OVER the past few weeks, our friends at Shannons Insurance have been quietly slipping some epic content onto their Shannons Club website. Aussie car lovers, get excited.
Shannons End of an Era is a four-part web series covering Australia’s proud, 120-year automotive industry. Episode One, From Goldrush to the Fabulous Fifties (1900-1959), was released at the start of September and details our early history, including the morphing of an Adelaide saddlery company into Holden’s Motor Body Builders and the establishment of Ford Australia in Geelong. Bit players such as Tarrant, Chic and Australian Six also get a mention, along with other important companies that helped shape our storied motoring history.
Episode One is well-paced and includes some famous Aussie icons, including Lew Bandt’s Ford Coupe Utility, which cemented not only the ute as a body style, but as a lifestyle. The seminal Holden model, the 48-215, which begat the legendary FJ, also gets a fair mention, as do the subsequent updates that helped Holden claw to an unprecedented 50 per cent of the market share by 1958. Fittingly, it closes off with the looming introduction of the Australian Ford Falcon, the car that would shake Holden’s market dominance and set the scene for the 60s and beyond.
Presented and narrated by noted gearhead Shane Jacobson, with contributions from experts, social historians and authors such as Prof Graeme Davison and Gavin Farmer, Episode One also delves into other important factors that contributed to our motoring industry at the time, such as the social and political landscape both here and abroad.
The series is a great homage to our now-lost industry. Even those harbouring a hulking knowledge of Aussie motoring history will find something new to chew on, while the visuals, comprised mainly of amazing archival footage, are worthy of a prime-time documentary.
Episodes One and Two, which focusses on the swinging 60s and the Muscle Car Wars, are already out, with Episode Three due at the end of September and the final instalment a fortnight after that, so turn off Celebrity Cooking Apprentice Wants a Wife and get some Aussie automotive history on your idiot box!