You can read part 1 of this series here 🙂
Several years ago, I came out of the butcher’s to go to my car, and a rather rough looking teenager saw the oval “country” sticker on the back of my car, proudly proclaiming “F” for France,with the colours of the national flag, of course. He took one look at that, one look at me, and snarled at me “**** off, frog!” (In Aussie gergot,the French are frogs – Italians are dagos – the Greeks and most others are wogs). When I got home and told my wife, she laughed her head off.
So later on I had a T-shirt made, proudly proclaiming that the contents (me) was a “FRENCHIE”, with a great big green & yellow frog on it. Then recently, I walked out of my front door and found this van parked there. I couldn’t help laughing at it! Too funny!
OK – let’s get down to business. This is supposed to be about interesting vehicles, mostly in my own street. It’s amazing what I see parked here! This is just a random sample.
This is one of several Bentleys that turn up here from time to time. One of them belongs to a couple who haven’t bothered gettting married – she’s worth $70 million, apparently, and he’s worth $40 million. They love each other, they have everything they want, and that’s enough. This Bentley however belongs to someone else.
There’s also a Roller hanging around here – several actually, but this one is around here more often than the others.
I’m afraid I lost interest in RR after the Siver Shadow. A very dear friend of mine had one of them – not to show off, but simply because he had lots of long distance driving to do and his Rolls did the trick – made things far easier for him in his old age.
And yes it’s true – you CAN stand a pencil on the dash of a Rolls while you’re driving along. Keith even applied the brakes, and the pencil STILL didn’t fall over! Not that I could ever afford one. Even if I could, I’d never buy one – Keith had a valid reason to. I don’t!
The more recent models don’t impress me half as much. They just conjure up that expression “vulgar, ostentatious display of wealth!” They lack class and style – I think this one in particular is just plain hideous. But comfortable of course. As always.
Just the thing, for a driver (male) who was never able to afford the sports car of his dreams, when young enough to really enjoy it. This one likely belongs to someone who should have chosen a 4-door hatch. I suppose I should accept it’s a paradox – the young can appreciate them but not afford them – the elderly can afford them, but they have a serious image problem if they buy one!
We used to have one living opposite, who at the age of 60 bought a Porsche Boxster. It was really sad – he couldn’t drive the thing for nuts, and the way he used to crash, crunch and grind the gears was unforgiveable.
Speaking of which, this one might be more appropriate.
Some sort of SUV, I seem to recall. And yes, that was genuinely painted on the rear of it, to alert other drivers that they should try to overtake, instead of following it.
How about something from the other side of “the Pond”? – a Lincoln Thunderbird?
Or a Jensen-Healey? (This one belongs to the father of a friend of mine. People in other parts of the world talk about “six degrees of separation”. People here laugh, and say there’s only one, here. Or none at all, maybe!)
This on the other hand – it’s simply outrageous! A Lambo! Or more correctly, Lamborghini Huracan. Top speed, over 300kph. 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds – you’d probably feel more comfortable, wearing a pressurised suit. Why on earth would anyone use one to drive down to my street, just to buy a cup of coffee? In fact, given that the overall Australian vehicle speed limit is only 110 kph, why would anyone buy one at all? Brilliant car – but I think it would be more suitable on a German Autobahn, than the suburb where I live.
Maybe this one makes more sense. A Smart roadster – as best I can work out what the hell it is. Why don’t they put labels on cars, like they do on wine bottles?
One of the world’s all time classic cars! Why? Because with this car, Citroen introduced the world to monocoque construction. This is the famous Citroen Light 15 – also known as the Citroen Traction Avant, because it has front wheel drive.
Front-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension had been established in the mass market by Auto Union and others some years before. But the Traction Avant pioneered integrating these into a mass-production, crash resistant unitary, monocoque body. This unitary construction is now used for virtually all car construction.
It was produced for over 20 years, and Citroen sold about 760,000 of them. Huge, for those days!
My opinion is coloured by the bodywork, as much as the suspension etc. With the Light 15, the world was introduced to the idea of monocoque construction. And if it hadn’t been such a roaring success when it finally hit the street, Citroen would have gone broke!
And finally – I HAD to include this. I’m far from being the only “frog” (frenchman) in the district – we even have a french restaurant 50 metres along the street from my front door, now. But the guy who own this lives around the corner, and absolutely treasures it.
