Friday, March 31, 2023


I first met ‘Uncle Doug’ in either late 1982 or early 1983, when my company, Leyland Australia, leased a suite in the Triple M tower in fashionable Bondi Junction, in Sydney’s east, to house our PR department for me and my staff of two.


One morning I was parking one of the Jaguar road test cars in the basement garage, when a guy came up to me wearing a Triple M FM t-shirt. He said: “I work with one of the DJs on Triple M who loves Jags, do you want to meet him?”


“Sure, bring him down to our office on the 22nd floor anytime.” The very next day, this very loud, long-haired individual wearing over-sized ‘granny glasses’ burst through the door shouting: “Where is he, where is he? This man from Jaguar.”


My secretary took fright, but then recognised Doug Mulray, who was taking the Sydney breakfast radio scene by storm with his hilarious antics, jokes, piss-takes and completely irreverent humour. Sydney loved him, and soon after Doug and his team totally dominated breakfast radio. He also became a regular visitor to our office around 9:30. He was usually totally exhausted after all the energy he contributed to his show.


Doug was in fact a Jaguar tragic, and later that year prevailed upon me to find him a sales slot for a Series III Jaguar V12 sedan with a five-speed manual gearbox. We were having a few quality problems with the Series III, so I tried to gently dissuade him.


“Never mind, he said. “I know the PR guy from Jaguar, so if anything goes wrong, I’ll call him.” Oh, great I thought, this is going to end in tears.

What it did lead to was a fabulous 32-year friendship with lots of laughs, great times and good lunches. Doug’s companion (partner in crime) was Lizzie Muir, the sister of famous radio identity and programmer, Rod Muir, who got Triple M rolling.

Lizzie contributed not only to the laughs, but occasionally played a great straight man to Doug when he was taking the piss out of some pompous twit.


Doug and Miss Lizzie invited us to stay with them at their beautiful spread in Bilpin, about 90km west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains. The property was anchored by a majestic, stone, convict-built cottage set in a beautiful apple farm.

However, the property was often threatened by bushfires, so I was always calling Doug to ensure the property was safe. Magically, the house and outbuildings were never threatened by fire. In the end the conversations went like this - Me: "It's JC Dougie." Doug: "It's okay JC, no worries, now piss off."


Once we agreed to a short tour of the Blue Mountains. I took along one of the then-new Jaguar F-type roadsters, and Doug and Lizzie joined my wife Yvonne and I in their Aston Martin DB9 Volante for a very enjoyable drive along Bell’s Line-of-Roads, swapping cars.

We took a pit stop at one of Doug’s favourite local restaurants where we paused for a long lunch. The girls drove back to cottage. My wife's sense of humour was on the same wavelength as Doug's and they got along famously.

Doug and Lizzie also owned a beautiful penthouse apartment on one of the old, reclaimed industrial wharves on Sydney’s harbourside.

After leaving radio, Doug and Lizzie settled down to a quiet, private life, and about the only thing that could tempt Doug to leave his guitars and his stereo, was a trip on Sydney harbour on his classic catamaran.


They visited us on the Gold Coast in 2013 for some of Yvonne's famous fruitcake, and were in great spirits.

The last time I saw Doug was in 2015, but we kept in touch by phone. I’m thrilled to have enjoyed such a long, respectful and affectionate friendship with Doug and Lizzie over so many years. He brought smiles to everyone he met, and entertained millions with his sharp wit, pungent humour, and completely irreverent style. His Sydney audiences loved him, as did I.


Doug Mulray, R.I.P. Thanks for all the laughs and good times. Yvonne and I send love and condolences to Lizzie – the love of his life, and to James, Tom and Rosie.



Monday, March 27, 2023


I’m a long way down the list who have reported that the Camaro will disappear from public roads, but apparently not from racetracks any time soon. These remarks by a GM PR suit merely confirms how silly ‘Supercars’ is as a series – it totally lacks integrity, as it attempts to pursue the idea it can keep alive the mid-90s concept of Falcon and Commodore racing loyalties – with a couple of cars which have very limited lives, one of which is not even available for sale!

Here's how Associated Press  reported GM’s comments:


General Motors, which sells the brawny muscle car, will stop making the current generation early next year. The future of the car, which is raced on NASCAR and other circuits, is a bit murky, reports the AP.


