December 2000: Wolfgang J. Verwuester (office at verwuester dot com) General Manager of Verwuester Versandbuchhandel, Verlag Wolfgang J. Verwuester, Am Leopoldsgrund 106, A-8055 Graz, Austria, tel: ++43 (0)316 2933253, fax: ++43 (0)316 2933254, writes that the company is a motorbookseller in Austria and [can] sell manuals, catalogues and owners' handbooks for all Steyr-Puch cars, Haflingers, Pinzgauers and motorcycles, also in English.
December 2000: The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that new car registrations fell by 1.8%, seasonally adjusted, in November but are still 4.5% up on November 1999, as the after effects of the GST-boom wear off.
20 December 2000: Fuel prices should fall in coming weeks, as the price of crude oil is now under US26/barrel, and the Australian dollar has strengthened against the US$. But what's the betting that prices will stay high over the holidays?
December 2000: Globalization has another victim - General Motors Vauxhall (UK) is to close its Luton car building plant, which builds the GM Vectra, in 2 years. GM has several factories in Europe, has a new "friend" in Fiat, and Luton is old, cramped and has below average productivity. Prime Minister Tony Blair is not pleased, particularly after the Rover-BMW hiatus and with Ford recently deciding to end car production at Dagenham. Vauxhall has another factory, at Ellesmere Port, which builds the small Astra the workers are said to be nervous. Frontera 4x4 will continue to be built at Luton, but for how long?
13 December 2000: GM Holden announced a new engine plant in Melbourne to build a world V6 engine for GM cars.
8 December 2000, Neil Linger writes that a UK company, Prodrive, which has developed a torque distribution system. Active Torque Dynamics (ATD) uses wheel sensors, 4WD and front, rear and centre differentials to direct torque to each wheel as appropriate to control understeer or oversteer.
December 2000: British workers at Ford's Dagenham plant are resigned to the loss of car production there, not going on strike. Ford intends that Dagenham will become a major diesel engine plant.
30 November 2000: Another petrol dilution scandal has broken out in Australia with reports of fuel being dilued with, e.g., Naptha which attracts no duty, and of leaded petrol being diluted with unleaded petrol. Such practices can lead to major engine damage, e.g., by lowering the octane rating. There have been calls for random testing of fuel quaility.
November 2000: Ford Australia will import "super duty" F250 and F350 trucks in mid 2001. Engines will range from a 5.4-litre petrol V8 to a 7.3-litre turbo charged and intercooled diesel V8. Two wheel drive and four wheel drive vehicles, built in Brazil, will be imported. The F350 has a payload of 2500kg. Towing capacity is almost 4 tons. The F150 is not in the plan because the Ford Falcon ute has a similar (or better) load capacity.
17-26 November 2000: Sydney Motor Show.
11-12 November 2000: Historic Commercial Vehicles Show Scoresby, Vic.
9 November 2000: The Korean car maker Daewoo was declared bankrupt. Ford recently withdrew its bid to buy Daewoo but GM ~ Fiat are still thought to be interested. Holden (GM) in Victoria makes engines for Daewoo and the company has "taken a holiday" and is asking for 300 staff to "take the package" in the wake of the Daewoo collapse.
Auto Ascii reports[*] on the Toyota Kluger, a new 4WD SUV
at the Tokyo Motor Show and based
on the Toyota Harrier (RX300) 4x4 platform.
November 2000: The new Hyundai Santa-Fe 4x4 will compete with the Honda CR-V (currently the best selling 4WD in Australia!) and the like.
November 2000: The Toyota LandCruiser 100-series has won the best petrol category and the Prado turbo-diesel has won the best diesel category of Australian 4WD Monthly's Year 2000 Awards.
4 November 2000: Torrential rain caused flooding in many parts of England — Peter Bradley.
19-22 October 2000: National 4x4 Show, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Southbank.
18-29 October 2000: British International Motor Show, NEC Birmingham.
13-15 October 2000: 4WD and Adventure Show, Adelaide (SA, au) SW Parklands [www].
13-15 October 2000: The Mitsubishi 4WD Owners Club of Queensland hosted the Mitsubishi 4WD Muster at Imbil, 1hr 45min north of Brisbane, all makes of 4WD being welcome.
