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by Karl Peskett

The 2008 Perth Motor Show opened yesterday, with the usual gang of carmakers filling out the Perth Exhibition Centre on the bank of the Swan River.

Australian importer Ateco’s brands were missing from the show, instead preferring to allow dealer Barbagallos to supply its own cars from the stables of Alfa Romeo, Citroen and Fiat.

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Also supplied by Barbagallos were an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster, Lotus Exige, Maserati GranTurismo, Ferrari F430, and Range Rover Vogue.

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In general the quality of the stands was decent, the only exception being the spartan Volvo display, which looked, frankly, stark.

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Nissan’s halo car, the GT-R, was on display officially in Perth for the first time, as was the Proton Satria R3. We took a look inside the R3 (below), however we were told that the interior is still not production spec. The Recaro seats will not feature in the final product, and neither will the Momo wheel (airbags are missing).

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Notably absent also, was Mercedes and BMW, who again preferred to place dealer cars outside the entrance in a static display. Given the amount of money in WA at the moment, these are glaring omissions.

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Ford’s new FG range was on display; the crowd’s interest evident by the amount of traffic on the stand. Touching, feeling, exploring; deals were being done on the stand. FPV’s colour combination wall was also of interest.

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Holden also proudly showed off its concept Coupe60, with CarAdvice being allowed to get up close and personal. If the quality in the showcar filtered down to production versions, Australian manufacturing would have a guaranteed future. Holden’s new SportWagon was also shown in Calais guise, with the new boot area able to be tested. Although not the same as the VZ wagon in size, there’s still plenty of space. Offshoot HSV also showcased its W427 at the side.

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Volkswagen’s new Touareg R50 and Passat R36 garnered many looks, as did the new Tiguan SUV. Even up-and-comers Skoda had a quality variety on display, with Hyundai’s flashy sidewall lightbox competing opposite for attention.

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Disappointingly, RAC’s ESP simulator was on the blink, and the amount of deep-tissue massage stalls outside the entrance was staggering.

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Mitsubishi’s new Lancer Ralliart was placed on a rotating platform, as was the soon-to-be-launched Evo X. Trying something different, Mitsu spruced up 5 cars with a Panther treatment, consisting of chrome wheels and silver stripes and decals, to gauge interest from younger buyers, and those who want something “different”.

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The Lexus stand carried an air of dignified opulence, with the new LX570 and LS600hl on display. Opposite was one of the more interesting attractions, with a dark red LS600hl demonstrating its self-parking capability.

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CanAm also showed its Spyder for the first time in WA, with many people gathering just to see what all the fuss is about.

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Subaru also made a big splash with its Impreza STI, which many people were saying, will really heat up the war between itself, and the forthcoming Evo X.

While the Perth show won’t be anything like its Eastern States counterparts in the near future, it is still the place to open and shut doors, and tyre-kick for petrol-heads in Western Australia.

Karl Peskett




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