Aussie Originals: Bolwell Nagari

Mark Schneider | 3/07/2017 11:11:24 AM

Australia has a long history of producing memorable performance cars, with Holden's Monaro and Torana, Ford's high performance Falcon models and even the Valiant Charger springing to mind. With the demise of Australian vehicle manufacturing those names are destined to become just another part of Australian motoring folklore, but there's another lesser known Aussie performance car, and it didn't come from a major multinational carmaker. It's the Bolwell, Austr...

The great Aussie ute has evolved

Mark Schneider | 22/11/2016 8:21:46 AM

The impending demise of Australia’s domestic vehicle manufacturing has also heralded the end of an original Australian contribution to the motoring world – the traditional Aussie utility or ute. But the great Aussie ute isn’t dead, it’s simply evolved into something a little different and even more practical. The genesis of the Aussie ute dates back to a letter written to Ford by a farmer’s wife in 1933. Sadly her name’s been lost to motoring history, b...

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Categories: Ford, Australia

Ford Falcon has come a long, long way

Mark Schneider | 4/11/2016 9:12:33 AM

The last Ford Falcon to roll off the production line at the Broadmeadows plant put an end to 91 years of manufacturing history for Ford in Australia. It also ended the remarkable 56 year run of the Ford Falcon, which began with the American designed XK in 1960 and ended 3,578,689 Falcons later with the FG X Falcon XR6. Falcon sedans and wagons were family favourites for generations of Australians, selling in huge numbers and locked in a battle with Holden for market dominance. For many of...

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Categories: Ford, Australia

The good news about car affordability in Australia

Mark Schneider | 23/02/2016 8:00:00 AM

Fleetcare’s Global Affordability Index is certainly an eye-opener with its comparison of car prices around the globe. It shows that while Aussies are paying about the same price for smaller economy cars as car buyers in other countries, it’s another story when it comes to utes and luxury cars. Such big disparities hardly seem fair, but it’s not all bad news. A bit of history gives an interesting perspective to Australian car prices. Comparing the dollar values of cars o...

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Categories: Australia

Car industry owners series - Fiat has been stirring motoring passion for over a century

Mark Schneider | 3/02/2016 8:00:00 AM

Few mainstream vehicle manufacturers fire up the motoring passions like Fiat, which has been responsible for such classic cars as the tiny Fiat 500, the stylish 124 Sport, the Dino 2000 Coupe and the quirky X1/9. Somehow Chrysler doesn’t seem to stir quite the same passions outside America, but nevertheless the merged Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group is now the seventh largest automaker in the world, owning not just Fiat and Chrysler, but Alfa Romeo, Dodge and Jeep. ...

Wheeling in the years series - Ford Falcon flew high in the 80s

Mark Schneider | 27/01/2016 8:00:00 AM

It took Ford 22 years to knock Holden off the perch as Australia’s top selling car, but in 1982 the Falcon edged out the Commodore and retained top spot for the next seven years. Between them the Falcon and the Commodore shared a quarter of the market for new cars in 1982. That may sound impressive, but it was a huge drop from the early 1960s where six-out-of-10 Australian cars were either Holdens or Fords. Ford and Holden executives today, however, would probably kill for the s...

Roads Of Australia Series - Great Ocean Road is the world’s most spectacular war memorial

Mark Schneider | 5/01/2016 8:00:00 AM

Roadside memorials are common enough in Australia, but did you know that one of Australia’s most famous roads is a memorial in itself? Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, which stretches for a spectacular 243 kilometres from Torquay to Allansford, was built by returned World War 1 soldiers as a permanent memorial to those who died in the conflict. The idea for a road along the coast linking the remote coastal settlements to Geelong was raised as far back as the 1880s. Until then ...

