The Future Of The Auto Industry Down Under

We spoke to Rare Spares Ambassador and Racing Legend, John Bowe about the future of the automotive industry in Australia and the end of Australian car manufacturing.

“I wouldn’t class myself as an expert, but I’ve had a full motoring life and I think it’s quite sad that we’re not going to have any manufacturing here anymore, because some of the cars that Ford and Holden have produced have been seriously iconic Australian cars,” said Bowe.

“All these problems started years and years ago and have been perpetuated by the following governments, so it was inevitable that this was going to happen.”

"Once Holden and Ford have declared their hands, Toyota ultimately wouldn’t have any choice, because the fringe industries which unfortunately are going to suffer a great deal of job loss, can’t sustain with one manufacturer. It’s like a stack of cards unfortunately. I have a lot of compassion for the people involved.”

“It’s my opinion that there will still be growth in the Australian car market and companies such as Ford and Holden and Toyota will become more profitable.”

“There will still be an aftermarket. In the last five to seven  years there has been a bit of a change in our culture about which type of cars we drive. We have a massive choice of cars in Australia, so the aftermarket will always be there. It’s a changing scene for sure, but there will always be an aftermarket.”

“Rare Spares will probably see some growth, because cars that have been Australian and have a place in people’s hearts will be being restored more, so I can see this market going up.”

“I think the tariff will probably stay as it is. I can’t see much changing, except for higher unemployment rates. The government is charged with developing other industries that these people can be employed in.”

The car industry isn’t going to be there anymore and it makes me sad, but I’m not surprised.”

 “The level of interest in restorations now is increasing because everyone that loves cars realises that we aren’t going to have Australian Falcon’s or Commodores, and the cars of the 80’s are now going to become restorable.”

“Where it used to be the 50’s and 60’s and then slowly became the 70’s, this is going to bring forward the 80’s cars like the XE Falcons and VK Commodores. People will be restoring them because they are part of our history.”

Viva La Mexico

11. March 2014 12:34 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

In a feat two years in the making and for over twenty years a goal, car restoration figure and Director of Rare Spares David Ryan and his navigator Greg Stevenson have completed the gruelling La Carrera Panamericana in their 1954 FJ Holden.

The Mexican classic rally event was originally held for five consecutive years in the 1950’s however safety concerns at the time halted further events. It was revived in its modern format in 1988 and spans the length of the country over a demanding eight day schedule using predominantly public roads.

 

With an event of this magnitude, in a country far away, an incredible amount of time and effort is required to pull everything together and for David Ryan and Greg Stevenson this amazing journey started nearly two years ago when they acquired a run-down FJ Holden after a successful EBay bid. The car had been sitting completely dismantled in a backyard for over five years. Soon after picking the car up, a meticulous restoration began.

 

Rare Spares provided all of the parts essential to a high quality rebuild for such a demanding event. With modern componentry purchased, a later generation Holden 202 engine installed, a comprehensive modern safety cage and a final coat of paint, the car was ready for its maiden voyage.

 

After an arduous six weeks sea voyage, the car arrived in Mexico in one piece and on time to the relief of Ryan and Stevenson. Ryan described Mexico as a cosmopolitan place “with villages like something from a Clint Eastwood movie to the densely populated Mexico City”

 

The rare car was an instant hit amongst other teams and fans. Many were curious of the vehicle and compliments on the preparation of the vehicle were common. One of the more famous local entrants Memo Rojos Snr spent 45 minutes looking over the car in detail and finally commented “Compadres, this is a work of art.”

 

Sitting on the road, ready to be waved off for the first time was surreal for Ryan and Stevenson as they thought back to the time and energy that had been poured into achieving that very moment.

 

Having any car last the full event without any issues would be a miracle and despite the preparation and the car’s otherwise faultless performance, Day 3 threw a spanner in the works. The Holden 202 engine block split one of the cylinder bores, which was a major setback, however not an event killer.

 

Fortunately, Ryan and Stevenson’s support team were none other than a Mexican Rally Championship service crew.

 

Ryan explains the lengths the service crew went to, to get the Australian team back on the road for the remainder of the event.

