MOTOR

(Darren Dugan) #1

Dylan Campbell


The US is riding a fast car wave, and we want to have a surf


Of course, the new Mustang’s headed
this way, too, causing much fanfare,
but I hope scuttlebutt that the “over 500
horsepower” Mustang GT350R isn’t
coming to Australia is someone shit-
stirring. Ford can no longer roll out the
old excuse that there’s no right-hand drive
car, given the new ’Stang of course can
come with a starboard-side tiller.
And while the logical bit of my brain,
tiny though it is, and so hard to shut-up,
argues the GT350R’s flat-plane crank V
is probably not designed to tuck a steering
column under its right elbow, I can’t help
but wonder, why not? Aside from some
all-wheel drive AMGs, it’s never been an
issue for the Germans.
The pill turns from bitter to plain toxic,

too, when you consider the Americans
are increasingly asking us Aussies to help
engineer and design their cars.
The new Ford GT, terrific but sadly left-
drive only, was designed by a man from
Hobart. A 12-year veteran of Ford Oz,
two years ago Detroit summoned Todd
Willing to lead the design of the Blue
Army’s secret Ferrari fighter. He’s now
back in Melbourne designing the global
Fords of tomorrow.
Meanwhile the trick carbon-fibre
wheels on the GT and Mustang GT350R,
which caused much saliva to drip from
American journalists’ dropped jaws in

Detroit, were made by a mob in Geelong.
Still in Detroit, GM’s show-stopping
concept cars, the Buick Avenir and Chevy
Bolt, while not normal MOTOR fodder,
were designed and built by a bunch of
Aussies in Port Melbourne, at Holden.
And it’s much reported the role Holden
played in the design and development of
an American icon, the Camaro. Holden,
again, is hard at work on the next one.
With philosophies like “One Ford”, the
Blue Oval and GM are seeing the world’s
car markets through an increasingly
global prism. It’s this same globalised
perspective which probably didn’t do
much for the survival odds of the Aussie-
only Falcon and Commodore.
If Aussies are to cop the rough end of

globalisation, which cost us our icons, we
deserve to reap its benefits, too. There’s
no reason America’s next generation
of performance cars can’t be built for
a global market, helping amortise their
development costs, in right-hand drive.
So Ford, GM and Chrysler, give us
Corvette Z06, Camaro Z/28, Cadillac
CTS-V, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
and SRT Viper. And, for crying out loud,
Mustang GT350R. That’s a pretty long
list, I agree, so forgive my greediness,
but lord knows when our Aussie nails are
gone, we’ll be hungry. And American pie
has never tasted so good. M

A


ustralians have always loved
a bit of American pie. And
I don’t mean the movie that
had the world’s prepubescent
males wearing out the pause button on
their television remotes. Or the ballad
gurgled by Don McLean in 1972, still
stuck in people’s heads.
American food, film and TV has been
rotting the guts and minds of Australians
for decades. Yet when it comes to the
American performance car pie, we’ve
nibbled mere crumbs.
It’s never been a drama given Ford and
Holden have kept us sated by dishing
out V8 Falcons and Commodores for so
long, the fast car equivalent of curried
kangaroo pie. And the Aussie attitude has

always been, ‘the septics can keep their
shitboxes, mate’. Rightly, so, too, given
how good our locally-sired product has
always been.
But as we prepare to farewell Falcon
and Commodore, we have to keep in
mind that when they’re gone, our bellies
will grumble for some simmering rear-
drive muscle.
Right now Americans are going gaga
for exactly that. To name just a few, cars
like the 477kW Cadillac CTS-V, the
Corvette Z06 we’ve driven this issue, and
the track-focused, LS7-powered, 377kW
Camaro Z/28.

ED’S
NOTE

Aussies copped the rough end of


globalisation; it’s time we reap its benefi ts


M

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