exactly the right occasion. All Clio RS models come exclusively with one of those 6 speed EDC double clutch jobbies. I didn’t like it at first. It felt slow and unresponsive, but like all things I got used to it. If a driver feels particularly aggrieved, there is the Paddle Shift option. If you’re feeling frisky you can select “sports” mode where the engine gets an extra kick. Pressing and holding the that same MODE button will select TRACK but this is only for the foolhardy of braindead. It deactivates your electronic nannies. Why on earth would you buy a new car then opt to relieve it of the burden of making your driving look good? I didn’t use the launch control as it tends to attract unwanted attention on public roads. I want to add that the manual paddles are attached to the steering column not the back of the wheel. This means the paddles are always where Clio R.S. 200 Sport gaycarboys (6)you left them, especially if you want to change gear mid corner. Unlike being on the steering wheel where you have to perform mental acrobatics when the paddles have swapped sides. Worse still, you have to quickly work out if the paddles have in fact switched sides.

Both cars come alive on tight bends. The ride feels sophisticated and subtle, but tenacious and surefooted. The Cup has a slightly tighter chassis but frankly I couldn’t tell the difference. Left in Sports Auto mode, the joy of changing direction can be your sole focus. There is very little torque steer so you are free to stick the boot in as you power out of a corner. Even nasty bumps mid corner fail to unsettle the Clio. The engine is as sweet as a nut and feels like it will happily rev on to destruction if you let it. Getting near redline elicits a loud beep and in manual mode is helpful and annoying in equal measure. It means it is time to hit a paddle.

The RS infotainment system has a veritable bevy of modes giving info only a bogan is going to want. It will tell you power, torque, turbo, steering geometry, gear selected and the gear preselected. Who, but a fake Burberry-cap-wearing “lad” is ever going to use it.

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As I said, the Cup has a racier chassis but most of us wouldn’t notice the difference. In fact both cars feel sharp as pins but importantly can be used as an everyday driver. You could comfortably drive 1,000 k’s on the Sydney Brisbane run and not feel like you’ve been on a torture rack. Enthusiastic driving has a dire effect on the fuel consumption but that’s to be expected, so save it for special occasions. The average driver is going to be very happy tootling about in Normal Auto mode. The front sensors and reversing cameras are not standard on all which Clios, is almost unforgivable. They should be standard on all cars, as should auto dimming rearview mirrors. However those few tiny misdemeanours didn’t blemish a fabulous drive.

Like it or not, people judge you by the car you drive. A classic car says class, a family car spells instant disaster, a convertible garners universal praise and a sports car says either “I love driving”. Sure there are knobs driving hot hatches, but who cares. Clio really is the perfect car during the week, and an amazing car on the weekend.

Clio is a car that warrants an extra long test drive. You simply can’t appreciate it on a 5 minute dawdle round the block. It doesn’t show her at her best. Find a corner, find a bump, find a hill and grab her by the scruff of the neck. Clio RS manages to sacred trinity of good looking, nippy and fun.

Would I buy one: Yes, without hesitation, they are perfection.

Engine/transmission: 4cyl turbo petrol, 147kw, 240Nm, sequential multi point injection, 6speed EDC

Fuel: 95/98ron, 45L tank, euro5, 6.3 L/100k

Performance: 6.7sec 0-100kph

Price: $33.240 – $41,990 drive away

Hey Good Looking; Style And Function Highlight Pro_cee’d GT Good Design Award



MY15 Kia pro_cee'd

Kia’s stunning pro_cee’d GT has stepped up to the mark to win an Australian Good Design Award in front of international design glitterati at a gala event in Sydney.

Having been elevated to the finals through the initial judging three weeks earlier, the stylishly eye-catching pro_cee’d GT took the next step by winning one of only two Good Design Awards allocated to mainstream cars.

The judges were taken by the pro_cee’d GT’s sharp styling _ “the designers have found an elegant balance between beauty and aggression in the overall styling, the end result is a car that looks fast even when standing still” _ its functionality _ “this car easily lives up to the GT nameplate, performance and handling is spot on for a car of this size and market positioning” _ and its quality _ “fit, finish and materials (both interior and exterior) exceed expectations”.

And a final accolade, not just for the pro_cee’d GT but for the brand: “Kia just keeps getting better and better at design – love this car.”

The 1.6-litre turbo, 150kW, 265Nm pro_cee’d GT was penned at Kia’s European Design Centre in Frankfurt under the guidance of head of design Peter Schreyer and is manufactured at the Zilina plant in Slovakia. Australia is the only market outside of Europe to have access to the pro_cee’d GT. It is available from $29,990 rrp.

The Good Design Awards is Australia’s longest standing national design award and promotion program, and one of the few forums for professional Industrial Designers and manufacturers to showcase their design expertise to national and international audiences.

As a result of more than 50 years of design benchmarking, the program has focused on progressively raising the standard of design and innovation in Australia.

Today, the Good Design Awards are highly regarded by business, industry, academia and government for their important role in setting a benchmark for the design profession and for driving competitiveness in Australian business. Internationally, the program is respected for its rigorous design assessment process.

A few Shots: A Day Out With The Jeep Freedom, a photo essay

Unedited and untouched. Prior to writing the story, this is what a day in a Jeep can be like. From city, to a country house mansion for a light tasty (but $32 for a pie and beer is a bit much) lunch. The Briars played host to our posse before heading down a track. All of this just a hop and a skip from Sydney.Jeep Freedom (5)

ABOVE: The Jeep Freedom on a lonely bush track

BELOW: The Briars Country House Hotel. Have a pie and beer for $32

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BELOW: A bush track in the recently burnt-out NSW Southern Highlands

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The NSW bush regenerating after a fire.

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Renault Floride Leads the 2014 Sydney’s Mardi Gras Parade

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Many of you will have seen the Mardi Gras parade recently. I’d like to express a big thanks to Renault Australia and to Northshore Renault for registering a Megane Floride Convertible for the occasion. We handed the car back still glittering from the night. The car carried some of the very marchers from the first protest march in 1978. I was chuffed to see the Renault as the first vehicle in the parade.

The Floride CC was originally destined for Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Alex Greenwich MP but when Mardi Gras asked us if we minded if the Megane led the parade, we said yes.

Thankfully the rain held off and once again Fred Nile was denied yet another mass wet Tshirt contest. Oh how he doesn’t see the irony.

I wanted to make a few observations of the Floride as our drive was limited:

The Good: 5 things

· Attractive retro interior

· Cvt smooth

· Smooth easy to use folding metal top

· Super comfy ride

· Comfy seats

The not so good: 5 things

· 103kw engine needs more power for such a heavy car

· some of the plastics didn’t feel quite right

· Steering wheel doesn’t adjust out far enough

· When wet roof opens, water tips into the boot

· Metal roof takes most of the boot (common with all metal folding roofs)

Renault floride cc

*1,997 cc 2.0 litres 4 cyl petrol

*Emission control level EU5, 187 (g/km) carbon dioxide level

*6.5 star greenhouse rating, 6.5 star air polution rating and 3.5 star GVG rating

*Fuel consumption : 10.8 (l/100km) urban/city, 6.5 (l/100km) country/highway, 8.1 (l/100km) combined and 741 km vehicle range.
*Power: 103 kW , @ 6,000 rpm; 195 Nm @ 3,750 rpm primary.

Price $45,990