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LEFT: Typically, the weather was perfect while I was busy quaffing pain killers and reading

RIGHT: What others were doing in ASX while I was munching panadols and reading situations, where a rib has clearly broken, there's nothing much the medical profession can do to help, aside from ruling out a punctured lung. Given there was no severe shortness of breath, this wasn't likely. They don't strap ribs any more either, so a trip to A&E wasn't really necessary.

The basketball hoop remains sitting on the garage roof, and the new ball Santa dropped off hasn't had much use. A broken rib takes about six weeks to heal, but it's the first 10 days that really aren't much fun. Especially sleeping and laughing and sneezing and coughing. Apart from the pain, it's easy enough to live with. Just don't expect to undertake a whole lot of activity. About the most you'll be doing is shoving Panadol and Nurofen down your throat for the first fortnight, and maybe turning the pages of some ripping yarn.

My neighbour is a physio and had some good advice: if you need to cough or sneeze, don't. But if you really must, wrap a towel around your chest and pull the ends together to limit rib movement. This works. Painkillers do, too, for about two hours, and then you're waiting uncomfortably for the next two to pass before you can take some more. Voltaren gel helps here. In the first week, sleeping in a semi-upright position is more comfortable than lying flat.

On the day before returning to work, two weeks after the incident, I went for my first car ride and managed a two-hour bush walk comfortably. It's now almost three weeks on, and I need painkillers just every now and again.

Undoubtedly, holiday reading saved my bacon as much as analgesics - so many great books, but standouts included John Vaillant's The Tiger David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet, Douglas Coupland's PlayerOne and the current read, Carsten Jensen's We, the Drowned.

Unfortunately, I got to drive the ASX hardly at all, but there's reasonably in-depth coverage of the NZ Autocar Crossover of the Year in the December 2010 issue of the magazine; see page 107. Apart from another three weeks of healing bones, there's now just the small problem of overcoming my stepnophobia. Guess we'll start small by practicing on a steplackler - Peter Louisson f = C

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and usually unexpectedly. Mitsubishi kindly loaned us an ASX crossover for a fortnight over the summer break, and we fully intended to use it for outings to Coromandel hotspots, as we were at a bach in the area.

For a couple of days prior to Christmas everything was going swimmingly. The water was uncharacteristically warm, and the sharks were jumping. Truly. The golf clubs and trundler fitted handily in the load bay of the ASX, and the swing was almost holding up. But a day later, the holiday plans were shot to hell.

I'd read an article recently on accident statistics that suggested the chance of falling off a ladder is around one in 850.1 reckoned I've climbed up one about 849 times in my life, so perhaps I was pushing my luck. The boys and I were attempting to mount a basketball backboard on our garage. As all B'ball fans will know, the hoop must be installed at precisely 10 feet - or 3.048 metres, which is a bit harder to remember.

I was standing on the second-to-top rung doing a spot of maths, trying to position the whole shebang, when the ladder decided to exit stage left. And we all came tumbling down. Must make mental note next time to try to pull boy away from Xbox for purposes of securing ladder. Yeah, right.

Accidents naturally happen at inconvenient times. Like at the beginning of annual leave, or in this case, on Christmas Day. Should have taken more notice of the newspaper article that suggested this is a 'high-risk day'. As the ladder started to topple, I had a slow-motion moment of looking down at the concrete and thinking, 'Doh, this is gonna hurt!' Just as well the ladder broke my fall then. All hell seemed to break loose in my general chest area, but at the time I was thanking my lucky stars I could move, and that no limb bones were protruding awkwardly. I'd sprung a few minor leaks here and there, but nothing looked too serious. The main concern was that I wasn't breathing so well. That, and the chest pain.

After calming down a bit, it was apparent diat taking a deep breath intensified the pain and that bone ends seemed to be grating against each other. There's a term for this, crepitus, which sounds a bit like how you feel. In these

I had a slow-motion moment of looking down at the concrete and thinking, 'Doh, this is gonna hurt!

Height club. The after effects of taking on a ladder and losing. One snapped rih releases lots of blood.

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Thankfully my holidays weren't as disastrous as Pete's. No painful personal mishaps as such, just a missing cat, a dramatic rescue and a decent vet bill (cats aren't so flash after four days trapped in an old unused water tank). Thankfully the little man is still with us. Just one year old and already two lives down.

Holiday travel was less stressful behind the wheel of FFV's GS, the entry level to the range. Priced at $73,990, it's ten grand more than the XR8, but $13K cheaper than the FPVGT (cheaper than the F6 too).

It's understated visually, there's no FPV specific wings, bumpers or war paint here, although they still manage to plaster a few stickers along the flanks. It runs on 19-inch five spoke alloys which, if memory serves, are recycled from a previous FPV. That doesn't matter as they look better dian the rims on the GT anyway.

The GS wears the 315 badge as its supercharger doesn't lump as much coal on the fire as the GT's, but 315kW at 5750rpm is still a good effort. As is the 545Nm of pull from 2200rpm to 5500rpm. Do you miss those extra 20kYV of the GT? Not hugely, as the GT's extra steam only really comes on from 4000-6000rpm, where it runs feral, charging much harder than this GS. But when it comes to picking off slower traffic, the GS has

The only thing we'd ciange on the exterior is the weird badging. Well done tc those that identified Natarangi's sandy fcreshores in the background the goods to overtake quickly and safely thanks to the bulk torque (25Nm less than the GT). Even the mother in law appreciated the 'quick pick up' during one of the many holiday journeys, though she liked the colour more. Typical.

