G'day David - thank you for your post. Your article about the unfortunate Button was a welcome return to longform journalism. I think Car & Driver was subscription only in OZ but l have not seen it on-sale. You were pretty lucky if you caught the Old Ghan as its replacement is pretty mild. https://www.journeybeyondrail.com.au/the-ghan/about-the-ghan/ I travelled on the Old Ghan from Alice Springs in '79. The road south to Port Augusta in South Australia was a shocker so my '73 Ford LTD, burgundy with a beige vinyl roof, was loaded onto a flatbed railcar and we travelled in first class - we prudently self-catered our food, water and grog . At that time there were no speed limits in the Northern Territory on non urban/rural roads. The LTD was slightly modified by me the factory 351 Cleveland had a mild cam and a 600 cfm Holley, electric ignition distributor, genuine Ford T'bird alloy rims and Michelins. The FMX auto trans was faultless and coped with the high ambient temperatures of the NT with a transmission fluid cooler. The road from Darwin to Alice Springs runs North to South. For 600 miles we cruised at just under 80 mph and returned nearly 20 mpg on 98 octane. I had fitted a 'saddle tank' in each of the boot wells to avoid buying suspect fuel. When the LTD was off loaded In Port Augusta I opened the hood to check fluid levels etc.. the male ginger cat we could not find when ready to load the LTD in Alice rocketted out of the engine bay and took refuge in another vehicle. It took ages to coax the bloody cat into a pet box and set off again. David if you return to OZ the Harrisons would be happy to plan a road trip. My wife and I worked in the NT for 10 years and travelled widely. Keep an eye on the clock though as I'm 75 - current vehicles are 2011 Volvo S60, 1999 Volvo V70 turbo auto Estate, 1965 Mercedes 220SE auto, 1989 Mercedes Coupe 300CE-24v auto. I'm on WhatsApp if you are interested in a chat.
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In the post War 2 era American vehicles were imported to Australia at great expense - tariff was nearly double purchase price, then a right hand conversion and other compliance issues. It's much easier and cheaper now. In 1963 and about to enter the adult world I envied a new Pontiac Parisienne driven by a fellow student. No doubt his father was a wealthy merino sheep grazier. When I was at a teachers college in western New South Wales I was a member of a syndicate that bought a 1948 Buick Fireball straight eight with near perfect corduroy upholstery. It once managed 16mpg, cruised at 55-60mph and never broke. Two extremes I have owned several vehicles that are now classics but as I'm unfamiliar with this forum's protocol best I get to the point: for many years Road & Track was my only subscription - their writers, photography and their scope was eagerly awaited monthly. Hagerty writers and forum contributors are part of the task of curating the history of motoring. While it seems difficult to wax lyrical over an electric motor, I daresay that the advent of the internal combustion engine had many horsemen (and women) weeping as they contemplated the future. These are existential issues - and we'll move on. The mythical status of Route 66 and road trips was likely a trigger for Aussies of any age to travel across our island continent. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance (although two wheels short) rode the 60s & 70s with a full measure of the youth revolution with a philosophy that embraced the proposition that it was a combination of machine/vehicle, the route, the challenges and the freedom a road trip evokes. I hope the e-future conjures an experience that meets our own in some measure
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