6 October 2000: The State Governments of Victoria and New South Wales announced an agreement to restore 21% of the original flow of the Snowy River from the Jindabyne Dam, part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. It has often been said that the Scheme could not be built today, one reason being that it was begun with marginal legality, another that it would likely fail today's environmental impact studies. Despite its benefits, the Scheme's impacts have included turning the Snowy River into a vegetation clogged trickle, the current release from Jindabyne being just 1% of the original flow. Craig Ingram was elected independent member for Gippsland East at the last Victorian state election on the strength of his campaign for the flow to be restored to 28%, as recommended in a study of the river. Victoria and NSW hope that the water can be "found" by improving the irrigation network to reduce leakage and evaporation, thus not offending the powerful irrigation farmers - mostly in NSW. The agreement is yet to be approved by the Federal Government. which plans to privatise (i.e. sell) the Scheme shortly and an agreement on the Snowy is essential to this process. South Australia, which cops the salinity introduced into the Murray River by irrigation, is concerned that the plan may harm its water quality.
6-8 October 2000:
Mid Atlantic Rally[*] a US (Land-) Rover gathering.
October 2000, from the USA: Land Rover says Defender will return to US Land Rover's Defender four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle will return to the U.S. in the next few years, the company said, according to a Bloomberg report. The Defender is a tough, utilitarian SUV which has not been sold in the U.S. in recent years. Only a few thousand models were sold in the U.S. between 1992 and 1998. The Defender was discontinued in the US because it couldn't meet vehicle safety rules. The move is part of Ford's plans to return Land Rover to profit by 2002 and to boost its annual sales from 168,000 last year to 200,000 in five years, the story said. Ford acquired Land Rover in May from BMW for $2.6 billion and has folded the company into its Premier Automotive Group, the luxury-car organization that also includes Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin and Lincoln. — CarorVan at aol dot com
28 September - 15 October 2000: Mondial de l'automobile - International Paris Motor Show.
27th - 30th September, 2000: 3rd Australian Four Wheel Drive Gathering held at Mt.Augustus in Western Australia, hosted by The Four Wheel Drive Club of WA. This is a bi-annual event, the first gathering was hosted by the 4WD Adventurers Club of SA in 1996, the second gathering by the Toyota Landcruiser Club of Victoria in 1998.
September 2000: 60th anniversary of the original Jeep Contract. (See Bantam and Willys.)
15 September 2000: If you think Australian fuel prices are high, at 95c+/- in the city, and more out of it, spare a thought for the Brits who are paying 90 something pence, i.e. pushing au$2.50 per litre. Farmers and truckies in Britain and Europe have been preventing tankers from leaving oil refineries in protest at the high level of tax on fuel. Meanwhile the Australian dollar has dropped below 55c (US).
14-17 September 2000:
British Invasion X, this weekend near Stowe, Vermont[*], USA
– Brit. cars on the wrong side of the Atlantic and the road.
10 September 2000: Arthurs Seat Historic Hill-Climb Melbourne, Victoria (au) this Sunday the 10th.
31 August 2000 If travelling inter-state: Virgin Blue begins flying in Australia. The new airline is offering an air-fare of $48 Sydney - Brisbane one way.
August 2000: Mitsubishi has recalled 600,000+ vehicles since the scandal of it deliberately concealing customer complaints broke.
27 August 2000: Daylight saving begins earlier than usual in Vic', NSW, ACT and Tasi' - all because of some sporting event or other in Sydney next month.
27 August 2000: Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki won the car section of the Australia Safari.
20 August 2000: As the price of oil floats around us$32/barrel, Australian petrol prices reached $1/litre in cities.
8 August 2000: Plenty of cross-country skiing snow on Mt. St. Gwinear, north of Moe and Erica in the Victorian Alps. The last week has been warm but the snow remains good, except for some bare patches on north facing slopes in the sun. Wintery weather returned with storms on the 8th (and a mini tornado caused damage in Melbourne's northern suburbs); if temperatures are cold enough there will be more snow, otherwise rain could deplete what's there. Fingers crossed.
July 2000: Stories are circulating that the Australian company Oka are to release a Mk-III version of its 4WD soon.
21-23 July 2000: Billing, the weekend when when all the Land Rover "anoraks" come out - at Billing Aquadrome, near Northampton, UK.
