Quickshift: Stories you need to read from this week

Ford Falcon GT-HO

IN 2009, Australian motoring journalist Rod Easdown lost his licence for a very long time after briefly stretching the legs of a $500,000 Ferrari California.

And yet in 1971, then Wheels staffer Mel Nichols drove at similar speeds for two hours – on the Hume Highway in a Falcon GT-HO.

Reading former editor Peter Robinson’s introduction to Nichols’ classic account of that trip, and then the story itself, Nichols’ HO down the Hume, makes you wonder whether the past is a foreign country indeed.

Today for most of us, high speed for two hours means watching others go quick on TV. Unless it is on Foxtel, where viewer numbers for V8 Supercars races amount to a small fraction of last year’s free-to-air figures. Series CEO James Warburton argued this week that the overall audience for the V8 races has not fallen much at all, in a challenge outlined by a bewildered Peter McKay.

If your interest is less in pace and more in space for the family, check out Byron Mathioudakis’ comparison of five premium mid-size SUVs. The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is driven alongside the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus NX300h and Volvo XC60.

Would you prefer a prestige sedan to a faux 4WD? Then you’ll enjoy Damion Smy’s first-drive assessment of the new Jaguar XF.

And if you are fantasising about a high-speed road blast in a Porsche, here is a first look and fresh details of the new 911s – all but one of them tipped to be, technically, a turbo. 

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