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The Ballad of the Wadsters 
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Research done by a major specialist motoring insurer has revealed that around 5% of the general population consider themselves 'motoring enthusiasts'. This means that 95 of the 100 people you're stuck in a traffic jam with are simply there because they have to be. They don't love their car further than the fact it is the ultimate means of personal transport.

Most motoring enthusiasts would like to think of themselves as good drivers. Good driving isn't just the ability to avoid crashing; it is taking in surroundings and road conditions, minimising risk and, in day-to-day commuting, being courteous yet assertive.

Driving involves looking at lots of things. Staring blankly at the guy in front doesn't constitute good driving, because often a risk will occur from the side or behind.

Interestingly, I recently spent about four days driving around Victoria and found it interesting that some people are happy to sit next to a semi trailer on a dual lane carriage-way. As far as I'm concerned, driving next to 60 tonnes of semi with a 22 steel-belted tyres ready to peel off and wipe me off the road isn't my idea of a good time. No disrespect to the men and their machines, but if shit goes wrong, I'm not going to be the winner so I'd prefer to just be in front or behind them.

But this guy wasn't going to overtake. It was a large, four-lane country freeway, and while these are zealously policed in Victoria, as far as I'm concerned our overtaker should have either committed or not bothered. The madness of driving anything aside from a Sherman M4 tank next to a large truck aside, he was creating a wad.

Wads are more common in everyday traffic in major cities. Often there will be someone driving in the left lane at about, say, 54 km/h. This could be a combination of being cautious, along with speedometer inaccuracy. The zone is a 60 zone, and certainly I normally like to exercise the ability to do this speed. Assuming that road conditions are ok, there's no reason why not. Except for the guy next to Mr 54 km/h, as they too will be doing that speed!

Better still, if Mr 54 km/h notices that they're under speed and moves back up to 60, so too will the driver in the next lane.

Often, there will be about 6-7 cars in a wad, all travelling at the same speed. Even when the front two cars are no longer next to each other and there is room to merge out of the wad, the participants will be happily staring at the car in front. No need to check the speedo, no need to check the mirrors. It's all casual. Casual and safe in a wad.

Except that it's not, because if there's other cars around you, there's more likelihood of a collision. When you're out there on your own, if you have a single vehicle accident then it's your fault. With 6-7 other drivers around you, that 6-7 other people that might make a wrong call and end up wiping your priceless Japanese classic off the road.

These people will be happy in their wad. These participants are called 'wadsters'.

I'm not saying we should all be tearing around like maniacs, but if we've all got somewhere to go, and I assume that at least the 95% non-car enthusiast people aren't just driving for their pleasure, then surely we can just ramp up the k's a bit and get there? And if there's someone out there who's feeling happy and safe as a 54 km/h mobile chicane, then can't we just go around them?

My wife actually coined the phrase "wadsters" to me when I was complaining about a particularly annoying wad of traffic in front of us. Recently, when there was some hare-brained driving going on amongst a wad, she offered a powered up version; "wad-knobs".

So don't be a wadster and blindly travel at whatever speed the guy next to you is doing. Take matters into your own hands and address the emergence of wadsters across the nation. If the guy next to you is tracking your speed mile for mile, then as far as I can see you've only got two options; accelerate to 240 km/h and see if they've noticed that your speed had changed or pull up the handbrake, flog through a crowded shopping mall and fly out the other side onto a freeway overpass that is only accessible from an on-ramp in Kalgoorlie.

Cheers,


Dave

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Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:39 pm
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You're assuming that 100% of the people on the road are sane and that the people driving at or below the speed limit in the center lane are not doing so just to spite everyone else around them.

Over on the other side of the world, we've found a small but very noticeable percentage of drivers consider themselves to be responsible for enforcing either the posted speed limit or their own opinion of what the speed limit should be, upon everyone else on the road. They select a slow moving vehicle in the slow lane, pull up next to it, match its speed, and watch with glee in their rear view mirror as traffic piles up on their back bumper. We call these people "Personal Speed Marshals".

Then there are the people who get to the end of the on ramp and drive a 45 degree angle across five lanes to the center lane (through traffic or not, everyone is supposed to scatter when they do this), and once they get into the center lane, they then slow down...


Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:53 pm
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i dont like traveling next to trucks at the best of times, saw a ve ute get the drivers side window smashed and fairly bad damage to the side of the car after a truck tyre blew out next to it, so if i am going round a truck i do it as quickly and safely as i can.

i come across these wadsters daily (what a lovely quaint term, and appropriate!) and they frustrate the bejeebers out of me, my only problem is i drive a ute with company sign writing on it so i have to be polite on the road and cannot share with these folks what i think of there amazing driving skills. i get it almost daily where i am sitting on 60 and closing in on traffic in front only to have some turkey pull out from the left lane and sit next to the car they have started to over take, unfortunately my State manager has not yet approved my request for a chaingun or missiles to be mounted on my ute so till then i guess i just have to sit on 50-55 behind these mindless drones.

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Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:57 pm
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Aaaah yes - this is what I like to call the "rolling roadblock" - matching some ones speed in the other lane - and never anywhere near the speed limit (it must be nationwide rule to travel 10ks under the speed limit oblivious to what is around you).

When I drive I try not to get in anyones way, never pull out in front of someone and not do the speed limit (yes I pull out in front safely (in my opinion) and get the hell up to the speed limit so I don't infringe their daily commute.

I make it a point to always know what is going on around me - yes even in the mirrors.


Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:58 pm
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I work with a guy who, until recently, had no side mirrors on his EF Falcon. I have no idea how he was not defected for it, nor how he coped with it. It drove me nuts every time I saw it, however he's now sold it for a nice BA Falcon with mirrors.

My white column shift has no mirrors and I intend to keep it that way because it was authentic to the time, however it's not a daily driver car (far from it; it's always broken) and at the end of the day I'll drive around it.

Thanks for your responses! Sorry I was a day late, but I was held up by wadsters on the way to the emporium.

Cheers,

Dave

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Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:30 am
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Wadsters. Great term Dave and it sums up our fellow drivers on the road in country Vic and SA nicely over those four days. The groups of madmen doing 95kph in the 100 zones was a non stop annoyance especially as they never actually seemed to be in a hurry. Ever. On top of this the camry's, falcons, commodores etc that were pulling out to over take the road trains and then taking kilometer after kilometer to do this while being peppered with stones from the trucks wheels! Amazing.

I see this phenomenon every morning on my 75km (round trip) commute to work and then again in the afternoon. I stopped driving my Bellett because the chance of getting wiped out was just way too high when I'm stuck out in the right lane, following a late model camryfalcadore with a driver that is more interested in the inside of his (or her) nostril than the monstrous truck that is mere inches from their door, spraying stones and belching diesel. How is this possible that as Dave said 95% of these people don't actually care about driving or their car any more than they care about the nice new chrome toaster or coffee machine in their house, yet they are willing to put themselves in obviously dangerous situations and take longer than necessary to get anywhere? This makes no sense?

Argh, I just realised I'm starting to rant now too... before this goes too far I'll leave mine at that and just suffice to say, thanks Dave, a new word has been added to my vocabulary that I'll be able to use every morning and every night.

Keep up the good work!

Cheers,
Ross.

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Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:21 am
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nice work dave & ross everybody knows that the camryfalcodore wadsters cant be wadsters unless they frustate & annoy every other driver by setting cruise control at least 5 kpm under speed limitand taking at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour to pass the big scary rock throwing semi trailers etc . A good present for these people , no not a pick handle in the wrong place or anything nasty delivered by fellow motorists.Remember this is a self help world now so I thought a pair of boxing gloves as part of their sleep attire. It may help , but like so many people in this world they are beyond help.
happy wadstering


Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:12 am
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Them's fight'n words, PR90. Again Dave has tickled a raw nerve and 2ldohc has fueled the itch. So, may i add ??

Essentially the typical "wadster" (note in lower case), has forgotten rear vision years ago, has no perifery either and is usually fixated to the tail lights of YOUR car. They never know what speed they are travelling at, regardless of the working spedometre or otherwise.

When refered to as "wadknobs", I suddenly understand the term "dickwad" i've heard before.

Yes, the "enthusiast" though can be acused of being the hoon when finding a break in the wad, breaking the rules for self preservation. And if a constable happens to pulls you up, much to their surprise, you can quote the speed in miles or kph before he/she tells you.

Company cars, Mrfibbles, I can relate. Dont push the boundries or get too assertive. This will either insight some mild form of road rage (or worse). Or at least a trip to the boss's office to explain that some of us DO cover alot of ground and would like to at least get to our destinations smoothlty, efficiently, and SAFELY.

So the wad keeps moving along, and sadly so called "accidents" continue to happen with regularity. Beware the wad !

B.


Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:57 pm
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I don't think I would honor every person who drives fast and rudely with the title of enthusiast.

