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DECEMBER 2013 $7.70 inc gst



Existing roadworthy scheme valued by consumers: survey

VOILA! Susan Harris ITS Australia CEO, In the Big Chair

Industry Alert!

Most auto sectors under fire from LKQ/Suncorp joint venture




Clio entices

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Consumers overwhelmingly want roadworthy certificates

Official publication of the Victorian and Tasmanian Automobile Chambers of Commerce Level 7, 464 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004 P: 03 9829 1111 F: 03 9867 3159 ABN 63 009 478 209 President: J Buskes Senior Vice-President: P Savige Junior Vice-President: TL Sanchez Immediate Past President: T La Rosa Board Members: M Awramenko, F Bortolotto, C Hummer, T Sitch Executive Director: DA Purchase OAM

VACC adheres to its obligations under National Privacy Principles legislation. Information on products and services contained in the editorial and advertising pages of this magazine does not imply the endorsement of any product or service by VACC. Australian Automotive is copyright and no part may be reproduced without the written permission of VACC. Advertisers and advertising agencies lodging material for publication in Australian Automotive indemnify the VACC, its directors, Board, employees, members, and its agents against all claims and any other liability whatsoever wholly or partially arising from the publication of the material, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, indemnify each of them in relation to defamation, libel, slander of title, infringement of copyright, infringement of trademarks or names of publication titles, unfair competition, breach of trade practices or fair trading legislation, violation of rights of privacy or confidential information or licences or royalty rights or other intellectual property rights, and warrant that the material complies with all relevant laws and regulations. Advertising accepted for publication in Australian Automotive is subject to the conditions set out in the Australian Automotive rate card, available from

Actual workshop evidence of the parlous state of Vic fleet

Suncorp’s joint venture with US giant will impact all auto industry


Dealers/manufacturers steer clear of new tendering process


TOD persistence pays off with VicRoads bulletins/permits


Bodyshops to benefit from new VACC enviro scheme

22 DESIGNER DATE VACC Automotive Design Awards: date announced


Moore Stephens peers into the future of automotive business

30 IN THE BIG CHAIR Susan Harris, CEO, ITS Australia

On the release of his memoirs we reminisce with Max Kirwan

All the latest on the best equipment for your business

Oils and fluids are necessary but can create workshop space headaches; we have solutions



Kia Carnival belt replacement, Kia Carnival heads, Dr Rick


Renault Clio, Proton Preve, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Edition 507, Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom


66 SERVICE DIRECTORY Goods and services at your fingertips


Crossword, quiz, wordfind, Taillight Teaser, Horace Kope, The Sommelier, Nigel’s Nuts...

74 MYTHICAL MOTORS Those were the days my friend, muses Mick

38 DECEMBER 2013


Ian Porter Ian Porter, a freelance writer with immense automotive and business writing experience, this issue, reveals that a bid by a consortium of local councils across Australia has attempted to change the way tendering for their vehicle fleets is done. But dealers and manufacturers have stayed away in droves. See page 12 to find out why.

Paul Tuzson Paul Tuzson writes for several leading car magazines, including Street Machine. This issue, Tuzson reports on welding equipment and workshop oil and fluids operations. Much research was conducted in compiling these stories, and the smooth operation of your business, as well as the safety of you and your workers could be enhanced by reading them. See from page 38.

The big picture WITH ALL THE negative talk about local car manufacturing in recent times – the announcement that Ford will cease production at Broadmeadows in 2016 (or earlier); that Holden has asked for further government support or it may close; that Toyota downscaled production, cutting jobs – it’s easy to believe that this is ‘where it’s all at’ in the automotive industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Vehicle manufacturing only accounts for 25 per cent of the Australian automotive industry (and is decreasing) yet it gets 90 per cent of the media’s airtime and column inches. Why? The bulk of the industry (75 per cent) is made up, of course, in the retail, service and repair sectors across the country. Nationally, that equals 100,000 small businesses, employing 320,000 Australians. Dig a little deeper, and there are many more layers to uncover. This issue we speak with Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) CEO, Susan Harris, about how technology is changing they way we commute. Vehicle technology and safety, traffic management systems, carto-car and car-to-infrastructure technology is helping to ease the burden on our big cities, saving



lives and resources. It’s all good stuff. Go to page 30 to read more. Technology is also helping the many body repairers across Australia perform their work more efficiently and safely. Our special on welding equipment will bring you up to speed on the latest trends and equipment in this collision repair staple. See page 38. Elsewhere, vehicle manufacturers are bringing new heights to safety standards. The three featured vehicles (starting on page 58), Renault, Proton and Mercedes-Benz all boast very good levels of safety equipment for their price points. Again, technology is impacting on our lives in a very positive way. But technology is only good if it is working correctly. So those in the service and repair sectors need to keep on top of the latest developments. There is plenty of technology information in this issue of Australian Automotive. Soak it up and use it.

Rod Chapman Rod Chapman has previously served as news editor of Australian Motorcycle News and was editor of British monthly, Motorcycle Sport & Leisure. He currently works for a number of Australia’s best motorcycling titles, including Motorcycle Trader, as a freelance journalist. In this issue, he tries the Motto Guzzi 1400 California Custom out for size. Go to page 64 to read his verdict.

Rick Besserdin Qualified motor mechanic, Rick Besserdin, spent a number of years in the electronics industry. He was a Ford Master Technician and Master Training Coordinator and has a Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training and a Certificate IV in Automotive. He has been Editor of VACC Technical Department’s Tech Talk since 2004 and, this issue, delves into belts and heads on page 52. He insists he is no relation to Dr Rick.

Australian Automotive Managing Editor: David Dowsey 03 9829 1247 Design & Layout: Gavin van Langenberg, Faith Perrett Database & Distribution: Mary Gouvas Contributors: Murray Collins, Horace Kope, Dr Rick, Damien Slavin, The Sommelier

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Existing roadworthy scheme valued by public: survey

David Purchase is unwanted and hugely unpopular with consumers, who see the scheme as another layer of protection against unwittingly driving an unsafe vehicle on public roads and with being hit by burdensome repair bills when, and if, problems are discovered. VACC has been campaigning against the ill-advised proposed changes. And with good reason. “A recent survey by leading market research company, Newspoll, found that 86 per cent of people would not buy a used car without a roadworthy certificate,” said VACC Executive Director, David Purchase. “There is no desire from the public to change the scheme. It works perfectly well as it is. The VicRoads proposal to exempt vehicles under three or five years of age is preposterous: our 5,300 member businesses witness all sorts of horrific situations, even with near-new cars.



Peter Savige Licenced motorcar trader, Peter Savige of Hilton Motor Company in Moorabbin, Victoria, agrees. “Recently, we saw a diesel Ford Territory, that had travelled only 33,000km, and all of the bushes on all four corners were totally worn away. That sort of distance can easily be travelled in one year, so VicRoads’ seemingly arbitrary three-year proposal does not make sense.”

“The reality is that, under the Motor Car Traders Act, a licenced motorcar trader cannot sell a product that is unroadworthy. And, under ACL, a dealer would have to rectify any faults in the vehicle anyway.” VACC delivered a submission to VicRoads in September. The Victorian Government is yet to announce a decision.

will hanges ore c y h t r m o Roadwin thousands our roads lt u s s on e r vehicle unsafe y inspecƟons – Roadworthsa have your y

Reputable dealers, like Savige, do not want more unsafe vehicles on Victoria’s roads. He sees enough already. “Licenced motorcar traders, along with VACC, do not want to see sub-standard and/or dangerous vehicles being sold to consumers. Consumers have every right to expect that any product sold by a reputable dealer will be in a safe and serviceable condition.” “Even if the law was changed to state that vehicles under three years of age can be sold without a roadworthy certificate, I could not, in all conscience, sell

VACC’s detailed submission to VicRoads, delivered in September (above). Examples of an extensive newspaper campaign run by VACC in the Herald Sun highlighting the insanity of removing Victoria’s roadworthy system that has protected consumers for many years

ange on to ch ing reas cent compell 86 per a e is no public, y • Ther of the not bu survey would se to ll ey on po th sp cate. ws re In a Ne surveyed said rthiness Cer� ged its mlining lod CC le wo op ad ange Strea 13, VA paper: ADVERTISEMENT of pe without a Ro mand that ch ber 20 on em a� pt In Se vehicle consult ss System. blic de s Roads is no pu e op�on the Vic Roadworthine There the thre ’s d the e occur. jected e of th Victoria us all an should ission re affects fer is on s r. safety CC subm Roads pape at trans urge ehicle ta to The VA Vic “V da pec�on have. VACC e ed th ins y in e rth we ntralis and th outlined roadwo ining checks e of ce re unable to er, nc m uld se Victorian rry M a syste red tape, the s an ab net therefo angeving few rema Roads, Te n, guisetoofchremo There wa . VACC was cost be r the watering dow r for nt not alysis or e data gate idering either Ministe GoUnde for a vernme govern, but to interro rnment is cons ecise an onnts requirement are electsed the parƟesVic torian Gove � s. Th ke a prly, Gove ofested when rnme removing, the op r vehicle ng d even moto ed a aps n mi rve os underta Clear whe perh inter at: tcowith has se or VACC cerƟcate inspecƟon shorult all prop toecons lude th well th thatide nc rnments prov dowi hy th ll,” co Gove wort n study of they to we road Whe us have decis ledions. torists p, along ADVERTISEMENT some ngpe ctor,or transferred. ly parƟesmo r, have comment,e inter resold handica maki suppested ic outcry or tong u�ve Diis e, said. their Ex ecue. a�on pa rtunity to nt onse to a publ s for th g or forever hold consult an oppoaƟ osal is not a resp rchas respond, all about bein ongetome te upon se ingvid Pu This prop change. It appears to be nt arran rreoblig Cer�ca ntasis th remove red e caidering makDa cuan inessGove demand for rnme , cons d to on promise to • The rthrian altered road Victo adwo rnment hy cerƟcate er on an elecƟ ide The wort deliv Gove Ro be to ov t a the pr seen of llentnce can give our exce ould tono ide d consumers so well since shges ve. ev t red tape? We chan fer wha remo or to ns tape de tape serve tra red ma h has ofrch ase plesPu enwhic or its credit, the syste t bem, much beƩer exam David ge in the 1960s. To en interested ve Direct idering has no introy ducƟ anon ExecuƟ t be s of its rnment is cons an ch Gove VACC s noview ort deadline n the hathe seek at iside m, other State Friday 23 August, 5pm,suisppthe for nceing At a Ɵme whe rnment ible syste �on th Gove website VACC member blog hy ry ev ntenVACC a very cred eeding. ssabefo re proc duce roadwort comments and submissions es tampering with t the co from a worthy netoceVicRoads asked to intro • The parƟed to suppor reves ltof our road nts are being “Cars should su le. inspected every year. rnme vehic r cƟ Gove 77% of respondents are opposed to the be uc regarding changes to our roadworthy obje uld a moto clear prodThe veryne t wo the transfer of tesƟng on Victorian Government’s changes. It doesn’t maƩ er if the car is one year old blicbe cerƟcate inspecƟons ona transfer. system are: use the roads proposed are an pucerƟ cate d the lives of all those who strian and r vehicle YOU an moto a ; e own mak ge ect or ten; it is sƟ ll a mass of moving and to The Victorian Government hastoproposed prot you r or pedesystem is the bestIfinyou chan engecurrent “Our the y and we urge as a driver, pass ve and unroadworthy er. therthe wearing mechanical parts that can fail if interested part an overhaul of the system andwhe claims cƟ t this maƩ country. It givesdrive peace of mind to theview buyer n on s known abou that many defe n your to ensu not aƩended too.” changes will reduce red tape and saveremoney. before they are your submissio are made safe and the seller.” or send 23 August, to: cles vacc vehi visit , “VACC is opposed to the changes. Our current. For more on Frida “If 5pm the new law y,was to beorbrought in, it the road again le toat least a basic “All cars should have safety 3101 spondence, by roadworthy inspecƟon or corre t, Kew, VIC, for many peop soon Stree would endanger lives on road.” ark real tendency rs assold and a RWC check being oads, 60 Denm @roads.vic.go Ɵng buye VicRdoes system works, but don’t There is a very specbefore sssubmissions with cars to unsu buyers,the not,Ɵng it leaves system exposed to worthine“We had a vehiclecons in, less rs 12 months email road dispose of their umethan just take our word for it,” UnsuIfspec r.this. s and cted the road are prote on cts begin to occu less cts, safe defe than reputable people exploiƟ ng the old, with worn out rear as defe cars le’s VACC ExecuƟve Director, worthy disc brakes.” the vehic “Let’s keep our our exisƟng road or transferred,” m.puƫng more unsafe knowledge of ning no syste system and vehicles retai cate  by David Purchase. hy cerƟ protected “Most cars wesold check have 80,000kms when other by the roadwort motor vehicles on the road.” said. daughter, or hase, yet inspecƟons for Purcclock, plusDavid on the have problems like t your son or tor, car without a Would you wan ExecuƟve Direc used Why “Noa way! remove the onlyVACC test we worn tyres on the inside edge, brake pads purchase David Purchase loved ones, to VACC ExecuƟve Director have to prove a vehicle is roadworthy?” needing immediate replacement and safety check? unseen under body damage.” “It was introduced for a reason, it works Public Survey* and protects the unsuspecƟng buyer “Leave the system alone.” 86% of Victorians would not buy a , Melbourne from being sold a potenƟally 464 St Kilda Road VACC House, vehicle which did not have a Roadworthy David Purchase dangerous vehicle.” Authorised by CerƟcate.

Roadworthy inspecƟons – have your say

*Newspoll Telephone Omnibus over the period of 9-11 August 2013, amongst a Victorian sample of 300 people aged 18 years of age and over.

Have your say

Send your comments and submissions to VicRoads, 60 Denmark Street, Kew, Victoria, 3101 or email Authorised by David Purchase VACC House, 464 St Kilda Road, Melbourne


Any change to the Victorian roadworthy certificate scheme

a vehicle that was unsafe or not fit for purpose. And, even if I did, consumers would have the appropriate protection under the Road Safety Act (RSA), and Australian Consumer Law (ACL). We have obligations under these Acts.


VICROADS’ ILL-ADVISED proposal to banish the mandatory requirement of a roadworthy certificate on the transfer of vehicles under three or five years of age is continuing to meet industry and public disapproval.

“Three years is plenty of time for a vehicle to find itself in an unroadworthy condition. A windscreen, for instance, could be rendered unsafe 500 metres after driving out of a new-car showroom. Suspension components and tyres, too, can quickly wear, particularly if a car is not serviced and checked regularly by a trained technician.”

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WORDS David Dowsey

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Vehicle safety pics tell story WORDS Murray Collins YOU MAY ALREADY be familiar with some of the photographs you see here. They were found on the internet, from overseas and, while they could possibly be set ups, they scream danger. A garden hose for a tyre, a bottle opener for a door handle and a log for a bumper are obviously wrong on so many different levels. To the untrained eye, the two cars in the other photos do not appear to be so dangerous. But they are and what’s more, they are real – they were taken in VACC member workshops. The average motorist may not detect the blue 2012 Ford Territory has inoperable stop lights or a defect with the front windscreen, or that the defects on the white 2009 Ford Falcon include two worn tyres, rear differential bushes, rear sway bar links, front lower ball joints, window switches and the windscreen. However, to a professional, they are obvious and require urgent attention. The photographs formed part of a presentation by VACC, during Safety Day, at the recent Freight Week 2013, with the key message being that motorists should have their vehicle regularly inspected by a professional repairer to ensure it is efficient, in good order and safe. Freight Week is a five day conference and joint venture between VACC and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA). It is hosted at the Melbourne Park Function Centre (home of the Australian Open) every two years. Freight Week 2013 was a record breaking event with more tickets sold than ever before. More than 1,000 delegates from the freight, transport and logistics, and automotive industry attended and heard 150 speakers, including three government ministers and eight international speakers.



