Targa gets underway towards George Town

COOL RIDE: National Automobile Museum of Tasmania manager Phil Costello shows off the 1964 Mustang back in George Town. Picture: Phillip Biggs
COOL RIDE: National Automobile Museum of Tasmania manager Phil Costello shows off the 1964 Mustang back in George Town. Picture: Phillip Biggs

It was loud, powerful and full of grunt.

That could just as well be George Town the day that Targa drives back into town.

Every vantage point was taken by myriad spectators.

In front of their homes, on chosen street corners, in front of their memorial hall. 

They clapped gratefully, they cheered fervently, they even roared with delight.

But the noise created were sounds of high-powered vehicles tearing up their streets.

Burning around corners, screeching tyres before flooring it down Macquarie Street was too good to refuse.

In a 1964 Mustang, it’s one heck of a sweet ride.

Just ask National Automobile Museum of Tasmania boss Phil Costello.

“I’ve driven it from the museum to here,” he laughs over the loaner for the day.

“Just this one little squirt through the streets of George Town and we’ll be fine.”

The laid-back character certainly lives and breathes vintage cars every day. 

But behind the wheel is a different challenge.

The ones he deals with are static. On display. All about yesteryear.

For a change, Phil plays out such memories on the road.

That had started out wide-eyed in front of a black and white TV, glued on Tassie boy David Parsons racing.

“I first got into cars as a young boy watching Bathurst in the early 70s,” he recalls.

“I was always a Ford man – that’s because my dad was a Ford man.

“Back in those days, you were Ford or Holden. It sort of got past down the line.”

Driving in the Classics at Targa isn’t a V8 at Bathurst, but the 52-year-old loves the pragmatism of the race.

“One great thing about Targa is it brings it back to the common man,” he says.

“For a few thousand, you actually can put your own car in to compete at something as casual as this rally.

“You certainly aren’t going to win anything or make any money, but the satisfaction of being a part of one the world’s great tarmac rallies. 

“As a Tasmanian who is a motoring enthusiast, how fortunate is that?”