BITTERN RUN, Sunday 20th July

With the worst of the week’s weather behind us, a good crowd took advantage of the sunshine and assembled at Darnum’s Stump Tea Rooms for the run down to Ian and Judy Barton’s car collection at Bittern. People were milling around outside the tearooms, admiring the impressive gathering of sports and classic cars whilst collecting their route instructions from John Fowler who used the run to show off his latest automotive purchase –  a very tidy Series 1 Mazda MX5.  It was quite a straight forward run down the freeway to Drouin where another couple of MGs joined the tour before heading off along South Road towards Westerport.

Your correspondent’s participation in the event ended here after taking the few photos you see below. If someone would like to fill in what happened during the rest of the day, that would be terrific. Please email your text and/or photos to: editor@sportingregister.org.au

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The following more comprehensive text was received from Barry Hatswell, thanks Barry.

About 30 people gathered at the Black Stump Tearooms, Darnum for the pre-brief and direction given by John Fowler. John led approximately 15 vehicles in his recently acquired red 1989 MX5 to Ian and Judy Barton’s at Bittern with a couple more vehicles joining the convoy at Drouin. Steve Schmidt was spotted along the way taking photos of as many of the vehicles as possible as he kindly does. The drive from Drouin over the Strzelecki’s is always enjoyable however heavy fog hid most everything from view, apart from the vehicle in front of you, until almost Lang Lang. A couple of others joined us at the Barton’s resulting in 20 vehicles consisting of Jaguars, Minis, MG’s, MX5’s, a 240Z, a GTS Monaro, a Mustang, a Mercedes and a few daily drivers.

Ian and Judy welcomed us all to their lovely property and shed constructed specifically to house their collection of vehicles, motor bikes, books and related paraphernalia. All for a mere gold coin donation which is collected for SIDS.

Ian provided a run down on his collection starting with his stunning 1956 XK140 Jaguar with aluminium wire wheels and body. Apparently 86 dropheads were made but only five to this Le Mans specification. This car was in the Motorclassica a couple of years ago and is also in the latest “Jaguar Magazine” with a photo of Ian leading others around the Sandown track. His two immaculate white 1949 Mark V Jaguars are sometimes used for weddings. His two daily drivers were also in the shed, being a 6 litre, 6 speed manual Holden Commodore Ute (his) and a AWD X-type Jaguar (hers).

Ian described each of the eight motor bikes starting with his 1956, 650cc BSA made specifically to suit having a sidecar and thus more torque than speed. He also had an unrestored 1966 Vespa with only 76km on the clock which looked like new. He explained the operation of his 1948 Indian Chief which among other oddities had a left hand throttle and left foot operated clutch which made it nigh impossible to do left hand turns. He said that it was easier to turn almost a full circle to the right when intending to turn left if on gravel, and then head off again in the direction intended. He described it as “difficult to ride” and all this so the American police could have their right hand free for their hand gun! Among the other bikes there was also a 750cc Ducati, Triumph Bonneville and a 500cc Ilse of Man (one of only 40 made for homologation).

There was of course the Bulant and Scarab race cars, the go-cart, the collection of over 2,300 books, many of which are first editions, and a collection of paraphernalia much of which is Texaco. The story behind obtaining the 1941 Chris Craft speed-boat was interesting as Ian had first spent three months towards getting a rare Dodge speed-boat only to find that it would not be allowed to leave America. The Chris Craft boat was purchased stripped down to individual pieces of timber. He had two ex-Chris Craft employees and a shipwright rebuild the boat over 18 months to 100% original condition – The exception being the rubber floor mats and the upholstery. It is made from Honduras Mahogany and Brazilian Ebony and is powered by a six cylinder 340cu inch Hercules motor. The sign writing on it is done in 24ct gold (as that is how it was done in the 40’s!). It is one of only 5 made. This being typical of Ian’s collection as most everything he has collected is quite unique.

The following photos were submitted on Monday 21st July by Eric Irvine. Thanks Eric.

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The following photographs were submitted on Wednesday 23rd July by John Fowler. Thanks John.

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