Even with my car – not the transport one, the real one – off the road, my Christmas break was still predominantly about cars, and family, the two most important things in life.
Not to say I don't like other things as well. They just need to have an engine... or in this rapidly changing era – a motor. The distinction between the two is driven home on all occasions by my father in-law, an electrical engineer.
So what does a car nut do in a motor-deprived break? Sorts his magazine and book collection of course... re-organises the book shelves to better accommodate the year’s new additions while trying to allow room for the next. Not an easy job when you have been collecting for over thirty years. The outcome is inevitably hard decisions on what else to archive to the roof cavity. I worry about the weight up there sometimes.
Reading the landmark 1000th issue of Motor Sport while enjoying a number of beers, Paul Newman’s obituary stands out, which reminds me that Phil Hill and Paul Frere also passed in 2008 - that’s three of my all time favourite car guys. Hill and Frere, besides being brilliant drivers were great writers.
Flicking though a years worth of Motor Sport, F1 and Autosport re-enforced yet again what a soap opera Formula One is. There were literally hundreds of pages written on the wrap up of Stepneygate and the Mosley affair. It will be a good year when Mosley and Ecclestone finally move on. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it is going to happen in '09.
Still on motor sport and here in Australia we saw the terrible situation of Mark Skaife and the inappropriate end to his illustrious career.
And the motor industry imploded... In the US, GM sales for December where down 23% from the previous year. Honda down 34% and Toyota 15%.
Here in Australia Holden was down 11%, Honda 13% and Toyota up 1%. .. I have asked this before... why do we, here in Australia continue to buy Aurions and Camrys instead of Commodores. Toyota - the builder of the world's most boring cars… why why why do you keep buying them. At least TRD disappeared this year and Toyota can now stop pretending they aren't boring. Honda though seem to be the biggest losers, cancelling their F1 program, the NSX, the S2000 replacement, their V8 development and their rear drive platform. Which makes an already boring car company even more boring.
On a brighter note there were some highlights; Ford and Lowndes won Bathurst, the F1 season was actually pretty good and the classic car market faired very well with new record sales. Certainly a lot better than the share market anyway.
Will 09 be a good one? No - it will just be a year of sorting things out. A quantum shift in the business model and strategy for car manufacturers, significant changes to F1 and who knows what for other races series - manufacturers are dropping support like hot potatoes.
Here's to 2010 everyone should work towards making it a good one.