Happy New Year 2015!

2014 was a crap year. I’m glad to see the back of it!

Ebola, Islamic State and other branches of fundamentalist terrorism, lost airplanes, Russia and Ukraine, right-wing extremist parties in Europe, conservative governments here at home. All of them – especially the conservatives here at home – have conspired to provide me with a fair bout of depression in the latter half of this year.

koenigswade2014, for me, has been a year best defined by personal paralysis, which is a very unpleasant way to live. I’m sick of it. 2015 is the year I hope to start changing it.

The main things I’d like to change in 2015:

1. My job. The last 4 months have been hell; a textbook example of deplorable change management. I was sick of my job 4 or 5 years ago. Now it’s got me quite depressed. Life has been depressing for the last 4 months because work has been depressing. Life shouldn’t be this way. I don’t know if I can transition into something I like straight away but I’ve put out some feelers. I may have to tough it out for another year in my current job while I work up some qualifications. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.

DSC_05782. Our location. As blessed as we are to live in the place that we do, it’s time for a change to a house that better suits our interests in a location that allows more quality time with people and organisations that are important to us. By this time next year I hope we’re either somewhere else in Tasmania that better suits our needs, or living in Melbourne.

Those are some pretty big changes but they have to happen. As a result, things that get in the way of them may have to be set aside.

I may or may not write here so much, for example. I’d like to transition into something that involves writing full-time, but the need to study might overtake the need to practice the craft on this site.

I might also have to sell the Fulvia, which is truly heartbreaking. I got some estimates on fixing the bodywork just before Christmas and let’s just say they weren’t encouraging. I’m still sussing it out, but I’ve set aside $20K for the restoration and if I’m not completely confident that I can get it done for that amount, then it might have to go. Needs must. If we’re going to move to another city then we’ll need every cent.


It wasn’t all depressing. 2014 had some positives, too.

I got to spend some great times with my family in Melbourne, which was wonderful. I have two great-nephews and a great-niece there now and it’s been great to see them growing up a little more. I had some superb times catching up with friends back at home, too.

Our Salamanca market stall has done well, especially over the Christmas period. We got a new little neighbour at the market when our adult neighbours had a new baby girl. “Cuddles with Olive” and chats with her parents are one of the highlights of our week.

NEVS declared bankruptcy, paving the way for Mahindra to take majority ownership in a deal that should be announced this week, if it’s going to happen at all. If it doesn’t happen, Saab will cease to exist as a carmaker all together. Both scenarios are a net positive IMHO.

I built what turned out to be a fantastic guitar!

I’ve been the beneficiary of some truly awesome mateship from a bunch of gents known to each other as The Guild. Pete, Turbin, Dr Roman Candle and Gav – you don’t know how much you’ve helped me get through the day sometimes. Thanks a bunch.

cropped-DSC_47391.jpgOn the car front: I owned a Porsche for much of the year, bought a Fulvia that I’ve enjoyed dismantling (even if I don’t get to finish it) and I’m super-optimistic about the Alfa Romeo Sprint I’ve just brought home. Classics By The Beach has been great fun this year, too.


So goodbye to 2014. You will not be remembered for good reasons. Your highlights were mostly lowlights and I’m glad to consign you to history.



Whatever course your year has taken, I hope 2015 is even better. Thanks for keeping the meter ticking over here. I hope it was interesting for you. Your visits, your comments and your friendship really are appreciated.

Stay safe and be nice to each other, OK?

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  1. All the best for the new year Steven! Weirdly enough your blog makes it seem like we know each other, while we haven’t met once. And I know for a fact that I know more about you than you do about me. Simply because I do not write that much and what I do write isn’t as well written as your stories. But the ability to engage people, to create an atmosphere of familiarity is something only a good writer has. Judging by the amount of comments and readers I’m not the only one with that opinion. Kudos on pursuing that dream, it’s going to be an outcome well deserved!

