Strewth! Soap fans are weeping this week after long-running series Neighbours came to a tear-jerking end.
And to celebrate the UK’s long-running love of Antipodean delights, here we take a look at what the Australians are producing in terms of cars, not TV shows.
The final episode of Neighbours aired in the UK on Friday 29th July, and saw a host of famous faces - including Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan as Charlene and Scott - return to Erinsborough.
But away from Ramsay Street and soaps, Australia can also boast some vehicles to win admirers. And below you’ll see a run-down of some of the best.
First, though, let’s address the big, quad-exhausted elephant in the room - Holden.
Petrolheads will already know this, but Holden was once the famous Australian subsidiary of American General Motors, which used to own Vauxhall.
In fact, Holden was a crocodile-wrestling sibling to Vauxhall, producing grin-inducing contraptions like the bonkers 6.0 litre V8 ‘SS-V’ Ute (above) or the sleek Monaro Coupe (below).
Sadly, Holden is no more, gone the way of the Dodo. GM decided to ditch the brand in February 2020, ending a 160 year history of Holdens in Australia.
In fact, Australia’s motoring industry is in real decline, squeezed by cheap imports from Japan and South Korea. Ford and Toyota have also mothballed manufacturing plants Down Under in recent years.
But there are still a few notable outposts:
Headquartered in Queensland, eastern Australia, ACE is tapping into the electric vehicle market by producing innovative vans and Utes - aka ‘utility vehicles’.
The Ace Urban is a funky MINI alternative with a short range of around 124 miles and let’s just say ‘Marmite’ styling.
The ACE Yewt, though, is proper Aussie fare - a cool-looking pick-up with a 500 kg payload and - like the Urban - a range of up to 124 miles before you need to plug it in again.
The loss of Holden will have left a big, V8-shaped hole in Australian hearts.
But if huge engines are your thing, worry not, because Python Vehicles, based in Melbourne, is here to console you.
Python specialise in building replicas of the infamous AC Shelby Cobra.
You can expect a thumping great 7.0 litre V8 engine, acres of chrome, and enough performance to melt your face - just in case the Australian sun hasn’t already done so.
A lot of very good things have started with one person and a shed - just look at Colin Chapman and Lotus.
And this is how Quantum Cars was conceived, too. The GP700 supercar is the brainchild of engineer Jeff David, based in Victoria. It’s an open-top, road-legal 700 hp beast that’ll explode from 0-62mph in just 2.6 seconds.
That power comes from a custom built 2.7 litre, four cylinder engine that has no less than two superchargers. It’s early days for Quantum, but also exciting times.
Named after a famous wind that whistles through the Southern Hemisphere, Roaring Forties has spent the last 30 years building head-turning tributes to the Ford GT40 endurance cars that first wowed fans at Le Mans in the 1960s.
The ‘RF’ crew says:
“The whole purpose of a tribute is to recreate, to the finest possible degree, the shape, visceral feel and specification of the original vehicle.”
A Ford 5.0 litre ‘Coyote’ engine supplies power of 435 hp and 569 Nm of torque, while there’s a modern and updated leather-clad interior.
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