The comedian joke goes something like "All the people driving slower than me are idiots and all the people driving faster than me are maniacs". It's supposed to illustrate how self centered we all are and how our opinions of everyone else are relative to how we justify our own actions. But the joke fails if the person making this observation happens to actually be in the middle group between the people who lack courtesy and the people who lack manners.

The center lane is for passing. The side lane is for traveling at a steady pace. Things go haywire when the discourteous get out in the center lane and drive slow and the ill mannered get behind them and try to drive over the top of them.

And there are just as many people out there trying to make sure that they are blocking the flow of traffic, as there are people who think that everyone should pull off onto the shoulder and let them blow past in all their self important glory.

It all works pretty well when people have manners and courtesy.
If you want to drive slow, stay in the side lane. If you don't have a badge, it's not your job to enforce the speed limit.
If you want to drive fast, pass in the center lane at a safe rate and tear up pavement away from bunches of traffic.
If you are in the center lane and someone is on your back bumper, get the heck out of the way.
If you have been driving behind a line of traffic, happily at the same rate of speed for the last hour, you see a car crest the horizon behind you, rapidly approach, and lane change out into the center to pass, this is not the time to decide that you absolutely must pull out and slowly pass the entire group you have been following for the last hour. Wait for the other car to go by and then pass.
Wait your turn. Don't drive up the center or on the shoulder to cut in front of people. Get into the lane you need to be in to exit appropriately early.
If you see the signs "Road construction, one lane, move over", and all the flashing lights and orange barriers, move over and get in line. This is not your chance to drive up to the last inch of lane before the barrier and rudely cut over in front of the people who got in line and waited their turn. And don't be surprised if someone puts a fender into you and pushes you into the barrier instead of letting your rude butt in.
And, most importantly, hang up and drive.


Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:21 pm
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Throwing a positive light on the subject JT. Common courtesy is good. The rare moments when all the above mentioned happens, relax a little and enjoy the ride. :)

B.


Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:23 pm
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I'm courteous as all hell on the road.

While I have engaged in the odd hoonage at the right moment, I'm not a road-rager nor am I a tailgater or cutter-offer-er (that's a word). This is good practice for when I got to the States later in the year, coz that stuff can get you shot over there (am I right JT?).

I guess though, if I do overtake in a Bellett GT at full noise, I'm branded a hoon, even if I'm still actually getting TO the speed limit (eg top of second gear in a 100 zone). Most drivers believe that if their car goes over 3000 rpm the engine will fall out and if they go around a corner with any kind of notion of g-force they will fall out.

That's why I do like my Holden SS 5.7 litre V8 'panelvan'. Because it still has the standard exhaust, which is quite quiet, I can pass someone at full noise and nobody knows I'm doing anything. I once got yelled at doing 40km/h in my Bellett GT by an old lady.... because it was a bit rorty (a lot less rorty that some, GToo).

Anyway, I just added 2c to my 2c worth, so that'd be 4c, which rounds up to 5c now we don't have 1 and 2c coins.

Cheers,

Dave

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Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:12 pm
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dave wrote:
This is good practice for when I go to the States later in the year, coz that stuff can get you shot over there (am I right JT?).


We have concealed carry, but they won't let us shoot anyone, not even those who deserve it.

And if you drive like you have any sense over here, everyone will think you are a foreigner.
In order to look like a local:
    You have to have a cell phone against your ear at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Two cell phones at the same time makes you an expert driver. The same for a cell phone while typing text messages.
    Never use a turn signal. You can't use the turn signals while holding a cell phone against the side of your head, and any turn signal usage identifies you as driving while not using your cell phone.
    All right hand turns must be made from the far left lane.
    All left hand turns must be made from the far right hand lane.
    When making a turn, approach the turning point at maximum speed, then slam on the brakes so that the car comes to a complete stop a foot or two before where you want to turn. Remain at a complete stop for several seconds, or until you hear the cars behind you strike each other while trying to avoid you. Then execute your turn.
    Never use the suicide or shared turn lane to make a turn. Always stop in the center lane and wait for traffic to clear so you can make your turn, thereby ensuring that you block traffic behind you.
    Never wait for traffic to clear when pulling onto the road. If possible, accelerate and drive a mile or more in the suicide or shared turn lane. If there is no suicide turn lane, just force the other cars off the road and out of your way.
    When exiting the freeway in congested traffic, don't get in line at the end of the line. Drive down to the point that the exit lane leaves the freeway and stop in the lane next to the exit lane. Turn your turn signal on. Then force your way into line in front of all the people who were foolish enough to wait their turn.
    If you ever accidentally find yourself in a line, just drive up the shoulder of the highway past all the foolish people waiting their turn in line.
    Only slow down to the speed limit while running stop signs.
    Yield signs mean you should proceed at maximum speed and ignore the people already on the road, because they will scatter as you hurtle through.
    If you are not shaving or putting on makeup while you drive to work every morning, then you are wasting time.
    If you are not eating while you are driving, you are wasting time. And, you must have a 55 gallon cup soft drink in every one of those giant cup holders in your SUV.
    Whenever possible, drive over pedestrians and bicyclers.
    If you are driving with your kids in the car, spend most of the time bent over in the back seat beating them instead of paying attention to where you are going.