Other sessions included the Technology Highway, Waterfront and Future Workforce. VACC also presented a key note address on day one during, the Managing Congestion conference. Together with VicRoads, RACV, Roads Australia, Connect East, Transurban, VTA and Victoria Police, VACC is a member of the Reliability Taskforce, set up to examine ways of tackling congestion and making Victoria’s roads more reliable. “The reasons for congestion are many, including unroadworthy vehicles that break down and cause log jams,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, told delegates. “In the absence of a legislated mandatory testing regime, which VACC believes is necessary, relevant organisations and the Victorian Government should work collectively to reduce the number of unroadworthy and unreliable vehicles on our roads by supporting public awareness campaigns aimed at highlighting vehicle owners’ responsibility to keep their vehicles well maintained,” said Purchase. VACC has developed such a public awareness campaign to inform motorists and business owners of the risks of driving unsafe vehicles. The campaign will be launched in Victoria soon. The Reliability Taskforce met regularly throughout the year and will continue to tackle the issue of road congestion in 2014. As if the agenda wasn’t long enough already, new additions to it include the Victorian Government’s review of the roadworthy certificate on transfer system and the East West Link. VACC made its support for the decision by Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, to proceed with the East West Link clear at the media call to open Freight Week 2013.

LKQ/Suncorp alliance a huge t WORDS David Dowsey THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY in Australia changed forever on 21 August 2013. That’s when LKQ Corporation landed in this country. Announced in a press release on that date, the joint venture formation between the giant US company and Suncorp Insurance rang alarm bells across the whole industry. LKQ is only 15 years old, yet it very quickly has become a significant player in the industry by repeatedly acquiring companies in sectors in which it sees opportunities. It clearly sees opportunities in Australia. Suncorp Insurance is no minnow, either, owning a 50 per cent share in the Australian automobile insurance market. At a recent forum held at VACC House in Melbourne, attended by divisional committee members and senior VACC staff, the vexed issue was discussed and dissected. Clearly, the message to come out of the forum was that education was key: educating VACC executive and managers of the entire set of issues and their possible

implications; educating the whole VACC membership of these implications and what those businesses can do about it; and educating the public about what the LKQ/Suncorp alliance will mean for them. Brian Savage, VACC General Manager Policy & Government Relations, began the forum with an introduction of LKQ, saying that its foray into the local market was a “significant risk to the industry”, before divisional issues were addressed. It is believed that every VACC division will be impacted and, as such, all Division Managers (Terry Conroy; Gary Cowen; Darren Curry, who also spoke on behalf of the absent Paul Scagliotti; Michael McKenna; and Paul Muccitelli) briefed attendees about what the likely outcome of the alliance will mean for their Divisional members. John Caine, VACC’s Consumer Advisory Manager, then presented on the consumer angle, before the forum was opened up to members for questions. Richard Westmoreland, partner at HWL Ebsworth, and a specialist in competition law,

Brian Savage

Richard Westmoreland

John Caine

Terry Conroy

then addressed attendees on possible strategies that could counter the LKQ/ Suncorp offensive. Westmoreland said that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) used three tests to judge if any business dealings were anti-

competitive: Whether it lessens competition; if it is a misuse of market power; and if third-line forcing (selling on the condition that consumers purchase from a third party as well) was used. He then advised senior VACC staff on strategies for addressing the more

Attendees at VACC’s LKQ Forum were invited to share comments and ask questions of the panel, consisting of competition law specialist, Richard Westmoreland, VACC General Manager Policy & Government Relations, Brian Savage, and Division Managers



threat to automotive industry What is LKQ? LKQ Corporation Incorporated is a publicly listed company on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Employing 20,000 staff, LKQ has, as reported in its 2012 Annual Report, a market value of $4.9 billion. LKQ formed a joint venture with Suncorp in Australia on 21 August 2013. LKQ is the largest provider of alternative collision replacement parts in the USA and is a provider of recycled engines and transmissions, and remanufactured engines.

Gary Cowen

Darren Curry

Michael McKenna

Paul Muccitelli

LKQ has operations in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Canada, Mexico and Central America. The company sources many of its aftermarket inventory from manufacturers in Taiwan and China. Founded in 1998, and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, LKQ has acquired more than 130 businesses in just 15 years. It operates more than 500 facilities, including an engine and bumper reconditioning facility in Mexico, providing replacement components and parts to repair cars and light, medium and heavy trucks. Currently, 90 per cent of LKQ’s revenue comes from the US. This will soon change. questionable aspects of the LKQ/Suncorp deal. VACC is currently seeking further legal advice and is actively investigating all avenues of enquiry. The public needs to be well aware of the stipulations in their insurance policies, says

Brian Savage, and to what degree (if any) they have genuine choice of repairer. Savage cautioned all members to think carefully about how the LKQ/Suncorp alliance will impact on their businesses, what the risks are and to make any business

decisions in a very careful and considered way. Plans by VACC to combat this issue include a wideranging public relations campaign; continued member education; and lobbying of the federal government, specifically,

Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson, on the implications of this ‘big versus small’ issue. VACC members are urged to keep informed of this complex and troubling issue by way of their committee(s) and Divisional Managers. See

LKQ/Suncorp alliance: What is the threat? The joint venture agreement between LKQ Corporation and Suncorp is likely to impact negatively on almost all sectors of the automotive industry.

LKQ/Suncorp doesn’t appear to be breaking any competition laws by doing this but is, in fact, not giving the body repairer a realistic economic choice other than to purchase the LKQ product.

The agreement will see Suncorp, when assessing quotes from body repairers, determine which parts are available from LKQ and base its value on LKQ pricing. If body repairers quote higher prices for parts (for example, OEM parts) they are unlikely to have their quote approved by the insurance company.

This means that body repairers dealing with Suncorp will not be able to make a reasonable margin on the parts they fit to repaired vehicles; all profits will have to be derived from labour, and body repairers know full well how insurance companies squeeze them on this area of their business. This line of business will have a significant impact on new-

car dealers who derive an important income stream from the sale of OEM parts to their network of business partners. Also worth keeping in mind is that Suncorp becomes the owners of vehicles written off by them. It is expected that salvageable vehicles will no longer be sent to auctions but will be presented to LKQ for processing, cutting out auction houses and recyclers. Supply and demand dictates that this will force up prices at auction houses, meaning recyclers will have to pay more for stock and, in turn, so will the trade.

It is expected that LKQ will enter into the towing industry as well, as it has done in other markets. The reconditioning of engines and transmissions, too, could go offshore in a bid to cut costs. A facility in Mexico already supplies the US market. Clearly, the impact on the entire industry could be enormously detrimental. Legal advice received by VACC from three law firms recommends that there appears to be insufficient grounds to make a case for a legislative breach or to enter into a class action.



Dealers shun local government tendering plan WORDS Ian Porter A NEW PLAN to pool the buying power of local councils has met with a cool response from carmakers and dealers, who have stayed away in droves. Under the banner of the National Procurement Network (NPN), 40 local councils around the country have opened a tender for the supply of 2,700 cars and light commercial vehicles over a period of time. With the exception of Hyundai, all the market leaders, including the three local manufacturers, have shunned the tender. And so have dealers. “We took a strategic view that we wouldn’t participate,” said Tony Sitch, dealer principal at Essendon Nissan and president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Automobile Dealers Association (AADA Vic). “Our advice from the councils we deal with out here – without mentioning any names – was that they didn’t want to get into it either. “That’s what I heard back from a couple of key people

we deal with. So I said we are not going to participate.”

Spence, says the NPN has been well received in other tenders.

GM Holden is the only carmaker to comment on the issue so far.

“We have just done a $400 million tender for debt,” Spence said. “The banks loved it: a single agreement, common for all councils involved. A simple process.

“We supply local councils and government fleets through our established and competitive preferred government pricing program,” GMH’s statement reads. “The tender in question here is run by an independent third party operator that falls outside our current arrangements.” The National Procurement Network is a program organised by, and on behalf of, local councils around the country. It has been designed to pool the buying strength of councils and to simplify dealing with major suppliers such as equipment vendors and banks. However, without being specific, carmakers say off the record they are concerned about legal aspects of the tender and associated contracts. Despite the lack of enthusiasm in the motor industry, the chief executive of the Municipal Association of Victoria, Rob

“The councils love it because they have got really competitive prices, but the model is so efficient. Previously, they all went separately. It was all over the joint, all these multiple agreements and so on.” The NPN has also run a tender for trucks on behalf of the councils and Spence said the industry preferred the simple process and councils were happy with the competitive pricing. However, Sitch said there appeared to be little need for a broker to intervene between car companies and customers, as there was already a system of fleet pricing in place. “If the factories want to get involved, that would be up to them. They already provide national pricing. There is a government fleet pricing list.” “I think it is just someone else trying to do a brokering

Rob Spence

Tony Sitch arrangement, perhaps to say ‘We can get even a better price for you’’.” At the moment, councils can buy cars direct from dealers at the discounted fleet prices or, at least in Victoria, they can use the State Government’s Fleet Leasing Scheme. Spence said the government scheme was not ideal for councils, as the scheme had never tried to find out what councils might want out of such a deal. “They don’t ask us what we need, what sort of product we want, what quality, anything. The State just goes and does its thing and says it’s open if you want to use it,” he said.

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20/09/13 5:12 PM



Heavy duty victory for TOD WORDS David Dowsey LAWS THAT ARE exceedingly difficult, or impossible, to comply with should have no place in our society. Yet, they exist. Such laws impacted negatively on Victoria’s heavy towing industry, so something had to be done. VACC’s Towing Operators Division (TOD) has been working with VicRoads for 10 years regarding a heavy tow truck bulletin and permit that, often, made doing business extremely difficult. At the forefront of the push for change for all of this time has been Ruth Sampson, VACC TOD Committee member and owner of Eagle Towing in Ringwood, in Melbourne’s east. “Predominantly, the permits are to give us permission to drive overlength and over-width vehicles on Victorian roads. We started

the ball rolling with this 10 years ago with a letter to John O’Regan at VicRoads,” said Sampson. “In my 2003 letter to O’Regan I noted that VicRoads had removed the ability for heavy tow trucks to tow semi-trailers from the over-dimensional permit. So I wrote asking VicRoads what had happened. If VicRoads allows a vehicle on the road, tow truck operators have to be able to tow it if it breaks down. It’s pretty simple.” VACC and VicRoads have negotiated the details of the bulletins and permits, but for several years, agreement could not be reached. Recently, after much effort, the heavy tow trucks bulletin and permits have finally been approved and printed. This has come to fruition because of the persistence and hard work of TOD.

One of the sticking points with VicRoads has been rear axle weights. The latest heavy tow trucks are rigid, so once a load is picked up at the back the weight over the rear axle becomes very heavy, which may then impact on road surfaces. Working with VicRoads and agreeing what rear axle weights are allowable was an education process. Traditionally, heavy towing operators were able to tow semi-trailers throughout Victoria with no restrictions. Now, VicRoads requires operators to break up semi-trailers and tow them in sections. “VicRoads says ‘drive the semitrailer into the next side street and split it’, but in the real world, that can’t work: You may not be able to get into the side street; people may not be happy when you park a semitrailer outside their house, splitting

Ruth Sampson trailers; the street could be full of cars; or drivers can’t back out of the street. “You can sometimes split trailers on the side of a highway, but a lot of the time you cannot. We should be able to tow to wherever they need to go. We fought hard for this.”



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There should be reasonable leeway, argues Sampson. “Road damage is VicRoads’ prominent concern; even more so, bridges. They don’t seem to have a great knowledge about their older bridges’ capacities, so VicRoads err on the side of safety, which is okay. They also refer a lot to their culverts in the road, but VicRoads can’t even tell us where the culverts are.

operators in Victoria who tow these trucks, getting the systems right was paramount. The VicRoads bulletin and permits are now manageable. This will assist heavy tow operators to run their businesses and with the assurance that their systems are now workable. Credit goes to VACC’s TOD.

VicRoads allows B-doubles and, now, B-triples onto Victorian roads and, sometimes, doesn’t take into account that these large vehicles may break down or crash and require towing. For the 30 heavy towing

Previously, permits were renewed annually until VicRoads’ 2011 decision to introduced monthly permits. Every month, Eagle and other heavy towing operators, had to apply for permits for every heavy truck. This was costing heavy towing operators about $40 per truck. Eagle Towing has five heavy trucks, and for around 12 months, had to bear the increase in costs and spend a significant amount of time on compliance.

Permits became quarterly in 2012, which was better, but still unreasonable. Now, after much hard work, heavy towing operators have annual permits, as of 31 August 2013. The permit is now $61.30 a year, as opposed to $480 per truck. TOD’s committee, and Ruth Sampson, are commended on their efforts to assist the industry. “I feel relieved that this is over and I can get on with doing my job. At least we have the piece of paper now and we can get on with clearing Melbourne’s roads,” said Sampson.

VicRoads/heavy tow permit issues • Bridge capacity (particularly wooden bridges) • Road damage (too much weight in towing combination) • Weight over road culverts • Breaking up loads before towing • Finding appropriate locations to break up loads • Length of permits

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Body repairers and parts recyclers to benefit from ACE environmental compliance program WORDS David Dowsey A NEW ENVIRONMENTAL program, called ‘The Audit Compliance Educate (ACE) Program’, intended to assist small to medium vehicle parts recycler and body repairer businesses in their compliance with environmental laws, has been launched by VACC. More than $600,000 of funding from the Victorian Coalition Government, and delivered via EPA Victoria, will go to VACC for the new pilot program to reduce these businesses’ impact on the environment. “This new opportunity has come at a great time with environmental regulator EPA Victoria focusing on environmental compliance for parts recyclers and body repairers throughout the 2013 – 2014 financial year. This now means that parts recyclers and body repairers can take a proactive approach in ensuring their environmental responsibilities are achieved, with the help of VACC Occupational Health Safety and Environmental (OHSE) professionals,” said Manager VACC OHSE, Patrick D’Alessandri. VACC will be offering free environmental assessments for parts recycling and body repairing businesses in Victoria with less than 200 employees for a limited time. These environmental assessments will be conducted by VACC OHSE professionals; and help businesses gauge their level of environmental compliance and identify where improvements need to be made to avoid remedial action being taken by EPA Victoria, which can come at a significant cost to business. The VACC OHSE Unit’s assistance won’t just stop there; it provides businesses with industry specific resources and information to help them make those improvements, and work towards achieving



Ryan Smith best environmental practice. The ACE program will also offer free environmental educational seminars, environmental automotive guidelines and fact sheets in 2014. EPA CEO, John Merritt, said the role of the regulator is to support industry and business to comply with the environmental laws. “The smaller size of many of these businesses means they tend to have limited interaction with EPA and possibly don’t understand their environmental obligations and the impact of their actions on the environment,” he said. “Embracing measures to manage environmental risk is a great way for businesses to avoid being at risk of not complying with the law and, ultimately, closer scrutiny from the environmental regulator.” The Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, said the pilot program was a positive move to deliver practical information and solutions to industry sectors to prevent pollution. “Addressing pollution and waste management is a key part of this government’s Environmental Partnerships Action Plan, which includes funding initiatives that support industry to take ownership of environmental best practice,” said Smith. The program will supplement EPA’s regular compliance monitoring and inspection

Patrick D’Alessandri

John Merritt

efforts to reach small to medium businesses that fall outside of EPA’s licensing regime.

includes parts recycling) and would like more information, or are interested in a free environmental assessment, contact the VACC OHSE Unit on 03 9829 1138.

