Cars & Motorcycles

Wheels September 2019

Wheels is Australia’s original motoring magazine. Launched in 1953, we’ve been trusted by generations of Australians to provide entertaining and forthright opinions on the good, the bad and the ugly of new and used cars. A world-class car mag with a formidable international reputation, Wheels covers the full gamut of cars – from sports cars to four-wheel-drives, economy to family cars – but it also covers the people, personalities and the power plays behind one of the world’s most dynamic industries.

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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

ALLOW ME TO give you a glimpse into my internal monologue as I stepped onto the lawn at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was my first time at Lord March’s garden party and my thought process went something like this. “Oh look, there’s Ken Block. Cool. And that’s Jackie Stewart, isn’t it? Wait … is that a Porsche 917? It is a Porsche 917! WOW! Hang on, there’s two of them. And there’s another one. And ano…” This went on for some time, until I realised I was standing, mouth agape, next to 11 examples of one of the world’s most iconic endurance racers. “But … Porsche only made 50…” I whispered to myself. They even had my favourite – the actual red and white Salzburg car that took Porsche’s…

5 min.
an american abroad

AFTER 66 YEARS, we’re finally getting the Chevrolet Corvette down under. What’s more, it’s in an official, right-hand-drive capacity. Holden dealers are set to receive the mid-engine McCoy straight from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The timing is impeccable. The eighth-generation ’Vette has just gone through its biggest rethink in the icon’s storied history. We’re now talking mid-engine, rear-drive supercar territory. However, you won’t need a Monégasque’s bank balance when you approach Holden to buy the 369kW/637Nm V8 Corvette. Wheels understands that the starting price will be between $150,000 and $170,000 when it lands. Before you rush to the currency converter and ask how the touted US$60,000 price tag almost triples when the boat reaches our sandy shores, remember the headline US number is a base figure minus options, taxes and delivery charges. Plus,…

1 min.
bent-eight beauty

The LT2 continues Corvette’s small-block legacy. It makes more power (369kW) and more torque (637Nm) than the LT1 it usurps. The alloy, atmo 6.2-litre V8 has a new camshaft and more efficient intake and exhaust manifolds. The bore and stroke, forged crankshaft, rods and 11.5:1 compression ratio carry over. All LT2s gain an engine-mounted dry sump, which cuts the centre of gravity further and allows the engine to sit 25mm lower. The triple scavenger pump system is said to provide reliable lubrication even when lateral acceleration exceeds 1G.…

1 min.
the sting in the tail

one UPLIFTING TECH The front axle lift raises the nose 40mm in just 2.8sec. What’s more, the system is GPS-equipped, meaning it’ll remember to automatically raise the front end at up to 1000 designated locations – clever! two RACE YOUR MATES The Performance Data Recorder uses a high-definition camera to record track laps and road loops like a dash cam. You can be updated on your progress in real time via the in-vehicle user interface. three GRIPPED-UP The standard Stingray is booted with Michelin Pilot Sport ALS tyres, while the Z51 pack gains Michelin Pilot Sport 4S hoops. Both come in 245/35 ZR19 (front) and 305/30 ZR20 (rear) sizes and are run-flats, easing in-car packaging.…

2 min.
blackjack meet !

BLACKJACK IS AN intriguing card game of skill and chance. A rather apt name, then, for the Holden ute testing mule that helped spawn the most radical rethink in Corvette history. Built using a VE Holden SS-V ute – well, parts of one – Blackjack was created in 2013 to help GM wrap its head around how to engineer a mid-engined performance car. The result is arguably the coolest Holden ute ever created. Stretched, flexed and bewinged, its V8 engine is housed in an extended tray and those flared arches concealed wider tracks. The cab-section is from a C7 Corvette (the Holden nose and rear end were simply grafted on) and inside, Blackjack’s cabin is test-mule crude. Beyond acting as an early test bed for the powertrain, Blackjack’s key role was in developing the…

3 min.
charge of the light brigade

WE COULD talk at length about the numbers. The 1471kW power output, 8.8 seconds to 200km/h, a battery pack that can recharge in just 10 minutes on a 350kW charger, 1700Nm of torque, a kerb weight of 1680kg and so on, but the Lotus Evija is not a car defined by its statistics, mind-boggling as they are. No, to understand the Evija, you merely need to think of one number. Three million. That’s how many dollars you’ll need to pay to own one of the 130 cars that Lotus plans to build. Suddenly Lotus is charging more than 10 times what its previous flagship model cost. As an exercise in testing brand equity it’s virtually unprecedented, and it brings into consideration what high-end owners expect from an ownership experience. It’s one…