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Cancelled motor show was like “a death in the family”

New role: Former Top Gear Australia host Shane Jacobson is now an ambassador for the Australian Motoring Festival that will be held in Melbourne next March.

Actor Shane Jacobson signs on as face of Australian Motoring Festival

26 Jun 2014

SHANE Jacobson the actor had a great 2013 professionally, but it was very different for Shane Jacobson the car nut.

“It was the end of an era. First the Melbourne Motor Show stopped, then Ford and Holden announced they were closing their factories,” he said.

“It was like there had been a death in the family. And then your parents were getting divorced,” he said yesterday at the launch of the new Australian Motoring Festival.

Automotive-wise, it had been a disappointing and disheartening period for the former Top Gear Australia host, but he could hardly contain his joy over having been chosen as the official “face” of the new festival being organized by the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria.

At the festival’s official launch in Melbourne this week, Mr Jacobson told GoAuto he was torn between the fond car ownership memories of yesteryear and the high-tech vehicles available today.

He felt modern vehicles had become so good that they no longer had the character of older cars, and they perhaps didn’t encourage as much passion as was common when he fell in love with cars.

“Kids now just expect their cars to work. They get in and it will start.

“I’m 44 years young and I remember back when all the cars in the driveway had names.

“We all had secret rituals to get them going. Mum would tap the dashboard three times and whisper “Come on Betsy” and the starter would grind away before the thing actually started.”

But, while the new technology has made cars far more reliable, it has also created a need for drivers to learn how to use the technology to get the best out of their vehicles.

“People who are in the market for a car can come here and try them out. I love the practicality of being able to drive them at the festival.”

It may even change a new-car ritual in the Jacobson household. Mr Jacobson said he and his partner Felicity have a routine when a new vehicle comes into the house.

They go out to a deserted road and he gets Felicity to do a crash stop from 60 or 80km/h just so she can feel what the anti-lock brakes are like and won’t lift off when she jumps on the brakes in traffic.

Mr Jacobson runs a crowded garage with all manner of toys, but when he needed a larger vehicle to transport his growing family, he asked the same questions that any family man would ask and got the same sort of answer.

“We are expecting our fourth child and there were three options: Valente, Viano or vasectomy,” he joked.

“No, actually, the third option was the Kia Carnival and I decided to go with the Kia.”“(Needing a bigger family vehicle) was a problem that required a solution and I could go out and play. But I didn’t know the answer to the problem was going to be Kia Carnival.”

Asked which sports car he would choose to drive, he again eschewed the famous and exotic brands. He wants a Nissan.

“Of all the cars I have had a chance to play in, and there’s been a few, I think the Nissan GT-R offers the best bang for the buck.

“They are $170,000 and they are a couple of hundred thousand in front of other sports cars with similar performance. You can pay $750,000 for an Aventador in this country.

“For what you get for the spend, my hat has to go off to the GT-R.

“Until I am a billionaire, where it’s not about the price, that is going to stay my answer for a while.”

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