Targa Tasmania Tourers

Targa Tasmania finishes tomorrow but while the hard-nut competitors trade times between the West Coast and the finish line in Hobart, entrants in the kinder, gentler Targa Tour are relaxing near the finish line after a pleasant amble around the state.

The Targa Tour – known as the Historic Rallye this year – is a chance for paying customers to drive the same course as timed competitors, closed roads and all, but without the timers running. Much fun ensues, but without the pressure that might force you into a ditch.

The Tour finishes a little earlier than the competitive event, so Tourers had a car show at Parliament lawns this morning, just a stone’s throw away from our market stall at Salamanca Market. I was all over it, as you’d expect.

Here are (some of) the tour cars:


I have to start with this Cobra, which looks menacing from every angle. Cobras are designed for one thing – fast driving – and it looks fast even when it’s standing still.



It was raining today, sadly. That means the owners didn’t feel much like hanging around, heading for the various eateries and cafes around Salamanca instead. It also meant the cars were locked up so I have only one interior shot for you (and a poor one, at that).

This is rare….


It’s a Fiat Dino from 1971. An absolutely gorgeous car, the Fiat Dino packs a 2.4 litre V6 that had some commonality with smaller Ferraris of the time but was manufactured by Fiat in Turin. The engine put out 178hp (132kW) but speed isn’t what this car is all about. It’s an attitude, and a nice one at that.


Complimentary colours….


MG’s remain a popular choice for this sort of event. Actually, they remain a popular choice for just about anything related to pleasurable driving. There were 6 MG’s in the Historic Rallye fleet.


Was I excited to see this TVR ‘Wedge’ in the fleet? Yes I was.


I don’t think I’m being harsh when I say that TVR in the 1980’s wasn’t famed for its build quality. This car looked pretty solid, but I have to admit I could smell the interior from the small gap between the side window and roof. It smelt really good, and didn’t look damp at all 🙂


This is a Holden Monaro. It’s an Australian legend. I don’t care for them much, but it would be wrong if I didn’t share it here, seeing as it was available.



This, on the other hand, is something I do care for. Quite a lot….


Again, the conditions didn’t allow for close examination, but it’s a 105 Series Alfa in red and it’s fitted with the highly desired 1750 engine. This car is rated “Schwinnnnng!”


One of four Mustangs in the fleet, a ’66 ragtop.


This is a car that I found to be fascinating, for a couple of reasons. It’s a Sunbeam Tiger.


The first reason is because I’m pretty sure my Dad had a Sunbeam at some point in his youth. The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree 🙂

The second reason is because this one had a V8 badge on the side. It may not be obvious from the photos, but this is a small, small car. It doesn’t look like it’s got room for anything bigger than a small 4-cylinder (which most Sunbeam Alpines had – and the Tiger is a development car based the Alpine).


I didn’t know anything about the Tiger and the V8 badge was a fascinator, so I turned to Wikipedia. I think the Tiger was the result of a Skunkworks operation similar to what Sergio has planned for Alfa Romeo. Hopefully Alfa’s attempt has a longer-lasting outcome.

From Wiki….

Ian Garrad, impatient to establish whether the conversion was feasible, commissioned racing driver and fabricator Ken Miles to build another prototype as quickly as he could. Miles was provided with a budget of $800, a Series II Alpine, a Ford V8 engine and a 2-speed automatic transmission, and in about a week he had a running V8 conversion, thus proving the concept.

You’ve got to love it. The whole story is equally as interesting.


And an extra picture, from Wikipedia, of that big Ford V8 packed into that little engine bay. You might need a small, female mechanic for your service work on this one. Not much room in there.


Here’s a beautifully presented Austin Healey Works Rally car….


Note the little sticker on the window:


Each competitor receives a Targa Trophy if they complete each stage of the event within the allocated ‘trophy time’ for their class. One race, one trophy.

If you win three successive Targa Trophies, you get the Gold Trophy. After winning Gold, if you win three more successive trophies, you get the Platinum Trophy. Then Diamond, the Gold Diamond, then Platinum Diamond, at which time you go to the Hall Of Fame. And yes, there are people in the Hall of Fame with more than 15 Targas (in trophy time) under their belt.

They must be very well funded, as this event is NOT cheap. Having said that, there’s no trophy for completing the Historic Rallye, so this guy’s taking a year off.


My final car for this pictorial is this delicious 1982 Porsche 944. I’ve always been a sucker for the 944, as some of you will know, and the story behind this one really got me.