The Citroen DS – the greatest car ever made! And it’s not just his opinion. Or mine. Watch this clip, before you drool on the photo
The DS – or “Goddess” – took over from the Light 15 – and flooded the roads of the world. The suspension was like none other.
And the one around the corner (shown below) has the headlights with a further improvement (introduced on 1967) in the form of headlights which tracked with the steering – to point around the corner you were taking, instead of pointing off to the side of the road, like every other car’s headlights. At a guess, I’d say it was made between 1972 and 1975.
Again, a production run of 20 years – but double the sales of its predcessor – almost 1.5 million sold, around the world. Proves what manufacturers can achieve, when they sell things customer want – instead of stuff manufacturers are simply trying to sell. (Bet that resonates, in photographic circles!)
And then of course there’s an almost endless stream of Porsches. My next door neighbour (well actually he lives on the others side of the river – just owns the place next to me) races Porsches at the speedway, has a separate garage for his collection of Porsches a kilometre from his house, and STILL has 2 or 3 garaged at home, as well. No surprise, then, that whenever I show him a photo of a Porsche in this street, he almost always knows the owner!
When I was a kid, the main sports cars were MG’s, Austin-Healey’s and (later) E-type Jaguars. If you’ve never had a ride in an E-type, you should try it some time! I had several MGB’s – loved them, but love is fickle, and I sold them off to get hold of a Morgan. Sorry – no longer have any photos of the Moggie!
But here’s a Healey, instead. Not the Jensen-Healey (above), but an Austin-Healey. An incredible sports car!
A couple more bits of local colour, before heading to some more serious stuff. As I’ve said, this is – after all – a predominantly working class area.
This Goliath was actually a bit of a surprise – a shock, really, even for here. While I’m quite used to cranes pumping concrete all over building sites, and road work machinery resurfacing the roads, and the street filling up with fire engines because the nutcases over the road blew up a gas bottle on a barbecue on their balcony, this one takes the cake.
I’m only giving you the bottom portion of it. It was one hell of a crane. And in the space of less than an hour, it lifted a two-storey prefabricated house into position, off waiting delivery trucks – in two sections, one at a time. Started just after 9:00am – all finished by 11:00, except for the process of removing the wrapping paper from the new house.
This crane was a monster – reaching 40 or 50 metres up into the air. Sadly, I’d need a frame very narrow, very tall to post the whole photo on DS, with most of the page alongside it blank, so it wouldn’t be a very good look.
Anyway, here’s something else to look at instead. I don’t know how popular these were elsewhere, but Australians went nuts over them. The original Morris Mini, in “jeep” format. From the sublime to the ridiculous. A mega-crane to a mini-jeep! It’s real name is “GRUNGE”, but that’s painted on the other side of the engine cover.
In the same vein – an SUV fitted out for a camping weekend, with a collapsible tent stuck to the roof, while the owners shovel all their luggage etc on board. This one appealed to me because it’s fitted with solar panels. There are a number of these rigs in the district, but this one is more tuned into fighting climate change. Ignoring its diesel engine, of course.
And another camping rig. A real “Jeep”, this time.
As you’d all know by now, EV’s are the flavour of the month. God knows how the electricity supply system will cope with demand for recharging all of them. And speaking personally, I’ve decided to defer switching for the time being – started revving up for it 4 years ago, but they’ve been way too expensive (and too big) for me so far, and now I keep reading about the dangers of the lithium ion batteries they run on, bursting into flames and burning down houses.
But they’re there, they’re the future, and they get better all the time. Lately, they’ve been accounting for nearly 7% of all new vehicles on the roads in Australia.
Here’s on early-uptaker – made from 2009 to 2021. The Mitsubishi MiEV.
And the world would be incomplete without Elon Musk’s contribution. One on my side of the street, one on the other side of the street – and to get the second one in the frame, I had to wait until a THIRD Tesla drove past, or it would have blocked the view of the second one. Whoever said “nobody’s going to chuck ICE cars and switch to EVs”?
Another Tesla (a model Y) that often parks here has this sticker on the windscreen.
I can’t help feeling sorry for Nikola Tesla. One of the greatest inventors of his time – “used” by Thomas Edison, who employed him and claimed the credit for one of Tesla’s inventions an improved design for Edison’s DC dynamos. And now, “used” all over again, to sell Musk’s motor vehicles.
I believe he invented the AC electric motor.
And the AC system he championed and improved remains the global standard for power transmission, to this date – 80 years after his death!
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