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Logicar Australia announcement THE STILLWELL MOTOR Group (SMG) is excited to announce their acquisition of Logicar Australia. This includes the business, all of the staff and the three established branches across Melbourne. Importantly for customers it will be business as usual with all the staff, convenient locations, distribution, range of products and services that customers have come to know. Richard Moody, Managing Director of Logicar, is delighted as this secures the future growth opportunities for the business and its employees. This includes the resources, support and expertise a company like SMG brings with it. SMG are a family business much like ourselves, but with over 400 employees we are now part of a very large family. Logicar has strong



growth potential and a unique customer service proposition. SMG recognised this during our discussions. Everyone is excited about the opportunity and we anticipate Logicar will expand further in coming years. SMG CEO Chris Stillwell stated that the acquisition of Logicar is in line with the Group’s future corporate growth strategy. Importantly this includes being more involved in the automotive aftermarket - and Logicar is the perfect fit for us. Logicar is a specialist, operates in a niche market and is well regarded by suppliers and customers alike. Our focus is to keep the unique strengths of the Logicar business intact ; the real value of the business is in their people. Logicar specialises in the Engine Management market with Spare

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Date set for VACC Automotive Design Awards WORDS David Dowsey THE VACC AUTOMOTIVE Design Awards is one of the automotive industry’s most keenly anticipated events. Since its inception in 2006, the Design Awards have grown from a student competition into a prestigious occasion and a significant date in the car industry’s calendar.

The date for the 2014 VACC Automotive Design Awards has been set and will be held on Thursday, 26 June 2014. The venue will, again, be the Deakin Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne. “I am delighted to confirm that VACC will continue to support the local automotive industry and young



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automotive designers by hosting the VACC Automotive Design Awards at Federation Square in June, 2014,” VACC Automotive Design Awards manager, Murray Collins, said. “It will be an exciting night when we announce the winners of the secondary and tertiary categories and provide an opportunity for students, parents and teachers to meet and network with professional automotive designers employed by Australia’s automotive manufacturers. “Respect for the Design Awards continues to grow and they are now highly regarded by the Victorian

Government, students, learning institutions and the automotive industry. “We are delighted that Ford Australia, GM Holden and Toyota Australia, in particular, continue to support the Awards,” said Collins. The VACC Automotive Design Awards challenges secondary and tertiary students in Victoria to design the vehicles of tomorrow. Deadline for entries is Friday, 23 May 2014. Designs completed in the second half of 2013 (since 1 July, 2013) are eligible for entry and all work completed by students, starting the new year in 2014, up to the deadline date, can also be submitted.


More news about the 2014 VACC Automotive Design Awards will be released soon. Students should keep an eye on the Facebook page and on the website for updates: vaccautomotive


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The way ahead attempt to understand and predict what the industry will look like in 2020, and what the key drivers of change will be.

virtual showroom investment. This trend is not isolated to dealerships, let alone the automotive industry in general.

• Service, aftermarket and finance and insurance departments will be an increased area of opportunity.

This is a key question that all business operators in the Australian automotive industry should consider, given how rapidly our industry continues to change. What are the drivers of change that a business operator should understand in addressing this question?

The 2013 survey focused primarily on dealership operations, however all business operators in the industry will be able to identify with the key themes highlighted by the survey respondents. More importantly, the highlighted themes provide business operators with food for thought when considering what strategic decisions need to be made now, in order to be ready for 2020 and the years beyond.

The results of the survey and accompanying commentary have been published in a 48-page report, which can be downloaded from the Moore Stephens website: moorestephens.

• Online vehicle sales are seen as a profit opportunity; however independent online competitors are seen as a profit threat.

The ‘Automotive Retailer of 2020’ National Automotive Industry Survey, commissioned by the Australian Automobile Dealers Association and conducted by Moore Stephens Automotive, collected the opinions and predictions of a wide range of stakeholders in the Australian automotive industry in an

For example, the quickening pace of online retail activity was identified as being of increased importance, impacting not only the expected mix of advertising and marketing initiatives, but also signalling a shift from traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ investment towards a focus on websites and

WORDS Brett Fowler, Moore Stephens Automotive WHAT STRATEGIC DECISIONS do business operators of today need to make in order to ensure their business is well equipped for the automotive retail landscape of 2020?

Survey respondents provided an incredibly diverse set of opinions on the range of surveyed topics. Outlined below is a snapshot of the most commonly shared opinions for each section of the research. Market Indicators for 2020 • Overall vehicle sales volumes are predicted to increase slightly between today and 2020. • The number of dealerships and vehicle brands in the Australian market will decline by 2020.

• Regulatory reform and reduced government support for the automotive industry will be a threat to future profitability. • Rising dealership facility costs and overheads will threaten profitability. Facilities • Multi-franchise and multi-site dealerships will be the most likely retail format of the future. • Most automotive retailers expect that new or upgraded facilities will be required by 2020.

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• Most automotive retailers anticipate that investment is primarily required for workshop facilities and a ‘virtual showroom’, with considerably fewer automotive retailers expecting that future facility investment is required for their new, used or parts departments.

• Decreased cross-selling and product up-sell opportunities.

• Most automotive retailers expect their rent factors (being rent expense as a percentage of dealership gross profit) to increase leading up to 2020.

• Greater reliance on independent online service providers.

Online Sales and Communications • Online sales leads will become a significant driver of new and used vehicle sales. • Parts and aftermarket sales, service bookings and enquiries, online marketing and CRM systems will be more significant drivers of profitability. • Dealership and franchisor websites, mobile phone applications and social media will generate a far greater proportion of vehicle sales leads in 2020, compared to 2013. • Third party websites are expected to generate the same level of vehicle sales leads in 2020, compared to 2013. Future Retail Landscape • Dealership consolidation, online competition, crossselling of products and services and ‘virtual showrooms’ are significant retail trends for automotive retailers leading up to 2020. • By 2020, most automotive retailers will be operated by public corporate or large private groups. • Increased online retail sales will have the following impact: • Decreased dealer inventory stock levels. • Reduced gross profit margins. • Increased price transparency for customers. • Decreased requirement for large facilities.

• Decreased customer retention and brand loyalty. • Decreased number of staff. • Change in salespeople’s skills.

Profitability • 60 per cent of automotive retailers believe that their net profit as a percentage of sales in 2020 will need to be greater than three per cent. • Service absorption rate will need to be significantly higher in 2020 compared to 2013. • Growth leading up to 2020 will be generated by way of organic growth and achieving greater efficiencies. • A reduction in manufacturing in Australia will have little impact on unit sales growth. • Fixed operations are expected to increase in overall gross profit leading up to 2020. CRM and Influencing Consumer Behaviour • Affordability and disposable income will continue to be the key influencing factors in consumer behaviour. • Consumer behaviour between now and 2020 will be increasingly influenced by environmental and safety concerns and the consumer’s ability to buy vehicles online. • Print and media advertising will continue to decline as a way to develop customer loyalty and generate leads. • Social media and online communications will be a staple marketing activity in 2020. • Dealership awareness will be a more important attribute for repeat business in 2020, compared to 2013.



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Crow Cams release Dura Cam ZDDP Oil Additive

THE REDUCTION OF zinc and phosphate additives in passenger car oils and its impact on the premature wear of cams and lifters have been well documented in recent years. A number of products are on the market from complete fill “break in” and racing oils to additives with various levels of Zinc Phosphate content with some products priced out of many buyers reach. Crow has researched with oil additive manufacturers the optimum level of ZDDP for maximum resistance to scuffing and oil film break

down under the extreme loads of high performance flat tappet engines in road and race applications. Crow’s new Dura Cam ZDDP Ultra Concentrate is designed as a one shot oil additive with the 100ml bottle (right) bringing Zinc Phosphate levels on five to six litres of engine oil into the maximum recommended parts per million range. Dura Cam part number ZDDP-100 is available from all Crow Cams stockists and priced under $18 a bottle is great insurance for any high performance road or race flat tappet engine.


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As vehicle carparc expands so does SuperPro range AUSTRALIA HAS RECENTLY seen a large increase in European imports. As a market leader in the European market SuperPro has a significant range of performance and replacement ‘Euro parts’. SuperPro has recently released a complete suspension upgrade solution for those who want to enjoy their Renault Megane to the fullest! In the Megane, the OE front lower control arm bushes are soft and tend to suffer from excessive movement under braking and acceleration. To overcome this inherent problem from factory SuperPro has carefully reengineered the vertical pivot bushes in the front and rear positions of the front control arm, combining this with an uprated front sway bar tightens the front end up dramatically and all but eliminates the torque steer present in the standard car.

The rear of this vehicle has a beam axle with OE bushes that are a softer design to allow the vehicle to passive steer from the rear. This is fine for most everyday driving but not ideal for use in a performance vehicle. SuperPro reengineered the beam axle bushes to firm up the rear of this car and added a bolt on sway bar. This transforms the car from massive understeer characteristics through the corners to a far more predictable lift off oversteer. The end result is a smoother and more predictable car, both on the road and on the track. As usual with SuperPro bushings, there is no loss of comfort on the street for the daily driver. For more information contact SuperPro at au or to view the online catalogue visit


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Susan Harris

Intelligent Transport Systems Australia CEO

With 20 years’ experience across the transport and supply chain sectors Susan Harris is eager to harness the benefits that technology can deliver to industry and the Australian community. As CEO of ITS Australia, Harris is able to draw on experience from consulting and in industry to look at collaborative solutions involving government, industry and academia. This industry experience is combined with professional qualifications including a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Environmental Management, and an MBA from Melbourne Business School. Harris is also working to further link with the international ITS community, ensuring Australian advances can be shared overseas, while also keeping abreast of international developments in this rapidly evolving field.



ITS’ vision is: To promote the use of intelligent transport systems (ITS) technology as an enabler to deliver safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable transport solutions. If the rollout of technology in vehicles is market-driven, what role does ITS play in this space? That’s an interesting question because there are a number of automotive manufacturers in Europe that have joined together to form the Car-to-Car consortium. They are looking at, particularly, emerging technology in vehicleto-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. One of their key objectives is to look at this technology and, not only look at new technology and test it and make sure that it works, but also make sure there is market uptake and that we are looking at technology that is attractive to the consumer. That is important from our point of view. We look to demonstrate technology for

our members. We look to communicate, not only to the industry, but also to the general public, the benefits of this technology. So it’s the vehicle manufacturers that develop this new technology and it is the public that will eventually purchase this new technology. Where is the link with ITS? Well, unless you have consumers pulling it through they are not going to take it up. Particularly with new technology that enables vehicle-to-vehicle communication, penetration is important. There is no point owning a ‘connected vehicle’ if there are no other ‘connected vehicles’ to communicate with. That communication to the public about the benefits of that technology and allaying some of the concerns that might be around that technology is important. The National Transport Commission has done some important work preparing a discussion paper that explores some of the concerns around liability, privacy, possible take-up incentives and how we can address some of those concerns.

ITS Australia Intelligent Transport Systems Australia is the peak industry body for the development and deployment of advanced technologies to deliver safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable transport across all public and private modes – air, sea, road and rail. Established in 1992, ITS Australia is an independent not-for-profit incorporated membership organisation representing ITS suppliers, government authorities, academia and transport businesses and users. Affiliated with peak ITS organisations around the world, ITS Australia is a major contributor to the development of the industry. ITS Australia’s members represent major technology and infrastructure brands, state and federal government agencies and leading research institutions. ITS Australia is funded by members to deliver services to the industry.

WITH David Dowsey



How does ITS bring industry together to solve transport problems and create solutions for the future?

How does ITS Australia keep on top of new and emerging technology? Through our membership. We are constantly running activities and liaising with our members regarding what they are bringing to the forefront with new technology. We are also connected internationally. ITS Australia is part of a network of global ITS associations. We get together a couple of times a year. There is the ITS World Congress that is held each year in a different city around the world. There, we see the same faces and get an update on what is happening within the industry. We also sit within the Asia-Pacific region of the ITS network of associations and there is an ITS Asia-Pacific forum each year. This helps us understand what the latest technology is. We look at collaborative outcomes because, very much, this new technology is a global technology and we need to ensure that vehicles made in Europe, Asia and the United States, that end up in Australia, can all ‘understand’ each other and ‘talk’ to each other. Is ITS involved in Standards? Yes, ITS Australia has members that represent us on Standards committees. ITS Australia also sits on an Austroads steering committee. Austroads has a program focussed on Cooperative ITS that is charged with identifying and undertaking initiatives from a government perspective to ensure that Australia is well placed to benefit from this technology as it becomes available. So ITS Australia sits on this Austroads Steering Committee and we support an industry reference group that feeds into that steering committee, in turn facilitating industry engagement and feeding up industry knowledge and desires for different outcomes up into this government organisation.



There are a couple of different forums where this happens. Our membership represents government, industry and academia which is a great starting point for broad collaboration. ITS Australia convenes the Australian Traffic and Traveller Information Forum. This has its origins in the provision of traffic and traveller information to hand-held devices for travellers. Whether that is how clear the roads are and how long it will take to get to work in the morning, to where the traffic accidents are and what information is out there on the public transport network. This is a forum where members in that space can get together, discuss the latest developments and aim to progress things collectively. ITS Australia facilitates the traffic message channel tables, which provide the mechanism for that traffic information to be distributed to hand-held handsets and devices. We also run a Research Roundtable. The Research Roundtable is a regular forum that we hold for participants at the leading edge of emerging technology: whether you might be sitting in government wondering how you are going to manage these technologies that will be coming your way; whether you are in industry trying to roll out this new technology; or whether you are a researcher trying to put new ideas forward, this forum brings everyone together to help the sharing of information. You work collaboratively with government, but does ITS Australia also lobby government? Our members include government, industry and academia. Our aim is to lobby through informing, so that decisions are made in an informed way with the best information. Through our membership, we can provide government with fact-based information on the latest technologies and applications to deliver the best outcomes for our transport networks. We encourage government to consider implementation of appropriate technology solutions as an integral part of transport infrastructure decisions. It is about bringing people along for the journey

together. An example here is that ITS Australia was instrumental in bringing about interoperable toll tags that work across states. Each state was doing its own thing with no real incentive to do things collaboratively. ITS Australia sits across all of those players, the government players, the technology providers, the private road owners, and ITS Australia was able to get all of those people together at a table and discuss that it was a common sense idea that drivers would be able to drive their vehicle and their toll tag into another state and have it work. ITS Australia was the glue that made this come about. How does ITS help improve the performance and competitiveness of Australia’s transport networks? It is really around ITS technology, which is very cost effective against traditional infrastructure projects. It is a very cost efficient way of delivering improvements to the traffic network. It is important that, where appropriate, ITS technology is considered as a part of transport infrastructure projects. For example, the introduction of managed motorways, with coordinated ramp metering and variable speed and lane control, has been shown to increase traffic throughput by 25 – 30 per cent. This increased throughput is in the order of providing an extra lane, but can be delivered at a significantly lower cost. Australia has an older than average car fleet and an even older truck fleet. Is it important to get older vehicles off the road in order to bring forward the available safety technology? There are two issues there. One is that whatever we can do to encourage renewal of the fleet will have significant benefits in terms of technology adoption; newer vehicles are generally safer and less polluting than older ones. Retrofitting is then an essential element in making sure that we get good penetration of newer technology into our existing fleet. As technology becomes more sophisticated, and is tested, that technology becomes retrofitted to older vehicles. Typically we see new technology developed for the new vehicle market first then later become more widely available to be retrofitted although, of course, not all technology is suited to retrofitting. Can government play a part by, for instance, subsidising registration fees for owners of vehicles fitted with certain

Incredible technology from companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Google are making all road users safer. Traffic flow and efficiencies will also be improved as vehicle and technology companies, roads authorities, and academia begin working in closer cooperation: ITS brings them together

types of technology, or having certain technology retrofitted to their vehicles?

What role will cars and trucks play in future transport networks?

