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Journeys : April May 2009
The Last Word Philip Blake Steven Last, principal of international consultancy The Last Architects, is a Tassie boy and the happy owner of a couple of contrasting cars – a Subaru Forester GT and a 1962 EJ Holden. The proud Holden owner outside The Last Villa in Sandy Bay. Passionate about surfing, Steven designed his award-winning The Last Beach House on Phillip Island, Victoria. Both properties are available to rent – check www.thelastvilla.com.au and www.thelastbeachhouse.com.au S teven bought the EJ from its first owner in Launceston ten years ago, and has kept it in original condition, complete with two-tone white over blue paintwork. “My mother Betty spotted it and I bought it from the dear lady who had owned it from new,” he says. “In these times of high-end technology, it is classical – the solidity of the blue bonnet glistening in the sun as the car slices through the pure Tasmanian air – the car is somehow part of the landscap, in tune with nature.” Steven also had the chance to buy two Chevy Viscounts at Rocky Cape, but he decided to go to Europe instead. The EJ is not so far removed from his first car, a 1962 Peugeot 404, with a classic shape and a similar reputation for endless reliability – and 1962 handling. One of his scarier experiences was at the wheel of the Peugeot, on the way down the Sideling between Launceston and Scottsdale, when he suddenly lost control and did a perfect ‘180’ – luckily with nothing coming the other way. “It was a petrifying experience for an 18-year-old,” he says. Steven also recalls a slide-off into an embankment on the way down Ben Lomond after a day’s skiing. One of the attractions of the Holden for Steven is nostalgia – it calls up those special days of combing the coastline with surfing friends in their EH and EJ Holdens. In fact he describes his ultimate drive as a surfing adventure to Eaglehawk Neck with the long boards on top. Another memorable but very different drive was in a Ferrari 308 along the Channel Highway from Kingston to Taroona, while one experience that will stay with him forever is double parking on Toorak Road in a Melbourne rush-hour. It’s a long way from the first car Steven drove (a Ford Zephyr) to the Subaru Forester turbo that is his daily driver, but of all the cars in between, he can’t single out any bad ones. It’s interesting to ask an architect, someone who is in the business of setting trends, what he sees as the car of tomorrow. “I’d predict a combination of technology and responsibility – possibly smaller vehicles, with an emphasis on sculptural forms,” he says. In the meantime, Steven enjoys the contrast between his cars. The combination of an ageless Australian classic and a modern turbocharged 4WD wagon, he says, allows him to explore all kinds of Tasmanian frontiers. But his special favourite is still the EJ. “It gets a lot of smiles, from all ages, and a lot of offers to buy.” MINTYS BODYWORKS CHASSIS WORK Measure and align ment system from Finland PANEL BEATING SPRAY PAINTING Two pack spray and bake booth 107 Mornington Road Mornington Telephone 6244 4732 Facsimile 6244 3845 April / May 09 25
June July 2009
June July 2008