  2. For you to consider a move to ‘Sunny Melbourne’ must be major. There’s lots of positives and real energy about the place, of course, but you may notice that things have changed a bit since you left….not all for the better either. Traffic is more manic, trains are overcrowded, no- one moves over to the left any more (not that that happened much either) and shopping centre carparks on a Sunday resemble a battlefield at times. Not sure that people are as nice as they once were to each other in a bigger and more cut-throat city these days. Londoners are more polite and don’t drop their rubbish on the footpath.

    Your writing is a real highlight of my day and a most unique view of the automotive landscape that cuts through the c.r.a.p. with real clarity. I will miss my daily web-watch of what you have to say. That will be hard, as it was when you left SU. Pathetic really.

    Move house, it is very cathartic and necessary.
    Sell All Your cars!
    Change jobs, if you can, or it will kill you, mentally and then physically…

    And I have only met you once.

  3. Happy New Year to you too. Always enjoy reading your blog. Looking forward to the next Classics by the Beach.

  4. Keep the Sprint, the Fulvia will be an endless money pit taking many many years to recoup the outlay, I guess jobs are hard to come by in Hobart but it is a charming place to live/visit and very light traffic when I was there.

  5. Chin up, chest out. Do what you must.

    I, too, experienced that soul-crushing depression from my job and quit without anything to go to. Retirement is heavenly. Really. Then again, you already know that from your time with Saab.

    Have a good one, my friend.

  6. Hope you have a good 2015, and that your Porsche didn’t end up the same way as the one Clarkson had in the Top Gear Christmas special. The only thing more painful to watch was the way they treated that Lotus Espirit.

  7. Swade your writing makes my day, so please keep it up.

    Sorry to hear that work is not fulfilling. Good luck in making a big change.

    I was fortunate to do what I loved, and had a wonderful mate in Mary Ann who put up with living in Indiana, Schenedtady NY, Valcourt Quebec, on the way to Los Angeles. I was lucky to work in the motorcycle industry and in magazine publishing, but it was risky. I just was lucky in the end and got out of print publishing at the right time.

    Sorry to hear that the Fulvia bodywork is pricey……I am not too surprised. It is messy work and long hours doing the rust fixing and body work. Unless you have a big checkbook you need the time, skill and aptitude to do your own work.

    Sorry about your conservative government. I don’t know the issues in your case……I wish we had a conservative government and not the socialists we have ruining the USA.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR and great success and happiness to you.

  8. Yep, agree. 2014 was largely a crap year for several reasons – both on a global and on a personal level. Funny how years ending with 4 ends up being not that good for me.

    After eight years of center-right government led clean-up of the Swedish bureaucracy and a horrible tax-system, the left-green managed to take power without actually moving forward one inch in the election in September. And now we have just had 100 days of amateurish confusion and stupidity culminating this weekend with a kick in belly of democracy. Talk about making Voting Joe even more angry and interested in extremist parties…

    Moving is a big project. Hopes it turns out OK, and that you both can find a more satisfying life in a new place. Just a few weeks ago I saw the episode of Coast Australia (the TV series) when they explored the cost on south-eastern Tasmania. Absolutely stunning landscape! I would have loved to live there and enjoy it every day. But I guess that for most of us there are more to a location than just the scenery – especially when you are not a millionaire and/or actually have family/relatives you want to spend some time with. 🙂

    Maybe this “find a new home/life” project (especially if it may take some studies or learning something new) is a good time to clear out the house. Sell your cars and buy something practical that will get you through this project without diverting your attention and focus. Then, when you are located in a new home that hopefully is suited to your needs and hobbies, you can start car shopping again knowing that you have the space and time to make car restoration into a joyful activity. Because on thing I have seen in life is how practical limits like working space can ruin almost any hobby.

    Can I make an educated guess that we will not see a decision in December from whoever is interested in buying NEVS…?

    Happy New Year to all of you!

    1. I guess the tools deal with Orio probably meant money enough last until reconstruction end (i.e. the Mahindra loan isn’t needed), so a decision can probably be prolonged [sic] until the end of February, but a yes/no decision by Mahindra before the end of the reconstruction is highly likely as diverging significantly from the letter of intent might make them liable for damages. So either way, a new chapter is near, although probably not this year.

