Buying a safe second-hand car

In last month’s column we looked at the intrinsic safety of the all wheel drive Subaru Forester and some of the physics behind its five-star ANCAP safety rating. But for those of us without the cash for a new car wouldn’t it be a good idea to gather the data from millions of crashes and pick up a used car that has earned its reputation in the real world rather than in a controlled laboratory crash.

Since 1987 the Monash University Accident Research Centre has collected the data on 349 different models involved in over 3.2 million crashes in Australia and New Zealand and the most recent results are now available and worth a read. Read More »

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The beauty of all-wheel drive

Subaru Forester X

In 1972 Fuji Heavy Industries first started making a quirky looking 4WD station wagon with a 1.4 litre engine.

Its boxy shape and pillar-less doors reminded me of a car made of left-over body parts which might have been designed by Mary Shelley. Read More »

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Not in my territory

Ford Territory Ghia RWD (Stretched)

There is a Mother Goose nursery rhyme that goes, “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.”

Coming from the 17th Century she didn’t have to worry about how they all got around, but if she went shopping for a car today the Ford Territory might be worth a look. Read More »

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Fuel for thought

It’s 4pm on Friday the 16th of May and I’ve seen my last patient and like many motorists I’m looking for a good deal on a full tank of fuel for the weekend.

By the time you read this you’ll be surprised to know that I’ve seen ULP as much as $1.48 per litre, but there’s still the odd servo at $1.38 so I better pull over soon. Read More »

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French and fantistique

Renault Mégane RS 230 Renault F1 Team R26

It’s been only 12 short years since the French stopped exploding thermo-nuclear devices on our doorstep and it’s always worth remembering that it’s not just the North Korean’s who like to play with their weapons.

France’s determination to go ahead with nuclear testing in the South Pacific in the face of international criticism was unwavering and even the French secret service was dispatched to foreign countries to silence any protests viz the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. Read More »

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The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round

Volvo XC70

It’s a long way from Port Douglas to Cooktown and one could easily be excused for building up a thirst along the way.

So having survived the crocodile infested creek crossings and finally on some open savannah I was relieved to come across the 133 year old Lion’s Den Hotel. Read More »

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The road less travelled

Long before echo-cardiography medical students all knew that the examination of the cardio-vascular system began with an inspection of the patient’s hands.

Finger clubbing, pale skin creases and nicotine stains can all point to more pathology in the chest and calluses can tell you a lot about how much physical exercise the patient really gets. Read More »

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Top Gear 2008

Volvo V70 SE

For most of us turning 50 is a very challenging time in life. By then you’re so immersed in your mid-life crisis that you can’t face getting older and you start to forget what it was ever like to be young. You realize that you might never get to visit Iceland and race a motorized kayak like Richard Hammond.

Suddenly your serum lipids and PSA are important numbers that you remember whilst it’s getting even harder to recall phone numbers and anniversaries. Aches and pains that used to go away overnight are still lingering on a week later and you can’t see a thing without your glasses. And you get to know your own doctor even more intimately when it’s time to check the consistency of that small gland. Read More »

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New Year resolution

Lexus LS 460

Most doctors have spent quite a lot of time in operating theatre tea rooms especially since workplace health and safety regulations have banned smoking there.

In a cappuccino world the theatre coffee may be only of the instant variety, but the tea room is still the best place in the hospital to share the camaraderie, to tell a joke and to complain about bureaucracy. Read More »

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Lost in translation

Toyota LandCruiser 200

Tokyo may be a long way from the Australian Outback, but at the moment it’s the nearest place to road test the just released 200 Series Landcruiser.

And besides, with other models to look at like the new Skyline GTR and the Lexus LS600h there would be plenty of reasons to make the trip to Japan and I might just get to road test the Japanese health system on my way. Read More »

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.