Home' Clutha Leader : March 14th 2013 Contents 14.3.13 Leader
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You can't beat the classics
garage? 1972 Lincoln Continental 2001 BMW
d being told to
au and Milford.
rotted roof lifting up
on a Holden HQ station wagon crossing the Auckland Harbour bridge.
What does your Austin Healey say about you? Enjoy classic open car touring.
What is it like to drive? Superb on fine sunny days.
The vehicle's history? Ex-USA. Purchased from Canterbury enthusiast after total
restoration and travelled 35,000km since.
Tell us about the project. The Healey is ver y reliable and easy to
maintain. No electronics here.
The man and his vehicle: Ross Osborne and his Austin Healey.
Name: Ross Osborne.
Age: Nearly retired.
Occupation: System Control at Delta.
Club: The Austin Healey Car club of New Zealand.
You can't beat
t's in the garage? 1972 Lincoln Continental, 2001 BMW
Backyard beauts 63
'Step on it' slow drivers
What's in the garage? 1973 TR6, 2010 Commodore and an Isuzu Rodeo.
First car? Mk1 Ford Cortina.
Learner driver highlights? Learning to drive in my Dad's Ford Thames
van with a crash gearbox.
What are you like behind the wheel? Don't suffer fools and people
doing 85kmh on the open road.
Best road to motor on locally? Maheno to Duntroon.
Worst driving habit? Getting impatient, behind those 85kmh drivers.
Best road trip? Christmas run with TR Club through Tekapo and across
Mackenzie country to Mt Cook.
You've won Lotto, you'd buy which car? Ferrari 288.
Road rage -- what gets your goat? 85kmh drivers who
speed up on passing lanes.
Funniest/scariest thing you've seen while driving? A cow
jumping off the top deck of a stock truck south of Balclutha and almost
landing on the bonnet of my car.
What does your Triumph say about you? In 1975 I was an apprentice
motor mechanic at Moller Motors (Local Triumph agent) and my boss had a
new Triumph Stag as a drive car. I really loved tha t car. I made up my mind
then that one day I would own one.
What is it like to drive? It is very 70s to drive, not as precise as a new
car; its 3l V8, sounds fantastic.
The vehicle's history? It was sold originally in Christchurch in 1973, and
gradually worked its way north. I bought it three years ago from Kerikeri. The
previous owner cried when it was loaded on the transporter.
Tell us about the project: The Stag is in original condition. Currently
restoring a 1973 TR6 which I imported from the USA.
What's your club? The TR Register NZ Deep South Group and the New
Zealand Stag Car Owners Club.
Name: Peter Watkins
Occupation: Technical sales representative
Order your Backyard Beauts Book NOW
The D Scene Backyard Beauts
book is here -- and it's Fantastic!
Featuring 100 of the D Scene Backyard Beaut vehicles from over the
last four years this is a must have for any car enthusiast.
Get yours today as stocks are limited and they are selling fast.
Perfect for yourself or as a Christmas gift for anyone who loves
To order this fantastic book simply complete the coupon below and
send to: Backyard Beauts Book, PO Box 5756, Dunedin 9058
or call Cindy at D Scene to order your book over the phone
03 470 4444.
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A free service for Famil-
ies/ Whanau / Carers.
Contact SF Otago's Field-
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information, education &
advocacy. Free calling
areas: Dunedin 455-5973,
Balclutha 418-4191. Open
Ph 418-4626 for all your
hairdressing needs 5243107
SATURDAY 9AM, SOHS
New Gym, Fundraiser for
Netball Trip to Australia
SPECIAL, Roses. Buy one
get the other half price at
Matau Garden Centre
Entry-point baby Benz is the pick
A180:Base car looks like
a million dollars but only
asks you for thousands.
You can load the new A-class Mercedes-benz with all manner of goodies, but truth be known, the starter model might just
be the best, says DAVE MOORE.
While the $64,900 155kW/
350kW A 250 pocket rocket
is expected to snare the
Mercedes-Benz's small car range, my
sessions driving the plainer, less
expensive A 180 and A 200 Blue
Efficiency models lead me to think
that even if you can only chip in for
the starter model, you're getting an
awful lot for the cash.
In fact, at $46,900 for the A 180 and
$54,900 for both the diesel and petrol A
200s, the new entry-point Benz range
delivers a remarkable level of
standard equipment, even before you
start ticking the special extra
packages available -- with the new five-
door affording idle stop-start, 17-inch
alloy wheels, a seven-speed automatic
transmission and nine airbags, a full
suite of chassis electronics and active
parking assist (Parktronic).
There is a reversing camera and
screen straight off the stick, as well as
an ear-bleeding Audio 20 system and
full connectivity with anything you
care to listen to or communicate with.