GM said the last of the 2024 model year will come off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan, next January. Spokesman Trevor Thompkins said he can't say anything more about a future Camaro. “We're not saying anything specific right now”.


GM launched Camaro in 1966, two years after Ford launched the Mustang.


Thompkins said GM has an ‘understanding’ with auto-racing sanctioning bodies that the sixth-generation car can continue racing. GM will have parts available, and the Camaro body will stay on the race track, he said.


Just what is GM’s ‘understanding’ with Supercars? According to a UAW source, the line on which Camaro is currently manufactured is due to begin producing a dedicated Chevrolet EV pickup from plant start-up in October 2024!


PS: I also wonder where this leaves the 30 year old business in Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Crossover Car Conversions, which has been doing all the RHD Camaro conversions?

Thursday, March 23, 2023


This is what a track full of GT3 racers looked like in 2023, but the field will look a whole lot different with one, two or even more new competitors fronting up for a chance at the laurels.

Australian 12 Hour Race sponsors Liqui Moly can count on even more interest in the 2024 event if the new entrants are led by GT3 versions of the venerable Ford Mustang, and the Chevrolet Z06 Corvette. I've thrown in a photo of the fabulous Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for more interest.

Both Ford and GM have been clocking up test laps in anticipation of the announcement of the new season in 2024, which I'm sure will add even more interest to next year's Bathurst 12 Hour.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

VALÉ - LADY SUSIE MOSS by John Crawford

It is with very deep regret I mention the death of our dear friend, Lady Susie Moss at age 69.


Susie cared for Stirling following the infection from a mystery virus he contracted in Singapore in 2016, and stayed by his bedside constantly until he died in 2020. Following his passing Susie retreated to her home and rarely saw anyone except her very closest friends.


We enjoyed a full and joyful friendship with them both after I first met Stirling in 1981, often staying with them at their London home in Shepherd Street, Mayfair, where we were first introduced to West Highland White Terriers via Stirling’s ‘Westie’ called Caesar, who spent most of his day in his bed alongside Stirling’s desk in his office, from where he and Susie ran Stirling Moss Limited together.


It was a very strong business, and one which very few former racing drivers could have emulated, as it focussed, and created income from, the fame and notoriety he generated between 1948 to 1962, when his famous crash at Goodwood ended his competitive career. He won 212 of the 529 races he entered, but perhaps one of his most famous victories was winning the Mille Miglia in 1955 at an average speed of 99.9mph.


The family business, which in addition to his racing and personal appearances also included an extensive property portfolio in and around London, and Susie was the very effective ‘general manager’.


He and Susie married in 1980 and we were very fortunate to be invited to their 10th wedding anniversary in Los Angeles in 1990. The final time we dined together was in 2011 at Stirling’s favourite Greek-Turkish restaurant, Sofra, in Shepherd Market, but we continued to cross paths right up until Stirling’s illness in 2016.

Susie Moss's last public outing was at Goodwood in 2022 at a tribute to Stirling led by the Duke of Richmond and Sir Jackie Stewart
Susie’s death ends a 35-year era of affectionate friendship between the Mosses and the Crawfords. However, they were so popular and enjoyed such a huge circle of friends across the globe, I am sure there will be many other epitaphs contributed by all those who knew and loved this amazing couple.

We send deepest condolences to Stirling and Susie's son Elliot, wife Helen and their daughter Stephanie, as well as his daughter Alison.



Sunday, March 19, 2023

Volkswagen's 'Golfie' EV? by John Crawford

Volkswagen is teasing us with yet another EV concept, based loosely on the ID3 platform. I say loosely, because the MEB platform VW used for the ID3/4 has been ‘re-arranged’ to locate the EV motor up front, and this allows much better use of the interior space.


There’s some ‘fours’ involved in VW’s plans. It’s proposed to offer 400km of range, and (in Australia at least) cost a smidge under AUD$40K, and it may be here in 2024.

This styling concept looks very Golf-like – which I think would make it immediately popular with VW tragics – and this would be no bad thing. Nothing’s confirmed of course, but VW has a huge budget for EVs which it hopes will wipe Tesla off its ‘competitors’ map’.


The cabin is clean and simple, with the usual ‘horizontal iPad’ in the centre of the dash.

This concept is obviously a two-door, hatch but naturally there’s a five door planned for final production – whenever!

