STOLEN: Our Nissan Patrol GQ white

$1,000 reward* for return of stolen Patrol GQ.  No questions asked.

** Stolen car possibly parked up publicly somewhere until thieves are sure no GPS tracker is fitted **

White Nissan Patrol stolen from near Ashfield Park, Sydney between Easter Sunday 27th March 10pm and Monday 28th 10.40am.

Stolen Nissan Patrol - Lost city - Front & side

If you see any vehicles similar to pics, please email on enquiries@thedriversgarage.com or message @DriversGarageAu on Facebook.

Distinctive Features To Look Out For
  • – Roof rack
  • – Awnings side and rear
  • – Muddy tyres (BFGoodrich Mud-Terrains)
  • – Snorkel
  • – Full length LED bar on roof
  • – Silver front roo bar fitted small LED bar
  • – 2 inch lift over standard height
  • – Rego: QIL 780 (but probably not on car any longer)
  • – Rock sliders on each side

Stolen Nissan Patrol - Stockton - Rear & sideStolen Nissan Patrol - 1 front side - when purchased

Stolen Nissan Patrol - Stockton - Front & side* Will reserve right to reduce depending on:

  • –  how trashed the car is.
  • – any other reasonable factor
  • – or split the reward if many people help

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Distinctive Features If You Think You Might Have Found It
Spec:
  • – 1994 Nissan Patrol GQ (RX)
  • – Auto
  • – 4.2l petrol
  • – 273,000kms (ish)

Seats

  • – Is a 7 seater but rearmost 2 seats removed and drawers installed instead.  Cargo barrier also installed.
  • – Driver side mid seats are currently also removed

Stickers

  • – Worn out “Old Man Emu” suspension sticker on driver side rear window
  • – New ARB St Peters stick on rear window
  • – Some sort of Nissan Patrol NSW Owners Club stick on back too
  • – Some weird sort of monkey sticker rear passenger side
  • – “EFI” and “RX” stickers wearing off

Body condition

  • – No major damage (few little dents here and there, nothing to speak of)
  • – Paint condition – White paint blown off by pressure washer middle/above front windscreen. Same at the rear (stopped using pressure washer after that) – Grey primer showing.
  • – Above rear wheel arches on “puttied” seams the white had been worn off either side by use of a buffer

Engine Bay

  • – Unique 12v system as I did it myself, wasn’t even 100% finished… recognisable by ARB battery tray on right hand side of engine re-purposed with 3 fuses boxes for AUX BATTERY, STARTER BATTERY, and ACC all labelled. ACC isn’t even wired in.
  • – Rear fuse box mounted with inverter and 6 way 240v extension on wooden board mounted behind (removed) mid right seat.

Other

  • – Front windsreen is cracked from the bottom in a sort of backward “C” shape

Sydney Bad Driving Caught on Dashcam

Inaugural TDG Mashup Video of Sydney Bad Driving Caught on Dashcam

I’ve been running a dashcam for about a year now. Ever since, in fact, I watched a few YouTube clips of Australian drivers with dashcams catching out insurance scammers reversing their vehicles at the lights and claiming they were rear ended.

After installing the dashcam I kept saying to myself (a lot) that I should keep a copy of that particular ‘one’ every time someone did something particularly stupid on Sydney’s roads. Well, I started from about November 2014 and now I have quite a little collection. I colloquially call these my “Idiot Cam” videos.

So here it is, my inaugural “Idiot Cam” mashup:

Bad Driving, Sydney - YouTube

To ask you to enjoy viewing it is the wrong expression, but check it out … on a serious side, any of these could have been an accident so there’s an important road safety message. Stay alert and drive courteously.
James

A Long Awaited Road Trip

Article content: A 1,000km road trip around NSW from Sydney to  Leura, Bathurst, Oberon, Goulburn, Kangaroo Valley and back to Sydney again.

Every now and then I like to get out of Sydney and go on a road trip.  As a husband and a dad, it can be tricky to eek out the time to do this so they tend to double up as romantic getaways and activities for the 2 year old lad.  The beast of burden for the trip was my daily drive, the R32, and the romantic destination in question was Bathurst.

