Home  /  July 2023  /  Comment

Let’s call out this week’s car makers who are going straight to the naughty corner.

Out you come Audi. First up, Audi New Zealand has just apologised to 140 customers who it sold Q3 SUVs with the wrong engine. Then former Chairman of the Vorstand (nup I don’t know either) of Audi, Rupert Stadler got a suspended sentence of one year and nine months, and was fined $1.7 mill for his role in the VW dieselgate scandal. Rup had already spent a couple of months in the slammer in 2018 so wasn’t too keen to go back.

Ok Honda, your turn. The national car safety police in the US are recalling 1,198,280 Hondas. Not to worry you but see if you have any 2018-2023 Odysseys, Honda Pilots or Honda Passports in the garage. The problem is the infotainment system screen power goes in and out and the back up camera could stop working completely. Then you would have to look over your shoulder.

Oh no! Come on Ferrari. The Australian government recall department is telling owners of 2021 to 2023 Fezzer 296 GTBs, 296 GTSs (‘Defining Fun To Drive’) that the hose connecting the fuel tank may become damaged and corroded due to contact against the high voltage battery cover. If this occurs, fuel may leak in the presence of an external ignition source resulting in a vehicle fire which could increase the risk of injury or death to vehicle occupants, other road users or bystanders and/or damage to property and/or serious embarrassment.

Yes, last weekend was the Grosser Preis Von Ostereich 2023. Bet you’ve had a few sleepless nights wondering about a track with the fewest corners in the whole of F1. You probably know it as the Red Bull Ring and you’ve probably got the host town Spielberg on your bucket list. And why not? Look I can’t keep Mick out of the Militarluftfahrtmuseum Zeltweg, or the Modelleisenbahan Knittefeld and when it comes to tucker, then it’s straight down to the China Restaurant Fu Xin where there’s no Australian menu but tuck right in to the Gebackene Wan Tan and that old Shanghai fave, Huhnerfleisch mit rotem Curry. No Coopers. But a heap of Gosser. As we say at the Fu Xin at the end of a big night: “Gut. Besser. Gosser”.

About halfway through the season we can make a few observations. Ferrari aren’t dead yet, they just smell funny. And the gang have started calling Chuck Leclerc, Adelaide. He’s always half an hour behind. And the J.Arthur Rank award for the 2023 season has already been won by Aston Martin chair, Larry Stroll who told Autocar that: “I should be knighted for what I’ve done”. Strolly went on to say that he’s saved thousands of jobs by investing in the car maker and F1 team. Not to mention got his son Lance a job in one of the team cars.

Showing how close F1 is to simply becoming a reality TV show, actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have bought into the Alpine team, which is really the Renault team, which probably changed its name to the ciggy brand after former boss Carl Ghosn fled Tokyo in a guitar case. Ryan and Rob know all there is to know about F1 after their successful investment in the Welsh football club Wrexham. Anyway the Alpine team proudly boast: “For 2023, Esteban Ocon is joined by compatriot Pierre Gasly to form an all-French pairing forged in the rustic lands of Normandy”. Shoot me now. Well, except, the team has three drivers. The third? Our own native son, Jack Doohan.

Talking of Ferrari and Campbell’s Soup, an excellent article in this week’s Barron’s (part of this paper’s multimedia global empire) by Al Root, comparing their stock performance. “Shares of Ferrari are thriving. Campbell’s not so much. The soupmaker’s shares hit a 52-week low on Monday at $US45.01 a share, down 22 per cent from the 52-week high of US$US57.78”, Al writes. Fezzer is up $US100 in the same period. Ferrari shares trade for about 24 times estimated Ebitda. Traditional automakers trade for less than 10 times. Ferrari’s gross profit margin exceeds 50 per cent, compared with roughly 15 per cent at GM. Bottom line: in a recession people will go without Campbell’s Creamy Chicken Noodle ($2.25 a can) but not their Ferrari Roma ($425k a car).

And it was someone off La Struggle Rue, Monte Carlo, who just paid $9 mill or five million cans of chicken soup for Ferdy Alonso’s old Ferrari Enzo at MonacoCarAuctions’

L’AstaRossa sale. Ferdy had put only 4,800km on the clock and had a grease and oil change done before putting it on the block. In some ways sexier than an Enzo, are a pair of very rare E-Types, the most phallic shaped cars of all time. Dave Gooding is selling them at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace in September. King Chuck owns HCP and like all his properties, has just ordered the heating turned down to save for a can or two of Campbell’s Creamy Chicken Noodle soup. For some where near $2 mill you could snaffle is the very first right-hand-drive E-Type Fixed Head Coupe. One of four right-hand-drives with outside latches. Whoopee Do! Also with outside latches is the very first production E-Type sold. Its first owner was none other than F.R.W. “Lofty” England, Jaguar’s legendary racing team manager who oversaw five Le Mans victories. My guess is around the same money.

Guess who bought a Porsche? Yup. Jerry Seinfeld, 69, left-handed, of Los Angeles, Manhattan and East Hampton. Jerry was meandering aimlessly around the zoom of the Broad Arrow auction at the Porsche Experience Centre in Atlanta when out of the blue he put his right hand up for a unique but not factory original 996 Classic Club Coupe for close to $2 mill. The car freak and sometime comedian owns over 40 Porkers. While he is a very astute buyer, the fact that he has owned a car adds nearly 50 per cent to its normal auction price.

Jerry picked up the fried egg shaped headlighted, until now unpopular model, at last weekend’s Porsche Parade in Palm Springs. Naturally he drove it to his LA home.

[email protected]



Support great journalism and subscribe 

Recent articles from this author