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Happy or sad?

January 22nd, 2009 by admin

I have a few more posts from my experiences in Japan recently, here’s a pic Charles Kha took while at a shoot location.


I didn’t know if I should feel happy or sad, happy that I saw my favourite cars, but sad in that one of them looked like it was crying with its blinkers hanging out. These Mazda Roadsters were at an auto college outside Tokyo, I hope some students get good use out of them.

R35 Nissan GT-R SpecV

January 15th, 2009 by admin

r35 specV

I popped into the Nissan Gallery at Ginza last night, thinking the new beast may have been on display. I was not wrong. Apparently no press has even seen it yet, so it’s quite amazing to have it already on display to the public. Overall I think the reaction of the car is a little disappointing, there should have been more. And it seems just like they have slapped on the Nismo parts already available and inflated the price dramatically. I see it as an even more exclusive version of Japan’s latest and possibly greatest (so far) performance car. That should never be seen as a bad thing. Click the image above for a youtube clip.

It’s a pity I only had my phone on me, I would love to shoot this car.

R35 GT-R specV
The only difference at the rear is the small SpecV badge (I wonder what the reason for the chance from V-spec is) and the oval/square exhaust outlets.

The pearl purple was a classic R34 colour, and the R35 does look ominous in this shade.

Dry carbon rear wing.

Those controversial wheels. Made by RAYS Engineering, they don’t instantly grab me as a classic design. They look functional rather than pretty.

The front has two changes, carbon brake cooling ducts in the lower lip and…

a carbon trim on the lower grille piece.

Possibly the biggest change are the brakes, Carbon Ceramic Brembos.

The rotating podium was lowered, so lets a take look inside.

No more rear seats, and I think the subwoofer system is now optional.

Behind the wheel, all is unchanged except for a tiny logo above the cruise control RES/ACL COAST/SET toggle.

That small green turbo logo signifies the addition of an overboost function boosting the mid range. It wasn’t a specific button, so my guess is that you hold the RES/ACL switch up and it enables the mode. Pity, a proper push to pass button would have been a lot cooler.

And the specs. 1680kg, which is 60kg lighter than the regular model. The biggest standout for me is the big number, Â¥15,750,000. That’s about A$270,000 or more than double what the standard model will retail for in Aus. Sure it’s a lot, but after seeing a $200 rockmelon, and $4000 Nike sneakers, it doesn’t sound that bad.


December 12th, 2008 by admin

I have been employed with Auto Salon for over 4 years now, in that time I have shot, at a guess, around 100 cars for Auto Salon Magazine and I have lost count of the number of shows/events/races I have attended and photographed. I do however, always remember my covers.

ASM Covers

This is 12 of the last covers I have shot for ASM. We quite often do not specifically know which car will end up on a cover, so if I think it has a chance, then I will usually try to get a few more shots suitable for a cover. See if you can guess which cars were shot specifically knowing they are “covers cars” and which cars weren’t.

Archive Image 1.2

December 9th, 2008 by admin

TRD Super2000 Corolla

Here is an image from a day I will not soon forget. Just before I took this rig shot, I was lucky enough to be taken around the dirt roads near Canberra, in the TRD Super 2000 Corolla. Driven by ARC Champion Neal Bates, I was totally blow away by the car and Neal’s skill behind the wheel. It really did change my perspective on driving skill and rally cars in general.

Pad Change

November 28th, 2008 by admin

Project Mu
I’ve had quite a few different brake pads compounds on my car, so when it was time to swap out the pads on the family chariot, our Honda Accord Euro, I decided to go for something slightly better than OEM. I have heard lots of positive reports about the Project Mu range of brakes and pads, so their Bestop pads were my choice. Changing the pads on the Euro is simple, being a floating caliper, simply unbolt the bottom bolt flip the caliper up, and swap away. So far the pads are noticeably better performing that OEM, with better initial bite and less fade, although I haven’t pushed them hard enough to really test them out. Brake dust will also be an interesting feature to observe, the OE pads are quite dusty. The PMU pads were significantly cheaper than what Honda charge for OE pads, and with their performance being as good if not better in my early drives, they are a good choice. Pick them up from www.project-mu.com.au

Archive Image

October 21st, 2008 by admin

With everything back to normality for a while (no trips are planned at the moment, but I know that can quickly change), I will be posting a few old images. Starting with this:

Industrie Auto Salon 200SX

This was taken at a private test day with the Industrie Auto Salon Racing 200SX. That car has been a pretty large part of my working life for the past 2 and half years. From its conception, to its creation, to the various highs and lows of its competition, it has been a worthwhile experience for all of us involved with it. Seeing it in action like this, totally tearing up the track, with its creators watching by, was quite satisfying.


