Full throt­tle

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad - Paul Gover Na­tional edi­tor

OPEN­ING day of the 2011 Detroit Mo­tor Show is a re­minder of the stars of Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing. An im­pres­sive pre­sen­ta­tion on the fu­ture of Ford has Jac Nasser’s name stamped all over it.

Long be­fore any­one got to work on to­day’s One Ford strat­egy, he was try­ing to pull the com­pany to­gether in a cen­tralised prod­uct-driven push into the 21st cen­tury.

The Mel­bourne man heads my per­sonal list of Aussie mo­tor­ing he­roes.

Peter Brock is an­other hero, and Aus­tralia Day next week re­minds me of the work he did so of­ten, and so well, to help cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion.

Back in Detroit, de­sign guru Mike Sim­coe is prowl­ing theGM­s­tand. He’s a leg­end in the Aus­tralian car busi­ness— the Monaro alone guar­an­tees his spot.

Kevin Wale is also a hero. He is now run­ning GMChina, the tough­est and most im­por­tant off­shore post­ing in the busi­ness.

Turn­ing back the clock, there are lots of Aus­tralian he­roes.

Sen­a­tor John But­ton re-wrote Aus­tralian car­mak­ing rules in the 1980s. The suc­cess of the busi­ness can be traced back to his blue­print, as well as the cur­rent In­dus­try Min­is­ter Kim Carr.

The late Geoff Po­lites was the true su­per­star at Ford. He will be re­mem­bered for bull­dog­ging the Ter­ri­tory through the Detroit sys­tem. Sadly, Po­lites died too young. And the dy­namic duo of John Conomos and Bob Miller drove Toy­ota to No.1 in Aus­tralia.

The list of Aussie he­roes must also in­clude Sir Lau­rence Hart­nett, the fa­ther of the orig­i­nal Holden, and mar­ket­ing guru John Bagshaw.

Then there are the motorsport leg­ends— Sir Jack Brab­ham, Alan Jones, Mick Doohan, Mark Web­ber, Troy Bayliss, Chad Reed and Mar­cos Am­brose— all of whom prove Aus­tralians can match the best in the world.

My per­sonal guides are led by the late Evan Green, a jour­nal­ist and author who headed pub­lic re­la­tions at Ley­land and Holden, and Peter Robin­son who still stands tall at the top of Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ism as an in­spi­ra­tion far be­yond his lead­er­ship at Wheels mag­a­zine.

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