Monday, November 15, 2010

Battle begins for 2010 Drive Car of the Year award

Final judging for the prestigious 2010 Drive Car of the Year awards is taking place this week, under the watchful eyes of an expert panel of judges from the motoring industry.

The awards provide a comprehensive consumer guide to the best cars on the Australian market, with thorough criteria followed for testing each vehicle to find the 2010 Drive Car of the Year. Judges test each car in a range of driving conditions, from speed humps to country roads and torturous dynamic exercises conducted in a controlled environment. More than $3 million worth of new cars will be rated for real-world performance, safety, value, running costs, practicality, re-sale and driving dynamics.

Motoring experts with a combined 100 years of road testing and motoring knowledge have scrutinised 47 nominees in 14 categories across 20,000km of testing in the most extensive trials of their kind in Australia.

One winner is chosen in each category spanning the entire new-car market, and the vehicle that offers the best overall package will be named the Drive Car of the Year 2010. The winners will be announced at an awards breakfast in Albert Park on November 25.

"This is the biggest and most comprehensive test of its kind in Australia," Judge and Drive National Editor Toby Hagon said.

"We look at every facet of the most impressive new cars on sale today and put them through an arduous testing process that looks at everything from how good the cup holders are and whether you really can fit seven people inside to its driving manners and environmental friendliness."

Testers spend six days putting each of the 47 cars through their paces on a specially chosen road loop that takes in smooth freeways, lumpy back roads, stop-start suburban driving and country cruising, as well as dynamic assessment in an approved testing facility.

Drive Car of the Year 2010 contenders:

·         Best City Car: Ford Fiesta LX defends its title against Hyundai's i20 Active, Nissan's Micra and Volkswagen's Polo 77TSI.

·         Best Small Car: 2009 Car of the Year, Volkswagen Golf 118TSI, takes on Mazda3 Neo and Renault Megane.

·         Best Medium Car: Mazda6 Classic tries to repeat its 2009 success against previous champion Ford Mondeo Diesel and Suzuki Kisashi XL, Toyota Camry Hybrid and VW Jetta 118TSI.

·         Best Large Car: Holden Commodore Omega Sportwagon is trying to unseat 2009 category winner Nissan Maxima ST-L.

·         Best Luxury Car Under $60,000: Germany vs Sweden as Volvo S60 takes on Volkswagen Passat CC and Mercedes-Benz C200 CGI.

·         Best Luxury Car Over $60,000: 2009 champion, Jaguar XF 3.0d, is joined by stablemate Jaguar XJ 3.0d to fight off the German challenge from BMW 535i and Audi A8 4.2 FSI.

·         Best Performance Car Under $60,000: Volkswagen Golf GTI defends a perfect record against Renault Megane RS250, Subaru Impreza WRX, Ford Focus RS and the V8-powered Holden Series II Commodore SS-V.

·         Best Performance Car Over $60,000: Can the potent Porsche 911 Turbo unseat the FPV GT, Audi RS5 or the double category champion, BMW 135i Coupe.

·         Best Convertible: The top is down and the gloves are off as Porsche Boxster takes on Nissan's 370Z Roadster and Mercedes-Benz' E250 CGI.

·         Best Ute: Australia invented the ute and this is an-all Australian affair: Holden Commodore SS Ute vs FPV Falcon GS Ute.

·         Best SUV Under $40,000: Unanimous 2009 choice, Subaru Outback, is challenged by Honda CR-V Sport, Kia Sportage SLi and Nissan X-Trail ST-L.

·         Best SUV Over $40,000: The Swedish incumbent, Volvo XC60 D5, takes on the German challengers, Porsche Cayenne Diesel and BMW X5 xDrive 30d.

·         Best People Mover: Honda Odyssey takes on Nissan Dualis Ti Plus 2 2WD and Volkswagen Caravelle.

·         Best 4WD: A two-horse race as the rugged new Toyota Prado GXL diesel takes on 2009 champion, Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 SE.

·         Green Innovation: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Toyota Hybrid Camry, E-85 Holden Commodore

·         Safety Innovation: Volvo Pedestrian Avoidance Technology, Ford Mondeo Titanium, BMW 7 Series

·         People's Choice: Open to all category nominations

·         Car of The Year: Overall automotive excellence for 2010

For more information, go to


On Saturday (13.11.10) a packed saleroom in Sydney witnessed spirited bidding on a number of motor cars at Bonhams Collectors' Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia auction which made a total of AUS$1,180,583.   The highlight of the sale was the 1926 Bugatti Type 38 restoration project – completely dismantled, incomplete and lacking engine and body – which realised $110,400 (£68,000), some seven times it's pre-sale auction estimate. Seven telephone bidders fought against six absentee bids and five people in the room with a northern hemisphere telephone bidder victorious. When Robert Glover, Bonhams Head of Motor Cars Australia, informed the lady owner how much the car sold for there was a stunned silence followed by a tearful thanks.
And Britain had success on Australian soil – perhaps an omen for the upcoming Ashes cricket series – with a 1925 Bentley 3-litre Speed Model VdP Tourer and an ultra rare right hand drive 1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy roadster selling very well at $329,500 (£203,000) and $249,200 (£154,000) respectively.
Over 75% of the lots offered in the Automobilia and Motor Car sale found new homes with buyers from the USA, UK, France bidding against the home market.
Robert Glover said, "Given the strength of the Australian dollar against other world currencies we were pleasantly surprised by the level of overseas bidding at the sale. Whilst the Australians often won out, it clearly demonstrates the reach and importance of Bonhams global motoring network."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elephant To Hollywood : Michael Caine

It's been a long journey for Maurice Micklewhite - born with rickets in London's poverty-stricken Elephant & Castle - to the bright lights of Hollywood.

With a glittering career spanning more than five decades and starring roles which have earned him two Oscars, a knighthood, and an iconic place in the Hollywood pantheon, the man now known to us as Michael Caine looks back over it all.

Funny, warm, honest, Caine brings his insider's view of Hollywood (where there's neither holly nor woods). He recalls the films, the legendary stars, the off-screen moments with a gift for story-telling only equalled by David Niven.

Hollywood has been his home and his playground. But England is where his heart lies. And where he blames the French for the abundance of snails in his garden. A plaque now celebrates him at the Elephant in London. His handprint is one of only 200 since 1927 to decorate Hollywood Boulevard. The man who has played everyone, yet always remained himself, THE ELEPHANT TO HOLLYWOOD is the remarkable full circle of Michael Caine's life.

Sir Michael Caine CBE has been Oscar-nominated six times, winning his first Academy Award for the 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters and his second in 1999 for The Cider House Rules. He has starred in over one hundred films, becoming well-known for several critically acclaimed performances including his first major film role in Zulu in 1964, followed by films including The Ipcress Files, Get Carter, Alfie, The Italian Job, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Educating Rita, and more recently The Dark Knight, Is Anybody There? and Harry Brown. He was appointed a CBE in 1992 and knighted in 2000 in recognition of his contribution to cinema. Married for more than 30 years, with two daughters and three grandchildren, he and his wife Shakira divide their time between England and the United States.

* H&S Non Fiction
* 9781444700022
* $35.00
* Paperback - C Format
* October 2010
* 416 pages
* Biography: General
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