A Brush With Antiquity...
Posted 22 February 2005 - 04:57
So when I reached the roundabout where the old road gives access to the highway at the end of the bypass, walking along to reach the point where I would begin putting my hand out and looking for a lift, I was a little surprised when a Toyota Landcruiser pulled up. It was towing a trailer with some guff about veteran cars on it.
So I jumped in and this white-haired guy with a mo introduced himself as 'John' and we talked about the run he was following (the 100th anniversary of the 1905 Sydney to Melbourne Trial... a big event) and as we loped along the highway passing pre-WW1 motorcycles and cars I asked about the Bruxh he was travelling with.
And I noted that the Brush, being a 1910 model, was still newer than anything in the original event. "Yes, it is. But I have a 1905 model car at home, a de Dion."
Suddenly it dawned on me that I was in with none other than John Simmons, that the poor guy has aged about 30 years in the three decades or so since I last saw him and that something must have been wrong because he didn't recognise me.
"You haven't realised that we know each other," I said.
"I thought when I first saw you that I knew you, but didn't know who you were..." so a fresh introductions and we were back to being like old friends catching up after thirty years.
We stopped at Yass, which was the lunch break for the cars, and I decided to hang around and watch them all come in. Then John would give me a lift the 13kms out of town to the turnoff to my 'country abode' in the Brush as it was his turn to drive it.
Interesting. I don't think I've been in a car from the twenties since 1949 when my father traded his Chev 4 on an A-Model. And this was from 1910... an open car... a very open car, come to think of it.
So when it came time to go, I jumped aboard and watched as John coaxed it into movement... balancing hand throttle, spark advance and something with a lever on the side that changed gears and I gather engaged epicyclic gears via some kind of clutch arrangement. Tricky stuff!
We got away, had to stop at the traffic lights of course, then after crossing the bridge found out what a 2-speed machine with just 1100cc displaced by its single cylinder was really like. Especially with the gap in those gears!
In fact, it only did 18kmh in first gear. Then much of the next movement was acceleration from clutch engagement coping with a huge rotating flywheel mass, then we chugged away if it was slightly uphill, or gathered speed if it was flat or downhill.
Wind in the face, no sign of a screen or rear vision mirror, left hand drive in a right hand drive country, and a top speed around 60kmh. Well, we didn't fit in very well with modern traffic... but there wasn't much of that anyway.
Laboring to get the downchanges perfected when we reached hills, John explained that the car covered the country at a surprisingly rapid pace overall. 30kmh and better average speeds, despite seeming to take forever to get up the big hills.
He was a part of a round-Australia drive in this car a couple of years ago, and he'd already told me about the number of times he'd sent large engine components back to Big Dave (Mawer) for rebuilding during that trip. At one time at the lunch break I commented on the large welds on the crankcase and he replied that 'I think that's the one that part of the case is off Dick Johnson's V8 Supercar'...
So I'd experienced Veteran (or is that Edwardian?) motoring, even if it wasn't for long. I'd also seen a bunch of cars and bikes, including the incredible 1913 cyclecar that was home built by an Englishman named Burrell. What a car! Thanks to Bob Lamond and John Simmons for letting me have that ride.
So I alighted at the junction, waved John away as he struggled to keep the old single piston going up and down as he stopped... wandered across the road and started looking for my next lift.
A few cars and trucks went by, then along came this Bentley closely followed by a Landcruiser. It went past, and I wondered if it was on the run too (though it would be about the newest car if it was...) and maybe if they had decided to take this little bit of the old highway that everyone else was bypassing. The road here goes through a little hamlet that was always about the lowest point on the whole trip, and I don't think you can get out the other end, whereas the old cars were following the new highway only where the old highway wasn't available.
Anyway, moments later the Bentley and Landcruiser did a U-turn and returned to where I was, did another U-turn as the driver asked where I wanted to go!
So I climbed aboard a 1929 8-litre Bentley and travelled to my front door with more wind in the hair!
The car belongs to Lynton Morris in Sydney, and this was his son in law Nick and his daughter in the Landcruiser taking it to Young to have the man who'd restored it get it organised for New South Wales registration. I do hope I've spelled the names correctly... Lynton also has a 30/98... the famous 'Blue Lake' car, and I remember talking to him at Guyra several years ago.
