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 Approaching the last hurrah for Holden and Ford
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 3:58:55 PM on 10 October 2014.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

This weekend we'll see one of the last battles to take places between Holden and Ford as we know them. The annual Bathurst 1000 will soon change forever as deals are reportedly being done with pay TV providers to broadcast races, leading to a possibility of many events hosted during the racing season being syphoned from network television. There is also a report in today's Sydney Morning Herald that Ford will remove financial support for its V8 Supercar teams at the end of 2015.

Then following this we already know Ford will close its factory in Broadmeadows, VIC in 2016 with Holden closing its factories in Fisherman's Bend, VIC and Elizabeth, SA toward the end of 2017. There is no official confirmation as to what cars will replace the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, the two cars most of us have owned at least one of in our lifetimes. Rumours in the Ford camp suggest the US-made Taurus will be brought here and Holden may be heading towards importing the Opel Insignia from Germany.

Under V8 Supercar rules, both these cars could be fitted to the control chassis that is used by the Commodore and Falcon as well as the E-Class Mercedes, Nissan Altima and Volvo S40. As a die-hard traditional Holden man who couldn't be given one of these other cars my submission to this idea is, "who cares?" Neither the Taurus or Insignia are made in the traditional Australian form factor with a big six as the standard engine and a bigger V8 as an option, with all engine choices driving the rear wheels. Both the Taurus and Insignia are front wheel drive cars - more or less irrelevant for towing caravans and other heavy loads and there's been no talk so far of a wagon variant for either vehicle.

Back to local motor racing, as far as I can see the direction being taken by Holden and Ford with local manufacturing along with decisions over what will replace these operations are going to make the racing scene irrelevant which means that the Bathurst 1000, a motor race long revered by Australians, will most likely also become irrelevant.

So what hope is there? Governments don't care because they (both State and Federal) have done everything humanly possible to make local manufacturing unviable over the last 30-40 years. It's almost like a country of a mere 23 million people owes the other 7 billion people of the world a living. If the Commonwealth Government isn't extracting the last gasps of oxygen from the car makers we have state governments doing the same to bus, tram and train manufacturers in this eternal quest for boosting the economies of other countries whilst we piss in our own bathwater.

In years to come I guess I will just have to find another way of spending the second Sunday in October. Watching either four-cylinder buzzboxes or hyped-up diesel Toorak tanks being driven around Mt Panorama just doesn't sound appealing.

In the time we have left with a proper motor race though, I am hoping for a Holden win, regardless of the driver. Go Team Red!


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:16:36 PM on 10 October 2014.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

I don't blame the government for this situation. IMO the taxpayer has subsidised these operations for too many years already. Falcons and Commodores don't sell in commercially viable quantities simply because lots of people no longer want to buy them. If it weren't for fleet sales they'd have gone down the gurgler years ago.

I consider the so-called V8 Supercar series glorified taxi racing. Bathurst lost its appeal for me eons ago.

A 4 cylinder 2 litre engine is plenty enough for me and doesn't cost me a mint to fill.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 9:04:29 PM on 10 October 2014.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

Not wanting to buy them isn't really the prime consideration. People who bought cars like that in the past now generally fall into two categories:-

1. Those who have done their bit at raising families and don't need the space that a Commodore or Falcon will give them and thus buy something with a smaller engine.
2. Those who want to keep up with the Joneses and buy a thirster vehicle that ultimately doesn't have half the load space that a Commodore had.

I can't see myself buying something small because I am 6 foot 3 and have a history of back pain. If one isn't that tall then a small car would do the trick when the household budget needs to be taken into account.

As for the motor racing, some argue that the cars on the track don't reflect what we buy in the showrooms. This is true and for good reason - I doubt anyone would want to drive a factory-spec car down Conrod Straight at 300km/h. Even if the standard drivetrain could propel a car that fast, the tyres would blow out and the brakes would glow white hot. There's a lot to be said for the modifications the race versions of the cars receive.

Either way, I'm going to enjoy it whilst it's still available to us. Whatever they replace it with won't cut the mustard.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 9:53:24 PM on 10 October 2014.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

Those who have done their bit at raising families and don't need the space that a Commodore or Falcon will give them and thus buy something with a smaller engine.

For many a year now, those raising families have been buying SUVs. Mum's bus.

I appreciate that tall people require more leg and head room, and I guess there are imports that cater to that requirement.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 10:40:54 PM on 10 October 2014.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

I'm left wondering what they do when they have to shift things though. I come from a family that packed the wagon to the gunwales and also towed a trailer when going on a camping trip in school holidays. That could still be done with some of the SUV category of vehicle though as I said before the load space in the car itself is a lot smaller despite the car itself sometimes being bigger. About five months ago I shifted house and faced a dilemma as I don't own a car at the moment - what to hire to shift my radio collection - as there was no way I'd trust it to the moving van I hired for the rest of my stuff. My old Commodore could hold five consoles with the back seat down. You'd be lucky to get two in what all the brands make now.

Maybe with people shifting to micro-sized flats in these tall buildings springing up everywhere it's the case that lifestyles are just different.

To solve my problem I put all the consoles in the truck but the smaller radios, it took four trips with the whole car I hired packed high, apart from the driver's seat there was no other space.

When I go to buy another car I will most likely by a second hand Commodore. I need the space though I am more in favour of rear wheel drive. I've never really liked front wheel drive and with the tiny amount of extra space that front wheel drive provides isn't necessary in a large car which still needs the transmission tunnel to strengthen the floor.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 10:57:32 PM on 10 October 2014.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 6012

I guess it depends on how big the family is. I know a guy with 5 kids who drives a Mitsubishi Delica. He can pack them all in along with luggage.

As for occasional moving of stuff in the local area, I would go for:

http://www.bunnings.com.au/for-hire-handivan-1-hour-rate_p5470371.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 12:14:11 AM on 11 October 2014.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 6349

Not a bad rate for casual use. I didn't realise Bunnings were renting out vans, though I do remember when their box trailers were free. Smile

I have an account at Thrifty at the moment which is why I haven't rushed into replacing my last car though there are times when I do ponder on getting another one. The results of Sunday's race might stir my soul.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
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