The great­est car heists

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On The Web - TIMBLAIR blairt@dai­lytele­

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.


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


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