As a long time admirer of endurance racing and a follower of the 24 Heures du Mans, I’d been meaning to get to the Bathurst 12 Hour pretty much since the GT category was relaunched.  This year was the year I was going to make it, well, no actually, even with the ticket booked, ear muffs purchased for the little boy and accommodation locked in it just so happened that I didn’t actually get there. Family came first but I did get to watch a good portion of it on the TV and what a finish it was.   Full credit to the Nissan NISMO computer trained geek team for such a strong finish and I can’t wait until 2016 now that the Bentley Endurance Racing team has unfinished business (having dropped from 1st on the penultimate lap to 4th at the finish line).

So we stayed in the Blue Mountains in the excellent The Greens of Leura B&B for 3 nights (an excellent B&B by the way), chilled out and bush walked.  Un-signposted walks allowed us to escape the tourist crowds. Staying overnight meant we were much more relaxed than on previous trips to the Blue Mountains.

So after the weekend, my wife headed back to Sydney for work and the boy’s week long road trip began in earnest.  The next stop was the Avaleigh Elms farm stay in Black Springs about 30km south of Oberon which just so happened to take me on one of my top 5 drives in NSW, that is, the Jenolan Caves Rd.  If you haven’t been there, go and do it, just do yourself a favour and do it on a weekday to miss the weekend traffic.  The current speed restrictions are a little disappointing (40kmph) but is indicative of how challenging the road is.  A cave tour makes for an enjoyable break. The drive on the east side of Jenolan is massive fun. The road on the west side of Jenolan is very tricky  with many unsighted tight, steep chicanes.

Once in Black Springs the little guy was also made up with all the farm animals.  He loves mutts and the farm cattle dog was his favourite.

For a while now I’d been keen to drive the Tablelands Way from Oberon to Goulburn.  Mostly because of the fun I’d had driving the roads around Oberon on my last road trip.  My plan was to head from Oberon, down Shooter’s Hill Rd and Abercrombie Rd all the way to Goulburn, do a quick stop off at Wakefield Park Raceway for lunch (as I’d never been there), and head via back roads as far as possible to our next stay at Kangaroo Valley.

Tablelands Way was fabulous, with its 100kmph limits most of the way, fast flowing roads and sweeping bends.  The absolute standout part of the drive is the few kilometres around where Abercrombie Rd crosses the Abercrombie River.  Much like at Jenolan, steep descents, tight corners and narrow roads made for super engaging and fun driving.

Wakefield Park was also an unexpected highlight, more by luck than judgement on my part, I happened to be there on a bi-monthly ‘Golden Era Auto Racing’ Club day which featured a whole host of cars up aged up to 1963 engaged in ‘friendly racing’ as one spectator put it.  The sounds were great, and the 2 year old was more than happy taking photographs of his feet.

Wakefield Park - GEARs
Golden Era Auto Racing – Wakefield Park

From there we made tracks to Kangaroo Valley.  I’d previously discovered Kangaroo Valley after visiting Berry for a friend’s wedding back in 2007 when I still had the much missed Peugeot 306 GTi6.  Descending into the valley from Fitzroy Falls is an event.  However, the Kangaroo Valley Rd from Berry to Kangaroo Valley is the jewel in the crown.  On the two passes I did there was mist over Berry Mountain which gives it a very magical feel, as well as steep ascents/descents, tight corners, narrow roads and varying road surfaces and conditions.  As you can imagine, it too  is on my top 5 favourite list of NSW drives.

We’re back in Sydney now and all that remains to do now is to give the car a well deserved scrub…

Dirty R32!

…and thank my gorgeous but long suffering wife, who was enduring a week long work conference whilst the boys were out on the road having fun, with me indulging my driving obsession.

James

British Classics Track Day

Article content: Our man in the UK who’s sort of like the Stig, but not nearly as fast, and he’s called Dave, gets the chance to drive an Aston Martin DB4, Lotus Cortina and Jaguar E type series 1 fixed head coupe.

Goodwood is one of the fastest circuits in the UK, but having driven the circuit before in my Caterham 7 on track days I knew it well and had my adrenalin fix before, so my day at Mithril Racing was about rekindling memories of yesteryear, mechanical sensitivity, and enjoying these amazing historic analog motoring icons.