I've driven a decent number of different types of cars and run maintenance on my own cars that approaches ridiculous. I've only owned one car that drove a straight line so steady that you could drive without holding onto the wheel. Everything else has required a lot of steering correction and constant attention.
I know 99% of the SUVs and minivans have never seen an alignment rack or had a ball joint replaced. I do not understand how these people can pay such little attention to driving and so much attention to anything but driving, and not end up driving off the road and into buildings, walls, bridge abutments, rivers, ditches, just about any stationary object within 100 yards of the road.


Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:13 pm
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I'm going to print this out.

And send it to Lonely Planet.

Also, on the notion of hooning around, I just remembered a very important fact.

It's all to do with the car.

When my wife enjoyed* MG Midget ownership, I would drive that thing through the suburbs as if it was on fire. Essentially, I drove it at warp velocity all the time. Most of the time, it was just making a lot of racket, but once you got up to speed, the trick was to sit on about 80km/h everywhere and just slot it into holes the the traffic that don't exist.

That car was so small, I could drive between a Landcruiser and it's own front bumper.

Yet I was never yelled at, sworn at or had a fist of anger waved at me by old ladies. Try the same thing in my 1978 Holden Gemini (aka Buick Opel by Isuzu) and I'd have been lynched by a marauding mob from the Dulwich Bowls Club. Do it in an MG and they yell "Tally ho, old chap!".

It's true.











* ha!

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Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:18 am
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Quote:
It all works pretty well when people have manners and courtesy.
If you want to drive slow, stay in the side lane. If you don't have a badge, it's not your job to enforce the speed limit.
If you want to drive fast, pass in the center lane at a safe rate and tear up pavement away from bunches of traffic.
If you are in the center lane and someone is on your back bumper, get the heck out of the way.
If you have been driving behind a line of traffic, happily at the same rate of speed for the last hour, you see a car crest the horizon behind you, rapidly approach, and lane change out into the center to pass, this is not the time to decide that you absolutely must pull out and slowly pass the entire group you have been following for the last hour. Wait for the other car to go by and then pass.
Wait your turn. Don't drive up the center or on the shoulder to cut in front of people. Get into the lane you need to be in to exit appropriately early.
If you see the signs "Road construction, one lane, move over", and all the flashing lights and orange barriers, move over and get in line. This is not your chance to drive up to the last inch of lane before the barrier and rudely cut over in front of the people who got in line and waited their turn. And don't be surprised if someone puts a fender into you and pushes you into the barrier instead of letting your rude butt in.
And, most importantly, hang up and drive.


JT, you are spot on.... This should be an advertising campaign by the government. It would work a hell of a lot better to get people thinking along these lines that trying to scare everyone that 1km over the speed limit kills children.

Cheers,
R.

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1968 PR20 Bellett Deluxe (flat lights)
1970 SRL311 Datsun Fairlady
1971 S30 Datsun 240Z - Race car
1974 Mazda REPU (Factory 13B)

For more info, articles and pictures visit http://GarageofAwesome.com.au


Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:52 am
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The above is excellent advice, JT. I'm amazed at the number of people that use their cells ('mobiles' down here, I think) while driving, even though it's illeagal. Part of the problem is, I think, that there are not enough highway patrol cars anymore. The reliance on speed cameras has allowed our govt to take police off the road. Cameras are realy good at booking people for 5 to 15 km over the limit ($160 in NSW), but not so good at checking regos, licences, baldy tyres, drunks, dope users, 'phone addicts, stolen cars, etc. And useless at booking wadsters for blocking the overtaking lane (An offence at 50 km/h & up in NSW).
Most people get it right most of the time, but people are fallable, so a measure of understanding is good. Some though, don't give a stuff - thats why there are police.
Cheers, Matt.