The owner (Bill) picked up the car for an absolute steal of a price only a month or so ago. Proving the legend about 944 reliability, he’s driven around 7,000kms on this Targa trip – including the long drive to Tasmania from Queensland and some pretty hairy driving through the Targa tour – without a single problem.


The 944’s a pretty car, front or rear.


What really sucked me in, though, is the original, full Pasha interior. I talked to Bill early in the day, before I had my camera with me. He wasn’t around later, when I came back with my camera, so I had to settle for a lousy shot through the window.


I’ve seen a few Pasha cars for sale and interiors tend to be torn and tatty. This one looked first class. Bill said it took a bit of cleaning, but there are no tears or rips anywhere.

Absolutely stunning.


There were more cars there. A few more MG’s and Mustangs, mainly. Oh, and an E-Type hardtop that was gone by the time I came back with my camera.

Sorry I don’t have more details to share, but hopefully this is enough to whet your appetite.

It certainly stoked my embers. Targa Tasmania has been calling me for a long time and now there are more than just the “flat-out” classes, it’s a very appealing proposition. I might have to start saving. Although I can drive any of the roads they drive for free, the chance to do it with the roads closed is very tempting indeed.

Maybe the regularity event? Hmmmmm

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  1. First I thought you had mistaken that Fiat Dino for something else. Sure enough, it was the Jensen Interceptor it reminded me of. There is something with those European GT cars from the 60s and 70s that I really like…

    You gearing up for the Eurovision Song Contest down under? It’s on right now. My god… *sigh*

    1. The Dino is beautiful and yes, there are LOTS of Euro GT cars from that era that fall under the same description. A great time in motoring.

      I’ll be staying away from the news services all day so that I can watch our delayed telecast of Eurovision tonight 🙂

  2. The Sunbeam Tiger has been a favorite from my childhood. Agent Maxwell Smart, lead character in “Get Smart”, a very popular 1960’s comedy television program in the U.S., drove one. It was featured in the show’s opening sequence. It was one of my father’s favorite programs, and it ran in afternoon reruns for years. I’ve probably seen every episode multiple times. I always loved that little car.

    The Fiat Dino is a looker for sure.

  3. The Cobra Daytona Coupe must be a replica, albeit a very nice one though. Only 6 were ever built, and they now sell in the high 7 to low 8 figure range…on those very rare occasions when one comes up for sale.

    Had a 1965 MG Midget for several years. Loved that little car a lot.

    The Sunbeam Tigers originally came with 260 cu.in. motors, then went to 289 cu.in. They were VERY fast stealthy cars. Had a friend with one back then, just before he bought a 289 cu.in. Cobra.

    My mother had a 1967 A-H 3000 Mk.III which was one fantastic car…and FAST! She would drag race kids when the opportunity presented itself. She was a hoot.

    Thanks for the memories. 🙂

  4. Since it has been a little quiet here the last week or so, I thought I could just inform you about the latest press release from NEVS that hit my inbox a few hours ago…

    Status update from Nevs

    National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) is preparing an extensive investment to develop a new platform on the Phoenix architecture, which will be the base for future car models. This development will be done in cooperation with other global OEMs. These collaborations involve sharing cost of development and reduced costs of components through significantly higher volumes.

    Nevs has recently signed a frame agreement with a major international automotive OEM regarding the cooperation in product development of the future platform. A negotiation with another major automotive OEM is also taking place regarding part ownership. The objective is to add significant resources to the development of Saab as a global premium car brand name. The partnerships will contribute to secure Nevs with the right financial and technical support to develop new products and distribution of cars on a global basis.

    Even if the long term perspective of Nevs remains very exciting and promising it is a short term cash problem.

    The root cause of the current situation is that Nevs’ shareholder, Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd, has not fulfilled their contractual obligation to finance the operations.

    As a consequence Nevs’ main owner National Modern energy Holdings Ltd. (NME) has since the beginning of the year decided to enter into the position as the sole financier of the company. Recently NME had to conclude that despite enormous efforts it has not been possible to capitalize its assets in China as fast as needed to support Nevs. This has resulted in a time lag between the financing from China and the need of cash to pay suppliers. As of today NME has transferred over 3 Billion SEK to Nevs and made additionally large investments in China, i.e. in the new battery factory and the technology development center.

    It is important to state that the assets are significantly higher than the debt but Nevs is planning to use short term credits to cover all outstanding and near term obligations until the long term financing is secured. This is bridge solution is planned to be realized within a near future.

    To further support the situation financially and give Nevs time to align the strategy with the new OEM partners Nevs will also take short term measures to reduce cost. Among the measures to be taken are a short term stop of production, which today is six cars per day, and a reduction of hired consultants.