They also get cruise control, an
electric park brake, and steering
wheel mounted shift paddles, audio
and infotainment controls. The A 200s
run on slightly sportier 18-inch rims --
offering the only real visual difference
between the cars at the business end of
the A-class range.
And it is the business end, trust me,
with an aggressive pricing strategy
that not only targets such premium
hatchery as the Audi A3, BMW's
1-series A-Class and the Lexus CT200h,
but also the upper end of the Japanese
five-door ranges with a price point
that could be meant to draw punters
used to looking at VWs, Toyota,
Mazdas and Hondas.
The A 200 can be optioned with either
a 115kW/250Nm turbo petrol 1.6, or a
100kW/300Nm turbodiesel. All A-class
cars drive through a seven-speed
automatic dual-clutch gearbox, with
all models except the due-in-
September AWD A 45, powering the
front wheels. The A 200 has a twin-
blade grille, high grade Artico
upholstery and interior trim, a
leather-rimmed steering wheel, power
folding mirrors, those 18-inch alloy
wheels and twin exhausts. The
turbopetrol and turbodiesel A 200s run
to 6.1L/100km - 141g/km CO2 and
4.6L/100km - 121g/km CO2
The A180's 1.6-litre turbopetrol four is
a lower powered 90kW/200Nm version
of the A 200's mechanically identical
power unit, chipped for 90kW/200Nm.
The plainer, smaller wheels show it's
the entry-point car on the outside,
while its slightly lower grade Artico
trim and vinyl-rimmed wheel do the
same in the cabin.
The five-seat, five-door hatch is just
4292mm long, and 1780mm wide, on a
2699mm wheelbase and it's 1433mm
tall, weighing 1370kg, so it's a small
car -- the smallest the brand sells. But
as long as you stay in the front, the
A-class's well-shaped wrap-around
seats, top-choice materials and lucid
instrumentation simply scream
Mercedes-Benz. It's not quite so good
in the rear. There's enough legroom,
as long as you're no larger than 1.88m
and don't want to stretch out, but
taller rear occupants might feel a little
short of space.
When driving the three-model real-
world A-class models I found I had left
the best to last.
The A 200 diesel car is a sweet
performer with a variable geometry
turbocharger that keeps it in the meat
of its torque curve to make it the most
flexible of all A-class models. Its power
output may only be 100kw, but the big
story is that great 300Nm slab of
torque which means the car can be
driven on a whiff of throttle most of
the time with the seven-speed
transmission shuffling in the
background, making progress super
quiet and refined. To a point.
When you work the diesel harder, for
an overtaking manoeuvre for
instance, it was just a tad noisier than
I expected, with some mechanical
racket coming through the dash vents.
It was very relaxed at most constant
speeds, but when the throttle was
pressed the noises offstage were
unbecoming of the car.
Both the petrol-powered A 200 and A
180 were quieter, with the more
powerful former car spinning as freely
and quietly as the diesel did not. At
cruising speeds the car seemed as
quiet as a larger-scale Mercedes-Benz ,
but while the chassis electronics did a
good job of reining things in, it was
obvious that it was a front-drive car,
and a quick one too.
I fully expected the A 200 to end up as
my personal choice, but that was
before I sampled the true entry-point
car, the A 180. In everyday terms, the
car feels no slower than its 25kW more
powerful sibling, which uses the same
engine -- albeit with more poke. Where
it really shone was in its chassis. The
extra air and rubber between the car
and the road, makes the 17-inch rims
that much more effective and
Fiat Twin-air soon to be in NZ
Fiat s 875cc tubocharged parallel twin Twin-Air
engine is coming to New Zealand for the first time
this month with what Fiat s New Zealand importers
call the Rock Star version of the Fiat 500. The
superclean twin-cylinder version of the Fiat 500
with 63kW on tap and a 4L/100km consumption
rating is rocking into showrooms in the next few
weeks, effectively relaunching to the New Zealand
public the most fashionable small car in the world.
The Rock Star will offer special wheels, equipment
and trim for $26,990, with a two-pedal model with a
sequential dualogic five-speed semiautomatic asking
GM advancing electric car plans
General Motors chief executive Dan Akerson has
revealed the carmaker is working on two separate
electric vehicles, one that can travel up to 160
kilometres on a single charge and another that can
go 320km. To help reach that goal, the company is
working to cut the average weight of its vehicles by
15 per cent by 2016. This will help reduce fuel
consumption by an average of 10 per cent.
US cars down, trucks up
New vehicle sales in the US market are one of the
bright spots in the American economy, but last
month the sales growth came exclusively on the
truck side. Passenger car sales fell by 532 units
while trucks were up by nearly 43,000 units. Sales of
hybrids, plug-ins and electric cars were strong, but
the overall market growth is clearly being driven by
sales of trucks, specifically full-size pick-ups and
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