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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.

7 Responses to “Canary.”

  1. Linhbergh Says:

    Wow. Those are some intense laws! Even in California there are no “defective vehicle” tickets. If we have a car that is completely illegal, it just get impounded immediately. :p

    That’s a huge head ache to deal with. And we (the internet) need more photos of that miata!

  2. Ed Says:

    Yikes… A defective vehicle sticker?? I’m a police officer in the U.S. and I can’t imagine telling anyone that a racing harness or roll bar are too much- like you say: a car like that in a rollover could flatten, if anything I would encourage people to put those items in. And a lack of carpeting is a reason to park a car?????

  3. brasher Says:

    [i]Hoon! Crush his car into a cube[/i]

    Tough break.

  4. Adam Says:

    I really feel for you Mark – here is a car that is very strongly arguably safer than a standard car in an accident, with things like a CAMS approved roll bar, an ADR approved and FIA approved seat, and a 4-point, single click 2-inch harness.

    Clearly the irony of “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” is obvious.

    Anyone in their right mind would rather be cut out of a car with a roll cage ALIVE – how long it takes to be cut out is not the issue – surviving an accident is.

    The people who write Australian vehicle laws need a reality check. Racing cars use roll cages, FIA approved seats and racing harnesses because (surprise, surprise) they can increase your chances of surving an accident.

    Clearly any products which can help you survive an accident have no place on the road ! ;) What on earth were you thinking Mark ? ;)

  5. Roadster! Says:

    dude, I copped a *RED* defect sticker just for rear bold tyres on my miata!!!!

  6. Chris Banks Says:

    Pity you aren’t in Victoria…Vicroads have this site which shows you can have legal roll cages and bars provided you follow the rules….without needing an engineering cert…..see this web site


  7. Dingo Sharp Says:

    Canary I know this is a bit late but I’ve been chasing different things to do with ADR’s in Australian cars and to do with mods and after reading your write I can only say one thing even though you think that because U’r roll cage is CAMS approved it doesn’t make it ADR Approved, becuase U’r saets R FIA approved again not ADR’d and most of the other stuff on U’r that is CAMS or FIA approved don’t fall under the radar of the ADR, yes I know it’s all stupid but that’s why these rules are in place not to protect you and me the guys who soend big $$$’s making our cars safe for the race track and th odd journey on the road but for the stupid out there who drive their daily vehicles to work. school & play and have no idea how dangerous the Aussie car really is BUT I can tell U one thing canary if an Oz car was engineered and built to a standard where it was totaly sfae no one could affor to buy ‘em and that’s the truth of the matter. U’r car was yellowed canaried by a foul cop and I feel for U but his job is to protect the stupid not let U drive a ccompletely totally safe car (except for ya -3 degree camber).

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