March 03, 2004

TICKET AVOIDANCE PLANNED

Iíll be in Melbourne this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix. Purely for reporting purposes, obviously. Thanks to the kind folks at General Motors, Iíve got a new Holden Calais for the drive south -- 5.7 litre Chevrolet-derived V8, 315 horsepower, and enough torque to cinch together tectonic plates. Look for reviews here in a couple of days and subsequently in the Sunday Telegraph. And in court, if I choose to ignore cruise control. Given current speeding enforcement policy in Victoria, maybe I should detach seven plug leads ...

Posted by Tim Blair at March 3, 2004 01:26 AM
Comments

C'mon, don't they have radar detectors in your hemisphere? God bless the good folks at Escort and Beltronics.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 3, 2004 at 01:45 AM

No, we don't! They're illegal. Seriously.

Posted by: tim at March 3, 2004 at 01:51 AM

So much for my dreams of emigration.

I briefly lived in a place like that, it was called "Virginia." Of course, the police had radar detector detectors, resulting in drivers getting anti-detector-detector countermeasures, etc. Very silly and expensive. I didn't use my detector there, no sense in getting deliberately aggrivating some hillbilly Virginia Trooper. With all those trees, deer and troopers, it was a very hard state to speed in anyway.

In a big, relatively sparsely populated place like Australia, I would be sorely tempted to have more countermeasures put on my car than your average F-16 has. I expect that kind of crap from Belgium or Connecticut, but not Australia!

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 3, 2004 at 04:07 AM

Damn.

Holden needs to start exporting to the US.

Don't know how well a vehicle named the "Jackaroo" would do, though. Oh, well, at least the GTO is a start.

Posted by: david at March 3, 2004 at 04:26 AM

Hey, Tim;

The Holden Monaro is our Pontiac GTO. Big motor, six speed, rear wheel drive, the works. You're doomed if your car is as quick as the GTO.

Posted by: gary at March 3, 2004 at 05:23 AM

Unfortunately for us, the GTO actually has more power than the monaro from which it is derived, and has a sweeter sounding engine note. The Calais is fun, but the manual transmission is a waste of time (with a heeeaaavy clutch) and the auto is a piece of sh_t 20 year old 4 speed. If holden updated the rest of their drivetrain, rather than just inserting bigger, cooler, engines, they would be on a real winner.

Posted by: Paul Dub at March 3, 2004 at 07:18 AM

Of course, the police had radar detector detectors, resulting in drivers getting anti-detector-detector countermeasures, etc.

Heh, a friend of mine got busted by a cop's radar-detector-detector. After that, I was reliably informed that it was one of those cheap ones that the cops could actually pick up... or something.

Posted by: Marty at March 3, 2004 at 07:50 AM

The inability to speed in Australia has to be one of the greatest injustices to mankind. These beautiful roads and everyone drives the damned speed limit. The one exception I saw was on the road out of Sydney toward the Blue Mountains, when a guy driving a left-hand-drive 1972 Cadillac El Dorado convertible blew past at 15 mph over. I have expected to see flying robot police cars to put a stop to it.

Posted by: Andrew at March 3, 2004 at 08:42 AM

You've heard of the Australian Grand Prix. What about the Grand Pricks?

http://hometown.aol.com/dikmnley/grandpricks.html

You think it's a porn website? Shame on you!

Posted by: TimT at March 3, 2004 at 08:43 AM

I hope you've used journalistic influence to gran yourself some free grandstand tickets

Posted by: Tex at March 3, 2004 at 09:24 AM

Hold on, before everyone cancels their trip, Australia has thousands of miles of speed-unlimited driving, mainly in the Northern Territory, which also boasts some of the best terrain and friendliest wildlife on earth. Pack your bags, mates.

Posted by: ilibcc at March 3, 2004 at 09:27 AM

Andrew, seriously, your story is tragic, absolutely tragic. I'm at a loss. Big countries *need* wide open speed limits.

And thank you ilibcc for that clarification. I have been sitting in stunned silence all day. I'm glad some part of that vast country has good sense (and the NT looks GOOD on that site). If you haven't thundered across a vacant desert road at well over 130 mph at least once, then you probably identify with Ralph Nader at least a tiny bit.

[fishes Australia travel brochures out of trash can]

Where I grew up in Nevada, there were no speed limits. Horrors--the state left people to their JUDGEMENT! (shudder) What kind of crazy government permits such things?

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 3, 2004 at 11:52 AM

Go for it scoop! Let us know if you find any stray obsolete dicatators down there needing removal. We'll send some more kids down there to get shot at, OK?

Posted by: Miranda Divide at March 3, 2004 at 12:40 PM

Oh shit, I just backed my Escalade up over someone's bike in my driveway. It had a sticker on it that said "Lick Bush." Miranda, I'm so sorry. I'll mail you a bus pass. My bad.

Miranda, do you have any idea how much fuel gets used in automotive racing? Or how many consumables (ie, tires, engines) get used up? It's like a little war. And it's all about OIIIIIIIL! Not many JOOOOOS, though.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 3, 2004 at 01:21 PM

Get shot at? No chance Miranda, in the People's Republic of Victoria the police now have to get permission to drive their cars let alone pull guns on people.

Posted by: ilibcc at March 3, 2004 at 01:28 PM

>>5.7 litre Chevrolet-derived V8, 315 horsepower, and enough torque to cinch together tectonic plates.

Sigh. I will miss the Camaro and Firebird Trans Am in the US. All hail the Geo Metro.

Posted by: ed at March 3, 2004 at 08:04 PM

Ed, I have a 3,500 pound 4-door German car with 349 hp and 330 lb-feet of torque, and I get stiff competition from the Lancer Evo and the WRX STi (I can still beat 'em). GM has left the competition to Japan and Germany, and if you can live without huge 2 door cars and squeaky dashboards, it's a golden age for badass cars.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 4, 2004 at 09:56 AM

Just on the "big country" theme. I bought my car new some 3 years ago. It has a computer that tells me my average speed during these 3 years has been 24 kilometres per hour.

Yes, we're a big country. But we're also one of the world's most urbanised and I for one seem to live inside a permanent rush hour traffic snarl up.

Sorry for crushing another Wide Brown Land myth. Now I'm off to brave the traffic yet again so I can get home in time to feed the koalas and vacuum the 'roo rug.


Posted by: Nemesis at March 4, 2004 at 03:42 PM

Nemesis -
All you need to do to correct that is reset your trip computer after every fill-up. My avg speed has been around 30 mph, and my fuel economy has been about 12 mpg.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 5, 2004 at 02:06 AM

One more thing - I may just be an ugly American, but I figured that Australia was about the size of the US, with Canada's population, and the potential for long distances across sparsely populated lands perfect for the velocity-and-desert-inclined tourist who would not travel halfway around the world for the commuting traffic. A tourist who, by the way, grew up in a wide brown state more urbanized than Australia.

Ew, what is that blob on your roo rug? Did your dingo leave a doo doo?

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 5, 2004 at 02:22 AM

Australia's states should do what some of the sparser portions of the US do: cap the speed only at night.

Posted by: LAN3 at March 5, 2004 at 05:27 AM

LAN, I'm afraid that the hippies even got to Montana. Every state in the Union now has a speed limit.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at March 5, 2004 at 08:35 AM