There are certainly a number of policy levers that can be activated to improve the take-up of technology that improves the safety of vehicles. In the UK, for example, a number of insurers are offering lower premiums for motorists who are willing to have their driving monitored as a trade-off. People share information about their driving style and people are rewarded (with lower premiums) for being good drivers. Thus the insurance industry is providing a non-regulatory approach to improve the safety of drivers.

Cars and trucks will always be a critical part of the transport network going forward. We need to have freight moving around the country, so it is important that we can do this as efficiently as possible.

Subaru recently did a deal with Allianz, whereby drivers who opted to buy models with the company’s ‘EyeSight’ driverassist system fitted were offered a 20 per cent lower insurance premium. Do you think we will be seeing more of that? It is great that insurance companies are seeing the benefit of this type of advanced technology. I would like to see more of it. That will come through more and more as the benefits become better understood and a bigger database of evidence is available to support it.

The question has been posed: Should a driver be heavily penalised with a large fine if they run out of fuel on a busy road network, because of all the flow-on effects it causes? The technology here is pretty basic: a fuel gauge indicates that a vehicle will shortly run out of fuel, but people regularly ignore it. This is an example of how technology can only go so far to deliver an outcome. What do you think should be done when this happens? (Occurrences like this) have an incredible cost to the community for the sake of one driver doing the wrong thing and not thinking of the bigger picture. So I think that it is quite reasonable to think of a number of options to encourage the right behaviour. What role does vehicle safety play in the whole transport safety equation?

Of course, it is really important that vehicles are well maintained as this impacts on how effective their safety systems are. It is also important, as we have more sophisticated technologies emerging, that we have people out there that can maintain vehicles to the correct safety standards. It is certainly becoming a more complex space from that point of view. How does ITS promote Australian businesses looking to find markets for their transport solutions? We are connected through our international networks. We will be hosting, for example, a pavilion at the ITS World Congress in Tokyo next year where we will be showcasing products from Australian suppliers. Through our network of ITS associations we can leverage contacts to help Australian companies get access to certain markets. In October 2016 we will be hosting the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Melbourne and we expect over 5,000 professionals to gather from around the globe. I will be working closely with the Australian industry to ensure that we maximise the potential of this event to showcase Australian innovations and expertise.



Your mother and father were hard workers. Was it they who gave you an early education in success? Without a doubt. My mother was a person who had to succeed; my father likewise. They imbued me with a ‘you have to get going, don’t be part of the ruck, show them what you can do’ attitude. You hated school and conjured some pretty clever ways of playing truant. What was it that you disliked about formal education? We had classes of 52 kids and the teachers couldn’t give any special time or service to any one of us because of that. For some reason I flunked arithmetic in the early stages and there was no one there to go back over it and bring me forward again. So I went from grade to grade and used to fail arithmetic constantly. There were also three boys at Collingwood Technical College who waited for me on the stairs and pushed and shoved me around. I put up with that for a few days, but I decided I wouldn’t attend school and went swimming (for seven months) at Melbourne City Baths with the fourpence lunch money mum used to give me. I would ride my bike there and it was threepence to get in and a penny to buy a stale Boston bun. But then one day my sister asked one of the teachers how I was going and he had never heard of me. So it blew up from there. I then went back to Fairfield State School but left the day before I turned 14 and got a job. You were a bit of a lad in the early days. What mischief did you get up to? There was a lack of surveillance, but I don’t blame my parents for that. I used to run with a group of older guys and they used to bunk me up to places and then I would let them in, like the local library and local hardware store. I also used to be able to slip through the bars at the newsagent and I would go in there and read some books… Smoking was an early habit, but it took a toll on you, didn’t it? I went to Thailand on a Mazda-organised trip (in the 1970s) and came home with the ‘Australian rights’ to a pinched lung. My local doctor didn’t know what it was so he sent me to the government X-ray clinic in Collins Street. They were able to identify the pinched lung, but the doctor said, ‘While you’re here I want to show you something, your lungs are as black as the ace of spades. If you continue with this you aren’t going to live very long. I was a very heavy smoker: a pipe during the day and cigarettes during the evening. But I thought, ‘I can’t keep doing this’, so I reached into my pockets and pulled out a pipe and a packet of cigarettes and screwed them up in front of the doctor. I never smoked again. I am 88 and still alive. Australian Paper Manufacturers was your first employer. I imagine your first job wasn’t exactly a plum role. I walked in and someone said, ‘You look a pretty fit young fellow, I have just the job



for you’. So he took me down to Number Two cutting machine, which cut large blue sheets of paper to wrap around matchboxes. When I went home my mother nearly had a fit; I had fine blue particles in my hair, up my nose, everywhere. So my mother rang up the next day and asked that I be given another form of duty. They gave me a job sweeping the floors, which was more my line. Then the manager saw me and asked me if I was interested in doing ‘sedentary duties’ and if I owned a suit. I arrived the next morning in a short-pants suit, which wasn’t what they were expecting.

be sold to the public at auction in Darwin. I talked five guys into going with me and they each paid me £50. At the first sale the first truck sold for £100, they all thought that they could buy the truck for £15, so they all flew home and left me there. I bought all I could with the money they gave me: two trucks and a car and headed off down the north-south road to Melbourne, collecting various bits at army dumps along the way. I doubled my money and went back to the next sale six weeks later. I bought three times the trucks I did the first time. I did this on five occasions.

Joining the army at 15 when the Japanese had invaded New Guinea may have been a brave move, but it didn’t please you mother, did it?

Running car dealerships in Fairfield, and then Coburg, was your next move.

When I volunteered for the army the recruiting sergeant in the Town Hall took one look at me and said, ‘You’re not going to tell me that you are 18, are you?’ ‘No Sir, I’m not, but I only want to join Home Defence, so yes I am 18’. I was transported to Royal Park and inducted into the Australian Army and was given a uniform and slouch hat. I put those on and went home on the train and my mother nearly had a fit. But my father argued that discipline might do me good and that I was only in home Defence so I should be let go. I went and joined the band at Royal Park; I could play most brass instruments and the drums. Then I heard that people were being called to join the 39th Battalion and that I could get in from Home Defence. I joined the 39th Battalion and loved it; I played in the band. When my mother heard that I was going to New Guinea she called the General at Southern Command headquarters and told him that her fifteen-and-a-half year old son was not going to New Guinea. A lieutenant came to see me and said that if I thought I could get my mother’s permission I could go home and try. As soon as I arrived home my mother took one look at me and said ‘No!’ That was the end of that. The next day I went back to the barracks and the lieutenant asked if I had my mother’s permission to go and I said ‘Yes, Sir’. He then asked for the permission papers and I told him that I had lost them. I was left on the parade ground while all my mates were shipped off. I was very upset with my mother, until I understood what she saved me from. There were 1,000 men in 39th Battalion and 460 were killed. You saw your first real business opportunity just after the war when the Australian Army wanted to off-load its surplus trucks. How did you turn this to your advantage? When I got out of the army I used my deferred payment to buy an old Maple Leaf truck and got a job with the Forestry Commission carting firewood around Melbourne. The truck wasn’t up to it so I applied for a loan and bought a new Ford truck. I then saw an opportunity to go up to the Matlock Forest and pull logs out of the mountain and bring them back to Melbourne. Then I saw a letter in the newspaper saying that army trucks would

We had the biggest trucking sales business in Australia. We had over 100 trucks on the property. I then purchased a property on Sydney Road where all the trucks went past. It was there that I first created night car auctions. I went to 3UZ and asked John McMahon to auction cars over the radio. I set this up and went to the Red Cross because the Auctioneer’s Act said that ‘Any auctioneer that holds a licence shall not auction between the hours of sunset and sunrise unless it is for a church or charity’. In the end the police shut me down. You once made the front page of the Herald after being booked for driving at 100mph (162km/h). Was there still a bit of the lad in you even after you became a ‘respectable’ businessman? In those days, there were no cars on the road after 11 at night. It was one o’clock in the morning and I had just left a nightclub called Ciro’s with my partner, Val Richardson; he had a Single Spinner Ford sedan. I said ‘I’ll give you a race’. I was in a very hot Riley. Off we went racing. We were doing over 100mph and I lost him. When I got to my street I turned the corner slowly, then suddenly a Ford Single Spinner came roaring around the corner and out got four coppers. I had been racing a police car; exactly the same make and model as Val’s car. I became Frank Galbally’s first case because his brother, John, couldn’t service me. I had been in at Ciro’s celebrating the sale of an expensive truck and had a large amount of cash in the glove box. I picked Frank up on my way to court that day and, through the cutting at East Ivanhoe, I could see this policeman who booked me driving this car that went past quickly. Frank asked me how fast he was going and I knew that he was doing at least 10mph faster than the speed limit. Frank said, ‘Oh, that’s okay’. So we got to court and Frank said, ‘I don’t like the guy on the bench, he’s a hanging judge. Have you got two quid?’ So he went out and bribed the clerk of the court with the two quid to have us heard by the magistrates at the back of the court. He said ‘Stand there and look innocent’. ‘Your honour, my client thought that he was being chased by thugs and he had a substantial amount of money hidden in his car. He thought they were going to take the money from him. He had no alternative but

On the release of his memoirs, Max Kirwan spoke to David Dowsey about his many adventures inside and outside the automotive industry

Good one, Max DECEMBER OCTOBER 2013


to try to out-run them. So that’s what he did’. Then the detective who booked me stood up in the dock and Frank asked him if he believed in breaking the speed limit. He said ‘no’. ‘Then why did I see you breaking the speed limit on the way to the court this morning; I timed you?’ Frank made him look silly. He was furious. The magistrate then fined me two quid and I went away. It taught me a big lesson: I never broke the speed limit in the metro area again. You opened a Ford dealership in 1956 with no capital. How did you achieve this? Richardson and Kirwan had restarted interstate (truck) transport; there had been a shortage of petrol after the war. We generated £1 million; it was a lot of money. Then came the recession in 1952 and interstate transport came to a standstill; the drivers were leaving the trucks by the side of the road. The law was different back then; you could close a business down one day, walk away from it and start up a new business name the following morning. A lot of people were doing that. I made the decision because I didn’t want to be seen to do that. I started to pay the money back (£1 million). I was broke and the trucks were second-hand older models. At the time we were acting as a sub dealer to Bayford Motors; we were selling more Ford trucks than they were. So I said to the Ford representative ‘I want to be a full dealer’. I was told there was a small dealership in Essendon called Viscount Motors and that I could buy it for £15,000. I went to my bank manager and told him that I had no cash. I was told that the bank liked the business I was providing and that they would loan me the £15,000 to buy Viscount Motors. I bought the dealership, but that was stupid because I then had no cash. I decided to proceed because cash flow was pretty good. I grew that business from a ‘C’ dealership to an ‘A’ dealership inside 12 months. Falcon had just been released and I was selling every one I could get, so I was offered another franchise and Ford offered me three times the Falcons I was getting at Viscount Motors. It was a dream time. Then Harold Holt introduced the credit squeeze, which was the worst act, financially, that had



ever been introduced into Australia. More than half who had businesses went broke; I had 36 orders and overnight I had none; they were all cancelled. I was left with a huge mortgage and only a little amount of money and not much future with Ford; we just couldn’t sell any more Falcons. During a round-the-world trip that you won from Ford Australia, you met Henry Ford III, but the trip finished with some bad news, which led to the Ford Marketing Development Plan. Tell us about this. When I arrived in America I was told that Henry Ford would not be available to meet me. I was angry, because that was the main reason I went: to see what he was going to do about the situation back home. I had words, and then I was told that the meeting was back on again. When I saw him he said, ‘Yes Kirwan, now what’s the problem?’ I told him. So he brought in this guy who looked after Australia. He told me that because of the credit squeeze Ford could not go ahead with some of the things it wanted to do. Then I met Henry Ford again and told him that it was necessary he visit Australia to see the dire straits his Ford dealerships were in. I assured Henry Ford that if he didn’t put in a dealership assistance program he would loose his dealers. When I got back home I went to my bank manager and said that I couldn’t continue in the business conditions I was in. The bank manager gave me an assurance. ‘If you are in trouble we will help you out,’ he said. I told him that I had a plan that would work, but I needed £20,000 to make it work. I was confident the bank would help but when I got to work the next day ESANDA had put a receiver in. I was out of business with Ford that day. Henry Ford III came to Australia six weeks later and refinanced half of the dealerships. It was you who approached Mazda in 1967 and became a Mazda dealer in 1968, when the Japanese company was not widely known in Australia. Why did you do this? After I finished with Ford, I had been selling ‘bombs’ from, eventually, four sites, and I had a good name. So I had Datsun and Volvo approach me asking me to represent them as a dealer. But I eventually settled on Mazda. I went with them because I looked at their products and they were building two beautiful cars: the 1500 and the 1800. They were tight and gorgeous to drive and own. I was looking ahead and thought Mazda is for me. They appointed me and I told the others I wasn’t interested. I later became a Nissan (Datsun) and Volvo dealer along with many other makes.

ssful dealer, Kirwan’s In addition to being a succe Victorians during his voice became well known to ted over 20 years radio stint at 3AW that las You have been with Mazda through its whole Australian journey. How have you seen the company develop? Mazda does particularly well in Australia. Early on it was a struggle to have the brand accepted with the public who saw it as just another bucket of bolts from Japan. But I knew. In those days, if you sold 30 cars a month you were a big time dealer for Mazda. I eventually became Australia’s largest Mazda dealer in terms of volume, which I still am from a solo site. In one month we sold 367 Mazdas, and all to private people; none to fleet. That was a giant effort. I had a strong belief in Mazda. I was sent to Japan to inspect the factory in Hiroshima. I saw the future. In the meantime I had other franchises, but Mazda was always the number one in my eye. In the last eight years they have had the most phenomenal run in the history of Australian motoring. They have such fantastic product. The attitude from Mazda toward the dealers is fantastic too. You helped form the Australian Mazda Dealer Association (AMDA). How did that change the way Mazda dealers related to Mazda Australia and with the factory in Japan? The big thing in new car business in those days was discounting. I could see Mazda heading down that path. I had learned from my experiences with Ford that a lot of things could be achieved at dealer level by negotiating with the factory. I started out by persuading the Mazda dealers in Victoria that we should have a Mazda dealer council. We started to put together a plan that is still there today. The people who want a discount will ring you and ask how much you will sell the car to them for. Then they will ring the next dealer and the next dealer until they get the best possible price. (Other dealers) are still doing it today. They are fools to let that happen. I then started the Australian Mazda Dealer Association.

