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A Velar, Velar good Range Rover

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Since 1970, the Range Rover has been synonymous with British excellence, luxury and opulence. It is the vehicle of choice for royalty, on-screen despots and high flying suburban mothers the world over. It is of course, with merit, anyone who has spent time inside a Range Rover, in almost any trim, will see that these SUVs are designed with extravagance in mind.

Now I am not exactly the biggest fan of the European way when it comes to automobiles. I have written in the past of my disdain of certain European brands, often talk about their unnecessary costs, and will use any platform I can get access to to rail against their subtle approach to the road. I am the kind of person that sees no reason to pay 100k plus for a German automobiles when I can get the same out of a 45k Chevy. I like my trucks big, my V8s loud, and I think my fuel consumption menu hasn’t been checked since my car rolled off the factory floor.

I am by all European standards, a brute, an uncouth driver of low standards.

The ideal SUV in my world is a Chevy, a Dodge, a Jeep, a Ford. When luxury and opulence is required, I turn to Lincoln, to Cadillac.

I’ve been in Range Rover Discoverys, in Range Rover Sports, in Evoques, and every time I get in one my amazement in its refinement, in its class and elegance, is immediately shattered as soon as talk comes of its price.

“THIS THING IS HOW MUCH?”

The initial sticker shock subsides briefly, only to be bashed into delirium at the mind-boggling, price inflating and often dumbfounding option list that is available. A 70k Jaguar F-Pace that doesn’t have the kind of tech available in a 30k Holden or Chevy is the norm. A Range Rover Sport with what I believe are a standard list of features that when optioned, balloons past 150k, very likely.

Safe to say my pickup truck lovin’ ass isn’t the target clientele for Jaguar Land Rover.

That is until I got the chance to get into a brand new Range Rover Velar. The Velar is Range Rover’s latest entry into its Range Rover family. The model is now one of four in the Range Rover stable. Alongside the baby SUV Evoque, its flagships Sport and Discovery, the Velar is in every sense of the word, magnificent.

Reviews of the Velar have been overwhelmingly positive (even Doug likes it) and while journalists, engineers and petrolheads the world over will tell you about every spec, every engineering win and every piece of motoring genius that Jaguar Land Rover have achieved with it. I will tell you one thing, it won me over. I’m ready to turn in my plaid shirt for a sports coat, I’m ready to switch my playlist from Country 100 to BBC 1, and I’m ready to turn my “Truck yeahs!” into “jolly goods”.

Where we’re going we don’t need roads

The Velar’s proportions are perfect. The Evoque is probably a little too small and the Sport and Discovery are a little too big for all that refinement, but the Velar is the embodiment of vehicular perfection. It is less an SUV and more a beefed up wagon and it never feels like a boat. It is a tech marvel of course, its dual touch screen interface is spaceship-esque and all of its British extravagance is on show (Union Jack styled speakers are a nice touch).

It’s rare that one would equate falling in love with “European” and “vehicle” but for the first time in my life, I got into a European car and fell head over heels for it.

In Australia, the Velar kicks off at about 71k while in the US, the minimum you’d have to pay is at least 50k. Expect the price to be far greater for the right spec and trim (there are many). While normally I would scoff at that and say “you should get an Expedition instead”, I would actually say the Velar is the right level of extravagance worth striving for.

Consider this the least sophisticated review of the Velar, the one without all the numbers and figures motoring journalists have written about. This one is all emotion, all heart. The Velar feels and drives like a million bucks. It’s the kind of car you work your tail off to save for, and the one that leaves you guilt-free when you spend all your hard earned money on it.

And what greater achievement for it than converting loud mouthed, unsophisticated, beer drinkin’ yeehaws?


The Range Rover Velar is available now at all good Range Rover dealers.

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Rare Ferrari GTO sells for record $70 million

How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams?

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How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams? What about a one-of-a-kind beauty that you see driving past your prestige dealer? How about a rare 1963 Ferrari GTO?

If you are Dave MacNeil, the answer to the latter, is USD $70 million. MacNeil, who is the CEO of automotive weather guard company WeatherTech, shelled out the record amount for a rare Ferrari.

It is no ordinary rare Ferrari of course. While already limited to 39 builds, this particular one, chassis number 4153 GT, is special. The car won the 1964 Tour de France motor race and finished fourth at Le Mans in 1963.

Records Broken

The $70 million paid by MacNeil eclipses the previous record for the Ferrari GTO. In 2013, a GTO was sold for a then record $53 million.

The Ferrari GTO is powered by a 3.0-litre V12 engine and is one of only 39 built between 1962-1964.

MacNeil joins an exclusive group of GTO owners that include Ralph Lauren and Walmart heir Rob Walton.

How much is too much?

When you are in the same tax bracket as the Ralph Laurens and Walmarts of the world, perhaps there really isn’t a price that is too much for a prized automobile. It is truly rarefied air when the cars in your collection exceed seven digits a piece. For the rest of us, it seems utterly ridiculous of course. Collectors however, do see the worth of these incredibly rare vehicles.

How would you rather spend $70 million? I would definitely buy an expensive sports car, but one for considerably less.

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Camaro coming to Australia as an automatic only

The Chevrolet Camaro is officially coming to Australia this year as an import from Holden Special Vehicles. Excitement may have been tempered slightly with its expected high price, and its auto-only option.

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With the demise of local manufacturing, Australian buyers looking for grunt outside of expensive European options have flocked to the Ford Mustang. Almost 10,000 ‘Stangs were sold last year, which is enough proof that, while Australians don’t make affordable muscle cars anymore, they still want to buy them.

Holden, without a flagship V8 for the first time in decades, is turning to its parent company GM for a much needed boost. Holden’s performance arm, Holden Special Vehicles, announced earlier that the Chevy Camaro, in its 2SS trim, will be made available this year.

Good News and Bad News

That’s definitely the good news portion of it. While the thrill of locally made, hotted-up Commodores have been put to bed, the Camaro is more than a worthy successor. HSV have announced the specs for the 2SS for Australia, proving that it’ll pack quite the punch to satisfy the cravings of auto enthusiasts and muscle car fans.

The Australian 2SS Camaros will come with a 6.2-litre Gen 5 LT1 V8, packing 454hp (339kW) and 455 ft-lb of torque (617Nm). It will have Brembo brakes, a bi-modal exhaust, tons of technology and a variety of colour options.

So what is bad news here? Well, the Camaros have started arriving in Australia in your factory standard left-hand drive version. They are being converted to right-hand drive by HSV, which will add a hefty bump to the price tag. While no official numbers have been released just yet, speculation is that the price will come in around USD$60,400 (AUD$80,000). That’s almost $20k more than made-for-Australia Mustangs. HSV says they will be looking to keep numbers at 1,000 units a year, well below that of Ford’s current Mustang sales.

Another sticking point for performance enthusiasts is that the Australian Camaros will be available with an automatic transmission only. I know that probably stings, so I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Equipped with paddle shifters, it’ll be mated to an 8-speed auto transmission, which means the Camaro will be based on the outgoing 2018 model, and not the new 2019.

Still a Winner

Time will tell how the factory-backed Camaro will do. European performance cars have done pretty well with automatic transmissions, so it shouldn’t really hurt that much. While on the pricey side, the Camaro will still be far more affordable than an Audi RS or BMW M-series. It is a just a shame that this particular car, one that is aimed at filling in some lofty Commodore shoes, comes a little shackled from the get-go.

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