Home  /  May 2015  /  Racing

I know we rabbit on here about really expensive cars selling at auctions in very expensive and exotic locations (with free drinks), but there are alternatives. For instance you could buy a real Lancia Delta Integrale HF Turbo Martini for about $190,000 or have Adelaide’s Jeff McDonald build you one for $1000.

You remember the mighty Italian Lancia. It dominated world rallying in the 1980s and early 90s. You may remember Jeff from last year’s Shitbox Rally. He built and drove (for a while) a six-wheel Monsters, Inc yellow thing. This year he has created what he calls the Shitbox Martini, pictured below.

In an exclusive interview outside Jeff’s long-suffering employer, the ASC — our largest specialised defence shipbuilding organisation, which does a super job building and maintaining our naval defence capabilities — we got the inside story on shaving $189,000 off the price of your next car.

“I started with a 1991 Nissan N13 Pulsar I bought from the local wreckers,” Jeff said. Given you can buy a drivable Pulsar with some rego for $500, he obviously was well within the Shit Box $1000 limit. Of course the Pulsar played an important role in recent automotive history. Depending on where you lived in the world during the 22 years of its existence, you owned it as a Cherry, Langley, Liberta Villa, Sentra, Sunny and Sabre. Nissan is a world leader in cringe-worthy car names. Through the years we’ve seen the Cedric, Gloria, Homy, Roox, Fuga, Stanza and the Winner (which it wasn’t).

Anyway, Jeff used sheet metal from a rainwater tank to flare the guards, expanding foam, fibreglass and gyprock plaster. The headlights are off an early Datsun. To give it that Italian sophisticated look Jeff painted the car with Solver Aqua Trim, a quality, 100 per cent acrylic, water-based enamel, suitable for interior and exterior doors, windows and trims.

“Apparently they are using it on all steel door frames at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital with great success,” Jeff told me. “The stripes were all hand masked and painted using the cheap rattle cans (spray cans) from Bunnings. Then the light bar was made with cheap spotties (spotlights) and a custom steel bracket, covered in fibreglass that started life as part of a submarine battery.”

Who said the Australian car industry was dead?

If you are looking for something a bit better than a Shitbox Martini then have a look at some of the new Mercedes classics. Now I’m not saying this because Nico and Lew have been dominating F1 or because Bonhams sold a 1938 540K Cabriolet for close to $4 million this year or because Mercedes has got its mojo and quality back since its disastrous hook-up with Chrysler. No, the fact is, while the smart money woke up to the 300SL quite a while ago, it’s now starting to fairly price the 190SL but it’s the 230SL and other Pagodas I’d be thinking about.

Read the rest at The Australian…



Support great journalism and subscribe 

Article Search

Related articles