You’ve all seen the doco The Wolf of Wall Street, starring our own Margot Robbie as the sexiest blonde ever and wife of Jack Dawson (I may have movies confused here) played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Leo is stockbroker who soars to decadent, drug-fuelled highs while trying to elude the FBI as he and his colleagues make untold millions with brazenly shady deals. Well, if you work in banking, stockbroking, private equity or neurology you would think this movie is pretty lame compared with what goes on every day after work at your place.
But the motor business? It’s full of dodgy characters, but they project an image of the greatest of them all, Wocka Bentley. Wocka’s motto was to “build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class”.
And the 1929 Blower Bentley 4½-litre was that in spades. (You can buy a good one for a bit over $10m.) Wocka won Le Mans four times before the second big one and won again 70 years later (but he was dead by then).
More importantly, he really created the Bentley Boys (girls didn’t exist between the wars). As the current owner of the brand, VW, says: “Always ready for a race, a challenge or a glass of champagne or Cooper’s sparkling, the first generation of Bentley Boys were a close-knit group of extraordinary playboys, racers and adventurers who achieved global fame during the 1920s and ’30s.”
As Wocka told me via Mick’s Ouija board: “I don’t think many companies can have built up, during such a short period, a comparable font of legend and myth, story and anecdote. The company’s activities attracted the public’s fancy and added a touch of colour, of vicarious glamour and excitement to drab lives.” Just like Elon then, Wocka?
Twenty readers and one friend and eldest son, all I can say is alas! The legacy of Wocka has gone to merde. What about the Henry Ford of our time? Elon Reeve Musk.
The Wall Street Journal (part of our global multimedia platform and free with your sub to this newspaper) tells us Musky has used drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and mushrooms, and that leaders at Tesla and SpaceX were concerned about it. Well not that concerned because multiple directors at Tesla and SpaceX socialised and attended parties with Musk, with some, according to WSJ star reporters Kirsten Grind and Coulter Jones, consuming drugs with him.
Readers, remember what the Sage of Stepney always says: It’s only a rort or drug fuelled frenzy if you’re not in on it.
And what about Red Bull team boss Christian Horner? Red Bull is investigating allegations by a woman staff member of controlling behaviour by Chris. There’s a proper investigation taking place, but you don’t have to be Albert Einstein (a well-known theoretical physicist) to work out there are a lot of bad vibes in the fizzy drinks company about Chris.
Let’s be blunt, once Red Bull founder Dietrich Markwart Eberhart Mateschitz dropped off the twig, the family knives were out for the husband of Ginger Spice.
If things go belly-up for Chris, we could see the end of Red Bull’s dominance, with the Einstein of F1 design, the greatest engineer in F1 history, Adrian Newey, leaving with the Hornster.
OK, back to our Rort of the Month award (ROM). Remember, two carmakers are vying for the badly made plastic trophy, sponsored by our good friend Gina Cass-Gottlieb and her team at the ACCC.
KG Mobility Holdings, owners of SsangYong, makers of Musso, for the flashing immobiliser light stopping the car starting, and the Hyundai Motor Company for, last year, advertising an N Line Sedan for $26,290 on its website but when you go to buy one the price suddenly changes to $35,785. And for being at it again this year.
I know this causes some conflict, but the ACCC has weighed into the judging with a spokesperson telling us: “Business should not make false or misleading representations, particularly in relation to ‘headline’ prices.
“When businesses present prices to consumers, they must state the total price, including taxes, duties and all unavoidable or preselected extra fees. If businesses promote a price that is only part of the total price of goods or services, they must also include the total price (as a single figure) at least as prominently as the part price.”
OK, then let’s hope it follows up. But if the sponsor gives us the quiet nod, the winner has to be Hyundai. The Sultan has telegrammed (younger reader adviser JP has asked: “What’s a telegram?” A telegram was a written message transmitted by using an electric device. The message was carried along wires, and the text printed and delivered in a sealed envelope by the post office by hand to your joint) Hyundai executive chair Euisun Chung (winner of Industry Leader of the Year in the 2023 Automotive News All-Stars Awards) to invite him to the ROM ceremony in the alfresco dining area of the Kensi on (wait for this one) Wednesday, February 14. Yup, Valentine’s Day. Started by Bishop Valentine of Terni, Italy. An old romantic, Val married couples who were not allowed to get married because the bridegroom was a slave (nothing changes). Anyway, the emperor at the time didn’t like this and cut Val’s head off. If that doesn’t put you off Valentine’s Day, nothing will.
One car that won’t give you much trouble is the light metallic grey, 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL papillon “butterfly” (aka Gullwing) with the rare Rudge wheels from last weekend’s Artcurial auction in Paris. In the same family for 45 years, 54k on the speedo and only two real owners since the family flicked it. Artcurial sold it for close to $2m.
The alloy cars go for $10m but I love this one because its hasn’t had the Botox and fillers. Like the rest of us it’s showing its age beautifully and was well bought. And it’s still quick. Good for over 230km/h and not bad at the lights, going from 0 to 100km/h in less than nine seconds, it would be a showstopper at next month’s Rob Roy Revival Hill Climb or any Punt Rd traffic jam.