I spent a lot of time in Canberra fighting for our rights. AMDA is, I believe, the best dealer council in Australia, possibly the world. Where did the well-known slogan ‘Good One, Max’, come from? I had a lot of success with that. We were trying to come up with a slogan that would distance ourselves from the rest of the industry. We were working with a young advertising agency and they came up with it. When I heard it I liked it straight away, and have used it ever since. You approached radio station, 3AW, in 1970, which led to you hosting your own show that lasted 23 years. How did you make that happen? It started off as a valuation show on Friday nights. It became very popular; my ratings were good. In that 23 years I became quite good at what I was doing. Valuing cars didn’t grab me so Muriel Cooper suggested that I should do an interview show with prominent people. I got the racing car drivers, like Alan Jones; Peter Brock was a regular and so was Dick Johnson. I was talking to the prime minister’s office one minute and the transport minister the other. I would also interview Bob Davison from the VACC regularly. I recorded interviews and put them to air. I would put in two days work to produce a one-hour radio program and was not being paid; it was terrible but I was enjoying the popularity and people were buying cars from me because of it. You became VACC President in 1985 at a difficult time for VACC and its recently departed dealer group AADA (Vic). What did you do to repair the rift? I could see that there was a personality problem with VACC CEO, John Collins, and AADA (Vic) president, Graham Holmes. Graham objected strongly about what the CEO was doing to the dealers. He said, ‘We are going to leave the VACC because of the lack of assistance and the CEO’s attitude towards

the dealers’. So AADA (Vic) left and moved down the road. Then Graham Holmes resigned and I stepped up and started to have a good look at the situation. We had no funds, so Warren Smith and I worked out that we had to come inside the VACC where we belonged. I then started the negotiations with Dennis Dean, who was the AADA (Vic) president then, and told him that it was a personality conflict. So I started negotiations with, Bob Davison, the stand-in CEO of VACC, that still stand today. That gave us the rights that the previous CEO had been trying to take away from us. It was a good agreement. We didn’t get everything that we wanted but we could work with it. We then got the resignation from John Collins. Bob Davison took over; we came back inside the Chamber and have been there happily ever since. At a dinner held by the controlling Dutch company, AMEV, you did the unthinkable and told them that you would consider its offer to buy VACC’s shares in VACC Insurance Company Ltd. Why? VACC was getting $1 million in insurance commissions and no one wanted to upset that; we couldn’t operate without it. So it was felt that we couldn’t say anything except, ‘Let’s keep the association and keep the one million going’. So each past president gave the same reply: ‘No thank you’. But what I said to John van Herwerden was: ‘give us an offer for our shares (49 per cent), then. Make it a non-back

and fill offer. I want it to be your best offer. If it is all right I will give it my best consideration and refer it back to the Board. They were a bit shocked but I got an offer from them fairly quickly for $58 million, which surprised me; I thought it might be about $40 million. I quickly I did an exercise on that and, compared with the $1 million we were getting I could see that we could get $7 million at bank rates. In the meantime, the president at the time attended all VACC Insurance Company Board meetings. I could see that the insurance company was going nowhere interstate. It was almost impossible for VACC Insurance Company to go forward. But what could we do with $58 million? Well, properly invested by a committee and with very good advice we should be able to get up to 12 per cent on our money. I then had to convince the Executive Board and the Board of Management. And boy did that take some doing! I worked very hard on it. One guy rang me and told me that he was going to kill me. Another guy said that he was going to beat me up badly. I didn’t tell anybody because I didn’t want to upset things, but I acted very carefully. I finally got Board approval. We sold the shares and we got our $58 million and VACC Insurance left the country. If we hadn’t done that we would be broke like the rest of the (motoring) associations across the country. Instead, we have $150 million. You have received an OAM, carried Commonwealth and Olympic Games torches; you are celebrated; not bad for a cheeky kid who couldn’t do his maths at school. What do you attribute to your success? I have always been a community-minded person and have always contributed whatever I could from my income to community projects. I felt that if things needed doing,I would do them. I have always liked helping people and I have done that my whole life, as my history of awards will show. Kirwan’s tenure at the helm of VACC saw the organisation achieve a considerable financial windfall, vital to its future



Technology is on the move in the welding industry, so keep on top of it if you want your business to get ahead, writes Paul Tuzson

IMAGES Paul Tuzson


elding can be simple yet simultaneously complex. It’s becoming even more complex, but this has actually led to greater simplification. Although these statements seem contradictory they are completely and concurrently true. In past decades, and simpler times, many of us were taught to stick-weld by receiving a few rudimentary instructions and the assurance that with time and practice we would eventually get the hang of it. Some of us even did develop our welding skills to a reasonably useful degree after a basic start like this. MIGs made things even easier as they became ever more common and as long as simple tasks using simple materials were all that was required, this seat-ofthe-pants approach was often enough. Knocking up a support jig to hold something level in a press is an example of where such basic skills could be useful in an automotive workshop. Welding can indeed be simple. In more critical, heavy industry applications, operators can’t afford to be ignorant of correct procedures and techniques, so proper training is essential. Like all experts, a correctly trained welder makes complex work look easy. But while welding can seem simple because of either simple tasks or comprehensive training, the reality is that there’s a lot going on in a weld. Material type and thickness, wire type, feed rate, weld speed, arc length, current intensity, earth clamp placement, structural considerations, manufacturerspecified repair requirements and more all have to be considered and controlled.

Consequently, over the years there have been a good many knobs to twirl on the front of high-end MIG and TIG welders to get things just right. Welding can be complex. As anyone with an interest in welding would know, inverter-based technology has been supplanting older transformerpowered welding for some time. Reduced weight and much greater efficiency in power conversion have ensured the widespread adoption of inverter-driven welders but there are other benefits that are at least as important. The fact that the latest inverters are digitally controlled allows for rapid operational feedback and system analysis. Increasingly, manufacturers of welders utilise these capabilities to achieve very precise control of welding processes. Digitally controlled inverter welders can address the minutest aspects of welds and quickly correct operator-induced process deviations. So, while weld control is more complex than ever before, digital process management has also simultaneously simplified setup and improved welding

TIG welders are second only to MIG units in popularity and usefulness (top). The recently introduced Kempact upright MIG range is ideal for automotive workshops and is the result of a clean-sheet approach to design (centre). The interface of the Kemppi RA series is superb. After setting the wire size and gas type, turning the central dial adjusts the wire feed rate. This is translated into material thickness. So, the operator simply turns the dial until it matches the material thickness being welded. It’s very clear and simple (left)



The inverter unit at left is a 400-watt machine. The larger and heavier transformer machine at the right only operates at 200 watts. Note the dust in both of them. This will kill circuit boards and should be regularly cleaned out. Greg Foster from service company, Migtronic, says welders should be serviced once a year, or for heavily used machines in dirty environments, every six months. Things like noisy fans, bad terminals and connections, and noisy contactors never work out for the best if left. A basic service doesn’t cost much and more than pays for itself in the long run by reducing repair costs over time. Foster can be contacted on 0415 105 747. procedure more than ever. Rheostats and painted scales have been replaced by rotary encoders and digital LCD displays. All of the welder manufacturers we spoke with are embracing digital technology and each has a trade name for the particular set of capabilities built into, or available for, its machines. Mark Lutwyche, from ESAB, outlined that company’s QSet technology: “Before QSet you would set the voltage, set the wire speed, strike an arc and then go back and fine-tune it. QSetequipped machines read data like voltage, amps and pinch-off effect from the arc and then self-adjust the relevant parameters for the optimal weld.” Lutwyche went on to explain that the process takes three or four seconds but when it’s done it compensates for any variables. Even alterations like changing from 0.6 to 0.8 wire are accommodated. More importantly, QSet will alter arc parameters to offset variations introduced by different operators. Lutwyche explained that ESAB developed these capabilities to monitor robotic welds in industrial environments and that from there they have filtered down into general welding.



CIGWELD is an Australian icon and well known for very robust machines like this transformer based 400-watt unit. These are nearly indestructible (above). The Car-O-Liner 223i Duo feeds two guns from two spools. Not surprisingly from this company, the setup is ideal for panel shops where swapping between normal wire and silicon/bronze material is a constant need (below)



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In addition to its well-known range of hand tools, Snap-on offers a range of heavy duty workshop equipment like the Silvermig 199 MIG shown. This is a full-featured digitally controlled unit (left). CIGWELD also offers inverter-based digitally-controlled units like this latest 220ACDC TIG. It features full digital control including automatic downslope for the perfect finishing touch, spot and pulse mode for the broadest range of applications, and extremely precise control for consistent welds (right)

David Green, from Kemppi, offers the view that, “There are two sides to welding; what the user wants, which is simple and easy to define and the technology behind it, which is very complex and software oriented”.

using the full range of manual adjustment available from high-end machines. Yet even though that’s true, the most highly skilled welder can still benefit from an easier user interface and quicker setup.

When welding is a sub-task, as in smash repair, a self-optimising system that is quick and easy to set up is ideal. Green acknowledged, of course, that specialists who weld all day every day are extremely good at it and can weld virtually perfectly without any automated assistance. They are capable of properly

Green also made the extremely important point that a digitally controlled welding arc is a data rich environment. Clearly this is extremely important in heavy industries such as ship building and the like and Kemppi’s ArcQ weld process monitoring software and hardware modules are at the cutting edge of detailed process compliance. If even the most minute aspect of a weld, from wire size and general weld quality, to operator certification for a particular task, falls outside the specification for the job figurative alarm bells ring. The thing is, while weld process

The Car-O-Liner CTR12000 automatically recognises total sheet thickness, type of material, automatic lens diameter recognition and more. Flagstaff Automotive’s John Barry says it comes closer to a factory weld than anything else and that his staff loves it (below)

monitoring systems from companies like ESAB, Kemppi, Lincoln and others have been oriented toward compliance with strict engineering specifications in heavy industry, this is not the only environment in which such tight specifications exist. Anyone involved in automotive panel and structural repair work is well aware of the detailed specifications essential for returning a damaged car to original production condition. Welding, particularly spot-welding, forms part of such specifications. Obviously, with boron steels and the like, this is more important than ever and as manufacturers continue to use increasingly advanced materials it will only become more so. It’s true that in the hands of an experienced repairer any high-end welding unit can produce work that matches any current specification. However, it’s not just producing the work that matters. In our increasingly regulated and litigious society, demonstrating compliance is becoming virtually as important as actually achieving it. It won’t be long before any equipment, including welders, used for work covered by an engineering specification will probably need to show evidence of compliance. The data stream from a digitally controlled welder can easily be adapted to do so. Lindsay Batten from Car-O-Liner demonstrated the company’s 223i Duo MIG welder for Australian Automotive at Flagstaff Autobody. Not surprisingly, it’s a digitally controlled inverter machine, but one of the most notable things about it is that the programs contained within the unit can be both exported and easily upgraded via a slot for an SD card. Effectively, the machine can be loaded with whatever welding parameters are necessary for a particular task. It can hold over one





are starting to call for this sort of data from spot welders and it’s possible that this will also be the case for other welding processes. That’s a prediction rather than a fact, but there are already indications of interest in the idea from some areas in the smash repair industry. Another prediction is that while the data transfer between machines like the CTR12000 and administration is currently manual, it probably won’t be long before such transfers are made via Bluetooth or general wireless technology. Indeed, Car-OLiner already uses Bluetooth data transfer on its bench-based measuring systems.

The Italians are also known for excellent workshop equipment (above). A number of GYS BP.LCX inverter-powered spot welders also serve at Flagstaff. These are very good machines with the tight control expected from a digitally controlled inverter. As with other high-end spot welders, the BP.LCX features card transfer reporting capabilities (above right). A compact MIG or TIG from any of the better-known companies will definitely not disappoint. These can be excellent supplements to your main machines (right). Some Chinese made machines are of good quality and offer reasonable value for money (below)

hundred of them. It’s likely that, before long, repair specifications might contain welding instructions that are downloadable directly to the machines used to perform the work, and that such machines will offer feedback to indicate compliance. In fact, process feedback from welders is already available. The Car-O-Liner CTR12000 spot welder shown has optional software available known as WinSpotQS, which records data from each weld and generates a report, which is transferred to administrative software via a USB microdrive. Some insurance companies

Lincoln Electric currently uses wireless router technology in its industrial strength Production Monitoring software. It captures welding data that is fed into a system called Weldscore that effectively teaches the machine what constitutes a good weld. The machine then compares subsequent welds to the ideal and rates them with a score out of 100 that indicates how close they are to the model. The data generated by the system can also be used for machine diagnosis. The company is about to release another program called Weld Sequencer that will visually lead an operator through a weld sequence and match the results obtained against the specifications for the sequence. It’s a cloud-based system and thus remotely available anywhere. Although this technology is intended solely for heavy industry, the fact that it exists means that, eventually, it will be incorporated in lighter industry. This has happened with all other manufacturing technologies, and it will be the same story with welders. The retrieval and analysis of data from all sources is the future of all business, automotive or other. Forward-looking players in the collision repair industry understand this and are currently equipping their workshops and administrative support structures to comply not only with external calls for specific process verification data, but also to gain the production efficiencies, quality controls and customer service enhancements available from operational data acquisition and processing. John Barry, owner of Flagstaff Automotive, has produced and continues to develop custom in-house software for these very purposes. As it becomes available, data extracted from welding equipment will constitute only a small part of the digital control stream within the business as a whole, but it will be an important part for Flagstaff or any other business that wants to stay in business into the future.




Your industry is hard enough; you don’t need suppliers competing with you. Burson Auto Parts is a supplier of parts and advice to the automotive trade and that’s what Burson does best. Burson understands that when it comes to auto repairs, it’s our role to supply the parts to help you get the job done. We don’t have a network of repairers that compete with you, that’s your business, not ours. With an extensive store network, in excess of 500 delivery vehicles and all the best brands, it’s no wonder Burson Auto Parts is the first choice for automotive aftermarket supplies.

your trade specialist!

trust your equipment! Burson Equipment will work harder to make your workshop work for you. The Equipment team are committed to delivering effective workshop equipment solutions for their clients by stocking the best Australian and international brands. Our team are experts in service and training, which makes Burson Equipment your one-stop equipment shop.

PH 1300 BURSON (1300 28 77 66) DECEMBER 2013


Oils and fluids are a crucial part of any workshop, but also take up a lot of space and can be difficult to dispense of. Paul Tuzson explores some options... 46



f there’s one general thing that keeps the wheels of the country’s vehicle fleet turning it’s automotive fluids. Every day, in workshops everywhere, fluids are pumped into and out of vehicles and there is a wide range of systems and equipment available for doing so efficiently. Dealership-sized workshops that cycle cars across constantly full hoists to maintain margins obviously need the most up to date equipment, but smaller workshops can also benefit from the greater efficiency possible with the right equipment. We spoke to equipment suppliers Alemlube and Intertech about what’s available and the basic costs involved. Oil is the most common fluid moved in and out of cars in general service. In smaller workshops it’s not uncommon to see mechanics carefully carrying the bowl from an old-style oil catcher across a workshop to a waste oil tank and then pouring the contents into a funnel set precariously in a drum opening (depending on how primitive the setup is). Some spillage is not uncommon. Simple on-stand drainers like this work well enough but a rolling waste oil drainer with its own pressure discharged storage tank is much easier and cleaner, both at the car and at the waste tank. Additionally, the 70-100-litre holding tanks common to many of these drainers can reduce the number of visits to the waste area by a factor of ten

or more. That means less risk of spillage, a considerable time saving over a week and much easier oil changes. The time savings available from one of these units may not mean so much in a one-man workshop, but if there’s a decent flow of general service work across two, three or more hoists the benefits of one of these drainers shared across them can be substantial. Drainers that have a vacuum extraction feature and transparent transfer chamber, in addition to simple gravity draining, are useful for making a quick visual examination of any fluid extracted to the chamber. Once vacuum is created in the tank these operate as stand-alone units and don’t have to remain connected to the air line. Of course the other advantage of vacuum extraction is that cars don’t have to tie up valuable hoist time for simple things like oil changes. When the holding tanks of these extractors are full, they’re emptied into bulk waste storage by means of air pressure, which is much easier and cleaner than a funnel and balancing act. Simple gravity-drain only units can cost as little as $500, which is not very much more than a simple bowl-on-stand type or some of the other manual pump extractors available. A high quality, full featured gravity-drain/vacuum extractor with clear extraction reservoir can be had for about $1,800 tax free. Once you get one you’ll wonder how you got by without it.

The subject of oil extraction brings up the whole matter of waste oil storage in automotive workshops. Dealerships have this worked out. You simply can’t put together a workshop of that size without a properly engineered, fully regulation compliant bulk waste oil solution. While virtually all smaller businesses are also aware of the general restrictions in place for waste oil, there are some that don’t realize the full extent of requirements for regulatory compliance. If space is tight, in-ground storage might seem like a reasonable idea, until the regulations governing in-ground installations are examined. This is a difficult enough proposal for a large workshop; for a small workshop it’s just not practical. Really, as soon as ‘bulk-oil’ storage is mentioned at all, the regulations become very strict. Expensive bunded storage areas are required unless doubleskinned storage tanks are used. This can be a good solution for smaller workshops but double-skinned tanks are expensive. Drum storage is still the most common and practical solution for smaller sized workshops.

