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Shocking news readers. And it’s two days before Christmas, ­Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Return of the Wandering Goddess or, if you’re an atheist, nothing at all.

A major academic peer-­reviewed research study just released shows 18% of men aged 18-24 said they changed clothes while driving. No wonder the country is stuffed. In my day, nearly every male and quite a few females and others changed their kit between driving to the workplace from where you thought you spent the night while trying not to spill the traveller on your lap.

Conducted for carzoos.com.au, the new digital disruptive online and in shopping centres used car dealer owned by Brisbane’s (not saying a word I thought Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen was a great Queenslander and I once had a can of XXXX and I am still here) AP Eagers (no used car sales folks, just “buddies’’), the survey also found 25% of female and others aged 25-34 put on make-up, 75% of us eat, 9.4% of men brush their teeth (must be wrong, seriously who brushes their teeth at any time?) and only 6.5% read or watch videos while driving. I hope we can all work together to get these numbers up next year.

In other news, Mazda and Ford have just recalled 70,000 of their small trucks (Rangers and BT 50s) because the engines not only catch fire, they also set the grass below them on fire which, unless you are feeling particularly cold or need a sudden barbecue is probably not a desired outcome. Despite the danger, Ford and Mazda have not issued a “stop delivery” notice on cars in stock because the fix won’t be available until next year. Ford Australia says: “The recall is in relation to a risk of fire due to grass or vegetation accumulation near the DPF that produces very high temperatures during regeneration mode”. Translation: the car will burn, so will you and so will all the grass and trees and animals near you and the car.

You won’t be surprised to know that there appears to be nothing on the Mazda website (Zoom Zoom) about the recall but based on past experience their statement would be something like “we have never seen this problem before” or “we don’t comment on customer issues”. Declaration of interest: I had a BT 50, which I loved but sold to a good friend just before the recall. Sorry David.

OK you’ve emailed saying you wanted more Christmas jokes so don’t blame me for these: Mary and Joseph — now they had a stable relationship; We couldn’t afford a turkey for Christmas so we gave the budgie chest expanders. What do you call Santa’s little helpers? Subordinate clauses.

Now it’s time for our first annual 2017 Weekend Australian Motoring Car Of The Year Award (WAMCOTY). We didn’t seek your votes on this because what would you know anyway? Instead, the WART (Weekend Australian Racing Team), Phil King, Dean How (owner of Peninsula BM and official supplier and driver of Lemons to WART), Michael McMichael (the only answer to Nick Xenophon, energy outages and poison ivy in South Australia), Steve Champion (the brown cardigan-wearing, BMW-racing, bad boy accountant), Evelyn Martyn (WART mystery shopper and diehard Mazda racer), Phil Alexander (official race coach of WART and the person who single-handedly gave the Nurburgring and Mazda rotary engines a bad name), Tom Connolly (who is out of the will after driving faster than his dad) and your correspondent, sat around at an exclusive Dr Tim’s (Cooper) Traditional Ale and scallop pie tasting (proudly sponsored by the beer made by a medical specialist so it must be good for you) and decided the WAMCOTY as voted by WART is the 1994 Top Secret Toyota TS8012V Supra that you can buy for seventy zillion yen or $140,000 at BH Auctions’ Tokyo office next month.

This beauty ticks all the boxes. A V12 with twin turbos that gains in power and elongation at high revs by wet-spraying nitrous oxide (keeps Australia’s oil and gas producers in business), good for 358km/h at 7300rpm (keeps stable while you are changing your clothes or putting on lippy or both, and makes a lot of noise thus making sure pedestrians hear it coming). BH Auction’s owner, Shinji Takei, told me that the car would be perfect for Aussie buyers because the car can’t be registered in Japan but meets all the roadworthy tests in Adelaide.

In tragic news (well not as tragic as fewer men changing their clothes while driving), our 1992 LeMons BMW 3 Series with many options including brown snakes and champagne flute holders, died this week. Bought from Dean How for $250, the Beemer has seen four 24 Hours of LeMons series and track days at Mallala (where we hope the new owners will keep the fantastic roast lunch). We are going back to Dean with a warranty claim.

And a lovely heart-warming Xmas story from reader Peter Marshall of Tallegalla, Queensland (see advisory in third paragraph): “A bit over a month ago my MN Triton diesel with 150,000km of pretty much faultless performance overheated and boiled when towing our caravan from the Warrumbungles. I managed to refill the radiator and get the car and van home to southeast Queensland. After some internet research I became aware that this was a problem, stemming from a machining ‘problem’ on the top of the block. A week later the car was left for testing at my local Mitsubishi dealer and towards the end of the week I was told Mitsubishi would provide a new motor. This is now installed and is running like a charm. Mitsubishi and the dealership should be congratulated.” Sounds like a fairy story to me.

Thank you for all the emails and defamation notices. I really do try to answer them all. A special thank you to all those readers I have met during the year. Next year we are thinking of taking WART on tour to hotels that serve Coopers. Let me know if you want to join us.



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