My first drive was in the Aston Martin DB4 which looked like it had just come out of the restorers workshop which surprised me as they must lead a hard life. The same can be said about all the cars there. After trying to find the bite point on the clutch, I chugged away through the paddock, and was waved onto the circuit by a marshal, and gave it some beans. The noise from the engine was a soul stirring 6 cylinder howl, which dominated the whole experience, and made you smile.

British Classics Track Day - Aston Martin DB4 on track
Aston Martin DB4 on track

These cars pull from very low revs, so only third and fourth gears are used (on a 4 speed gearbox!) and the brakes don’t have to work too hard, as there is only one big stop, coming up to the chicane, with the other corners being taken with just a lift of the throttle and a light application of brakes.

It was interesting to be told the correct line to take, and I was surprised how well the car behaved, as she is a 50 year old tourer, not a sports car.

Not once was I told to slow down, in fact I was encouraged to go faster by taking the correct line, braking before the corner, and applying power through the bends.

Next car up was the Lotus Cortina, which had a much smaller 4 cylinder engine, but also weighed a lot less. What it lacked in aural drama it made up for by being a lot faster than the DB4 everywhere, even down the straights and generally felt more at home on a circuit, with less lean on the corners, lighter steering, and a faster revving engine.

British Classics Track Day - Lotus Cortina on track
Lotus Cortina on track

Last car was a dark green, series 1 E type fixed head coupe. I had a series 1 1/2 back in the day and it’s the one I had been most looking forward to driving. Just sitting in it filled my with pleasure, looking down that impossibly long bonnet, and feeling the skinny wooden rimmed wheel in my hands. I had worried that I would be disappointed with the drive, and that my recollections had a rose tinted aura about them, but as soon as we were under way, all fears disappeared. As you creep out onto the circuit, and then give it some throttle, the front rises slightly, with the rear pushing the tyres into the track, and you are assailed by a wonderfully smooth 6 cylinder sound as she gathers speed at quite a rate. The gear change was lovely and slick, and I was soon going at a respectable lick, with the corners taken at an enthusiastic rate, with encouragement coming from the Mithril instructor. The car feels from a different era to the DB4, which felt post war, but the E type felt modern, and could still be driven in today’s traffic without worry, even though they were both contemporaries.

British Classics Track Day - Jaguar E Type on track followed by Lotus Cortina
Jaguar E Type on track followed by Lotus Cortina

I had driven down to the circuit in my Seven, so had a warm, dry drive home to look forward to, with very little traffic on some of the best roads around, but before we set off home, we visited a local pub to have dinner and a soft drink.

Maybe next time I will try the Ford Mustang GT350, or the D Type, or the 911 RS or the….

Dave

Here’s a few select pictures from the day:

Motorclassica 2014

There was a good swathe of quality cars at this year’s Motorclassica, held at the Royal Exhibition Hall down in Melbourne over the weekend of 25th October.

The Lancia Stratos HF was a standout.  The panel gaps being laughably uneven (check out the picture!) but highlighting that it really was built for only one thing…winning rallies!

Enjoy the pics:

 

Goodwood Revival 2014

“We have people everywhere” is somewhat overstating the Drivers’ Garage reach but we did have Dave at the 2014 Goodwood Revival. Here’s his report:

As the name suggests, the revival is a revival of the race meetings held by Freddie March that were held at the perimeter road of a wartime grass airfield from just after WW2 until 1966.

Goodwood Revival is now at the pinnacle of the Historic Motor Racing calendar and the very rare and very expensive cars are really raced, with a good proportion of the grid want to win with inevitable consequences.

The two most thrilling races are the Whitson Trophy for the likes of GT40s, Lola T70s, McLaren M1s and other cars, all united by having far more power than either brakes or roadholding, and the RAC TT Celebration for E Types, AC Cobras and other closed top GT cars.

This year saw Christian Horner (in his Ferrari! 250SWB), Rowan Atkinson, Tiff Needel, Derek Bell, Steve Parish, Mick Grant, Kevin Schwantz, Troy Corser, Jackie Oliver, Giedo van der Garde, Max Chilton, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees and Sir Stirling Moss doing demonstration laps

It’s not all about cars though and there are fantastic air displays with many WW2 fighters and bombers including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster bombers. Oh, and few people dress up for the part too.