But I'd never have guessed when I set out this morning that I would ever have this Brush with antiquity...
Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:46
There is also an international Bugatti Rally , which left Mittagong yesterday and headed south
Also on the road south are some of the reported 480 entries for Historic Phillip Island which is on this weekend.
So ... quite a chunk of history in southern NSW/ Victoria over the next few days
Posted 22 February 2005 - 07:52
In the Burrell... which is covered with a lousy bit of white cloth so nobody knows it's such a good bit of gear!
Posted 22 February 2005 - 20:14
Posted 22 February 2005 - 21:34
Here's Nick in the Bentley. He waited while I got my camera for a pic, wife in the Toyota behind him.
Thanks to ImageShack for hosting
Posted 22 February 2005 - 21:49
Posted 09 March 2005 - 04:45
Originally posted by john medley
T.....Also on the road south are some of the reported 480 entries for Historic Phillip Island which is on this weekend.
So ... quite a chunk of history in southern NSW/ Victoria over the next few days
Here's one of those chunks now...
Hosting thanks to ImageShack... photo by pottsy (permission obtained)
...and a couple... well, some repetition here...
...then this lovely one...
Posted 09 March 2005 - 12:28
For once I can recognise the cars. Are they Australian domilciled or are they visitors?
Posted 09 March 2005 - 12:34
Sounds rather like the 'Jail' in Monopoly, doesn't it?
Posted 10 March 2005 - 02:08
We were on the Hume going down to Phillip Island Historics with "Team Punter" - a couple of Alfa touring cars - Group N and C (alas my rebuilt Alfetta wasn't ready) We passed a lot of veteran cars and motorcycles travelling on the verge of the highway. It didn't look to be much fun - a slow car, a straight road and nots of buffetting from the double B trucks. OK, I admit it, veteran cars aren't really my thing.
Interesting that you mention the barrister Lynton Morris who I've met (along with his barrister son Jeremy) a few years ago when I was in the Lancia Motor Club. Lynton had Don Wright (now there's another name for you Ray) build a replica Mille Miglia body on a Lancia Lambda chassis (Don't ask me what series or who originally designed the MM body) and it was a wounderful thing that they took back to Italy to participate in the MM retrospective a few year back. I would think he still has it.
The Phillip Island Historics were terrific, blessed with great weather and plenty of interesting cars both in the paddock and the carpark. Forgot to take my TNF badge and had no success in meeting (for the first time) fellow TNFrs like Dick Willis. I'll get around to it, one day.
Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:51
If it's illegal to hitch-hike in NSW, nobody's ever told me...
Anyone know what the black car is? And perhaps whose?
Posted 10 March 2005 - 04:05
Surprised you don't know what the black car is. This is a car that is so famous it has a book written about it, and nothing else.
It is of course #3011, an 8CM Maserati, also known as the Whitney Straight Maserati, owned by Peter Gidding, a patron who often brings his significant race cars down under. A pretty impressive piece of machinery but not driven as hard as the ERA R1B that was circulating under 2.00 on the Phillip Island track. Impressive indeed.
I'm fully aware of Mr Wright's metallurgy and machining skills. But he's a prickly old so and so, willing to pick a fight if you try and act like a know-it-all when viewing his gorgeous Lancia Aurelia GT. Ask me how I know ....;)
Posted 10 March 2005 - 04:36
Of course it's a Maserati, and naturally it's Peter Giddings' car. He's always got something there.
Posted 10 March 2005 - 06:11
Originally posted by Ray Bell
Went right past the Belanglo State Forest... but Ivan's in gaol these days...
Endangered species Backpackers, so I am told. Nice story Ray, crikey I hope I didn't drive straight past you!
Didn’t see many old cars but there were plenty of bikes, ….and blokes with spanners.
Looked a long ride on such a boring road.
Nice to see Alistair Caldwell at Phillip Island, he’s just bought his brothers’ Lola Mk1 and is restoring it. Oh boy does he have some great stories from the 70’s re F1, Indy and CanAm, cant share them or I will be sued for sure.