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10 Aussie auto facts you probably didn't know

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Updated 17 Aug 2020

Rita Bonivento

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Cars play such an underrated part in the lives of millions of Australians. Just try to imagine getting to work, the shops, visiting friends, or taking a long road trip in the height of summer without one! 

This Straya Day, we invite you to whack on a pair of boardies, slip into your double pluggers and top up your Aussie Auto trivia!

1. Australia is the 6th biggest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, China, USA & Brazil), measuring 7.692 million square kilometres. It’s the world’s largest island and the world’s smallest continent, and home to 810,236km's of bitumen or concrete road surface. That’s a truck load of driving bliss to explore!

2. When the Sydney harbour bridge opened in 1932, cars paid double the price than horses to cross the bridge.

3. There are almost as many vehicles on the road in Australia (17 million) as there are adults.

4. The average Australian drives 14,000km a year. With over 17 million vehicles on the road, 238 billion kilometres are covered every year – enough to travel to Pluto and back almost 20 times!

5. The male lyrebird, native to Australia, can mimic the calls of over 20 other birds. If that’s not impressive enough, it can also perfectly imitate the sound of a car alarm.

6. The longest straight road in Australia is the Eyre Highway, connecting WA to SA via the Nullarbor Plain, running in a straight line for 145.6kms. It’s referred to as 90 Mile Straight and is the second longest straight road in the world (following Highway 10 in Saudi Arabia at 260kms), and a must-see for Aussie and International road travellers alike.

7. In Australia, the first car radio was fitted in 1924 by Kelly’s Motors in New South Wales. The aerial was attached to the waterproof hood.

8. In 1932 a farmer wrote to Ford Australia’s boss to ask ‘Please make a two-in-one car and truck, something I can go in to church on Sunday and carry pigs to market on Monday’. And so the ‘Utility’ vehicle was designed and introduced in 1934. In the USA, they became known as ‘Kangaroo Chasers’.

9. The world’s first compulsory seat belt law was put into place in Victoria, Australia, in 1970.

10. Tomcar Australia have introduced the first Australian production electric car. Designed and built in Melbourne, the zero emissions Tomcar LV1, designed mainly for the mining industry, will be available from February 2017. 

Now, imagine a seamless segue here...

Right. AutoGuru lets you search, compare and book from over 1,600 qualified mechanics across Australia. Boom!

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Written By

Rita Bonivento

Rita’s a Gold Coast dweller who’s been wordsmithing for ages. She started out at Michelin Melbourne 22 years ago, & an avid traveller, has written in the marketing arena all over the world since then.

Her first car was a 1970 VW wagon she inherited from her dad. She’s had a few vehicles since then with an overall Toyota theme coz she reckons they do the best air con for the Aussie heat.