Australia doesn’t make cars anymore, but the car isn’t dead. Here’s why
A centenary normally calls for a celebration. But there sure as hell weren’t any party poppers going off when Australia’s car industry hit the big hundy.
Rather, on October 20 2017, after 100 years of domestic car manufacturing, it hammered a final Holden Commodore-shaped nail in the coffin. Due to expensive labour rates, crazy taxation, a lack of government support and a shift in consumer taste, this would be the last car Australia produced; vanquishing an entire industry and 200,000 jobs in the process. With Toyota pulling the plug weeks before, and both Ford and Mitsubishi long gone, Holden was the last giant to fall. Bad times.
One year on, TG wants to see who is keeping Aussie car culture alive. Because, if social media is anything to go by, the doom and gloom has fuelled some sort of nitrous-injected renaissance. But to do so requires a car. And as Australia no longer makes them, we had to ask the Americans… who ironically make the most Australian car on the planet: the Jeep SRT Trackhawk.
Thanks to dropping Dodge’s wondrous 707bhp, supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V8 from the Hellcat into a humble Jeep, it’s a big bipolar bear of performance and usability. It also ticks off Straya’s petrolhead population’s shopping list; a cylinder count of eight, forced induction and silly, silly power.
So, saddle up and join us as we spend 24 hours in Sydney, scratching away at six scabs of intrigue to uncover why Australia does car culture like no one else.