20 July 2000: Mitsubishi Motors (.jp) has made a major boo-boo, apparently concealing customer problem reports, which could lead to the recall of hundreds of thousands of Mitsubishi vehicles world-wide.
14-16 July 2000: 4WD and Adventure Show Brisbane (Qld, au) Convention Centre.
July 2000: New model Toyota RAV4 4x4 released.
3 July 2000: The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is run.
1 July 2000: Most Australian new-car prices fell by amounts of up to about 7% because of the introduction of the GST.
1 July 2000: . . . but petrol prices jumped around the city and, I'll bet, elsewhere. The Federal Government has been saying that there should be a 1.5c saving to petrol companies, who deny any such thing. On the other hand, petrol often goes up at the weekend although it did not last weekend, locally at least.
26 June 2000: Daimler Chrysler is to take a 10% stake in Hyundai.
June 2000: The new Porsche SUV (4x4), to be launched in 2002, will be called the Porsche Cayenne, i.e., it will be hot stuff. The "platform" is a joint development with VW.
10 June 2000: The Australian ski season officially opens, with snow!
28 May 2000: Snow fell across the high, and not so high, country in Victoria and New South Wales, causing some traffic problems but bringing hopes of a good ski season.
May 2000: Ford will take control of Land Rover on 1 July. Bob Dover, currently chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda, will become chairman and chief executive. Land Rover will become part of Ford's `Premier Automotive Group' with Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lincoln and Volvo.
May 2000: Paynes Engineering[*] of Witney, Oxfordshire, UK
performs engine modification and reconditioning
and has now developed an overdrive unit for Land Rover
90 & 110
LT230T 5-speed transmissions; it bolts onto
the back of the 'box. Fairey (~Superwinch) used to make similar gadgets
for 4-speed "series" Rovers, and Toro(?) did also.
The new overdrive "is powered by its own internal
hydraulic system which is switched electrically".
When engaged, it lowers road speed by 26%.
An 'enable' light comes on at a preset speed and the
unit can be activated. It disengages automatically below this speed.
A 16% to 18% improvement in fuel economy is claimed.
Incidentally, Payne also makes overdrives for
classic Rolls Royces and Bentleys.
19 May 2000: The Land Rover Owner (LRO) (e)mailing list marks its 10th anniversary.
11th - 15th May 2000: Blinman 2000 Land Rover Jamboree on this weekend. Series One Convoy from Adelaide to Blinman (in the Flinders Ranges). This event draws Land Rover owners and their vehicles from every state and territory in Australia.
May 2000: The order [has been] confirmed for build No.FSV 201 the first production 6×6 Firebex, this vehicle will be a diesel. FSV 202 is expected to be confirmed mid June thereafter it is intended to schedule confirmation orders at intervals of one per month until January then increasing to two body shell orders per month. (Unless projected demand is more than initially expected). It is also anticipated that Build No.101 will only stay on demonstration and development for at the most 6 months before being replaced by a different variant — Mike Eastman, mike at firefly53 dot freeserve dot co dot uk
1 May 2000: President Clinton announced that the US would stop the intentional degredation of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals available to the general public at midnight. GPS was originally a military system, the signals being slightly degraded, called selective availability (SA), so that civilians and "others" could not derive quite such accurate position fixes as the military. This had been rather overtaken by events - using multiple signals and a base station some civilian units could in fact undo the SA distortions. Also, the tremendous growth in numbers of civilian GPS units simply changed priorities. But note, "we have demonstrated the capability to selectively deny GPS signals on a regional basis when our [US] national security is threatened."
April 2000: The Nissan GU Patrol gains a new 3-litre 4-cylinder turbo-charged & intercooled diesel engine and looses the 2.8-litre turbo' and 4.2-litre unboosted diesel options.
14 April 2000: John Towers, a former Rover chief exec' has put in a bid for Rover (cars) to BMW, but Alchemy still has the front running. Towers also wants the new Mini, but BMW plans to keep that.
24 March 2000: General Motors may try to outbid Ford to buy Land Rover [-Financial Times]. The Brits are not happy about the break up of Rover (which makes the 4x2 cars and is separate from Land Rover); it will not be a comfortable job to try to sell BMW-made new Minis in the UK next year!