October 20th, 2008 by admin

X6 not a coupe

I saw my first BMW X6 on the street today. Not a bad looking thing, it is becoming quite popular for some weird reason. One thing which really irks me about this car however, is the fact that BMW are calling it a “Sports Activity Coupe’”. I have always believed that a coupe is a two door vehicle. How is a 2.1 tonne, 4.8 metre, four wheel drive, four door truck a coupe? Yes I know that in some cases a 4 door sedan can be called a coupe if it is lacking a B-pillar. But in the X6′s case, it has one. Sure it’s black, but it’s still there. Maybe the cramped rear seating qualifies it as coupe? It’s similar to calling a Golf GTi a sports car and a Federal 595RS a semi-slick. This kind of marketing is annoying.


October 20th, 2008 by admin

As I mentioned in my post about bikes, I’ve been having a few issues with my car. The main cause of this was a recent trip to Bathurst. Bathurst is around 3 hours from Sydney, and the drive does take in a few nice corners, namely coming down the Blue Mountains at Victoria Pass. I decided to drive my car, rather than my wife’s much more comfortable Honda Accord Euro, and it is now a decision I regret. I have been driving my car as it is all around Sydney and its outskirts, as far as Newcastle in the north, and Canberra south and never had any issues. This time however, one particular Police officer, had several issues.


After being pulled over for a random breath test, (who would be drinking at 9am on a Friday morning) the officer asked me if my seat was engineered. I replied that it was ADR approved, and said that it still had to be engineered. Fair enough, he also asked if my harness was engineered, along with my BrownDavis Roll bar, Cusco side braces, Buddyclub cat back exhaust, to which I replied, no, not yet. He also asked me to turn my wheels full lock right, so that he could inspect my tyres. Now I run pretty aggressive camber on my car, about -3 degrees, and I have been noting my tyre wear. However, they are well above the treadwear indicators, and therefore I thought, legal. The officer said they are bald on the inside, and I was not about to argue for fear of further defects. He then asked for my licence, and went to his car to start filling out the forms. Around 15 minutes later he emerged from his SS Commodore, asked me to open my passenger door, and stuck this on my windscreen:

Defect Notice

That is a defect notice, and allowed me to drive my car home, and to then to the nearest AUVIS or Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station, for a full inspection within 21 days. After a full inspection my car could then have the defect notice cleared and be legal to drive again. The main points I would have loved to tell the officer are:

Have you ever seen a standard MX-5 in a roll over crash? They turn into pancakes. The windscreen can easily collapse, potentially flattening the occupants. The BrownDavis roll bar, is CAMS approved. Meaning it is allowed in racing. Racing safety standards are usually stricter than road car standards. Also, the bar does not interfere with anything forward of the seats, it’s simply a roll bar behind my seat. They are one of the most popular bars on the market for good reason.

The seat and harness are also on the same point. Without my 4-point, single click 2-inch harness, I have hit the hardtop with my head on some roads. Harness on, no such problems.
The seat I run is a Sparco Sprint, steel frame, FIA approved. Again, significantly safer than the standard seat. The officer also mentioned that if the “Ambos” or Ambulance crew, have to cut you out of the car its easier if you have a standard car. An MX-5 is a convertible. It’s not terribly difficult to pull to roof of. The harness is also 2-inch, meaning it’s the same width as a standard seat belt, which they would simply cut in seconds in either case.

My tyres are Bridgestone Potenza RE001 Adrenalin’s, one of the best performing tyres on the market in both wet and dry conditions. With plenty of tread left. I have 2 sets of new tyres sitting in storage, waiting for this set to wear out.

He also noted that I have no carpet inside on the defect form. When was that a requirement? A Lotus Exige has no carpet.

Basically almost all of the modifications I have on the car, make it safer. It handles better, it brakes better, it would be much safer in a crash. Not things people should be penalised for. So now the process is to remove these modifications, have the car inspected, and if I wish to have these items fitted to my car, I need to have them engineered. Which basically means someone who has done a few Tafe courses signs a piece of paper saying they are legal. Because companies like BrownDavis, Sparco, and Willans make products which are so dubious in quality.

The Great Race

October 12th, 2008 by admin

The Bathurst 1000 is Australia’s biggest annual motorsport event.
I went up on Friday to do some work for a client and had some time to kill so I managed to take a couple of pics of the Commodores and Falcons. Check them out here.

AIMS – Media Day

October 9th, 2008 by admin

What was significant about the 2008 Australian International Motor Show was not who was there, but rather who wasn’t. Porsche, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Citroen, Fiat and Alfa Romeo all did not show. Disappointing, however the Sydney/Melbourne show rivalry may result in better shows in both cities.

My full report will be seen in a future issue of Auto Salon Magazine, but a small gallery is here.

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