Basic oil catchers are better than nothing but fall far short of a vacuum unit (left). Double skinned oil storage tanks comply with regulations but they can be pretty expensive (centre). Gravity/vacuum drainers with pressurised emptying capability are excellent for speeding up servicing. Smaller shops that haven’t had one won’t know themselves (right)



Drum storage of prescribed industrial wastes in 205-litre drums is acceptable but they must be contained in bunded areas. Many workshops don’t do this, which puts them in violation of regulations. If this isn’t practical they should be stored on spill containment pallets and this is the easiest solution for most small workshops. A typical storage/ spill containment pallet capable of holding four 205-litre drums can be had for around $800. Apart from regulatory compliance, another good reason for storing drums in this way is that they can easily be moved around a workshop with a hand operated pallet truck. This is an enormous advantage in a tight workshop. Units capable of storing just two 205-litre drums aren’t a lot cheaper than four drum units but a number of them positioned side-by-side along a wall are less obtrusive.

Dealerships have the capacity to install the best equipment for maximum efficiency but these installations don’t scale down to smaller workshops economically (above). Simple drum handling equipment doesn’t have to be terribly expensive or complicated (right). The quick-fit Werak drum valve can save money in multiple drum operations. It’s a neat idea (below)

Bulk amounts of fresh oil should also be stored safely. Of course with fresh oil, dispensing has to be considered along with spill containment. The increasingly wide variety of oils needed to effectively service a broad range of modern vehicles means lots of

From left: The are a lot of oil draining solutions. Truck units like this can be emptied using a vacuum assisted drainer; Hand pumps are the most common solution to new fluid transfers from 20-60-litre drums. A bit more expensive than taps but necessary for things like manual filling transmissions; Air operated pumps are durable and an excellent choice. They rise in price by a two or three hundred dollars as pump ratio increases from 1:1 through 3:1 to 5:1.



20-litre, 60-litre and 205-litre drums. Racks with spill trays that support these sized drums horizontally are available and they allow such drums to be tapped by simple stop-cocks, set in the main drum plugs. This is the least expensive way of dispensing their contents, which is an important factor given the number of 20-litre drums likely to be needed in a nonspecialized workshop. Hand pumps on upright 20-litre drums are another common approach.

Larger 205-litre drums set horizontally in racks can be a bit obtrusive in tight workshops where space is at a premium. Upright 205-litre drums on spill trays take up less floor space but then some sort of pump system is needed to extract the contents. Basically, hand operated, pneumatically operated, or electrically operated drum pumps are the options. At between $100 and $200, hand units are obviously the least expensive. Air

Again, simple equipment can make an ordinary drum much more versatile and efficient (above). Smaller workshops are all about gaining efficiency with drum-based storage of both new and used fluids (above right). Spill containment pallets not only keep a workshop compliant, they are formed to allow easy movement with a hand pallet truck (right). Simple on/off oil dispensers are between $200-300. Electronic metering dispensers are about $500 more, while pre-set metering dispensers cost $200-300 more than that (below centre). Larger rotary hand pumps are needed for transferring oil out of 205-litre drums (below right)



operated pumps are the most popular and convenient. As long as an air line is attached they work, however they’re pretty expensive, at around $1,000. The most convenient of all is a pneumatic pump with a metering gun. This allows oil to be added directly to an engine without the need to transfer it to a jug first. Again, though, they’re expensive at around $1,500. Setting one of these on a drum trolley makes it fairly versatile. There are also purpose built 205-litre drum trolleys with a double acting pneumatic pumps, hose reels and digital metering guns available. These are also pretty expensive, at around $3,000, however, if your service books are full it could be worthwhile. Last, on the matter of oil transfer, is the electrically operated pump. These 12-volt units run on batteries and feature a 205-litre drum trolley, pump and metering gun. They’re excellent Italian products but can cost between $3,000 and $4,500. There are other 12-volt pumps, hose and non-metered gun kits available for around $1,000. Engine oil certainly isn’t the only fluid flowing through a workshop. Automatic transmission fluid also has to be changed. The limitations to manual methods for doing so are well known. However, fully and semi automatic ATF exchange units solve the problem of residual oil in the converter. Using one is simply a matter of disconnecting the lines into and out of the transmission, connecting the hoses from the machine to them and setting the machine to flush the system and then to replace the fluid. The price for this convenience is about $2,400 for the semiautomatic version and $3,400 for the fully automatic model. It certainly beats a chest full of used transmission fluid. That stuff doesn’t wash out of your clothes and it’ll be two or three showers before you don’t feel oily any more. That’s the voice of experience talking. Power steering fluid exchange units offer similar benefits to ATF exchange units. Both types of machines have sight tubes that allow visual inspection of the fluid in the system.



These are less expensive and come in at about $1,500. All of the prices we’re mentioning are ball park. As with all automotive equipment, the machines and equipment seen here are often available on special at considerable savings on the list price. Coolant is another fluid covered by legislation but sometimes neglected in practice. The need for machines to process it has been present for as long as there’s been legislation for it but the latest models are, not surprisingly, more capable than older types. Correct use of one ensures that an operator will be compliant and also that there will be no bubbles or air locks in a system recharged using the machine. These are also about $3,400. Although some of this equipment is a bit on the pricey side, most businesses that invest find that they are able to recoup the costs and turn a profit on the investment by either improved efficiency within existing procedures, or additional services that can be charged out. Then there’s also the piece of mind that comes with regulatory compliance. There’s nothing like being able to stay relaxed when an inspector walks through the door.

CONTACTS Automating common processes does increase productivity considerably in small workshops. Spimar Car Repairs finds that this pressurised, auto cycling brake bleeding machine gets used every day. The approximate $3,000 cost was worth the increased productivity provided by the unit in this two-man workshop (above). Either air or electrically operated pumping units that move the oil to the car increase efficiency (below left). Automatic transmission fluid machines make a messy and incomplete manual process into a perfectly clean and completely thorough operation (below). Coolant processing units ensure systems are fully charged and also make it much easier to deal effectively with old coolant (below right)

Timing Belt Replacement KIA Carnival 1999 – 2006 2.5-litre DOHC K5 KV6 Engine



he Kia Carnival has a V6 engine that has four camshafts, two for each head. In order to drive these camshafts there are three timing belts. The main front belt drives the intake camshafts. Two smaller belts are driven from the rear of the intake camshafts for the exhaust camshafts. It is best to replace the rear belts once the front belt has been replaced and timed correctly, before the timing covers are replaced.

RH timing mark

LH timing mark

Front timing belt removal 1. Disconnect battery negative terminal.



2. Remove number three engine mounting bracket. 3. Move drive belt tensioner up, using a spanner and then remove drive belt.

Water pump

4. Remove power steering pump bolts. Move power steering pump and reservoir out of way. 5. Disconnect alternator wiring and remove alternator. 6. Remove drive belt idler pulley. 7. Remove engine oil dipstick tube.

Idler pulley Hydraulic auto tensioner

8. Remove both left and right timing belt covers.

Crank shaft timing mark

9. Remove the power steering/ alternator mounting bracket and the engine lifting bracket.


10. Remove drive belt tensioner pulley. 11. Set up engine timing marks. Refer diagram. 12. Raise front of vehicle and remove right-hand front wheel. 13. Remove right hand inner mudguard. 14. Remove crankshaft pulley and crankshaft pulley cover. 15. Remove air conditioning compressor bolts and move compressor out of way. 16. Remove air conditioning compressor mounting bracket. 17. Remove bolt securing wiring harness to engine cover. 18. Remove front engine cover.



19. Remove timing belt tensioner by first undoing top bolt and then loosen bottom bolt. Let tensioner move away from pulley assembly and then completely remove tensioner. 20. Remove front timing belt.

Component inspection •

Inspect crankshaft camshaft pulleys for irregular wear and alignment problems, replace if needed.

Note: It is recommended that a new Timing Belt is fitted after removal. Valve to piston damage will normally occur if the timing belt has broken.

Dowel pin location right-hand bank (firewall side)

Dowel pin location left-hand bank (front of vehicle)

Note: The intake camshaft dowel on the right-hand head is aligned to the ‘B’ mark and all the other dowels are aligned to the ‘A’ mark. Dowel pins

Left-hand bank (front of vehicle)

Right-hand bank (firewall side)

Dowel pins






Crankshaft pulley bolt


Front auto tensioner bolts


Front belt tensioner pulley bolt


Front camshaft sprocket bolts


Front tensioner pulley bolt


Rear belt tension (using clavis tool)


Rear belt tensioner pulley bolts


Rear camshaft sprocket bolts


Rocker cover


7. If replacing rear timing belts, it is best to do that now before refitting all engine components.

4. Check exhaust camshaft ‘A’ mark is aligned with alignment mark on back plate. Refer diagram.

8. Refit all components in reverse order.

5. Remove rear timing belts tensioners. 6. Remove rear timing belts.

Rear timing belt removal

Tensioner checking •

Check tensioner pulley for smooth operation, replace if needed.

Check tensioner rod projection: this should be 14 mm.

Check for oil leakage, replace tensioner if needed.

 sing a suitable press, slowly push U tensioner rod into tensioner until able to fit 2mm pin into hole. If rod is seized, tensioner must be replaced.

1. Ensure front timing marks are aligned. Right-hand camshaft ‘R’ mark should be aligned with lower timing mark and left-hand camshaft ‘L’ mark should be aligned with upper timing mark. (See diagram) 2. Remove both rear timing belt covers. 3. Ensure rear intake camshaft ‘A’ mark is 90º upward from centreline of camshafts. Refer diagram.

Component inspection 1. Inspect crankshaft camshaft pulleys for irregular wear and alignment. 2. Check idler pulley seals for signs of leaks, if found, replace pulley. 3. Check idler pulley for smooth running. If rough, replace pulley.


Align holes

Pin or allen key

Front timing belt installation 1. Align timing belt pulley mark with timing mark on front of engine. Refer diagram. 2. Align left-hand camshaft ‘L’ mark with mark near top of backing plate. Camshaft dowel should also be facing timing mark. Refer diagram. 3. Align right-hand camshaft ‘R’ mark with mark near bottom of backing plate. Camshaft dowel should also be facing timing mark. Refer diagram. 4. Install tensioner and remove 2mm pin. 5. Rotate crankshaft twice (by hand) and then recheck alignment of crankshaft and camshaft timing marks. 6. Check extension of tensioner rod to ensure it is between 5mm and 7mm. Refer diagram.



Slowly press the tensioner push rod until the holes are aligned and insert a 2mm pin or allen key to lock the tensioner into position

Warning! Double-check and confirm the engine code before you start. Check the timing marks match with diagrams before you start.

Rear timing belt installation 1. Ensure front crankshaft and camshaft timing marks are still aligned. Refer diagram.

Push rod protrusion 5mm – 7mm

2. Rear intake timing ‘A’ mark should be 90º upward from centre line of camshafts. Dowel should be pointing upward towards ‘A’ mark for left-hand camshaft and downwards towards ‘B’ mark for right-hand camshaft. Refer diagram.

After the timing belt is installed remove the retaining pin and check that all the timing belt marks are correctly aligned Power steering

3. Align exhaust camshaft ‘A’ mark with alignment mark on back plate. Dowel pin should be towards ‘A’ mark pointing away from intake camshaft. Refer diagram.


4. Fit rear timing belt tensioners finger tight. Ensure new tensioner springs are fitted. 5. Turn crankshaft 90º to settle tensioners. Tighten tensioner lock bolts. 6. Check belt tensions using a Clavis belt tension gauge. 7. Complete two crankshaft rotations and then align crankshaft pulley mark with mark on engine block.

Tensioner Idler

8. Check all timing marks on front and rear of engine are aligned with appropriate timing marks. 9. Refit all components in reverse order.

Note: Replace the tensioner springs whenever the timing belts are replaced.

Crankshaft Air con



Kia Carnival Head T

he Kia Carnival uses a 2.5-litre V6 aluminium engine. The K5 engine was used from 1999 to 2001 and the GV6 from 2002 up until 2006.

Diagram 1 Tabs must face exhaust manifold

The following information relates to the cylinder liners, head bolts and gaskets.

Head gasket When replacing the cylinder head gasket on a V6 Kia Carnival, it is recommended to use a multilayer steel (MLS) gasket. Only remove the MLS gasket from the package when you are ready to install it. Ensure that the block and cylinder head mating surfaces are thoroughly clean and dry.

If the bolts were previously used with a compound head gasket, measure bolt length to determine its serviceability.

When handling the gasket only touch the edges to ensure that the bonding agent remains intact. Do not apply any sealants (eg Hylomar, Silastic, or Loctite) to the MLS gasket. Ensure that the locating dowels are correctly installed in the block.

Oil bolts as shown and tighten in three steps following the sequence shown in Diagram 3.

Measuring cylinder liner projection

Fit the gasket onto the dowels, face up, aligning the cooling passages. The word TOP should face up.

Each liner must be measured for projection in four positions, each 90° apart. Refer Diagram 4.

Ensure that the tabs on the gasket face the exhaust manifold side of the cylinder block. See Diagram 1. When fitting camshaft cover gasket ensure that the arrows point towards the inlet manifold.

Bolts Kia Carnival engines use torque to yield bolts. They should be checked before reuse to ensure that they are not more than 200mm long below the head. See Diagram 2. If the old head gasket was a multilayer steel gasket, the bolts should be replaced, regardless of length.



Step 2


Step 3


Big end bearings Step 1


Step 2


Camshaft carrier cap


Camshaft sprocket


Clutch to flywheel

25Nm 160Nm

Cylinder head bolts


Liner projection for each cylinder should be between 50 and 150μm, at each of the four measuring points. Refer Diagram 5.

Step 1


Step 2


Step 3




Adjacent liner projection

Lambda sensor


Cylinders adjacent to one another must be within 55 μm of each other. Refer Diagram 6.

Main bearings

Diagram 2

No longer than 200mm


Step 1

Crankshaft pulley

The difference between individual liner projection on each bank must not exceed 75 μm. Refer Diagram 7.



Main bearings

Individual liner projection

Total liner projection

The cylinder head bolts should be tightened, using the sequence shown in the diagram, in three stages.


Step 1


Step 2


Step 3


Oil pump to cylinder block


Rocker cover


Spark plugs


Sump bolts



Tech Talk

Diagram 3





with Dr Rick





Email questions to:

Dear Dr Rick, Diagram 4

I’m having trouble working out what is causing an intermittent knocking noise from around the top of the diesel engine in a Holden Captiva.

Measure each cylinder liner in four places

Hi Roger, The 2.0-litre turbo diesel Holden Captiva uses the Korean built Z20S1 engine. These engines have a common fault that causes a knocking or thumping noise from the top of the engine, which can be intermittent. The engine driveability is not greatly affected. The problem can stem from the failure of a needle-bearing cage in one or more of the roller rockers. The cage is made from a thin metal plate that can fall out of the rocker. The rollers can then work their way out of the rocker. Once enough rollers have come out, excessive play will cause noise. This noise can come and go as the needle bearings move around inside the rocker.

Individual liner projection Diagram 5

50 – 150μm

50 – 150μm

Notes: • This failure will cause the camshaft to be hammered by the rocker, which damages the camshaft. Repairs usually require replacement of the camshaft and a full set of rockers. • It is advisable to remove all bearing rollers and loose metal parts from inside the engine to avoid subsequent engine damage. • Replacement rockers use improved level parts that are not as prone to failure. • Continued driving with the engine in a damaged condition can cause major engine failure.