Wheeling in the years series - American Giant, Ford, enters the market during the 1960's

Mark Schneider | 14/12/2015 10:31:24 AM

If Holden reigned as the undisputed king of the 1950s Australian car market, the 1960s saw the start of real competition when that other American giant, Ford, entered the market with the Falcon. It was the start of a protracted battle for the hearts and minds of Australian motorists that was to last for decades, sparking many bar room debates. Ford Falcon First Released November 1960 Ford released the Falcon in November 1960 but its first offering, the XK, was blighted with reliab...

Renault-Nissan alliance grows from strength to strength

Mark Schneider | 8/12/2015 8:31:45 AM

Merged car companies, unlikely international alliances and shared platforms are the new black when it comes to making cars. There’s Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai Kia and Volkswagen – which owns a slew of other makers - to name just a few. Many of these merged groups came out of the 2007-8 Global Financial Crisis which hit the American manufacturers particularly hard, with Chrysler, Ford and General Motors all being baled out by the government. One motoring giant however, Renault-...

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Categories: Nissan

Aussie invention had a full head of steam

Mark Schneider | 2/12/2015 9:09:15 AM

Australians are an inventive lot and never more so than when it comes to cars. We’ve invented the ute, race cam, which revolutionised car racing coverage, rack and pinion steering, the baby safety capsule and the panel van. They’ve all been remarkably successful, but Australia has also had its share of heroic auto engineering failures as well, and one of the most interesting was Ted Pritchard’s steam-powered car. What was the dominant form of propulsion in the early ...

Roads Of Australia Series - Gibb River Road is a spectacular northern adventure

Mark Schneider | 18/11/2015 9:19:08 AM

It may not be a fast, smooth glide down a ribbon of bitumen, but a 4WD trek down Western Australia’s Gibb River Road is a real motoring adventure offering a trip back into Australia’s history through some of the most spectacular scenery the country has to offer. The road is a 660 kilometre journey through the heart of Kimberley cattle country passing through cattle stations that measure their size in thousands of square kilometres. It links Broome and Derby on the west coast t...

Wheeling In The Years Series - Australia’s own car was a hit from the start

Mark Schneider | 3/11/2015 12:36:04 PM

With the Second World War well and truly behind it, Australia in the 1950s was booming, with full employment and a high standard of living that was attracting immigrants from Greece, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany. We were living the suburban dream where a house of your own and a car in the driveway was every Aussie’s ambition. And when it came to cars it had to be the dinky-di FJ Holden. The famous FJ wasn’t Holden’s first “all Australian car&rdquo...

Wheeling in the years series - Holden and Ford still top of the pops in the 1970s

Mark Schneider | 27/10/2015 8:00:00 AM

In the 1970s Abba were top of the charts, the kids were glued to the new colour TVs watching Countdown every weekend and Holden was telling us that “we love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars” in one of the most annoying advertising jingles of the decade. It was largely true, however, with Aussies remaining loyal to General Motors until 1977 when the Ford Falcon finally knocked Holden’s Kingswood/Premier combination off the top of the perch. The battle be...

Roads of Australia series - Eyre Highway a long and not-so-winding road

Mark Schneider | 20/10/2015 9:20:24 AM

There aren’t many roads anywhere in the world where you can legally land an aircraft, but Australia’s Eyre Highway is one of them. A number of Royal Flying Doctor Service emergency landing strips are signposted along the Eyre Highway’s 1675 kilometres. You’ll see them marked out with “piano keys” painted on the road accompanied with turnaround areas for light aircraft. It’s another curious feature of one of Australia’s most remote highwa...

New developments in water injection and turbocharging

Mark Schneider | 25/08/2015 4:01:55 PM

Water and petrol do mix, apparently Water and petrol seems an unlikely combination to put in your car - they certainly don’t mix very well - so why is one of Germany’s top car makers planning to inject water into the engines of its new petrol models? The news coming out of Bavaria is that BMW will be using water injection technology on all its turbocharged petrol engine cars in an effort to squeeze more power and better fuel consumption out of them. The science behind ...

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