17 March 2000: In a truly spectacular financial failure, Iridium, the global satellite phone system, has filed for bankruptcy. It is even possible that its satellites will be destroyed if the company is not rescued. What must have seemed like such a good idea when the enterprise began turned out to be not what consumers wanted after all.
17 March 2000: The Australian head of state, Queen Elizabeth II of England, began a visit to Australia. Back in 1954 there was a lot of "reviewing" from the back of a series-1 Land-Rover but this year the Rolls Royce (VW soon to be BMW) seems to be more in favour.
17 March 2000: BMW is to break up Rover, "the English Patient", and sell it off. There will be no new Rover cars, and that division will be sold to a venture capital company `Alchemy' who will phase out the Rover saloon cars to make MG's. BMW will make the new Mini. Does this make the Rover 75 an orphan? Profitable Land Rover will probably be sold off too [-ABC radio].
3 March 2000: Melbourne International Motor Show begins, running until 13 March.
February 2000: Corkwood Press is working on a facsimile edition of the Journal of the Elder Scientific Expedition, 1891-2. The expedition of 13 men and 44 camels went from the arid zone of South Australia into Western Australia. Price is to be au$145 for the leather bound edition (50 copies), $95 for the buckram edition (350 copies). — corkwood press, corkwood at onaustralia dot com dot au
24 February 2000: The RACV reports that crash tests on old and new cars reveal great improvements in car safety over the last 20 years. "The driver of a 1977 Kingswood [sedan] is more than five times [more] likely to suffer serious injury than the driver of a comparable current model Holden Commodore in a frontal crash".
20 February 2000: The Victorian 4WD Show (the event formerly known as the 4WD Field Day), Wandin, Victoria.
18 February 2000: The first Firefly type 66 vehicle has passed its first major milestone having left the assembly jig in January and is now on its way to being skinned and commencing mechanical installations at the end of this month. Still on target for May completion and then a short demonstration tour before going to Intershutz in Germany leaving 15th June. - Mike Eastman, Firefly Special Vehicles Limited, mike at firefly53 dot freeserve dot co dot uk
February 2000: There is speculation that petrol prices could rise above au$1/litre by mid year if OPEC is able to keep the lid on production volumes - when demand exceeds supply prices go up. Of course Europe has long had even higher fuel prices, but that is due to taxation. Anyone for a (economical) diesel?
11-13 February Trucks in Action show, Lardner Park, Vic' (au).
February 2000: The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), WA, radio network will discontinue its afternoon sked from Monday 6 March 2000; this has been averaging less than 2 calls per day. The service will continue to operate a 24-hour emergency HF radio net', and will maintain the broadcasting of cyclone warnings. The country hour (12.00-13.00) and ABS news (13.00) will still be broadcast.
3 February 2000: Petrol prices reached a record 82c/L+/- in Melbourne and went over 89c/L in some parts of country Victoria thanks to production restrictions by OPEC which have gradually driven prices up this year and to an increase in the tax on petrol which is indexed to inflation.
23 January 2000: The Dakar - Cairo offroad rally ended near the pyramids. Richard Sainct (BMW) won the bike section, Jean-Louis Schlesser / Henri Magne (Schlesser - Renault buggy) won the car section for the second year in succession, and Vladimir Tchaguine / Semion Yakoubov / Serguei Savostine (Kamaz 49252) won the truck section.
January 2000: Dutton Marine, maker of the amphibious, 4x2 Dutton Mariner S2 (based on the Ford Fiesta Mk3) and the 4x2 Dutton Commander (based on the Ford Fiesta Mk4), is to start selling the amphibious, four wheel drive Commander 4x4 based on the Suzuki Samurai 4x4.
10 January 2000: Detroit Motor Show begins.
6-23 January 2000: This year the legendary 4WD rally runs from Dakar to Cairo.
1 January 2000: The road toll for Victoria remained at about 400 deaths p.a. through the mid and late 1990s, the low being 396 in 1992 (down from 847 in 1979). The RACV calls for renewed efforts to make the toll decline. It gives the interesting statistic that while 95% of car occupants wear seat-belts 25% of fatalities are unbelted - a pretty persuasive reason to belt-up.
1 January 2000: Welcome to the noughties, 00.
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