Can You Afford To Own A Chevrolet?

Or put another way – If they try to sell you a Plymouth can you Dodge the question?

No good Nash-ing your teeth over it either…

How odd that as we pull away from the curb into the twenty-first century in Australia, we should do so in the Toyota, Subaru, Daihatsu, Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Fuso vehicles. Or, if we have been successfully greedy, in Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Lancia cars.

We should be hard pressed to do the same in a Humber, Standard, Triumph, Rover, Hillman, Austin, or Vauxhall.

And yet today I will go to a car show that glories in Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Willys, Cadillac, Mercury, and Chrysler. And they will be spectacular and bright…or rotten and rusty…but will reflect the best of a car builder’s skill. Very few of them will be oriental or continental. What do the hot rodders and custom car builders know that the rest of us have forgotten?

Can we be reminded by an industry that needs to stop repeating what Europe and Asia say? Can we still build what we need, for ourselves, where we live? I hope so.

 

The Mazda Sunriser

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Excuse the journalistic licence but I have just been gleaning as much information as I could about the Mazda ute I saw at the WA Hot Rod Show.

It was displayed in the first of the Pavilion buildings in a section that advertised itself as the Obscene Culture cars. Don’t be too worried about the name -it seems to refer to an auto body and repair shop in a northern suburb. If you are curious their telephone number is 0477 830 777, but I don’t know what sort of language you will get over the phone.

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The ute had no documentation board that I could see – just a name in colourful graphic on the tailgate;  El Mazdarino. It was a little odd because the bonnet seems to feature a bright hinomara that suggests the Imperial Japanese Navy rather than the Mexicans. Never mind, the truck has several other colourful panels to break up the large metal spaces. I’m not sure if the interior has Mexican blankets because it was roped off at a distance.

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What we  did get to see was a peep into the Wankel engine bay…and I confess to understanding nothing of the metal lumps or pipes there except for something that looked as if it sucked air in. It would appear from the Wikipedia entries that Mazda had some success selling these rotary engines in their trucks in the US and Canada. I wonder if they went well in Japan.

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Here in Australia we seem to have been offered a long bed ute as well as a short one – the long one gaining the coy title of Sundowner. Leaving aside the ockerism of it all, the bed of the ute is astoundingly large, and neatly arranged even though there are the wheel wells intruding. The owner here has coated up and over the top of the panel to make the bed as impervious as possible. This model of the Mazda B series started out with tarp latches along the side as well, but by I think this 1980+ model lost those in the body work. It also gained some nice rear wheel skirts that really help to visually stretch it out.

I am frankly delighted to see car enthusiasts taking to cars that started out working for real…rather than assembling them up from new kits. It is an additional bonus to see them selecting a car that we have had locally, and that may not have received any attention up until now. I’ve seen small Datsun utes at these affairs and was delighted with them – I would equally welcome small Japanese sedans rodded and customised. Heck, we have had them on the roads in abundance for the last 50 years – it’s time we made the most of it.

PS: Top marks for the new grille work on the front. Not too much – not too little.