If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite for our Goodwood Revival 2014 photos, check out Chris Harris’s video of his participation in the RAC TT Celebration in 2013 in the Lister Jaguar Coupe or the video where Kenny Brack manhandles the Ford GT40 around the circuit.

Simply awe inspiring.

Cars featured: Alfa Romeo 308C, Allard J2, Ferrari 250SWB, Elf Tyrell, AC Cobra, ISO Bizzarini A3C, Ferrari 1512, McLaren Chevrolet M20. Planes featured: Canberra, Hunter, Douglas DC-3 Dakota, P-51D Mustang, Hawker Hurricane, Lancaster, Messerschmitt 109.

Cars and Coffee by the River – September 2014

Article content: The inaugural ‘Cars and Coffee by the River’ including a Lamborghini Espada, four Ford 351 GTs, a Porsche 911 996 GT3, a De Tomaso Pantera and two De Tomaso Longchamps.

Given the success of Cavallino Cars and Coffee organised by the Sydney Automobile Club, I was a little sceptical as to whether a second Cars and Coffee event in Sydney could be a success but hey, I love cars and I’m a big fan of coffee so I thought why not check it out?

There was good attendance, without ever getting really busy. The friendliness of the car owners made the event for me. For example, I’ve never been asked by an owner if I want to have a picture taken with me inside the car, but yes, I have some lovely pics of me and my little son in a white De Tomaso Pantera. I had a good chat to a Porsche 911 (996) GT3 owner about his experiences with his GT3, his previous cars, and his track days with the car.

Oh, and I got a great coffee without waiting 15 minutes in a queue!

Overall – A great early morning out and a worthy selection of cars.

Sydney Classic Car Hire 2014/15 Fleet Launch

Article content: A good look at the Sydney Classic Car Hire Fleet at their 2014 Fleet Launch day.

With my invitation ticket in my sweaty palms I headed up to the picturesque, if somewhat remote, Sydney Classic Car Hire fleet launch location at Wisemans Ferry. The prize? An opportunity to see (most of) the Sydney Classic Car Hire (SCCH) Fleet all in the one place.

With a massive stroke of luck, SCCH avoided a seventh straight day of rain in exchange for beautiful clear skies and the warming glow of the sun.

The Event

The event was lightly attended, perhaps due to the remoteness of the location, but nevertheless Keith McIlroy (SCCH’s owner) and his daughter, Alexia, were in good spirits and were quick to come over and chat about the cars, and how the rentals work. The cruise at 2.30pm where all the fleet went on a 6km drive all together with as many passengers as they could take was an enjoyable part of the day and highlight of the event.

How It All Works

The cars are either owned by the company, or are privately owned. That means that there’s no central pick up point. You simply go to the owner’s house to collect the cars, and they will run you through the paperwork and a briefing about the car.

The Cars

There were some standout fantastic looking cars:
The English marques: The Jaguar MkII, the MG TD(?)
The American muscle cars looked exquisitely detailed, i.e. the Chevrolet Stingray, each of the three Ford Mustangs and the Chevrolet Impala.
Of the Euro cars the Porsche 911S did it for me.
And of the Aussie cars the Holden EK looked awesome.
There were a few disappointments:
The BMW M3 E36 looked tired. The front rego plate holder cracked.
The Jaguar E-Type was odd. It had long doors, a long wheel base, and a Toyota gear box which left me wondering if it was a kit car rather than a genuine Jag.

The quite significant variation in the quality of the cars (maintenance, valeting and presentation) is probably due to the varying care, attention and investment each of the owners put into their vehicles.

Nonetheless, there’s plenty of good apples in the fleet, and a few bookings from me in the not too distant future is not out of the question. My eye is on the 1969 Porsche 911.

Summary

A fun day out and an interesting inspection of the fleet. My advice is to ask to go and look at the vehicle prior to making a booking.

BTW – The roads around Wisemans Ferry are great. The trip from Webbs Creek Ferry to St. Albans was fun, I’ll avoid the unsealed road back from St. Albans to Wisemans Ferry on Settlers Rd next time though!

James

New Volkswagen Golf R on track at Sydney Motorsport Park

A test drive of the new Volkswagen Golf R Mk7 at Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) on the VW Driving Experience course. A little late on the brakes at 4min00.

Thanks to the Formula Company for a great day.

The new Volkswagen Golf R on track
The new Volkswagen Golf R on track