Real life Top Gear on Wide Open Roads

With seemingly endless stretches of road and abundantly beautiful scenery to explore, it is of little surprise that Australia is the perfect environment for motoring enthusiasts.

In celebration of our passion for the road, ABC will produce Wide Open Road, a documentary series about the country's obsession with automobiles, which will be directed by Paul Clarke (ADbc, Bombora, Long Way To The Top, Spicks & Specks).

Our nation's development has been largely shaped by the car and Australian driving habits, making the motor vehicle as integral a part of the country's progress as the aeroplane or train systems.

"After an initial wariness, Australians fell in love with the automobile," Clarke said.

"The car arrived just as we were building the idea of Australia being a different, independent country. Cars got caught up in building Australia and became a vision for what Australia could become."

The unrestrainable popularity of shows such as Top Gear and Top Gear Australia are just one example of our fascination and enthusiasm for all things auto.

Producers of this new documentary series will explore key eras of motor vehicle development and are calling for the public to contribute personal stories and memorabilia of the vehicles that help us explore the land.

"It's impossible to imagine our popular culture without cars. Most of us remember the cars of the '50s, '60s and '70s Australia very fondly," added Clarke.

"We're looking for people with great stories, footage or photos of their cars -- the kind of people who lived for their cars, and treated it as a family member, or a shrine for dad to worship at. Whether you were a sharpie, a bodgie, a surfie or a 'New Australian', cars were key to all the youth subcultures. We would love to make your story part of this series."

If you have any interesting automobile anecdotes, images or footage you're willing to share, you can contribute through the show's website www.abc.net.au/tv/wideopenroad.

However, the content is not expected to be entirely positive. The show will explore the impact of the oil crisis, the global financial crisis and climate change on the perception of cars in Australia.

The Wide Open Road series will be complemented by a website with the aim of further educating viewers on the evolution of Australia's car culture.

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