50 – 150μm

Adjacent liner projection Diagram 6

Less than 55μm

Less than 55μm

Total liner projection Diagram 7

Less than 75μm



Vive la revolution! Renault shows it is serious in Australia with a superb light car

Even in basic trim Clio boasts plenty of standard equipment




WORDS David Dowsey enault will carve a serious slice out of the hotly contested light car pie for itself with its stylish new Clio. Hitting the streets from $16,790, the sexy hatch relegates its rivals, with the exception of the Ford Fiesta, to frumpy status. The new Clio comes in three trim levels (Authentique, Expression and Dynamique), two engines (900cc three-cylinder and 1.2-litre turbocharged ‘four’), and two transmissions (five-speed manual and dual-clutch automatic). There is also an extensive list of personalisation options, meaning there is likely to be some rare variations on the street in the near future. Clio is a draw-dropper from any angle. And little, but telling, touches like the handsome recessed taillights and bonnet gas struts where a simple plastic support might be expected, highlight Renault’s hunt for improved build quality.

Powered by two clever engines, Clio motors along just fine. The 900cc turbocharged three-cylinder unit is smaller than some common motorcycle engines. It possesses only 66kW/135NM, but the car, in that spec, weighs just over 1,000kg so, in most circumstances, it has enough poke. It is found wanting on steep inclines but, with a fuel consumption figure of only 4.5L/100km, buyers will not be fussed. The five-speed manual gearbox/ clutch is nicely weighted under foot and provides smooth changes in the hand. The 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo is a good little goer. It’s rated at 88kW/190Nm, with consumption of 5.2L/100km and a CO2 rating of 120g. Combined with the EDC automatic transmission the powertrain delivers plenty of grunt and swift gearchanging. Best, however, is the hunkered-down chassis. It delivers an engaging drive: neither too hard and uncomfortable or flabby and expressionless. Riding on 16-inch wheels with 195/55 R-spec tyres the Clio is great fun to drive. The little TCe 90 (0.9-litre) equipped Clio, offered at the lower end of the spec range is good value, although it won’t exactly tear-up the tarmac, but the 1.2-litre version more than holds its own and is well worth the premium. The mid-spec Expression equipped with the 1.2-litre engine and automatic transmission (tested here) is likely to be the volume seller.

The groovy interior boasts 300-litre luggage capacity, assisted by the cleverly packaged full-size spare wheel. Front passenger comfort is high with grippy comfortable seats, a good driving position and plenty of smart storage areas for phones, drinks and more. Rear seating is tight for adults, though, with ingress and egress hampered by a narrow door aperture. The Expression TCe 120 has plenty of standard equipment, including four-speaker audio with MP3, auxiliary and USB input; height and reach adjustable steering; digital speedo and multi-function trip computer (hands free entry and start is optional). On the outside buyers get LEDs, front and rear fog lights, rear spoiler, electric mirrors, and chrome radiator trim. Funking it up with decals and other bling will cost more, but should prove popular. All the major electronic aids are there, including ABS, EBA, EBD, ESC; there are more acronyms than you could poke a stick at. All Clio models are also five-star EuroNCAP rated. Backed up with a five-year warranty and roadside assist, and $299 annual fixed price servicing, it’s hard to go past this stunner. Clio: soyez ma maîtresse. RENAULT CLIO EXPRESSION TCe 120 EDC SAFETY RATING: EuroNCAP ENGINE: 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder POWER/TORQUE: 88kW/190Nm TRANSMISSION: six-speed dual-clutch automatic DRIVETRAIN: Front engine, FWD CONSUMPTION: 5.2L/100km BODY: Five-door hatch SUSPENSION: MacPherson strut (front); torsion beam (rear) BRAKES: Ventilated discs (front); drums (rear) WEIGHT: 1,104kg PRICE: $19,790 COMPETITORS: Ford Fiesta Trend auto ($19,825); VW Polo 77 TSi Comfortline auto ($21,490); WEBSITE: MOST STYLISH CAR IN ITS CLASS TIGHT REAR SEATING



Proof in the pudding


WORDS David Dowsey ou have to hand it to Proton: The company has stuck to its guns for 20 years in this country. And it has not been an easy ride. For a long time Proton has been on the periphery: generous souls might call it a niche brand. But that might be about to change. Prevé is a worthy car that offers food for thought in the tough light/small segment. Firstly, Prevé is a good looker. The styling is neat, not overplayed, and does not bow to any of its competitors, which include Hyundai i20, Toyota Yaris and the popular Mazda2. Prevé also has generous standard equipment levels, with AM/FM radio, CD/MP3 player, USB and auxiliary ports, Bluetooth phone and audio, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, multi-mode trip computer, power windows and mirrors, steering wheel controls, remote central locking, front and rear LED lights and rear parking sensors. Six airbags are also standard, as is ABS, EBD, ESC and front active headrests. For this Prevé boasts a five-star ANCAP rating.

Inside, Prevé gets a big tick for its in-cabin noise levels. But the cabin appointments are dull. At 508 litres, however, the boot is surprisingly generous and, with 60/40 folding rear seats, Prevé is capable of swallowing decent-sized loads. Rear legroom is excellent for its class, as well. Performance is not a strong point. The 1.6-litre engine lacks low-down torque, meaning hills often require a quick downchange to power over them. 100km/h is claimed to be achievable in 12 seconds. Fuel consumption is 7.2L/100km. The five-speed gearbox (CVT is $2,000 extra) is Prevé’s Achilles’ heel. The action should be a lot smoother and engaging reverse is often frustrating. Where this car shines though is in the handling department. Developed by Lotus, Prevé has a (common) MacPherson strut front and (not-socommon) multi-link rear system; many

competitors ride on a more basic set-up that doesn’t function nearly as well. Proton is on the up. The Malaysian company has got this car right. Prevé is by far the best Proton we have seen here. The value is good, as is the fiveyear warranty, five-year roadside assist and five-year capped-price servicing package. Prevé is well worth a look. PROTON PREVÉ GX MANUAL SAFETY RATING: ENGINE: 1.6-litre four-cylinder POWER/TORQUE: 80kW/150Nm TRANSMISSION: Five-speed manual DRIVETRAIN: Front engine, FWD CONSUMPTION: 7.2L/100km BODY: Five-door hatch SUSPENSION: MacPherson strut (front); multi-link (rear) BRAKES: Ventilated discs (front); discs (rear) WEIGHT: 1,305kg PRICE: $15,990 COMPETITORS: Toyota Yaris YR ($16,590); Mazda2 Neo Sport ($17,440) WEBSITE: BAR-RAISING QUALITY CLUNKY MANUAL GEARBOX

Proton has drawn a line in the sand with its new offering, Prevé



One for the ages W

WORDS David Dowsey hen is exclusive not exclusive enough? When is wild not wild enough? And when is powerful not nearly powerful enough? It’s when you are absolutely mad about Mercedes-Benz AMGs and earn in an hour what most plebs bring home a month. That’s when. So, to satiate such lust, MercedesBenz has unleashed something rarer, something wilder and something more powerful to satisfy the demand. From stage right, please: the MercedesBenz C63 AMG ‘Edition 507’. Ta-da! It is, of course, a variant of the already mighty C63 AMG, which in turn is based on the already accomplished C-Class. And, oh my god, is it good. Available in Coupé (tested here), Saloon and Estate variants, ‘Edition 507’ refers to the (old) horsepower figure pumped out by AMG’s mighty and sophisticated 6.3-litre V8 engine. What is particularly exciting about the AMG V8’s power potential is that the naturally aspirated engine is

reasonably high-revving, meaning (of course) plenty of grunt, but also a whaling, howling exhaust note, unlike any other in motoring. Ferraris don’t sound this good: different, but not as good. Accelerating from 0-100 km/h takes only 4.2 seconds (Coupé and Saloon) and just a tenth more for the Estate. Top speed is electronically limited to 280km/h. To slow the beast down, as standard, the ‘Edition 507’ comes equipped with an AMG high-performance composite braking system. The front boasts composite brake discs measuring 360 x 36mm. Advantages of the composite design over other systems include higher fatigue strength and lower warping characteristics. The discs are also considerably lighter, aiding both acceleration and handling. The brake discs are ventilated and perforated all round and feature sixpiston aluminium fixed callipers on the front axle and four-piston fixed callipers down back. Brake callipers are finished in red on all four corners.

On the outside, the C 63 AMG ‘Edition 507’ boasts a number of exclusive design features, most notably the bonnet, which is borrowed from the C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series. Matte-black highlights and new 19-inch AMG lightweight alloy cross-spoke wheels with low-profile rubber are a further give-away that you have more money than god. Mercedes-Benz’ new C63 AMG ‘Edition 507’ Coupé is simply one of the most exciting cars available right now. MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG ‘EDITION 507’ COUPE SAFETY RATING: NA ENGINE: 6.3-litre V8 POWER/TORQUE: 373kW/610Nm TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed automatic DRIVETRAIN: Front engine, RWD CONSUMPTION: Who cares BODY: Two-door coupé SUSPENSION: AMG pack (optional) BRAKES: Ventilated composite discs WEIGHT: NA PRICE: $172,407 COMPETITORS: Umm WEBSITE: UNRELENTING POWER UNRELENTING POWER

‘Edition 507’ nods at the horsepower figure produced by AMG’s mighty V8



Employer super obligations are changing! MTAA Super is MySuper Authorised

New data and e-commerce standard

The introduction of a MySuper product is one of the Federal Government’s Stronger Super reforms. From 1 January 2014, all employers who make Superannuation Guarantee contributions into a default super fund on behalf of their employees must pay those contributions into a MySuper product. This is a simple, low cost account designed to make it easier for members to understand and compare super funds.

As part of the Government’s SuperStream reforms, from 1 July 2014, data standards and use of e-commerce will become mandatory for employers with 20 or more employees making contributions. This will represent a change for many employers, even those currently utilising an electronic channel. In addition, employers will be required to submit both their default and choice contributions in the same electronic format.

As an industry fund, MTAA Super already offers a simple, low cost product, so the external changes to our members and employers will be minimal. We have received our MySuper authorisation from the regulator and will be launching our MySuper product, aptly called “My AutoSuper,” on 1 December 2013.

To assist with these changes, MTAA Super will be offering a Clearing House solution to its employers in late 2013 / early 2014. The MTAA Super Clearing House will enable employers to submit a single contribution advice and single payment for their employees which will cover all fund memberships (MTAA Super default and choice). It will also manage the reconciliation of payment to the contribution advice and distribute the payment to all nominated funds (and fund member accounts).

Help your employees make the most of their super We know you value your employees and they are important to your business. Helping them understand the importance of their super is doing them a favour that will benefit them in years to come. An MTAA Super Business Development Manager (BDM) can run education sessions in your workplace covering all aspects of super. Call us on 1300 362 415 to be put in touch with your local BDM.

Free seminars for employers To help you understand your new obligations we will be running seminars throughout the year. If you would like to attend a seminar on super obligations for employers, contact your local Business Development Manager, whose details can be found at

With the introduction of the Clearing House, employers will see a significant benefit in terms of reducing the time and cost in managing superannuation obligations, and most importantly, will be complying with the 1 July 2014 legislative requirements.

This document is issued by Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund Pty Limited (ABN 14 008 650 628, AFSL 238 718) of Level 3, 39 Brisbane Avenue Barton ACT 2600, Trustee of the MTAA Superannuation Fund (ABN 74 559 365 913). Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund Pty Limited has ownership interests in Industry Super Holdings Pty Ltd, ME Bank Pty Ltd and Superpartners Pty Ltd. The information provided is of a general nature and does not take into account your specific financial needs or personal situation. You should assess your financial position and personal objectives before making any decision based on this information. We also recommend that you seek advice from a licensed financial adviser. The MTAA Super Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), an important document containing all the information you need to make a decision about MTAA Super, can be obtained by calling MTAA Super on 1300 362 415. You should consider the PDS in making a decision.

Sue Schlesinger

Peter Mitchell

Eric Vine

Scott Harris

An Industry SuperFund

The iNDuSTrY SuPer FuND For The AuToMoTive iNDuSTrY. Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd (ABN 14 008 650 628, AFSL 238 718) is the Trustee of MTAA Superannuation Fund (ABN 74 559 365 913). You should consider whether or not MTAA Super is appropriate for you. The MTAA Super Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) can be obtained by calling us on 1300 362 415. You should consider the PDS in making a decision.

JUNE 2013


a i n r o f i l a C Moto Guzzi’s California 1400 Custom brings a Latin twist to the power cruiser format

The California 1400 proves that big cruisers can look the business and still be plenty of fun on a winding road



’ n i m a e dr W

WORDS Rod Chapman

hile heavyweight cruisers are synonymous with America and – by extension – Harley-Davidson, Moto Guzzi can also speak of its cruiser pedigree with justifiable pride. Its enduring ‘California’ line of cruisers traces its history back to 1970, when the Italian marque produced the V7 750 California – a bike based on the V7 Police model that found favour with the California Highway Patrol from 1969. One can only imagine what Harley-Davidson thought of this brazen attack on its home turf… In the years since the California has undergone a steady if unhurried evolution, growing in engine capacity several times along the way. The family has witnessed numerous technical innovations, too. The 850 T3 California of 1975 brought linked brakes the market, while the California 1100 of 1994 was one of the first mass-produced cruisers to feature electronic fuel injection. The California 1100 reigned until 2012, when Moto Guzzi cleared the decks for its bold next-gen offering: the California 1400. All new from tip to tail, the latest California is available

in both Custom and Touring guises, but it’s the former we’ll focus on here.

Image is everything in the power cruiser game, and if looks could kill the California 1400 Custom is a homicidal hit-man. Simply dripping with sinister style and anti-social intent, the Custom is a muscle-bound brute that commands attention. Distinctly Latin and uniquely Moto Guzzi, it’s a seamless styling exercise that lends its own twist to the traditional power cruiser theme. Of course, taking centre stage is that engine – a massive 1380cc, single-overhead-cam, four-valves-per-cylinder, 90-degree, transverse V-twin. Moto Guzzi says it’s good for 71kW at 6,500rpm and an arm-wrenching 120Nm at a low 2,750rpm; it’s enough to see the Custom’s hefty 300kg dry weight fade into the background with the barest whiff of throttle. That was our happiest revelation after a memorable day spent punting this long and low missile along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road – it’s got a knockout punch to back up its ‘tough guy’ talk. After all, there’s nothing quite so lame as a bike that’s all show, no go… Also impressive is the Custom’s high level of refinement. Sure, the stock pipes erupt with a reasonably angry note, the traditional transverse V-twin left-to-right lurch is there when you blip the throttle and the Custom visibly shakes with vibration at a lumpy idle, but wind on the twist-grip and everything smooths out in an instant, the precise fuel injection unleashing a brutal wave of torque. Forget the kilowatts, it’s the Newton metres that tell the story, and up to 120 of them make light work of slingshotting the Custom at the horizon. The ride position is relaxed and comfy – feet a little forward on the footboards and a short stretch to the Custom’s broad and chunky handlebar. The saddle is nicely sculpted and compliant, too.