 

“The engine was pulled out and the fault diagnosed that night. At 3.30am service team members left the service park with the cracked engine for a 400km drive back to Mexico City to a local engine builder. The builder worked wonders, making a sleeve and machining the bores before reassembling well into the next day”

 

Upon completion the fresh engine was rushed back 400km to the service area where it was slid back under the FJ bonnet. The whole process had been completed within 24 hours. Ryan and Stevenson were now free to re-join the event, having only missed a single day of competition.

 

One particular moment Ryan remembers fondly was when they were blasting up the freeway out of Mexico City and missed the off ramp exit they needed. “The next convenient ‘exit’ was actually an on ramp from the adjacent side road back onto the freeway, so before we knew it we were heading down the on ramp, against the flow of traffic with horns blaring and lights flashing, much to the cheers and whistles of the throng of spectators lining the roads of the route.”

 

The team finished fifth in class and 56th outright, but the result was insignificant to the feeling of completion. “It was a sensational event and amazingly well run. Everyone was friendly and happy to help and it is probably the best thing we have ever done” said Ryan.  

 

As a thank you to the Mexican service crew, Ryan and Stevenson have offered the crew the chance to campaign the car themselves at next year’s Targa Adelaide event.

 

Post Targa the car will be stripped down for a thorough overhaul before the little Aussie FJ returns to Mexico to once again be part of the iconic event.

 

Greg Stevenson summed up the fantastic adventure that was the La Carerra Panamericana best with the simple comment “this is the wild wild west of motorsport.”

 

Holden Enthusiasts Come Together For The 2014 All Holden Day In Geelong

5. March 2014 13:40 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

On Saturday March 1st, Rare Spares sponsored and attended the 2014 All Holden Day in Geelong.

The annual event at the Geelong Showgrounds has been hosted by the Holden FX – HZ Car Club for years, showcasing Holdens, from the 1948 FX to the 2013 VF.

The event unites Holden enthusiasts each year and is open to all makes and models, resulting in a colourful and varied display. 

From 9am – 4pm guests enjoyed competitions, food stalls, trade sites, S.E.S. demonstrations and family entertainment, including a jumping castle and temporary tattooing.

Thousands of people were in attendance, some guests even travelling interstate for the event, and hundreds of cars were set up.

Rare Spares were proud to be sponsors and had a lot of fun on the day meeting the many enthusiasts that make this event possible!

Rare Spares Races With Brad Jones Racing

28. February 2014 13:13 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Rare Spares are excited to announce their partnership with the highly successful team of Brad Jones Racing, in the BOC V8 Supercar driven by Jason Bright, competing this weekend at the Clipsal 500.

“Rare Spares are thrilled to have renewed their association with the highly successful team of Brad Jones Racing.” said David Rayner, Rare Spares General Manager.

 

“Our passion for motorsport runs deep, and over the years we’ve been involved with sponsorship of different categories including the Touring Car Master Series and other motoring and motorsport events and personalities.”

 

Brad Jones Racing have entered three cars in the 2014 V8 Supercar Series, with Jason Bright from Team BOC alongside Fabian Coulthard with Lockwood Racing and Dale Wood in the Advam Commodore.

 

BJR and Team BOC owner Kim Jones believes Rare Spares is a perfect fit for their team.

 

“Both Team BOC and Rare Spares focus on quality in everything we do”

 

The Rare Spares logo will feature on both front guards of car 8, as well as on the transporter, pit walling, Bright’s racing suit and other promotional materials. Bright will also appear at several Rare Spares events throughout 2014.

 

“We believe 2014 is going to be another fantastic year from V8 Supercar racing and we wish the best of luck to Jason Bright!”

 

Rare Spares are committed to their involvement in all aspects of Australia’s car culture, from motorsport to classic car restorations and motoring enthusiast festivals. 

Kiwanis All Ford Day 2014

17. February 2014 16:12 by Rare Spares in General  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

The Annual Kiwanis All Ford Day was held on Sunday 16th February in Geelong bringing together lots of blue oval enthusiasts for a display of over 1,000 Ford show cars, car club displays, trophies and prizes, live music, kid’s rides, food vans and more.

The slightly overcast weather didn’t deter all the Ford fans and families who came down for a day of entertainment.

The annual festival is one of the biggest Ford events of the year, with appearances from Ford motoring legends Alan Moffat and John Bowe, bands and celebrities gracing the stages, autograph signing sessions and a Ford production development vehicle display. Rare Spares were there in full force, with a trade stand and voucher give-aways.

More photos can be found on the event’s Facebook page