If you read my blatherings regularly, I'm very skeptical about EVs saving the world, but as EV designs go, I'd buy this one.



I thought I was tired of watching the F1 same-old, same-old, until ‘this old guy’, 41 years old Fernando Alonso took over the lead driving role at Aston Martin and has really shaken things up with his outstanding performance in Bahrain, and now elevating himself to the front row in Jeddah for this weekend’s Saudi Grand Prix.

Alonso has driven for McLaren, Ferrari and Minardi – and won the World Championship twice, with Renault, in 2005 and 2006.


Favoured front runner Verstappen suffered a drive shaft problem in Q2, and now the front rows look much more interesting than in many of last year’s GPs.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez put in a fantastic drive to grab pole, then comes Alonso, George Russell’s Mercedes, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and in fifth position is Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin.


In addition to the driving performances by Alonso and Stroll, it’s obvious Aston Martin spent some quality time on their 2023 cars over the winter break. It’s a big contrast to Hamilton, who hasn’t been on the pace, and keeps complaining that the team is not listening to his constructive comments about how to improve the car. If I was Toto Wolff I think I’d be listening a little keener to the guy who’s at the sharp end every weekend, and reckons he knows what he needs to get the job done.

Maybe you think Lewis is a 'chronic moaner', but seriously, who would ignore input from a seven times world champion?



Alonso, the 'old lion' takes third at the Saudi GP, after a race where he displayed ALL of his bravery, experience and tactical thinking, resulting in his second podium in the first two races.

Oscar Piastri enjoyed a brilliant drive to finish 15th, leading home two other Mercedes-powered cars, including his teammate Lando Norris.

Saturday, March 11, 2023


The locale for my recent visit to the City of Angels offered the full panoply from survivors in tents to up-market diners, fashionistas and even a concierge for super-rich Rodeo Drive shoppers.

From my lofty perch at the Beverly Hills Sofitel, opposite the up-market Beverly Center, all around me were both the signs of society in distress, but also one enjoying incredible affluence and prosperity.

A conundrum? Certainly, but the street theatre of homeless people existing alongside avenues strangled by multi-million dollar bespoke automobiles encompasses every detail of not only this extravagant metropolis, but many, many other American cities where the dramaturgy of daily life is playing out for all to see – you simply can’t avoid it.

Strangely, after striking up a conversation with some street dwellers camped outside the local CVS pharmacy in La Cienega opposite my hotel, and later in the cocktail lounge of the Sofitel, I found among the entire range of interviewees an almost zen-like acceptance of their current status. You could almost liken this to an attitude of surrender, against the terrible assortment of negative forces arraigned against the possibility for a change in their lifestyles.


You may be right to say that Beverly Hills is not the ideal venue to conduct a full-on sociological experiment to measure the state of the lives of the local tribes, but surprisingly, I was startled at the lack of anger from the poor, and also, the lack of any possible solutions from the wealthy.

It seems like the only full-on class warfare in the American society takes place nightly on the nation’s television screens,  where the GOP and Democrats shout, rant and blame each other for the country’s ills. 

Neither side of politics appears to be able to develop any really practical and workable solutions to satisfy both their supporters, or their opponents.


It’s almost as if the social set in the streets, and the supercar owners accept their respective fates, and leave it to the political class to provide the shallow nightly entertainment.

So how does this deeply polarised society find a solution? The street dwellers and the rich seem to have arrived at their own apathetic answer - ignore it, and just get on with doing the best they can, under the circumstances.

As I was writing this Post, the national data revealed America's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been for decades, and my good friend Stewart Varney announced on Fox Business News that the country was "not showing any signs of entering depression, any time soon".

However, significant, multiple problems still exist in the society, and I am certain neither a Democrat-led, nor a GOP-led government possesses any real insight, or ability to solve them.

A fun highlight of my visit to the USA was the chance to discuss the great Lamborghini Squadra Corse racing series with Parris Mullins from the Tom O'Gara Group who have a lot of their customers entered in this entertaining and thrilling race series. It's so good, even Tom O'Gara (left, below) has been encouraged to enter in the 'Gentlemen Racing' division.

In fact it was one of the great pleasures of my recent visit to Los Angeles - spending time with a man I truly respect for his sharp sense of enterprise, his initiatives, his visionary approach to selling 'experiences' rather than just high-priced sports cars and his integrity. I look forward to working with Tom O'Gara again.