The summer break is a good time to have a large car. You've got the room, so you fill the boot with stuff you'll never need (but you might) and there's no excuse for leaving behind the missus's second bag of essential items. The Falcon's lumpy floor, which usually draws a negative comment, actually proves useful at stopping things sliding around, especially the chilly bin which fits just nicely in che recess.

Five up travelling is a reasonably comfy affair for all involved, and no need for the driver to make adjustments, which is a real bonus. And big cars don't feel the strain of a big load. The last holiday was spent in a Mondeo, whose air con struggled to keep us cool in the heat. But this Aussie derived Ford is much better in that regard. This GS came optioned with leather as part of a luxo pack, but I'd forgo it. It's not that luxurious in feel or finish, and the searing sensation of skin on super heated leather is best avoided.

The GS delivers a comfy ride, it feels less taut than the GT-P we drove last month. It's sporty in its

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Good old holiday traffic, lucky the air ccn is designed wth the Aussie outback in mind spring rates, but it's only noticeable at low speeds. As pace rises, the GS has that beaut FG ability to soak midcorner bumps, and dips and rises in the road, bringing a real composure to the drive. The one thing that is not so good are the brakes, with the GS equipped with 322mm ventilated discs on the front and single piston sliding callipers. The feel is alright, but the bite and staying power are nothing compared to the GT's 355mm cross drilled rotor and four pot calliper package.

It's frustrating being in such a capable car, on such clogged roads. You do see some interesting driving however The no-yes-maybe-not type overtaking manoeuvre, bikers leaning it over right on the centre line mid corner, the caravaners that never pull over, the cops that patrol the safest places to pass, and those that pull the abrupt U turn right in front of you. Failure to indicate for three seconds is surely worthy of a few demerits.

Buyers of V8s know they ain't going to be strangers with the local service station attendants, and while the GS is officially rated at 13.7L/ 100km, the 898km of driving consumed 133 litres for a 14.8 litre average. Think that Mondeo we had the year previous did about half that. Bloody efficient diesels. f="C

Hungry passengers and a thirsty car are a gas station owner's dream BELOW: Big alloys good, small brakes bad BOTTOM: For those en route to Hotwotcr Bcach, a stop at Colenso is a must mmrM

new Zealand autoca- 105

The return of the Alfa 1750

A 1750cc turbopetrol engine has been added to Alfa Romeo's 159 range, a repacement for the atmo 2.2-litre ^^^s^jiSk powerplant. Known as the 1750 TBi, it is 1

presently available with a six-speed manual I . • y*

transmission only, priced at $62,990 I I . .X

Its performance shades that of the previous I ^ 2

car The O-lOOkm/h sprint take 7 7sec, while 1 " *

mean fuel use is quoted at 8.1 L/l 00km. The 1750 TBi meets Euro 5 standards, and outputs 189g/km of C02, a drop of nearly 30g/km

Peak power of 147kW is up 1 lkW on the 2.2-litre, while peak torque of 320Nm, an increase of 90Nm, arrives at 1400rpm. Other features include direct fuel injection and dual variable-valve timing.

Complementing the power upgrade are 19-inch alloys, sports suspension, Brembo brakes and a body-kit Specification runs to climate air, Bluetooth, sports seats, seven airbags, rear parking sensors and stability/traction control. K

www aston martin.co.nz

12/09

MiTo Sport MiToTCT MiTo TCT Sport MITo MultialrQV Gluletta QV GMetta

Ybu've read about the latest from Detroit in FYI, so we thought we'd look at what landed there 10 years ago. Adrian Payne was the 'lucky' staffer who had to cut his summer holiday short to endure a frozen Detroit and check out the new metal on display.

Chrysler rolled out a new Dodge Viper, the new look described as 'Honda S2000 on steroids'. And it even came complete with a proper retractable hood and actual side windows, items lacking from the original. The other Chrysler on display, the then-new Crossfire, should have been terminated at inception to save the pain later.

The Nissan Z-Concept was a near-production version of the 350Z, with its 20-inch, seven-spoke rims, and its alloy cross brace in the boot. We were driving the road car in early '03, minus the 20-inch hoops. Its main competition was also on show, the RX-8 concept, which was an evolution of the RX-EVOLV shown two years earlier. The show car housed the new Renesis rotary engine, producing a reported 209kW of power, although the production version only managed 177kW when we drove it here in late 2003.

BMW rolled out Chris Bangle's X-Coup6 concept, which marked the start of'Flame Surfacing', a.k.a. the era of strangely styled BMWs. Payne was clearly suffering the effects of jetlag when he put finger to keyboard, as he reckoned it was 'nevertheless a stunning vehicle, which is pleasing on the eye in an unusual kind of way'. Or did the managing editor get a hold of the copy? We may have panned the styling of BMWs for the next decade, but during this time, BMW became the biggest-selling premium brand, knocking Mercedes-Benz from its top spot. Go figure. PC

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