The greatest car heists
AROUND 180 hot V8s are currently loose in Australia. They’re hot in all senses of the word. Besides generating north of 350 horsepower, these babies were stolen from Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia.
The V8s originated at General Motors’ Canadian operation and were destined to be inserted into local sedans and utes before bandits intervened. Some of the highperformance engines have allegedly turned up in desert buggies and other off-road competition vehicles, so at least they’re not gathering dust. Mud yes, dust no.
In total, the great Adelaide V8 heist is said to be worth about $2.5 million, making it one of Australia’s biggest automotive crimes.
In 1973, also in Adelaide, racing driver Allan Moffat’s competition Ford Falcon GTHO was kept overnight at a suburban dealership prior to racing on Sunday. The car never made it to the track. Local Ford enthusiasts broke into the dealership and drove off in the 5.8-litre monster, finally abandoning it in scrubland outside the city where it was found several days later. A note left inside apologised for the slight suspension and bodywork damage, but thoughtfully added that the racing sedan was ‘‘ beaut’’.
Rolls-Royce contacted its lawyers in 2009 after Chinese manufacturer Geely unveiled the stately Geely GE, almost every exterior panel of which closely resembled the RollsRoyce Phantom. The Geely even had its own version of a Rolls-style flying lady hood ornament.
Geely subsequently redesigned the GE to look a little less Rolls-ish.
The most expensive fine in motor racing history was handed down against McLaren in 2007 after the sport’s ruling body found that staffers at the Formula One team had come upon technical details from rival Ferrari by improper means.
McLaren’s fine? A trifling $US100 million. Yet the British firm rebounded to win the world championship in 2008.
86 WANTS MAKEOVER
CAN’T complain about the price. At about $30,000, Toyota’s GT86 coupe is stunning value. Can’t complain about the performance, which provides sharpish acceleration combined with what is reportedly brilliant handling. Can’t complain about the ad campaign which is one of the more watchable of the past several years.
But, you know, the GT86 doesn’t really look like much. It’s on the bland and featureless side. A $3000 aero kit now available for the 86 in Australia probably overcompensates, adding a monster rear wing to the GT86’s basic roundish form.
The market is wide open for a local design firm to come up with a less screaming way to enhance the coupe’s appearance.
Stunning value: The Toyota GT86