The chassis and suspension are equal to their not insignificant task; it’s surprising just how quickly the Custom can be pushed along a winding road. The slick six-speed gearbox adds to the fun but with this much torque regular shifting is optional rather than a necessity. The cornering clearance is better than we expected but that aspect, along with its weight, are the limiting factors. In short, it’s a big, weighty and powerful machine and it should be treated with due respect. Fortunately, the premium Brembo brakes also do a fine job, wiping off speed with power and poise. They’re equipped with ABS, while other techo niceties include traction control and a choice of three ride modes (rain/touring/sport). Downsides? Only one. A beast like this is no eco warrior. To that end, the Custom slurps down the juice at a rate of 7.1L/100km. Still, it was never intended as a cheap-as-chips commuter. Moto Guzzi needed to make a big statement with the next iteration of the California and these ‘evil twins’ do just that. We would go for the Custom over the Touring – we just can’t go past that muscular stance. The quality is there in spades yet it’s attractively priced, too. The California 1400 Custom is more than just a worthy heir – it’s an iron-fisted ruler in its own right. MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 CUSTOM ENGINE 1380cc transverse V-twin POWER/TORQUE 71kW/120Nm TRANSMISSION Six-speed SUSPENSION 46mm fork, non-adjustable; twin shocks, adjustable for preload BRAKES  Twin 320mm disc, four-piston calipers (front); single 282mm disc, twin-piston caliper (rear) WEIGHT 300kg (dry) PRICE From $21,990 COMPETITORS Triumph Thunderbird Storm ABS ($20,990 plus on-roads); Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle ($25,995 rideaway); Victory Hammer 8-Ball ($20,995 rideaway); Suzuki Boulevard M109RZ ($19,490 plus on-roads); Ducati Diavel ($23,990 plus on-roads) WEBSITE PLENTY OF GO AND SHOW FUEL EFFICIENCY

Grand Turismo

Sitting alongside the California 1400 Custom is the California 1400 Touring, a sibling decked out for the long haul. While the Touring shares the same chassis and transverse V-twin engine, the model comes standard with an expansive ‘Patrol’ windscreen, hard 35-litre panniers, a two-tone saddle, auxiliary driving lights, engine guards and pannier guards. It’s got a higher, more pulled back handlebar, too. All the extras see the California 1400 Touring’s weight pushed to 319kg (dry), while it’s priced at $24,990 (plus on-roads) – some $3,000 more than the California 1400 Custom.





Tune-up your taste buds See page 73

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Bright Idea With Projecta’s new lightweight and compact folding solar panel kits, minimal space is no longer a concern: the panels feature a travel-safe frameless design and fold quickly and compactly to a size similar to a laptop computer, delivering all the recharging power needed for 12-volt accessories. The kits are available in two versions with either 80W or 120W output. Everything needed to set up the

How Illuminating

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Narva’s range of incandescent and halogen globes now includes long life options, offering increased globe reliability and a reduced need for regular replacement. The range is a cost-effective solution for commercial drivers such as taxi and transport drivers who travel frequently at night, as the long life globes can reduce maintenance costs and the inconvenience of vehicle downtime.



Great Kit GUD Automotive has released a range of 4WD filter kits, including the important cabin air filter, which have been designed to assist the workshop trade and serious 4WD vehicle owners keen to protect their engine and passengers on the long outback trips. Each kit contains a replacement engine oil filter, air filter element, fuel filter, plus the often forgotten cabin air filter element, where applicable, designed for pollen- and dust-free airflow. Go to

The Way Ahead Narva has made high performance lighting more affordable with the release of its new 35W Ultima 225 High Intensity Discharge (HID) driving lamp kit. Incorporating the same design as the Ultima 225 lamp coupled with a 35W ballast and D1S globe, these lights deliver exceptional output and a noticeably brighter and whiter light of 4150OK, much closer to natural daylight than halogen counterparts. Visit

Stop Reading! Bendix has released its latest brake pad and shoe data book for passenger and light commercial vehicles with almost 900 pages of valuable information for the automotive brake industry. The catalogue identifies make, series and year of manufacture plus the Bendix brake pad or shoe reference number for front and rear. The crossreference index section identifies disc brake pad numbers against the Bendix products plus a Bendix brake shoe reference. Go to





Teaser Correct answer for last issue’s Taillight Teaser is Renault GT 220 Sport Wagon

Aut oju mble



Slovenian tyre manufacturer Sava is owned by what major parent company?


What motorcycle marque is headquartered in Mattighofen, Austria?


The inaugural Formula 1 season was held in what year?


What does the ‘L’ stand for in the defunct British van company, LDV?


What compact Holden was dropped in 2009?


The Tiida was the successor to what Nissan model produced from 1966?


Harley-Davidson is shared its 110th anniversary with what European motorcycle marque in 2013?


World Rally ace Sebastien Loeb drove what car in the 2013 championship?


What type of car did Tim Slade campaign in the 2013 V8 Supercar Championship?

Apollo Barracuda Belvedere Biscayne Camaro Caprice Challenger Charger


Chevelle Cobra Cutlass Cyclone Fury Galaxie GTO GTX


Hornet Impala Javelin Monaro Monterey Mustang Omega Polara

Rebel Riviera Rocket Skylark Thunderbolt Wildcat



10. Which Australian sportsman made

it into BRW’s Young Rich List for the first time in 2013?

If you can find my nuts, you’re a dead set legend.

















8 A B C D E F G H I J K L




1 A series of V6 and V8 engines built by Chrysler (4) 3 An early form of automotive brake (4) 5 Massive Indian auto manufacturer (4) 8 Long-running Honda subcompact and later compact model (5) 9 Australia’s federal transport minister, Warren ..... (5) 11 France’s best-selling car ever, Renault .... (4) 13 This Russian-made motorcycle is commonly hitched to sidecars (4) 15 Light armoured car produced in Australia (6) 17 Small but popular Spanish circuit, epecially for test sessions (8) 20 This Commodore model was produced from 1986 to 1988 (2) 21 Seperates a car’s cockpit from its engine bay (8) 22 Australia’s most famous supercross export, Chad .... (4) 23 Acronym denoting the most popular, all-rounder grade of 4WD tyre (2) 24 Acronym for common suspension set-up superior to a live or beam axle (3) 26 M ercedes-Benz grand tourer class (2) 28 Prefix for Yamaha’s enduro dirt bike models (2) 29 This tractor brand, more commonly associated with motorcycles, is owned by AGCO (7) 30 Kiwi Chris .... drove to victory with Bruce McLaren in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans (4) 1 British bike marque Triumph is located in this Midlands town. (8) 2 Former street circuit in Barcelona, Spain (8) 3 Rudolf ...... invented the diesel engine in 1892 (6) 4 This nation was the dominant force in motorcycle production in the 1950s and early 1960s (2) 5 High-speed European train service (3) 6 Another informal term for rev counter (5) 7 This 5.5km race circuit is found near Ronda, in the south of Spain (6)

8 The truckies’ telephone (2) 10 Another name for Honda’s CBR1000RR (9) 12 RV manufacturer Winnebago is based in what US state? (4) 14 The annual Summernats event is held in what Australian state? (3) 15 This American oil brand now flies the Chevron flag (8) 16 The name of Henry Ford’s son (5) 18 The Overland train service runs between Melbourne and which other Australian capital? (8) 19 German oil, fuel and lubricants brand owned by BP (4) 21 Australian representative body for the auto industry (4) 22 Which country is the world’s largest producer of oil? (6) 25 Wash the car and it’s sure to .... (4) 27 This cable car in Dubrovnik, Croatia, climbs this hill (3)




PETROL head Answers 1 Goodyear 2 KTM 3 1950 4 Leyland 5 Astra

with Horace Kope

6 Sunny 7 Husqvarna 8 Citroen DS3 9  Mercedes-Benz E63 10 Casey Stoner

Aut oju mble December ~ January Aries March 21 – April 20

Mate’s wife packed his bags, kicked him out. As he left, she screamed, “I wish you a slow, painful death!” “Oh,” he replied, “so now you want me to stay!” Watch out for mixed messages.

Taurus April 21 – May 21

Saturn moves away from Libra, the sun closes in on Neptune, pork tastes like chicken, you’re a year older since last birthday, time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana.

Gemini May 22 – June 21 How did you find October and November? Troublesome? Happy? Ambivalent? Neither here nor there? Confusing? Clear? Did it say on the pack not to mix with alcohol?

Cancer June 22 – July 23

Moon behaving oddly this month? Relax, it’s just a phase. Remember that dream about eating a giant marshmallow? Then not finding your pillow the next morning? Curious.


Leo July 24 – August 23

If you’ve been thinking about moving, now’s the time to keep thinking about it. The planets are moving, all the time actually, around the sun as it turns out. So you should too.

Virgo August 24 – September 23

This planetary phase focuses on romance. You will meet your life partner very soon. You will both be very happy. Keeping it from the missus will be hard though.

Answer: J6&G5

Libra September 24 – October 23

A full moon in November messed up your personal zones, now family matters dominate – your ‘little’ argument sees her coming back home around January.

Scorpio October 24 – November 22









You get on well with everyone, a distinct advantage around office party time. Test this by grabbing the karaoke mike and go for it – sing like no one’s listening, and pretty soon....



Aquarius January 21 – February 19







People say you’re a ‘good scorpio!’ when you don’t act like a normal scorpio. That’s like saying Twilight’s a ‘good’ movie. Best not to believe it and go back to being a bit of a psycho.

Sagittarius November 23 – December 22

Sagittarius, the party animal, the joker, he who leads from the front – this month, the sad dishevelled guy, the few too many, the oops sorry, the HR meeting on Monday, the apology

Capricorn December 23 – January 20

A wise man once said something to me which I’ve totally forgotten. Anyway, you’re the water bearer and you’ll find bearing water (and dancing) can be very uncomfortable.

Pisces February 20 – March 20 A friend once gave me this advice: if at first you don’t succeed: change your definition of the word success/find someone else to blame/skydiving is not for you. Keep it real Pisces.





Seaweed and chilli Hand picked seaweed and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli pepper are ingredients that were recently used by Scottish brewers Brew Dog. The beer was a hoppy India Pale Ale and the plan was for the hop resin flavours, the saltines of the kelp, and the heat of the chilli to balance each other out. Despite the interesting flavour combination, there are no plans to brew it again. Although this may have something to do with the fact they used Moruga Scorpion chilli, which is the hottest pepper ever grown. That IPA is a good example of some of the many new beers that brewers are using to push the flavour boundaries of beer. Craft brewers are now regularly making beers that use interesting ingredients, and most have been so well received that they are now being brewed on a regular basis. The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) beer festival is a hot bed for these new brews. Two of the standout brews from this

year’s GABS are from Two Birds and Brewcult. Jane Lewis, from Two Birds, made one called Taco, which is a Witbier, brewed with corn, coriander leaf, and lime. It is light and refreshing on its own, but it also matches very well with spicy tacos. Steve Henderson, from Brewcult, made Acid Freaks. It is a Baltic Porter that has been brewed with cabernet balsamic vinegar that has been aged in oak barrels. Surprisingly, the flavours meld really well together. If you see any unusual brews brewed by a microbrewer, give it a try, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Beer F a

ct William P a in ter invente bottle top d the crown in didn’t ca 1892, but it tch on un 2 years la til te he inven r, when ted th opener. e

Mildura Brewery Stefano’s Pilsner Well-known chef Stefano de Pieri and his partner Donata Carrazza own the Mildura Brewery. In 1989 Donata’s father bought the derelict 90-year-old Astor theatre and transformed it into a modern brewery and restaurant. The brewery seems to be an oasis in the desert of the harsh Australian

outback, especially on those hot summer Mildura days. To run the brewery they hired Rod Williams, formerly from Coldstream Brewery. While Rod was brewing a good range of ales, Stefano asked if he could brew a crisp clean European style lager that would compliment some of his recipes. Stefano’s Pilsner is Rod’s answer to that wish. It pours a pale golden colour with a white head. It is medium bodied and the aroma is grassy and floral. The carbonation tingles your tongue, along with a little malt sweetness, and it leaves a lingering crisp bitterness. RATING: BEER STYLE:

Czech Pilsner




33 IBU






Tall Pilsner


Bratwurst & sauerkraut, chicken, fish, and cheesecake

Sommelier with Rick Besserdin

Herb prawns and asparagus Serves: Four Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 15 minutes Herbed prawns are quick and easy to cook and are an excellent start to any dinner. Ingredients · 8 or 12 (about 300g) large shelled raw prawns · 250ml pilsner · Bunch (about 170g) asparagus spears · 3 cloves garlic, minced · 3 tsp dried rosemary · 3 tsp dried basil · 3 tsp smoked paprika · 1 tsp salt · 1 large pinch black pepper · Butter for frying (about 50g) · A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped Method 1. G  rind together rosemary, basil, paprika, salt, and pepper with mortar and pestle or with spice grinder. 2. P  ut spices, beer, and prawns into container and marinate for at least an hour in refrigerator. 3. M  elt half the butter in pan, or on grill, and gently fry asparagus until it turns a rich green colour. Remove and set aside. 4. W  ipe pan clean and add remaining butter. 5. R  emove prawns from marinade, fry for a couple of minutes each side, until they turn completely opaque. 6. S  erve asparagus with prawns on top and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.



Seasons greetings to all and remember: If you drink and drive you’re a bloody idiot.

Mythical Motors WORDS Damien Slavin CARTOON John Stoneham

Those were the days my friends “MIND IF I JOIN YOU?” “Take a pew Syd,” responded Mick, motioning to the empty chair beside him. The Mythical end-of-year bash was in full swing. Mick’s ritual BBQ had been consumed to much critical acclaim and now, as the youngsters took over proceedings, the resultant raising of the volume level had Mick slipping quietly outside. “What happened to the notion: ‘what happens at the Christmas party stays at the Christmas party’? mused Syd as he popped a can of soft drink. “The kids in there with all these blasted gadgets: before you’ve got time to blink, photos are taken and posted on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (whatever the hell that is…) and whole goddamn world knows about it!” “Welcome to the information age,” replied Mick. “More like it’s ‘all about me age’’,” responded Syd, somewhat caustically. “Like watching the footy on telly and they insist on scrolling this Twitter stuff across the bottom of the screen, as if I really give a flying fig what some bozo from Whoop-Whoop South thinks! Really don’t get this entire social media, the need to constantly interact with your fellow human beings.”



Mick chuckled: “Reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon from many years ago when Linus tells Lucy he’s going to be a doctor, to which Lucy responds, he couldn’t be a doctor because he doesn’t love mankind, to which Linus replies: ‘I love mankind. Its people I can’t stand!’”

“However, I have my entire music collection on a USB stick. I can take it anywhere and plug it into the car stereo system. Mind you, it takes me forever to make a choice, much easier when you stick a disc or a tape where the choice is far more restrictive.”

Syd looked at Mick blankly.

“I have a bag full of expensive Nikon gear gathering dust in the shed. I loved that camera, now they are nothing more than curiosities to the grand-kiddies. Seems inconceivable that the whole photographic industry as we knew it has all but disappeared, in what seems a very short space of time.”

“Always going to happen,” Mick continued, guessing that perhaps Syd wasn’t a fan of Peanuts. “Inevitable really, the pace of change is just astounding. I think we should consider ourselves lucky. Think of the poor blighters in retail. In the space of a couple of years they’ve had their whole way of doing business turned on its head! “We’ve watched whole technologies come and go in the space of generation (or even less). The video recorder and video libraries are gone, replaced by DVD, and now DVD libraries are almost non-existent, replaced by on-demand movie streaming through your TV. Music is the same. Vinyl to cassette to CD; now you just buy tracks and download them onto the appropriate electronic device.”

“Digital photography,” added Syd.

“And these things seem destined to rule the world,” said Mick, toying with his mobile phone. “Twenty-first century version of the canetoad,” intoned Syd. “Great idea to begin with, but you can’t control them now.” “I guess from their humble beginnings fifteen, twenty years ago, not many would have predicted just how pervasive they would become in everyday life. Is there anything you can’t do with these things?”

“Don’t forget the eight-track cartridge,” chuckled Syd.

At that moment, Mick was rudely interrupted as the throng of Mythical staff appeared and collectively yelled out: “Smile!” before quickly decamping amid much mirth.

“I think we’ve all forgotten about eighttrack cartridge,” responded Mick.

“Best I check our website,” sighed Mick as he picked up his phone…

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Australian Automotive December 2013