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Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:48 am
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True words spoken Matt
in Qld it is 80ks & above to get booked in the outside lane or any lane except the left lane, saw one pulled over on way to nth coast last weekend by unmarked police car, good to see.Totally agree that speed cameras have taken the police from their job of policing the roads .As to what jt says yes manners & courtesy & a bonus but doesn.t very often happen


Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:14 am
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slightly off topic, but......

u NSW & Qld guys have it good compared to down here!!
automatic demerit points, and big fines, plus they only give u 3km/h grace ACROSS the board, not 3km/h or 10% (whichever greater).
so everywhere else IN THE WORLD, 105km/h in a 100km/h zone will be fine, but here it's a fine at 102km/h, which is 1 point gone and $225!!
Vic is the only place in the world like this.
this even goes against Australian Design Rules for motor vehicles, and Vicroads vehicle roadworthy guidelines, as a vehicle is considered roadworthy, safe and useable if the speedo is acurate within 10% of the speed indicated, meaning that the car is allowed to show 100km/h when you're really doing 110km/h, but you'll still get a fine at 107km/h!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is also the same for 40 year old cars like our's, or brand new cars straight from the manufactuer!!
also, our fixed cameras aren't visible with warning signs. neither are mobile cameras.
they hide the fixed ones amoungst bridge and roadsign frames, colour coding them as well, so u really have to look to see them.
the mobile ones are in plain cars, not police/speed camera signage, with the newest versions not even having a camera box visible, as it's all contained inside the car. they use infrared technology to take the photo, so you don't even see a flash to know you've been done. the first you know is a letter in the mail, with very little way to argue it.
there are set guidelines to the operation of them as well (no other objects in the frame, used on flat ground, used in a non-hazardous way to traffic, etc.), but these are ignored also. they set them up pointing at signs, trees, whatever, on the downhill sides of a slope, and they even park their cars opposite double lines and set up, but it's against the roadlaw to park opposite double lines!!
they even try'd to disguise the 'old' mobile units as: wheely bins, roadwork signs, trees, u name it to fool people as to what they were!! the 'best/worst' one i've ever seen went as far as having the operator jack up the rear left corner of his/her car and remove the wheel, so to appear as an unlucky person with a flat tyre who was in the process of changing it, while the camera was happily clicking away at the front of the car with the operator sitting inside, enjoying his/her lunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

one of the biggest problems to came out of this state is that people are now concentrating on their speedo's more than the road and traffic around them, causing accidents to increase, as they are always fearfull of "another bloody revenue camera". this has seen the excuse of "i was looking at my speedo, not the road" being made more and more as the reason why a motorist has just rear-ended the car in front as the traffic began to slow like normal..........................

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Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:05 am
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Two extremes !! Thanks for giving us the heads up JT, especially if Dave is game enough to do the left hand drive bit in the US later on this year. You've certainly made me think twice how lucky we are down in OZ. Coping with a little "wadism" doesn't sound so bad after all :)

On the other hand, Vic sounds like "Wad Central" of the universe, PR91. I wouldn't last a day, possibly minus all demerit points. It seems like a case of being forced into wad mentality which I guess calls for a different set of survival tactics.

Very enlightening....

B.


Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:56 pm
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Just a little observation by my parents-in-law, who just returned from a cruise taking in south-east Asia. After stopping in some larger cities in Vietnam, China & Indonesia, their departure city to fly home was Singapore. On the bus travelling a 10 lane expressway to the airport, the traffic (a continuous Wad) was moving O.K., 'till the first incedent - a multi-car pile-up in the centre 2 lanes, with 1 on its side, & the attendant police forcing cars into 3 lanes. A km or so further, another bingle, this time just 3 cars & 1 lane, Then a little further along, this time a couple off backwards & one on it's roof in the centre shrubbery, each with the attendant police.
On leaving the Sydney airport & making their way home through the peak hour, athought occured to them - "Where is everyone?"
We all do have it very good here.
Spare a thought for all those souls next time you're weaving thru the hills, running the great ocean road, or pulling up the Bell's line of road.......then push on!
Gotta love Aus!
Cheers, Matt.

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Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:47 am
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Car(s): 1964 GT Isuzu Bellett
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Guess I'll have to consider rickshaw or "foot falcon" if visiting the subcontinent then. It's like having a foreign beer and pondering on how it was made, and managed to get transported out of the country of origin.

So true Matt... Personal space in oz is a gift.

B.


Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:25 pm
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