Three boring things about the worst mechanical combination ever invented – two wheels and one engine; cars that will last you 300,000km or more; Porsche buys some of Bugatti from VW, which owns Porsche (but will list it separately soon) and then sets up a joint venture between Bugatti and Rimac, which is a technology powerhouse in Croatia (pop 4 million and run by President Zoran Milanovic – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in one Croatian president) focused on designing, engineering and producing electric hypercars; is Melbourne stuffed?
Electric vehicle numbers can’t be wrong; think you’re a metal head, tu es un perdant! Jean Guikas is a metal head; and the Sultan and I copy Nick Kyrgios to make money and make you personalised 30-second videos incorporating everything from “happy birthday” shout-outs to car advice.
OK, it’s that time of the year where I have to write something nice about two wheels and the temporary Australians (like my boss and the even bigger boss) who sit astride them dressed all in leather thinking, well desperately hoping, they look like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Angelina Jolie or more likely Cher.
Bonhams in Los Angeles is finishing up its collectors’ motorcycles online auction where a couple of Knuckleheads (Harley-Davidsons) from the late 30s and 40s are looking for $70k each.
The Knuckleheads stayed in production for 12 years, were good for a bit over 200km/h and were said to be the bikes that saved the company. Which, of course, has been trying to go out of business ever since.
Earlier this month the Bonhams soap dodger operation sold a 1946 AJS 497cc e90 “Porcupine” Grand Prix racer (bike) for $550k! This was the only twin-cylinder motorcycle to have won the 500cc world championship.
You could have bought just about anything (and there was some really weird things) for two thousand knicker except for the Porcupine and a 1949 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-B Black Shadow delivered new to an owner in Australia (probably the boss), then went to New Zealand and returned to SDL (soap dodger land) in 2002. A legend in its own lifetime and in the half-century since production ceased, I think it could have gone higher than $150k.
Sorry if I lost you in the Porker promo earlier. Here’s what’s happening. VW owns Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati and some truck companies.
Like the others, VW is rushing headlong into electric, driverless, digital mobility which is going to cost billions as they close down real engine plants, lay off real workers and buy billions of extension cords.
So the VW bosses looked at how Fiat Chrysler (now commonly known as Stellantis) had floated off the Feezer company and thought “if we make Porker a separate sporty looking company, we could rake in $100bn and pay for all those extension cords”.
So, they are putting the sporty brands like Bugatti and Rimac together in a company run by Mr or Ms Porker. In a stroke of genius only a very highly paid marketing person could come up with, they are naming the new biz Bugatti-Rimac, and the company will make all petrol all the time, Bugatti Chirons in France and the all-electric Rimac Neveras in Croatia.
I have nothing against SDL or NZ or Melbourne. But you can judge a place by its people. And the people of Melbourne have taken to the scourge of electric vehicles like starving souls to a souvlaki.
TheDriven.io tells us that there are 150,000 of the silent assassins (SAs) wandering around the streets of suburbs like (no prizes here) Toorak, Burnley and Hawksburn (the suburb you have when you’re not having a suburb). In fact, Victorian suburbs occupy seven spots out of the top 10 suburbs for SAs. Thankfully the rest of Australians are not being sucked in by the battery brigade and only about 0.7 per cent of new vehicles sold are SAs.
Anyway, if you want a proper car that will take you around this great country at least 20 times then you won’t be wasting money on an SA. No, you’ll be buying something from the list of longest-lasting vehicles that US car search engine iSeeCars.com produces each year. Again, no surprises with the Toyota Land Cruiser taking gold. Mine’s 20 years old and is going super strong with 250,000km on the clock.
Swiss couple Emil & Liliana Schmid have racked up 741,065km over 37 years in their blue 1982 Cruiser. Expect to pay $25k for 2001 version, $60k plus for a 10-year-old Cruiser and around $90k for a brand newie, but don’t rush in until the new series comes out later this year. In fact, Toyotas of all sorts take up most of the list with some surprises like the Honda Odyssey.
For over 30 years Jean Guikas has bought and sold more than 600 Ferraris including 70 Daytonas, 10 250 GT Californias, three 250 LMs, over 200 Maseratis, 100 Lamborghinis and you get the picture. Jean actually buys and sells his own cars. Cars he loves and meet his standards. In November RM Sotheby is auctioning off Jean’s collection of 75 racing and road-going cars at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France.
So, here’s a few to drool over. The 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione can be yours for $14m, the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB that won the 1967 French GT Championship is a steal at $4m and the 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C owned by chanteuse and acteur Johnny Hallyday is maybe $3m. I’ll be bidding on the 1993 Jaguar XJ220 C LM, one of three built to contest the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans. It led its class until a blown tyre and a subsequent mechanical issue forced its retirement with only a few hours remaining. Sex on wheels for under $2m.
Details on our personalised 30-second videos next week.