  9. SW – There is nothing more soul destroying than shlepping off to a job each day that you hate. I hated my last posting, loved the product but not the place, woke up one morning after two years and said that’s it, punched out a one line resignation and was gone. Happier where I am now, but I think ’15 will bring more joy on the work front.

    So, leave rather than fester. Then, move on from Tassie like everyone else has. Vancouver sounds nice …


  10. Hey Swade,
    I too was a victim of workplace change management, meaning I was out of work for 7 months and had to move to a quirky corner of Tasmania for work. But birth of Son No. 2 mid year more than balanced it all out.

  11. A really happy new year, Swade.

    As said by others, your writing is always very enjoyable regardless of subject, you should really continue with this, in one form or another. And I’d love to see you getting well paid at some point in the future to write about a stunning new series of Phoenix-based cars from a future Saab-Mahindra in Trollhättan some time in the future. Let’s hope things turn out really good in Trollhättan.

  12. Don’t do anything rash, Swade! Egregious conservative governments come and go (and, with any luck, will be going sooner than later). Would you really swap Hobart’s lifestyle for Melbourne’s? Traffic, mega-shopping centres, endless swathes of franchised food outlets -v- everything within a half-hour’s drive, an affordable, livable city and food to die for. No Classics by The Beach, either. Lots of the stuff that seems to irk you is national and international, so fleeing the state’s not going to help. Stay and enjoy Tasmania’s resurgence!

    1. It won’t be rash, but there are good reasons. I grew up there and my family’s still there. Mum’s not getting any younger (79 next month) and my nephews – who were kids when I came here – are now having kids of their own. There are opportunities, family and friends there that simply don’t exist here. Plenty of car shows, too 🙂

      It’s not a done deal and may not happen quickly, if at all. And I’m certainly not looking forward to Melbourne traffic (in fact, I’d want to live in an area where we can avoid much of it). But it’s been on the cards for a few years now so it’s time to look it straight in the eye.

  13. First off, may I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy New Year.

    I’m sure any changes which you you and your family are considering will be well thought through and I wish you all the best for the future whatever it may hold. It would be great if your endeavours allow you to take up writing full time. Just let us all know where to find you should that dream come true. I for one would want to keep up with your take on world events, cars, motoring, whatever.

    Kind regards,

  14. Yep Swade, ’14 has been challenging on many levels. I feel however that we’ve broken the back of a few of those hurdles.

    2015 is gonna be a big one, I feel it in my bones.

    Here at the Marriott Sydney in NYE and about to tuck into second helpings on dessert.

    Big thanks to you too and the rest of The Guild for sharing the load. See you on the other side of midnight.

    should auld turbins be forgot

  15. Hi all,

    It’s 75 minutes to 2015 here. Thanks for all your input, concerns and encouragement.

    I hope the new year brings you all good things.



  16. All the best, I’m sure this year will be a cracker. I hope to have the Pantera at Sandy Bay this Sunday weather depending.

  17. Hope your New Year has (already) got off to a great start, up here in the Northern hemisphere we still have 2 hr – 3mins to go….London 21.57: 31/12/2014

  18. Happy New Year Steve, where it’s probably already 2015, Best to you and family.

    Personally, I never liked the Fulvia. There’s something ungainly about it. And sometimes things that you don’t want turn out for the best.

    And regarding Mahindra…..seems like a dark hole there with no reports on their due diligence, negotiation for the name Saab from SAAB AB…Bah, humbug

  19. Happy new Year, Steve!
    2014 was very interesting for me personally, as I finally get to work for Saab. The defence-Saab, but Saab nonetheless. 😉
    Saab finally – after months of negotiating and such trouble – managed to buy Kockums, where I work, so now Saab is into submarines. 🙂
    It was a tough couple of months without knowing what would happen, but now it feels fine.
    May 2015 be good on you. Your writing is needed. 🙂