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Car torque: Going, going, goes fast

Going, going, goes fast

Have they got a deal for you: headlining the Turners prestige auction tomorrow is a 2011 Ferrari California that has not even consumed its first tank of fuel: the odometer reads just 349km.

The car, which is being sold on behalf of a finance company, cost $450,000 new and is expected to sell for $250,000 to $350,000. The California was designed to be an everyday Ferrari, with a two-pedal transmission and folding hardtop but it’s also very much a real Ferrari, with a sonorous V8 engine.

Other cars in the prestige auction include a 2002 Aston Martin Vantage cabriolet and a 1969 MGC.

Listen to the MC

The already bewildering array of Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio models is set to expand once again with an MC Stradale version of the cabriolet. The MC Stradale is already regarded as the ultimate version of Maserati’s coupe: it’s the lightest, fastest model in the lineup and the first to break the 300km/h barrier.

How much of the MC coupe’s hard-core character has been transferred into the GranCabrio version is yet to be revealed: full specifications won’t be revealed until the Paris Motor Show, which opens this week. Australasian importer Ateco Automotive said the new model was under evaluation for the local market.

Cortina celebrates

Almost forgotten? Spare a thought for the ubiquitous Ford Cortina, which made its debut 50 years ago this week. Ford originally projected sales of 100,000 a year annum but topped 260,000 in the first 12 months.

It was widely regarded as the first real fleet/business car and became a core model for the brand. Cortina was assembled in New Zealand, at Lower Hutt, for a time.

Cortina reached global sales of 4.3 million, although it didn’t last as long as you might think: just four generations over 20 years. In 1982 it was replaced by the Sierra in Europe and the Ford/Mazda Telstar/626 in New Zealand. The Sierra was also assembled in New Zealand in estate form from 1984.

Peak power

The high cost of hardware is a major barrier to electric vehicles (EVs) generating serious sales in New Zealand – especially with no government subsidies on offer to early adopting buyers.

However, car company heads such as Holden NZ managing director Jeff Murray still see this country as the “perfect place for this technology”.  

Eighty percent of New Zealand electricity is generated from renewable resources and the electricity market is open and competitive. About 85% of New Zealand homes have a garage, so home charging infrastructure is not the major issue that it is in some European cities.

Mr Murray also said that with Ministry of Transport figures showing the average mileage of motorists as less than 40km a day, 95% of daily travel needs could be covered by EVs.

Aside from government policy, Mr Murray said the other main obstacle to EV growth was the lack of public charging infrastructure.

More by David Linklater

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