Canberra's reputation as a great place to own a collectable car has brought an unexpected burgeoning business for small ACT auction company Allbids.
Less than 18 months ago, the only major car auction house in Canberra was Pickles, mostly catering for ex-government and fleet owners. Now Allbids has opened a niche catering for classic and collectable cars, and it's proving popular.
"Canberra and Queanbeyan has a really strong and vibrant car community with lots of older classic and collectable cars," Ben Hastings, the head of Allbids' vehicle auctions said.
"We know about it because we live here and we see how many great cars turn up when the clubs have local shows and runs.
"But it's been a bit of a well-kept secret. What we've found, by holding these classic street car auctions, is that the secret's now starting to get out."
He described his auctions as "boutique" in nature, compared with the likes of major players Pickles and Manheims "but people get a more personalised service by listing with us".
"With the big companies, some of the interesting cars get lost in the mix," he said.
About 70 per cent of his buyers were from outside the ACT, and he described the prices of classic cars, in good condition, as "very strong".
"We recently sold a 1970 Monaro GTS with a six-cylinder engine, not a V8, but in the quite rare rally red paintwork, for $96,000," he said.
He recently had a local Nissan R34 GTR sell for $150,000 and he's now in negotiations to have a Lamborghini Murcielago and a Ferrari 360 Modena feature in his upcoming November auction.
"We try to have a bit of everything, from top-end classic and performance cars to unusual and interesting cars that are more affordable," he said. "I'm a car nut, so I just love being involved in it."
Audi on the charge
Audi's first electric car, the e-tron, will soon be followed by a GT version which the German company claims will shake up the market with its recharge speed.
The GT will have a recharge time of just 15 minutes from a dedicated direct current fast-charge outlet. The senior product manager at Audi Australia, Matthew Dale, said the GT will take the existing e-tron advantages and ramp them up even further in an electric performance vehicle which will accelerate as fast as the company's mid-engined R8 sports car. "The GT's fast recharge time is going to really set this car apart from anything else," he said.
"What we're now seeing is the results of the huge amount of R&D that has gone into developing our battery pack, and the advantages which come with keeping that battery pack cooled as it's being fast-charged."
The first of Audi's electric cars, the e-tron 55 model, is launched nationally on October 2. Unlike Tesla and Mercedes, the Audi has 36 modules under the floor of the vehicle, with each module containing 12 individual battery cells, each sitting on its own shock-absorbing gel pad.
It's a complex piece of kit fed with 22 litres of coolant pumped around and around the pack through 40 metres of piping.
"That temperature stability is the key to getting charge into the battery pack faster than our competitors, and we've taken that one step further with the GT," Mr Dale said.
Last year Audi filed an average of three international patents a day, with the current emphasis on digitalisation and electric mobility, including intellectual protection for its unique battery pack cooling system.
The company is Germany's largest filer of patent protection for electric powertrains, with 57 recent applications filed for its plug-in hybrids and e-tron models.
M goes into motorcycles
BMW's famous M performance moniker is going on a motorcycle for the first time.
One of very few manufacturers in the world which produces cars and bikes, BMW has until now reserved its M branding for stonking performance cars like the M5 and M3. The first M bike is the all-new M 1000 RR, which will arrive here in the first quarter of 2021. This special edition RR uses homologated parts and elements derived directly from BMW's superbike world championship program.
The new version pushes the power up to an formidable 156kW and wrings maximum revs out to 15,100rpm using a new two-ringed forged piston from Mahle, longer and lighter titanium conrods from Panki, lighter rocker arms, and machined intake ports. The exhaust system is also titanium, which reduces the bike's weight by 3.5kg.
There's key suspension and aero changes, too, to help keep the M RR on terra firma. New wheels are made of carbon fibre to reduce unsprung weight. The "standard" RR sells for around $25,700 but no hints yet on how much the M version will cost. The new M motorcycle will arrive in Australia around the same time as the new M3 and M4.
Tougher for the tradies
Tired of losing lucrative parts business to the aftermarket, Ford has finally leveraged its in-house expertise to develop a more "mainstream" version of its Ranger Raptor.
The Ranger FX4 Max has a locally engineered 20mm suspension lift, chassis tuning to match and 50mm monotube Fox shocks to give it the much-desired look and stance that buyers spend tens of thousands of dollars to achieve with aftermarket gear.
It sits on BF Goodrich All-Terrain K02 32-inch all-terrain tyres, has a full-length tubular sports bar finished in matt black, in-tray lighting, and body-mounted metal 'hoop' side steps. The new grey alloys and tyres add a 42mm offset and 26mm wider track. "Our goal with the suspension was to extend Ranger's off-road capabilities, and we started with the basics: suspension travel, vehicle track and shock damping capability," said Ford chassis expert Tony Tsiandikos. "The changes mean greater control of the vehicle in aggressive terrain."
It shares the same engine and drivetrain as the Raptor, with the 157kW/500Nm bi-turbo hooked up to a 10-speed automatic.
A full five-year, unlimited kilometre factory warranty supports the new model.
Prices start at $65,940, with the optional tech pack for an extra $800.